Mar 15 2007

Vernal meditations on the vivisectional life

What is springtime without the traditional Sewage Back-up in the Pink Shower?

Spring is in the air here in sunny Austin, TX, and that means it’s time for my bimonthly surgery!

How time flies. In October of 2005, a few days after I got my cancer diagnosis but before I’d started any treatments, I listened in disbelief to a woman on the radio carelessly alluding to the seven surgeries she’d undergone as part of her cancer “cure.” I was all like, seven surgeries, are you fucking kidding me, I’ll sleep with Garrison Keillor before I’ll let any jagoff surgeon slice me open seven fucking times. Etc.

Oh, we’re cute when we’re young. Back then seven surgeries sure seemed like a lot of surgeries. That was eight surgeries ago.

Anyway, tomorrow I’ll be popping off for a jolly reunion with my pals down at St. Slice’n’ Dice Memorial General for the removal of my creepy chest catheter implant dealio (we professional cancer patients call’em ‘ports’). If you want to see what one of these fucking things looks like, or if you want to read a hilarious tale of port implantation hijinx, check out Spinning Liz. Her port could play my port’s butt double in a horror movie.

Anyway, I’ll be back in a couple of days. Until then, I invite you to discuss weighty issues amongst yourselves. Anything you want, as long as it’s blow jobs.

Or you might want to discuss Ms Jared’s report from the recent human sex trafficking conference in San Francisco. My favorite part is where some john asks, apparently in all seriousness, “What can johns do to help these women?”

Ay yi yi.


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  1. LMYC

    Good luck on ya, and here’s looking forward to your next post when you can report having had the revolting little motherfucker yanked out for good.

  2. Pony

    I can’t seem to comment on Ms. Jared’s blog so I’ll just thank her here. That question from the john just exemplifies the whole pornstitution blindness. We really are just toilets to them.

  3. ms. jared

    Holy Moly! I can’t believe I actually got mentioned on my very most favorite blog in the world. Look at how I’m using proper punctuation and capitalization techniques and everything (in this comment). I’ve actually been considering doing the same on my blog but I figured you’d never see it to notice anyway. Maybe I’ll rethink that now that I’ve been caught with my caps down, so to speak.

    Very best wishes for a speedy recovery on your latest go ’round and thanks so much for the link. My heart goes pitter-pat!

  4. al

    Second LMYC.

    And yeah, surgery’s a bastard. I speak from experience, having endured the anal variety. Oy.

  5. femhist

    Best of luck, speedy recovery, &ct., &ct. Hope it’s as painless as possible, and the drugs without unpleasant side effects.

  6. Sara

    At last you are having something out to which you must be really happy to bid adios (besides the cancer, of course). Mazeltov on this thrilling milestone.

  7. Rainbow Girl

    Good luck Ms.Faster!

    And to Ms.Jared, thanks for that post. I’m glad the presenters and people like you are able to understand, name and resist that kind of nonsense.

  8. Mar Iguana

    Get well soon and hope the drugs have pleasant side effects.

  9. The Hedonistic Pleasureseeker

    Whew! Add me to the list of people who are so glad this is over for you.

  10. annaham

    Good luck, Twisty, and all the best for a super-fast recovery.

  11. Twisty

    Whew! Add me to the list of people who are so glad this is over for you.

    Well, thanks! But I should probably point out that I won’t really know if it’s over until I live long enough to be killed by something else.

  12. BubbasNightmare

    “But I should probably point out that I won’t really know if it’s over until I live long enough to be killed by something else.”

    Ah, ever the optimist.

    You can’t die, Twisty. That would put the Patriarchy out of your misery, and we all know that isn’t allowed to happen.

  13. Silence

    Twisty, you’re going to live to be a hundred and die with a pitcher of margaritas in your hand. We’re all going to believe that until proven otherwise. And best of luck getting your chest monster removed. We’ll all be pulling for you.

    The sex worker stuff is jaw-droppingly horrifying. Why are their so many people in this world who believe that if something’s sunshine and roses for them, it has to be just peachy dandy for everyone else involved as well? I’m too tired to rant properly on the subject right now, so I think I’ll just sign off and come back in the morning after the coffee’s done its work.

    Although even muzzy and tired I bet anything I’d write would be better than what the john at the meeting said. Nice to know he’s so concerned about the women he’s screwing, I guess. Too bad he’s not willing to take his dick out long enough for his brain to start working.

  14. MzNicky

    Twisty: Honey-lamb, is that YOUR shower? (And does that relate in some metaphorical way to the removal of your port-o-cath?) Oh dear. Springtime in the South, eh? When a young woman’s fancy turns to thoughts of Roto-Rooter.

    Well, by proxy, I can hardly stand that you’ve had that fucking thing in your upper chest all this time. That they’re finally removing it is definitely cause for celebration. My own self? I scheduled an appointment with my surgeon for the day after my last chemo treatment for removal of the fucker. I simply could not STAND having something implanted under my skin like that. (I was one of those whose drain tubes stayed in for three weeks instead of the promised “a few days.” I thought I’d have to kill someone before they finally came out.)

    I remember the chemo nurse telling me, “Dr. Strangelove prefers you leave the port-o-cath in for at least a year after your treatment, just in case.” I told Nurse Ratched that Dr. Strangelove could leave it in his ass for a year, mine was coming out. My doc numbed the area and pulled the sucker out in-office, and right afterward I went shopping for kitchenwares.

    This was in 1999, Twisty, my darling. May yours, and mine, remain out forever and ever.

  15. Twisty

    May yours, and mine, remain out forever and ever.

    Amen to that, sister.

  16. MzNicky

    Bubba’s Nightmare said:

    ‘But I should probably point out that I won’t really know if it’s over until I live long enough to be killed by something else.’

    “…You can’t die, Twisty. That would put the Patriarchy out of your misery, and we all know that isn’t allowed to happen.”


    Twisty has defined why (for one thing) I don’t apply to myself the loathesome label of “breast cancer survivor.” It pains and galls me to see the pink-beribboned hegemonically-dictated overlay of perkiness and “survivorship” applied to what I more accurately refer to as “victims” of breast cancer. We’ve gone over this many times in IBTP threads, I know. What I tell others, who are horrified when I say it, is that I will be a breast-cancer “survivor” when, and ONLY when, I die from something else. Until then, I am a BrCa VICTIM.

    I hereby re-appropriate the word “victim” from its decades-long diminishment as a signifier for “whiny-ass loser.” The unfortunate participants in a mining disaster are referred to as “victims.” One who is on the losing side of a mugging or theft, or whose life is lost because of murder or a car wreck, is a “victim.” Those who are stricken with cancer are also “victims.” But in societal deference to the individual’s addiction to the reassurance that all is well and all will always be well in this best of all possible worlds, meaning she/he personally will never ever get cancer (that happens to other people!), we cheerily refer to them as “survivors.”

    Whatever. Half of me wants to tell the world that it doesn’t know shit until it goes through some form of life-threatening trauma; the other half is so fucking envious of those who haven’t it can hardly bear it.

    Sorry. My husband of 35 years is facing radical neck dissection in a couple of weeks because he’s been dealing with thyroid cancer for the past 7 years. He was diagnosed with his cancer the year after I was.

    Bubba’s Nightmare: “That would put the Patriarchy out of ‘YOUR’ misery”? I’m not sure what that means, but suffice it to say, we’re all gonna die someday, of something. Maybe we’ll buy it tomorrow morning in rush-hour traffic, like a friend of mine did 10 years ago. Maybe our cancer will come back and back and back, like my husband’s, and maybe it will kill him; or maybe not. Maybe I’ll drop dead of a heart attack next week, like so many friends of mine, male and female, have in the last few years. Who knows. The present moment is all. Right here, right now, Namaste. Okay, I’m done.

  17. Pony

    I have a link to a site with pictures of a porta-cath, for those who haven’t seen one. No, maybe not.

    My fervent hope this is the last affront to your body, Twisty.

  18. kathy a

    glad that sucker is coming out. from what i’ve heard, the removal is better than the insertion, even for people who didn’t have random pieces of stuff go loose in the bloodstream.

    a virtual toast to twisty, liz, mznicky, and anyone else who’d like to join in.

    p.s. — i assume phil is taking care of the unpleasantness in the shower. a spinster aunt and gentleman farmer should not have to wrastle sewage and surgeons in the same week.

  19. maribelle

    But I should probably point out that I won’t really know if it’s over until I live long enough to be killed by something else.

    I vote for running out of wind while blowing out the candles on your 120th birthday cake.

    Here’s hoping you’ll be up and butt-walking again in no time.

  20. Jodie

    I’m glad it’s coming out — those always look like they’d annoy the heck out of you.

    MzNicky — all the best to your husband, and I hope the surgery goes well for him.

  21. Joanna

    Happy port removal!

  22. thebewilderness

    Damn Twisty, I hope we do live long enough to die of something else. I hope to drop like a fly while waving my arms, doing the buttwalk, and shrieking “Repent Harlequin”.

  23. yankee transplant

    good gawd woman, what next? Best wishes for a smooth remove.

  24. Spinning Liz

    Shit. The cheap ass bozos here at Our Lady of the Damned do this as a 20-minute outpatient procedure involving a local. In spite of them offering no good drugs, I’m lobbying to get mine yanked early because it’s interfering with my bench press. I’m looking forward to some gnarly photos of your scar.

  25. Blamerella

    Best wishes, Twisty. I’ll be disconsolate without your fresh installments of blame-ucation but we need you healthy.

  26. MzNicky

    Thank you Jodie.

    Spinning Liz: My p-o-c withdrawal was outpatient/local. No big deal, aided much by good-fucking-riddance. Much less awful than having a tooth pulled, that’s fer sure. My scar looks like the friendly caterpillar from one of my kids’ childhood books, ‘cept it’s not green, for which I am grateful.

  27. virgotex

    Yay, Twisty! Kiss that fucking port goodbye. My ex hated hers. It bugged the crap out of her every second it was in. Also, our parrot used to try to bite it(not cool.

    Mazel tov on the milestone. Here’s hoping this surgery is a mere blip, for which you are rewarded with some righteous drugs, previous to bouncing back to blaming.


  28. Heart

    I hope all goes well, Twisty, and will be thinking about you.


  29. rainie

    I had to take a second look at your shower. Mine is identical except that it is pale lime green and not currently backed up with sewage. I too hope that you don’t have to clean that mess up yourself. I don’t find cleaning messes like that up an easy endeavor and I have no health problems other than the creeping slowness that has come with age.

  30. Antoinette Niebieszczanski

    Best wishes for a speedy recovery and good drugs. No power in the ‘verse can stop you.

    Mz Nicky, I think the “victim” thing came from early in the AIDS epidemic, when everyone was feeling shit-scared and helpless. As if having this out-of-the-blue, life-threatening illness were anything but a victimizing experience, people clung to the shreds of anything resembling control and co-opted the terminology. It gave folks a sense of empowerfulness. Anyway, I wish your husband a speedy return to good health, and hope you continue to enjoy the same.

  31. Catherine Martell

    Joining the virtual toast, and looking forward to having you back here ASAP.

    Further to Ms. Jared’s excellent post, I became fearsomely angry yesterday in response to this piece on Alternet about the growth in the sexual slave trade: http://www.alternet.org/rights/48951/

    The piece itself is terrifying (though I have a new heroine in Kru Nam). But the thing that really got my goat is how short a time it took before some halfwit patriarch took to blaming feminism for slavery. According to the jerk in question, American women who won’t let him have sex with them and scrub his socks have fucked up something he calls the “PUSSYDAQ”, and now he needs to enslave foreign women to perform the same functions.

    One for the Men Hate You tag. I know not all men are that extreme, but sometimes the sheer awesomeness of a man’s hatred for women still has the power to shock me.

    Twisty, the internets need you. Hurry back!

  32. Sylvanite

    Congrats and a speedy recovery from the latest outrage. And, yes, get a pro to deal with that shower.

    One wonders, if being a “happy hooker” is so very swell, why said happy hookers would ever feel the need to get so defensive about it? The defensiveness would seem to indicate that something is hitting awfully close to a sensitive spot. Perhaps the nagging feeling that the johns really do hate them and the money they’re making can’t buy away the damage that prostitution does to most of the people who are forced into the life?

  33. sylvie

    maybe a weird story to amuse you when you get back. this is true, and was odd enough I thought I should tell you, although I also hope it does not come across as creepy.

    the other night I had a dream wherein I was walking down this fantastically beautiful road in the woods, one of those little two-track dirt roads with grass growing in the middle and right up to the tracks, barely a road at all. lots of tall trees arching overhead so it was shady. The road I walked along had another road come to meet it, and someone came walking down that road and turning onto mine to walk in front of me. I really wanted to take her picture, because the whole setting was perfect and it would have been a great shot. But she was eyeing me somewhat suspiciously.

    and then I realized, holy Crap! That’s Twisty Faster, gentleman farmer and spinster aunt. (literally, in my dream I thought that out loud). And I got all nervous and excited, and thought geez I need to take this picture before I say anything or she’ll realize I’m a total dumbass. so I asked and got to take my picture, and then came over and said I read your blog all the time, and then had nothing to say beyond, uh yeah, its really great, its exciting to meet you.

    and twisty faster on the little road was nice and excused herself pretty quickly, it was clear I was being as much as a dumbass as I was worried about. but I was still excited because I got to meet her.

  34. Calabama


    If your body’s a fraction as quick as that brain of yours, you’ll be out of there pronto.

    And Mz. Nicky, best to you & yr. husband.

  35. mg_65

    Delurking in a particularly inarticulate manner to say Good Luck.

  36. BubbasNightmare

    While I appreciated the content of Ms Jared’s post on the human sexslave trade, I have to interject a couple of quibbles:

    190-proof pure-T capitalism is an amoral system that as much depends upon enlightened self-interest as the profit margin. What we practice in all “capitalist” societies today has as much to do with pure capitalism as the Southern Baptist Convention and Hamas have to do with spirituality–that is to say, nothing to speak of. Be careful when establishing cause-and-effect relationships between real capitalism with the human sexslave trade. (I wish to hell we’d call our economy what it really is–a great concatenation of fucked-up fuzzyheadedness. But modern journalists would call that “wordy”.)

    And yes, Ms Jared, we do notice your oddly selective use of the shift key and other typographical oddities. Most of your (quite fine) arguments would have a finer edge to them (particularly to those whose point of view is not already cast in rebarred concrete) if your spelling were correct.

    Twisty, hope you’re resting comfortably post-port removal. We all wish you the best.

  37. BubbasNightmare

    …and DAMNIT! that del /del flag for strikeovers doesn’t work at Wordspot. Wish to hell there were a preview function on that sucker.

  38. LMYC

    I’ve never had cancer, and I hate the victim/survivor thing, too. I can see the reason for it, that people don’t want it to define them in a negative way, but … cancer blows fucking CHUNKS. Why do we use the term “survivor?” Is it because it helps people who’ve had it feel betteR? Or is it because it scares the shit out of us to acknowledge that cancer can strike hard and at random, and that your chances are a lot more dependent on the type of cancer you have than on a perky, happy, can-do attitude?

    It just feels like something that is claimed to be for the benefit of the person, when it’s realyl for the benefit of not making the rest of us feel queasy.

    I also dislike the whole idea of labeling people as “successful fighters” or having “lost” their battle with cancer, or “surviving” and complimenting them. That, I HATE. People survive or die from cancer for lots of reason that have to do with access to care, geographic location, and their body chemistry and the type of cancer they have. I HATE the labeling of people who just randomly happened to have a particularly carniverous form of cancer as “losers.” I also hate it when I hear people give chin-up pep talks to people with cancer who say, “You can beat this! You’re stong!” So what if they can’t? Oh, I guess they were wimpy little weaklings, then. Oh, well.

    Cancer kills people, and even curing it hurts like a motherfucker. People who haven’t had it (yet) need to suck it the fuck up and think of supporting those with it, and saying what they need to hear, and not what makes US feel less jittery.

  39. Miller

    Oh, God, Alternet! Worse than Salon. Every article that dares to show the brutality that women and girls live under is flooded–seriously–with a series of hateful attacks that are not only breathtaking in their scale but in their proud declarations of stupidity that is sacred to their core. One comment about the horror of being held hostage by a batter went something like this: “If domestic violence is so wrong than why do women choose to be with men who are are taller, bigger, and stronger than them? Answer me that, genius!” At The HuffingtonPost, fans of “The Alphabet of Manliness” included crazed rebuttals, some less rabid gems, like, “Ooh, look at you, and your debate skills,” which swiftly avoids what Colbert calls a “logic trap.” There was another who drew parallels to the Anita Hill landmark sexual harassment case in defense of his ultra-violent hate: “You just don’t get it, do you?” These bigots easily overwhelm any counterstrikes against them on every article–every last one–posted on a series of “liberal” websites. Barely anyone dares to question them or they will be flamed–or ignored. I don’t feel there is one place where the public check these bigots, ever. No matter what they say.
    They are religious zealots and their faith is patriarchy. Only a perversion of “morality” grants a person the belief that he has the right to be judge, jury, and executioner of another without remorse. When you believe you are inherently morally superior because of your gender, or at least that another gender is inherently immoral, and you subscribe to universal values (read: male is human and good, female is not) than it grants you complete justification in committing acts of absolute evil. “Moral” extremism leads me to that human trafficking story: these women and girls are slaves of the rape trade. Rarely are those words that speak truth to power used. Not “sex workers” but “rape slaves.” Rapists are glossed over as “sex tourists” (Look, a violent bigot on holiday, how lovely.). Commercialized rape is so deeply entrenched in the world to the howling delight of the masses it makes me realize what a massive upheaval it would take to get men to believe that women and girls are human. Ugh.

  40. Bird

    The whole cancer survivor label bugs me too. I mean, technically my mom is still surviving her cancer—of course, she’s in a hospice on tons of morphine, but hey, she’s still “fighting,” right? When she dies, is her experience less valid because she has “lost the battle?”

    My mother and I have had many issues over the years, but her approach to her cancer has been one thing that inspires me the most. She’s not happy about it, and she’s had to argue long and hard to get treatments to give her more time with her family and friends, but at the same time, she’s just kept on living life (including doing a medical and dental clinic and school-building project in Nicaragua just after her first round of chemo and deciding to take music lessons at the age of 52 because she had the time since she couldn’t work anymore). She never did any of the stuff that people expect you to do when you have cancer, and that’s pretty damn cool.

    Maybe it’s because they don’t have ribbons and bears for brain tumours, but she’s always identified herself as a person who happens to have cancer, not a cancer patient, survivor, victim, or whatever. If I ever get cancer, and I probably will because of my family history, I like her approach. Cancer is something bad that happened to her, and it’s been a tough road, but she has never let it define her being.

  41. RadFemHedonist

    They are victims of rape and thus it must stop, but I am an advocate of universal born homosapiens and other mammals and birds and probably amphibians and some other species individual rights, I don’t know what kind of delusional jackass calls rape a universal value.

  42. lawbitch

    Sending healing thoughts your way, Twisty. Good luck!

  43. Spinning Liz

    I vote to just let cancerites call themselves whatever the fuck they want, without nitpicking or judgment.

  44. kcb

    Best wishes for a speedy, clean-showered, and good-drugged recovery, Twisty!

    They are religious zealots and their faith is patriarchy.

    Dayum, Miller, you’re on fire. Your last graph whacks the nail right on its tiny head. I’m adopting that term, “rape trade” b/c that’s exactly what it is.

  45. S-kat

    Best wishes for a happy recovery!
    I’ll be sure to toast a green beer to your health tomorrow.

  46. sw

    Sending hugs and love
    & you are so spot-on re: garrison keillor

  47. feminazi

    Aw Twisty, say it ain’t so. I always knew you were one tough Twisty, -if I was going through this, I’d be blog-whining about it every single day. Best wishes for a complete recovery. (blah, that sounds so trite.)

    I hope you are giving yourself permission to get whatever it is that you need in order to feel better.

    Gah, Twisty, I feel so bad. You are seriously one hella lady.

  48. maribelle

    Catherine Martell and Miller–

    Right the smack on about Alternet and the anti-woman trolls. They scared me a bit at first, now I wade right in and speak my peace. The response is predictable–you all know the drill. What’s particularly fascinating is the one who follows me around claiming to be turned on by everything I say. I had forgotten men did that! It has brought back memories, to say the least.

    They reached a new low last month with a post on young teens being controlled by their boyfriends by cell phone. The main girl profiled was 14 years old–but their trollage was completely unmitigated by her age. Anyone who doubts men hate women should read Alternet–it will open your eyes right up. And so many of them!

    Catherine, your refer to one of the worst of the MRA trolls on Alternet–and kudos to you for you careful formulated and reasoned response to him. He will probably never learn a thing–but there are many, many who read those threads and your post does not fall on deaf ears. So keep it up.

  49. mustelid

    Best of luck, Twisty!

  50. Gayle

    I hope you feel better soon, Twisty.

    To Miller: I didn’t know Alternet was worse than Salon. Salon’s letter sections are horrible! Vile, women-hating comments everywhere. Anytime anyone tries to tell me how men on the left are my allies against the right and so forth, I send them to Salon.

    And just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, they brought back Camille Paglia!

    I wonder if the same MRA types are on both sites? I can certainly see why both would attract a similar readership.

  51. Hattie

    my good wishes.

  52. witchy-woo

    Just get well and get back here as soon as you like Twisty.

    And no-one diss MsJared for spelling, capitalisation (or the lack thereof) or whatever (you hearing me BubbasNightmare?). MsJared is a STAR!

    :) (oops….smiley. And elipeses! Well, call me reactionary.)

  53. Mar Iguana

    It just feels like something that is claimed to be for the benefit of the person, when it’s realyl for the benefit of not making the rest of us feel queasy.” LMYC

    Agreed. Further, the insidiousness of spinning the word “victim” as a bad thing is it denies the existence of victimizers, from polluting and poisoning corporations to the murderous military to woman-hating abusers.

  54. Octogalore

    Twisty — hope you’re doing well.

    MzNicky — good luck to your husband. You’re right — live in the moment. But fingers crossed that for him it’s one of many.

  55. Octogalore

    LMYC: “I hate the victim/survivor thing, too. I can see the reason for it, that people don’t want it to define them in a negative way, but … cancer blows fucking CHUNKS. Why do we use the term “survivor?” Is it because it helps people who’ve had it feel betteR? Or is it because it scares the shit out of us to acknowledge that cancer can strike hard and at random, and that your chances are a lot more dependent on the type of cancer you have than on a perky, happy, can-do attitude?”

    Hearing you on that. I know a few “survivors” and they don’t think of themselves that way. My mom (lung cancer, status: ?) is constantly telling us she has five years left max, and we have to plan accordingly. Of course, she’s been saying this for fifteen years, but we’ve had enough scares over that time to know she believes it.

    It’s hard to know whether we should teach our children about “attitude” and “faith” and hope they believe it and avoid cynicism, or go with the probably-much-more-needed reality check. Not being a good actress, I have to go with the latter.

  56. Mar Iguana

    Ah, the much-abused word “reality,” spoken as if anybody actually has a handle on it.

  57. Hawise

    My reality checks keep bouncing ;(

  58. Older

    Good luck to you, Twisty. I sooo want you to be all right. My daughter died with her port still in place, after she refused further treatment because she just. couldn’t. stand it. any. more.

    Please live, Twisty.

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