Why I’m going to Seattle

I'm flying to Seattle on Tuesday because my friend Paula has breast cancer.

Paula
 

Why can't I crop a picture? Everyone else can crop pictures. It's a simple rectangle shape. What is wrong with me?

Anyway. I know I have told you who Paula is before, but if you are just tuning in, I'll recap.

Dancing

Paula was my lesbian lover for years. Sadly I am now much shorter than she is.

Okay, really, I lived in Seattle from 1992–when everything was grunge–until 1997, and for most of that time I lived with and worked with Paula. Also too, when we were done with work, often we would go out drinking. So I lived with, worked with, and socialized with Paula for many years.

The part where we did not chop each other into mincey bits and bury each other in a field is somewhat of a miracle, as we are both testy people. I realize that technically it would be impossible for BOTH of us to have chopped each other up and have buried each other in a field, but we got on each other's nerves with all that togetherness. Is what I am saying.

Paulais30 Here is Paula at her 30th birthday party. And here are also my chins. You know how I talk about that boyfriend I had who got married seven minutes after we broke up? There he is in the background with the leather and the beer.  D'oh!

However, we did NOT chop each other up into mincey bits, even though Paula constantly taped and watched repeats of:

A. Hart to Hart and

B. Scarecrow and Mrs. King.

And I know you kind of have to be on her side, because of the cancer and all, but you almost want to be on my side right now, don't you? I mean come on. Let's revisit Exhibits A and B. SCARECROW AND MRS. KING. And HART TO FREAKING HART. She'd make me watch these like they were good.

Iam30

Paula and me at my 30th birthday party. I was into the black clothes a lot then. And the natural smiles.

I think what kept us from killing each other was we had a third roommate, our other friend Stacy, who is the mellowest person alive.

Werdressy
 
She was kind of the cushion. The sugar between the lemons. The Mrs. King between the scarecrows. I know that made no sense. I just kind of wanted to bring up Scarecrow and Mrs. ridiculous King again. I look good in this picture. I think I read somewhere that it's flattering to put one foot forward in photos and that is why we are all doing this here. I can make anyone do anything. I could totally do world domination if I felt like it.

Newyear
Paula had her first mammogram this year, because she was too scared to get one before this. They wouldn't even let her get dressed, because they saw something right away. Before she left that first visit, she knew something was up.

She called me on New Year's Eve to tell me the news.

"Okay, so what do I need to do?" I asked. "Do you want to be left alone, or do you want me to come there?" Because if it were me, I'd want to be left alone. I like to hunker and isolate in times of trouble. I am like a cat or a unibomber.

"Oh, I'd love for you to come here," said Paula. "But the cost–"

"Oh shut up," I said helpfully. "Worry about your ding-dang boobage, and I'll worry about money."

Junethemakeupartiste Me touching up Paula's wedding makeup. Yes, I wore a robe to her wedding. I wanted to be relaxed, okay?

(And by the way, it has not escaped my notice that everyone around me
seems to be getting cancer. That I am some kind of Typhoid Mary, Angela
Lansbury of cancer. Perhaps you'd be best served to not hang around me,
is what I mean. I could be radioactive.)

So I'm going there on Tuesday, the same day as her mastectomy. They caught this stupid thing early, and it's going to be okay, and she said, "Well, at least you'll be here to make me laugh."

Which of course has just clinched it. Now I won't make her laugh once. Because you know how that thing happens to me, that whenever someone says, "This is my friend June, she's really funny" I immediately get unfunny for the rest of the night. So now the whole week I am in Seattle I will be like Fun Bobby on Friends. Remember on Friends when they had a party, and they invited Fun Bobby, but his grandmother had just died, and he spent the whole party crying and being no fun? The whole time I'm in Seattle, now, it'll be like I'm that guy in the Pink Floyd movie.

Mywedding

When I tell people I'm doing this, I get a lot of, "You're a good friend." But no I'm not. I'm not a good friend. I'm a friend. Your friend gets sick and wants you to be there, you go there. That's what friends do.

So that's the story. She told me I could tell all of you. I was just planning to say I was going on a fun vacation to Seattle, but we decided to get you all involved. If you are the praying type, and you feel like praying for her, please do. If you are the sending-good-thoughts type, and want to do that, please do that instead. If you don't believe in Beatles, you just believe in me, Yoko and me, and that's reality, that's cool. I will keep you posted on how Paula is doing.

I do not know how often I will get to post. I do not know if I will be at the hospital the whole time, running down the hall like Shirley McClane, yelling, "GIVE MY DAUGHTER THE SHOT!" or if Paula will be back home and we will get to watch movies, or if she will even be up and around a little. I will just go with the flow. Unless she insists on watching a little Scarecrow and Mrs. King.

In that case I will just kick her sick ass to the moon.

Paulanme

78 thoughts on “Why I’m going to Seattle

  1. June, your friend is in my prayers, and so are you. I’m battling stage IV metastatic breast cancer and believe me, friends start drifting away fairly quickly when you don’t get better and stay better. One friend whom I’d met online and who had visited me just one time in person, actually put her own life on hold and moved in with us for the 2½ months of my first chemo protocol. She helped my then 14½-year-old daughter and my husband run the household while I spent most of my time in bed (or in the bathroom, throwing up). I am still amazed at the sacrifices she and her family made for us, and to this day, that’s the only time we’ve ever seen her in person, although we’re in contact every day.
    We thought I’d won the battle against breast cancer after my first 13 months of treatment (Jan. 2005-Feb. 2006), which involved chemo, mastectomy, more chemo, and 36 rounds of radiation. When we found out in Jan. 2009 that the cancer was back, in my spine, sternum & liver, it was as if I ceased to exist to all but a very few people. Those few are the most precious people in the world to me. I’m in my 15th month of chemo now and the cancer is still present, though not as active as it was earlier.
    Paula is so blessed to have a friend like you in her life, and just being there will lift her spirits more than you can imagine.
    Hugs,
    Loretta in GA

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  2. Fill your purse with : a pad of paper and a pen and write down everything the doctors and nurses tell you; a bottle of water and a snack to tide you over while you’re waiting (you won’t want to leave the waiting room, but you’ll get hungry); a book of puzzles or short stories (you won’t concentrate for long, but you will need a distraction that’s not Scarecrow and Mrs. King; your cell phone AND the charger and the list of people/phone numbers you’ll call when she’s out of surgery; tissues and chapstick and a sweater/shawl. Be sure to collect business cards from everyone who comes in and says “I’m the….” and before they take her anywhere check with the transportation people to be sure they are there to get Paula and not the guy in the room next door.
    Having spent 6 months in and out of hospitals with my mom, I now leave a packed purse with all of the above parked in my front hall closet for easy grab and go.
    You are more than comic relief, June. You’re the backbone of the situation until her drugs wear off and her soul settles down.
    You’re in my heart and prayers.
    a/b

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  3. Just discovered your blog, June. You strike me as the perfect friend to have nearby in a crisis with your fantastic sense of humor. If I ever have breast cancer (please, no) I’ll need a friend like you to place a “this side up” sign on me so the doc can find the breast.
    Good vibes going out to June from me…and to you. Hope to read good news here soon.
    Jenny
    Writing Without Periods

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  4. Hi June- I found it necessary to have several books on hand as I woke up a lot, slept terribly and was so full of worrisome thoughts that having lots of library books on hand to read was the thing. You might want to go to her local library and get an armful to have at her bedside. Just some distratction.

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  5. She’s on my prayer list. As a cancer survivor (different kind) I appreciate anytime I can “pay it forward”. Safe travels.

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  6. Sending healing thoughts to Paula and safe travels to you. And you are a true friend to be at her side.
    Love all the hairsytles and dresses.

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  7. Sending good wishes and positive energy to Paula. My mother-in-law went through this and has been C-free for over a year. When she had her mastectomy, I found that it was most helpful to be another set of ears, especially if you are spending time with her at the hospital. It can be overwhelming to come out of surgery and have to comprehend what the doctors are saying. I took notes so she would have a reference when she got home. I also listed all her questions to ask the docs so she wouldn’t forget anything she wanted to say and wrote down the answers to those too.
    I think, June, that your blog attracts good people because you are good people. Everyone should be so lucky to have friends like you.

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  8. This post made me laugh and cry. I laughed at all of June’s hairdo’s—WOW! and I cried over the friendship you possess. That is awesome. I will be praying for Paula.

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  9. June, my Mom and Grandmother had some of the Doc’s a Scripps/Green Hosptital in La Jolla CA, also my BFF is Director of student health at U of Minn @ Duluth…not only a breast cancer survivor, brain cancer survivor, mom , and way cool…dude can we make a bong out of aluminum lawn furniture..taken from a novel alled Push from Sapphire… just saying

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  10. June, I CAN NOT STRESS THIS ENOUGH…Tell her to get in touch with Dr. Andrea Stebel in Newport Beach, yes in Cali-freekin-fornia. She is the breast cancer expert. She specializes in breast oncology and has a gift for this disease. She will if nothing else put you and your friend at ease with the whole concept and progression of the big “c” and I don’t mean cup size. Please for the love of all things boobie email me and I will give you every piece of her information heck I’ll call her for your friend.

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  11. Pal and Joann: You cannot beat Miley until you give her a sandwich. Lord! That child is so scrawny, she looked like a plucked chicken.
    Then you may beat away. I just can’t abide beating the malnourished.

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  12. Pal and Joann: You cannot beat Miley until you give her a sandwich. Lord! That child is so scrawny, she looked like a plucked chicken.
    Then you may beat away. I just can’t abide beating the malnourished.

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  13. Pal and Joann: You cannot beat Miley until you give her a sandwich. Lord! That child is so scrawny, she looked like a plucked chicken.
    Then you may beat away. I just can’t abide beating the malnourished.

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  14. Best to Paula. Will be sending the good ju-ju her way.
    Sorry I missed the Oscar commentary. I read several pages and it’s hilarious! There was a lot of fodder for snarkiness. UGLIEST year of dresses, hands down!
    And, I agree that Miley Cyrus needs a beating. Ugh.

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  15. June, I’m totally digging that dress in the last pic…It reminds me of either Gone with the Wind or Sound of Music….cuz, my grandmother had curtains made of that fabric, Red Cloud NE, circa 1963. and may I paraphrase…from the novel Push by Sapphire…

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  16. Sending very good thoughts Paula’s way. And I am on Team Paula. I loved Scarecrow and Mrs. King. And Hart to Hart. And Moonlighting. Good luck, Paula.

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  17. I think what I love the best about the photos…besides seeing fab Paula…is the many changing hair-do’s of June. Great pics!
    Glad you will be with Paula this week. And I’m sure Buddy will be glad to see you too!

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  18. Im in the Seattle area…so if you and Paula start to feel a cravin for chocolate chip cookies or cherry pie or key lime pie shoot me an email. I check it about a million times a day. And I deliver! Im praying for her!

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  19. It’s a slow day at the office, so I made myself read the comments I missed last night. The Oscar for best sport goes to Cosmo’s Dad, who, as near as I can tell, had arguably the funniest comment when he told Joann that at least she didn’t find Miley Cyrus’s liver under her daughter’s bed. There were others who killed as well, but I was proud of my man Dad.

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  20. I don’t care why you are taking a dead cat to Seattle. Good luck explaining THAT at security…
    Is Marvin going to burn all the other cats so you can take them, too?

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  21. June, I am really glad that Paula has you for a friend. I love all the advice already given regarding pillows, driving, diet, etc. So, I will only add my prayers, good healing thoughts, vibes, good ju-ju, and know that you have a LOT of readers here who are silently holding both of you in prayer and warm embraces.
    And I *loved* Hart to Hart! and I even watched but didn’t love Scarecrow & Mrs. King. I am sure you will get to watch some of these this week.
    Treasure this time with Paula and believe it or not, you will also enjoy your time together. Just adding to your memories together.
    Have you thought of making Marvin your guest-host for the week so you can focus on Paula and not worry about your herd of “special” children here? : )

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  22. June, you are a friend indeed.
    Paula is on my prayer list…and so are you.
    And, seriously, what is wrong with Scarecrow and Mrs. King?? I totally had a thing for Bruce Boxleitner because, apparently, I don’t discriminate against weird last names.

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  23. Why is that no one has yet helpfully pointed out that Seasons 1 & 2 of Hart to Hart is out on DVD now?
    AND SCARECROW AND MRS. KING SEASON 1 IS BEING RELEASED TOMORROW.
    If you were truly a friend, June, well. Need I say more?
    Best wishes, Paula!!!

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  24. For the love of all that is holy, you are all obsessed with Horkie. My plane does not leave until noon tomorrow, so I will post about why I am taking Horkie tomorrow morning before I go. My Paula post was getting long and I did not want to switch topics.

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  25. Praying for Paula. Cancer sucks. Praying for you; safe travels, funny bone intact and patience when it comes to Scarecrow and Mrs. King and Hart to Hart.
    And ditto… WHY is Horky going with you???

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  26. Praying for Paula.
    Are you planning some voodoo-like ritual with some of horkie’s ash and the cancer?
    And I also have a DVD / VCR combo. Which I didn’t buy until 2005 because I really wasn’t sure if those DVDs were going to stick around. Luddites unite!

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  27. Prayers, blessings, karmic thoughts, everything coming your way, Paula.
    Wonderful pictures, June. Thanks for sharing them and your friend’s troubles. Love from us sure can’t hurt.
    Man, I just want to freakin drag cancer out of its car and kick its douche bag ass!
    Hulk, you’re so snorting funny with your, “Did anyone comment on the Oscars?”
    Save travels, June. I’ll be surrounding you and your friend with all the blessings and prayers I can give.
    And I’m keeping my byline, cause I. HATE. MILEY. CYRUS.

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  28. Have a safe trip…If Paula has trouble sleeping there are 802 comments from yesterday that will surely help anyone sleep.

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  29. Hey June. Praying Culpepper here. Take care of Paula and be safe and sane on your journey.
    Change of topic: June Gardens, CUT YOUR HAIR! The pictures of you with your short hair are precious. DO IT.

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  30. Diet. She needs to go to the dietician at the treatment center. She needs to go to group therapy at the treatment center. She needs other people who can relate. She will need lots of drivers if she has to have chemo because they give you Benedryl in the drip and it makes you go nite nite.
    And a good sense of humor. ((hugs))Paula. I’m sending you a pink aura.

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  31. Diet. She needs to go to the dietician at the treatment center. She needs to go to group therapy at the treatment center. She needs other people who can relate. She will need lots of drivers if she has to have chemo because they give you Benedryl in the drip and it makes you go nite nite.
    And a good sense of humor. ((hugs))Paula. I’m sending you a pink aura.

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  32. Diet. She needs to go to the dietician at the treatment center. She needs to go to group therapy at the treatment center. She needs other people who can relate. She will need lots of drivers if she has to have chemo because they give you Benedryl in the drip and it makes you go nite nite.
    And a good sense of humor. ((hugs))Paula. I’m sending you a pink aura.

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  33. My mom had breast cancer, and I went through this with a friend recently.
    Be funny but don’t be hyper. Calmness and serenity with laughter sprinkled in. She is going to be in so much pain she may not be able to react to your funnyness!
    My friend will be getting a new breast made out of her tummy fat. So she wil be getting a boob job and a tummy tuck. How great is that?
    Safe travels June. And prayers for Paula.

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  34. Oh and wedge pillows. She’ll want wedge pillows. Particularly if she is having reconstruction. My sister used one for her head and one for her feet. It was more comfortable for her to sleep with both her head and feet elevated.

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  35. June, I’m so sorry about your friend Paula. I will be sending lots of good thoughts.
    When my sister had her first mammo at age 35 (because she is a doc and she wanted to shut her female patients up who complained about having to have them and said she didn’t realize how awfu they are) they found something. She figured it was nothing because there was no history of cancer in our family. But it wasn’t nothing.
    I stayed with her for the first week she was home after her mastectomy. She had already started calling her reconstructed breast Frankenboob, because it was huge and green and had jaggedy scars (now that is it healed it is the bionic boob — “We can rebuild it. We have the technology. We can make it better than it was before … better, firmer, perkier.”).
    Fortunately her nodes were all clear; they had caught it early. She did not need any chemo or radiation because she had a mastectomy instead of a lumpectomy. It has been just over 6 yrs since my sister’s surgery and she is doing very well. I hope things go just the same for Paula.

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  36. WTG, June: Loved the Oscar warm up last night; love the warm thoughts for your friend today. This is a very beatable/treatable cancer, and that is a good thing indeed. Travel safely and live large.

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  37. June, I’m the praying type too so will keep Paula in my prayers. I actually just went through this with my mother last year — she will really need a female friend. Husbands just don’t fit the bill in this type of situation. And I agree with the comment about the Little Pillows — she’ll need some support under her arms and they were very helpful for my mother. Good luck to you and Paula and keep us posted.

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  38. I’m the prayer type. She’s on the list. And you too June, for save travel.
    Also? I too have the DVD/VCR combo. They are still alive.
    Paula H&B? Made me snort my English Breakfast Tea through my nose.

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  39. Way to “be there” for your friend June. The being there is so important…I’m sure she’ll heal quicker with you by her side. Friendship…so important…so important to nurture. That’s what you are…a nurturer. A sometimes funny nurturer.

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  40. I will pray. (I have a direct line now since my mother’s up there, so I’ll get her on the job.)
    And ok, I know this was LAST night’s topic, but. You KNOW Helen Mirren is nursing a hangover this morning and grumbling into her tea about Sandra Bullock winning. “Sandy Bleeding Bullock! Did no one SEE Speed 2? This is bloody bullshit! … Although her husband is a right hottie.”

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  41. I will pray. (I have a direct line now since my mother’s up there, so I’ll get her on the job.)
    And ok, I know this was LAST night’s topic, but. You KNOW Helen Mirren is nursing a hangover this morning and grumbling into her tea about Sandra Bullock winning. “Sandy Bleeding Bullock! Did no one SEE Speed 2? This is bloody bullshit! … Although her husband is a right hottie.”

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  42. I will pray. (I have a direct line now since my mother’s up there, so I’ll get her on the job.)
    And ok, I know this was LAST night’s topic, but. You KNOW Helen Mirren is nursing a hangover this morning and grumbling into her tea about Sandra Bullock winning. “Sandy Bleeding Bullock! Did no one SEE Speed 2? This is bloody bullshit! … Although her husband is a right hottie.”

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  43. June you are a great friend to board a plane and fly across the country. Paula is blessed to have you in her life.
    Cancer does suck ass, but breast cancer is very treatable especially if caught early.
    And Dawn, I am a freak that owns a VHS – DVD player combo. So June may be exposed to Stephanie Powers perfect swooping hair.

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  44. Boy oh boy! Cancer? Again? Stupid cancer!
    I have a tip for you (being on the receiving end of the cancer): Little pillows. Find these little pillows that she can tuck under her arms. Little pillows have saved my life for the last month. I got some that are about 9 x 12 x 3 x 6 ish. Something like this: http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=36661681&ref=sr_gallery_1&&ga_search_query=cancer+pillows&ga_search_type=handmade&ga_page=&includes%5B%5D=tags&includes%5B%5D=title Only mine didn’t have rice in them, just fleece. And they kept my arms from my swollen mastectomy site.
    Also? If you can’t find little pillows (or maybe soft stuffed animals she can tuck under her arms) She’ll want some wife beater t-shirts. If she has drains, she’ll need something she can pin the drains too that have big armholes that she can carefully put her arms through.
    Of course, flying there is gift enough but if you’re like me – it’s not enough and you want to bring presents!
    I’m sending good wishes for quick recovery for Paula. Send her to my blog if she wants a cohort in cancer fighting.

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  45. Hulk (Who hasn't had a chance to check and was wondering...did any of you get a chance to comment on here during the Oscars last night??) says:

    I loved ‘Hart To Hart’. Isn’t that what true love really is? Constantly referring to your spouse as “darling” and having some guy who smoked too much drive you around everywhere? That is how I envisioned MY married life…
    Yes, I am divorced. Why do you ask?
    Best wishes, Paula. Stay positive. You can beat this. And if you need some funny, let me know. I am way funnier than June. I’m the funniest one. Ask anyone on here. I’m Joey.
    Plus you can crush on me. I am more of an eyes and legs man anyway.
    😉

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  46. That *is* what friends do. Way to be a friend! (Oh my god, it’s so hard to not say “good friend”, it’s probably why everyone defaulted to it.) I wish I had more friends like June (only hopefully you’re not radioactive.)
    Also, way to Ferris Bueller quote. 🙂 I’ll be sending lots of whatever’s in the middle of the spectrum between prayers, good thoughts, and young Matthew Broderick in the shower. Because everyone needs a little bit of that.
    And also also, I don’t think you’re all that funny. I think you’re actually pretty lame and boring. (Shhhh, it’s reverse psychology so you’ll actually be funny for Paula.) (I’m not Carin.) (If you were so lame and boring why the hell would I be reading your everyday blog every day?) (This is way too many parenthetical asides.)

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