Sep 07 2006

Here’s Lookin’ At You, Liz

Crap. Vibrating Liz has deleted her excellent blog. I tried to check her out this morning but kept getting redirected to a cheesy sex toy site that insisted I was searching for ‘black vibrator’. Black vibrator indeed. I hadn’t even had my coffee yet.

Did you ever read ‘Granny Gets A Vibrator’? Hilarious stuff. Here is an excerpt from the ex-blog in which Liz reports on a conversation overheard in her Louisiana hamlet’s drug store:

Apparently, Butt Paste farmer suffers from painful hemorrhoids and was searching for some esoteric ointment that his veterinarian had recommended for somebody named Beverly, who is either a chicken or his sister in law, who lives up in Big Mamou. The other farmer knows a traiteur up the other side of Bayou Courtableau who eradicates tumors (and also repairs vacuum cleaners), but who might have either an auntie (or maybe a hot potato?) that specializes in curing bad hemorrhoid juju. [collected by Finslippy]

In recent months I have been, owing to a phase of acute self-absorption, but a sporadic reader of blogs, and so was shocked, when visiting Liz’s ‘Granny Gets A Vibrator’ last week, to discover that at some point during my sabbatical she had rather suddenly come down with lymphoma. I felt a surge of something. Sadness, yes, but also recognition, with a splash of the kind of weird kinship that can develop on the internet between total strangers who share but a single common trait. I mean, Liz is a 50-something weight-lifter living in some Louisiana hamlet, and I am a 40-something schlub living in some Austin hippie enclave, and we don’t know each other from Adam, but there we both were, waving hello from the summit of the prime of our lives, blogging contentedly away about this and that, when, wham, cancer.

I don’t know if you’ve ever come down with cancer, so I’ll give a brief overview: no matter how bottom-of-the-barrel crappy your life seemed before, it was an azure-skied, gardenia-scented island in paradise compared to the balls-out nightmare into which the giant flying claw of Fate drops you when you get cancer. So I’m anxious for Vibrating Liz. You know, in cancerly solidarity.

I have been unable to reliably ascertain the reason—we always need to know the reason—for Liz’s departure from Blogville (possibly her commentariat was bumming her out; Pavlov’s Cat takes an Aesopian view, suggesting that the conflict between blogular confessionalism and the private real-life self might be bad for you) but I’m danged sorry she’s vamoosed, and I’ll miss her.


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  1. saraarts.com

    Yes, Liz is deeply missed around the blogosphere. If you want to, you can leave a message for her at her son Finn’s blog:


    And Liz, if you read this, you must probably already know that you are missed, and hoped for on many levels.

    Best wishes all around.

  2. Dear Twisty,
    I was also concerned for Liz when her blog disappeared! But I recalled that her son had put up a blog, and that he had been posting news about her health from time to time.
    Not only did she just get diagnosed with cancer but she has no medical insurance, and her tales of her local ER have been heartbreaking and scary.
    Now it seems that her relationship has gone kablooey too.
    If folks want to chip in to help her with her medical expenses, they can find a paypal link on her son’s blog


    Folks have also been leaving her messages of concern and encouragement in the comments there. I know her family loves and supports her. I hope there are folks around her where she lives who are taking care of her too.

  3. Whoops, looks as if Sara and I were busy typing away at the same time!

  4. No medical insurance? Gah! Now that is a nightmare! I didn’t read Liz’s blog, but I can certainly feel for her. Working at the Department of Public Welfare sure did teach me one thing – most people are just one really bad year away from poverty. So I always grit my teeth when someone informs me that they’d never stoop to going on welfare/getting foodstamps/living in public housing. I’m always sorry to hear about other people’s grave illnesses. Guess it’s just human empathy – that could so easily be, and may someday be, me.

  5. I’m glad to see you provided the link to Finn’s site, Sara; it was the first place I looked, back when it was still the Granny’s new shoes account.

    Even without the patriarchy, cancer would still suck; we would just deal with the suckiness better. And for that, I blame, who else, the patriarchy.

  6. I believe at last count there were 46 million Americans without health insurance. All because there is a buck to made on illness and pain.

    Only good thoughts for you Liz…know that many of us care for you and hopefully you feel our strength and use it to fight the system and your illness.

    I join with all in blaming….

  7. shoesense.blogspot.com

    I was a regular reader of Liz’s blog–she updated it quite frequently until a few days ago when she decided to take it down. She expressed that choice in the comments to her last post, which was basically a long copy-paste job of the email exchange between her and her significant other, a relationship that had come to a bitter impasse (and Twisty, you would have had a thing or two to say about that, too!)

    Unfortunately, I think it was indeed the comments that drove her to this–everybody, of course, had suggestions on how she should handle her relationship, her cancer, and her life in general. Now, no matter how well-meant the commenter, this always struck me as enormously presumptuous. Especially as many of those comments tended to chide her for her handling of their relationship (it’s a very strong impulse to offer advice, but in this case I would have abstained–or just kept it very brief, short, and supportive. I mean, some people basically wrote sequels to Dr. Phil’s “How a Woman Should Always Yield to a Man’s Ego, Especially When She Is Diagnosed with an Aggressive Form of Cancer”). In all fairness, some were supportive to her, but still.

    I think it ultimately got too personal for her–add the heartbreaking diagnosis, the lack of health insurance, her family being far away, troubles with the “painter”–to sustain that level of emotion on her blog, too.

    I really miss her.

  8. feministlawprofs.law.sc.edu

    Opinionated though I am, I usually manage to refrain from offering people health advice. Do you sense the impending arrival of my Big But? But, if Liz is reading this, here’s some advice: If there is any reasonable way to do this, relocate to a state where you will get better medical care.

  9. Ann as I understand it, Liz said she is receiving good health care. The problem is she has no health insurance and must wait with all the others who dont. That would be the same wherever she moved wouldn’t it? Also to consider, once you have an illness, you will not get insurance. A sobering footnote for us all. Yes even here in Canada, as American for-profit companies are using the Free Trade agreement to barrel in and their co-conspirators, right-wing governements, happily hand over the keys to the tax-payer vault.

  10. I’m sorry to hear about Liz and will check out the link, i have enjoyed her writing. Cancer is a beast and i only know this from hearing stories told to me by the survivors.

  11. I’m not sure it’s entirely fair to blame the advice-givers, since Liz asked for advice. As one who DID offer (patriarchy-blaming, supportive) advice, I hate seeing this speculation here and on Finn’s blog. Maybe Liz just needed a break. Maybe (like a lot of us who blog) she felt she’d shown too much of herself and needed to pull back. Maybe she started a residential program for Stupid-Ass Men Who Can’t Put Somebody Else First Even When That Other Person Has Cancer (Camp Whoopass! Yes!). Or something. We don’t know.

    I miss Liz like a front tooth. I hope she comes back one day with tales of triumph and courage. Like before. If she’s reading these comments and Twisty’s tribute, I hope she’s feeling the love.

  12. I’ve been wondering what was a seemly amount of time to wait before inquiring here whether anyone knew if Liz was okay. And even whether it was really any of my business, being merely a distant author function who enjoyed getting to know her author function, and hearing tales of her roses, her hairless dogs, her brilliantly raised sons, and the weirdness that is deep inferno.

    I look forward to her triumphant return from cancerland.

  13. kathymccarty.info

    It sounds to me like most of those posting here have pretty good health insurance. As a person who has been a waitress and an artist for my entire working life, most of the people I know work at jobs that do not offer health insurance, and once you get say past 45, it is almost impossible to get even if you can afford it. Which one usually cannot, because the premiums exceed one’s monthly income. Read that again if you don’t believe it. That’s right: premiums for even shitty “disaster” insurance can be as high as $1500.00 a month. People who don’t have health insurance aren’t stupid: there is a class war against them. There is no solution. You cannot earn enough money to buy it. You will not get hired by companies that offer it.

    Both of the people I know personally who were diagnosed with cancer, who did not have insurance, were essentially told to “go die”. (Which they did in short order.) That is here in Austin Texas. If you can make it to 65 without insurance, then you can get medicare, and that is what most hope for: to stave off cancer until the medicare kicks in. It sounds like Lousiana (!) has a better system !! I am glad to hear it. Liz’s blog was great, and I hope she recovers. I think many of you may be being a little optimistic about her actually recieving treatment. I hope you are not though.
    I don’t know how doctors can live with themselves when they tell people that they will not recieve treatment, because no money can be made off of them. We need national health insurance and we needed it twenty years ago. I blame the capitalist pigs, and also the mindset many Americans have that, as long as they are alright, what happens to the “poor” is insignificant. We are all of us just one bad year away from being “poor”, as noted above.

  14. politblogo.typepad.com

    Yes, the system in the US is byzantine and inefficient, and I am living it right now under very good conditions. And what’s more, there is a populaiton of doctors whom I’m told even get screwed over by it too, relatively speaking.

    There’s a population in Canada of doctors who are slavering to get their hands on that yummy private insurance money. They have all kinds of justifications for it. Truth is, a large number of them would get screwed over by it. The doctors who would benefit from it are taking them along for the ride.

    They justify it by claiming that it’s people’s natural right to “jump the waiting list” if they have the money to alleviate their pain. The Canadian Supreme Court accepted this argument in Chaoulli quite recently. This is the first cornerstone of the impending dismantlement. Of course, governments have been sabotaging it for a while on the altar of lower taxes in order to….compete with the US! (Never mind that the US system is an absurdly larger chunk of GDP.)

  15. transientlikebubblegum.blogspot.com

    I was hoping someone had sort of high-jacked her blog domain name thing. Deleted? Ah shit. I like Liz. I hope she’s alright.

  16. urban-hills.blogspot.com

    Yes, I was a daily reader of Liz’s, and I really miss her updates. I hope she’s OK, and that she feels able to come back to blogging one day.

    I got halfway through what must have been 100 comments on the final post that she made, and had to leave to deal with life’s petty inconveniences before finishing my read. When I came back the next day, the whole thing had disappeared. From what I saw towards the conclusion of my reading, it was turning into a rather unsupportive mess of people saying ‘You need to X, Y, and think about what you’ve done’ (!).

    I wish she hadn’t taken her blog down, but I can totally understand why it disappeared so abruptly.

  17. feministlawprofs.law.sc.edu

    Pony – some states do a much better job than others at providing health care to people without private insurance. I may be wrong but I didn’t think it sounded like Liz was getting great care, though it did sound like she had a warm and caring physician. Lymphoma is a complicated disease and not all states will provide uninsured residents with access to expensive treatments such as bone marrow transplants.

  18. I miss Liz, too. She was my own personal tipping point for starting to lift weights (and now I bench and squat 50% of my weight!).

    She is also the author of my all-time favorite workout thought. If you say it to yourself enough times, it comes true. It goes something like, “Fuck being skinny — I want to be strong.”

  19. Thank you for this, Twisty. I miss her too. I’m just one of many people she motivated to get to the gym, but it’s been a life changing event for me and I am eternally grateful.

  20. myaimistrue.com

    I miss you too, Liz! I hope we hear from you soon.

  21. I miss Liz too. My lazy ass was often parked in a comment box over there. Pavlov’s Cat got it wrong, though. Pony asked Liz if she had permission to write about and quote from the Painter and Liz said she did, although permission does not preclude hurt feelings. Also, Liz asked for advice, although that might have been a mistake given that she was no doubt reeling with all the bad news.

    I certainly feel guilty for commenting at all that day; I imagine many share the feeling; it was like being in a grueling bad group therapy moment. The internet: death from a thousand tiny cuts. I imagine it’s best to peer at the “commentariat” through I-don’t-give-a-fuck eisenglass. But the tiny darts get through.

    That said, however, Liz seems like a strong woman who will be back when she’s ready, in a blog or in comment avatar form. Or we’ll read about some woman who sailed over Washington DC in a hot-air balloon, and threw dog shit down at the fuckheads.

    I’ve certainly had times when I’ve wanted to press a button and make all my words and everyone else’s words too just disappear.

    B. Dagger

  22. Two things you can (probably almost) all do, not just for Liz but for all sufferers of lymphoma, leukaemia and similar diseases, is to donate blood and register as bone marrow donors.

    It doesn’t matter how good your medical care is (my sister had her leukaemia treatment for free at the hands of the world’s best doctors in the field) if there is no blood, or matching bone marrow donor, available, it wont make any difference.

    Then write to your political representatives, and tell them to make universal health care their number one priority. You can’t afford not to. Tell them you’re sick of being outdone by Cuba.

  23. Trudi

    Just so you know: Granny Gets a Vibrator has been revived


    Liz publishes it twice a week!

  1. Blogger on the Cast Iron Balcony » Blog Archive » In Which I demonstrate my multi-tasking skillz by combining some good blognews with Christmassy cheer, Friday Cat blogging and more!

    […] I haven’t linked to Grannyvibes because it’s gone. She took her blog down shortly after she started posting about her cancer, and many of us were sad for not getting to read her excellent blog, never mind worried about what could be happening to her. […]

  2. A little link round up « Mind the Gap

    […] In the not stimulating but very upsetting category, via twisty, come news that Liz from the excellent Granny Gets a Vibrator has been diagnosed with lymphoma and deleted her blog. […]

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