Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Frump Girl...

Other contenders for titles to this entry: Sweatin' to the Oldies, Verklempt, Cleavage Envy, Wardrobe Problems or (drum roll) My Brain on Drugs. Obviously this has the potential to be a rambling post. But it all makes sense in my brain (which I have to warn you is on drugs), so we'll see how it goes.

First, I have to say that I would blog about how my Whitney had surgery last week. Wisdom teeth, which is nothing to get excited about, except that it's the fourth patient to recuperate in our living room lounge chair in two months time.

I would also tell the story about my Jen, who was on her way to pick up Whitney for the surgery when she hit a patch of black ice while trying to avoid a stupid car that ran a red light, and then spun out of control into oncoming traffic but miraculously avoided all of them and hit the barricade on the far-side of the road, totaling her car; but that she and the baby are just fine.

This is the same girl who miraculously came through with just bumps and bruises after a near-fatal four-wheeling accident this summer; and ended up in a coma after surgery a couple of years ago. I would tell all about that, but it's almost too much to believe. I mean, honestly, who could have that many near-miss events in one family in such a short amount of time? So I'm not going to say a word about any of it.

I will talk about how I watched My Big Fat Greek Wedding over the holidays. (How's that for a light-hearted change of subject?) If you've never seen it, you just have to, like right now. And then watch it again, and again, until you've seen it enough times that you laugh out loud just BEFORE the funny scenes, like when the dad is about to pull out a bottle of Windex. Good times. Anyway, there's one scene where the heroine is explaining that she used be "Frump Girl". "It was a stage I was in," she says. "Until now."

I'll get back to that in a minute. But first there's my wardrobe problems. This is nothing new. The last year has been a challenge for my wardrobe, to put it mildly. A couple months ago I went to Old Navy and bought myself half a dozen extra large, long-sleeve scoop neck shirts that do the trick for hiding what I don't want to be seen and allowing extra room for the things that need it. It was a slick solution. But then two things happened.

First was the drugs. I won't name them. Partly because I can't ever remember the names, and partly in case some poor soul does a search for them by name and find themselves here expecting accurate information. But in my very layman's understanding, I was put on two drugs intended to shut down all of my hormones, since my cancer thinks hormones are like some kind of candy.

One of the drugs shuts my ovaries down, like you'd expect. But apparently the brain produces some hormones as well, so the other goes there and whispers sweet nothings that tell it to stop producing hormones. Unfortunately, this confuses the brain tremendously. In fact, it's so messed up that it can't even tell if I've had enough to eat. As if turning down that big piece of cheesecake with chocolate sauce isn't hard enough when you know you're full. But when you think you're hungry? Forget about it. My hips didn't stand a chance. Ten pounds before I could blink.

The other problem was my surgery. I've been calling it reconstructive, but it was actually more like deconstructive. Basically they just took out the expanders and laid down the muscle, preparing me for real reconstruction in a few months. Let me be clear, I am not complaining. I'm more than happy to get rid of those awful coconuts. But the result is...well...disturbing. Not just flat, but concave, especially on the side with radiation. Think of a hundred-year-old man eating a lemon and you have a pretty good idea. And the wardrobe restrictions. Well, let's just say those scoop necks aren't working for me any more.

But I'm not so excited about buying a bunch of new clothes to fit this latest round of odd body shape, especially since it'll probably be totally different in a few months. Which brings me to the word Verklempt, which I learned is Yiddish for great amounts of emotion, in case you were wondering.

And it also brings me to the gym. Obviously. I haven't been a regular for the last year, but decided that now is the time. Obviously. So I put on what I usually wear for exercising: my sweats. Okay, so I might also wear them for relaxing, and cooking, and shopping and any time I want to be comfortable. Which is always. They are, after all, the only thing I can put on without worrying about all the things I have to worry about. So I love them.

But then I was at the gym, spinning on a stationary bike, and the words "Frump girl, frump girl" started in my head. Like a chant. "Frump girl, frump girl, frump girl, frump." I was, after all, surrounded by a serious amount of skinny women with tight clothes and cleavage. Seriousy tight. Serious cleavage. And me in my baggy, oddly-shaped sweats. Frump girl. Frump girl.

I've found myself in various stages of frump in the past, usually corresponding to the births of my babies. But I've also been a far cry from Frump Girl at times. Specifically in high school, when legend has it (my husband's legend) that I spent four hours a day styling my Farrah Fawcett hair. Truth is that was only for dates. It was really closer to an hour.

But of all my stages, I've never felt this far gone. This frumpy. I tell myself every day to be patient. In fact that's my new battle cry: patience, patience, patience. And while I'm waiting patiently for my veluptuous new body to emerge from this mess, I think I'll have some ice cream. Cause I'm starving. Just ask my brain.


Ms. Maxwell said...

I'll be sure to compliment you on your frumpiness next time I see you. ;-)

Isn't it interesting how our own brain can be our worst enemy? Somehow I think I'm not alone when I say that I see you as strong and very beautiful for surviving this with a sense of style that's all your own. Hang in there! It's just a small section of the path in your journey of life.

Kimi said...

As I tell Maddie frequently, it's only awkward if you decide it is. Embarrassment, social discomfort, awkward situations, they're all state-of-mind; opinions, if you will.

I know, I know, so much easier said than done. And some situations are extreme and seem factual in their awkwardness. But I've been able to talk myself through some of those. I remind myself of certain fashions that are/were in very fact ridiculous, but which were accepted as "way cute" and "oh so chic" at the time. It's still all a matter of perception and opinion.

That said, I don't see myself going for that logic in your situation, either, but it's worth a try. Those skinnycute cleavagegrrls have likely never gone through any massive body havoc-wreaking, as can happen during, say, childbirth or perhaps, I don't know, breast cancer maybe?

You're the CancerWarrior, after all! They should be jealous of you.

Mike and Jen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mike and Jen said...

I usually see you on Sundays when you are all dressed up, and you look good! Promise! No frumpiness there! PS That deleted comment was me. I realized there was a typo and I get so nervous when I leave comments on your blog. (Ahh, what if my spelling is wrong? What if my puncuation is wrong? Mom will think she failed at teaching me basics of her talent for writing!) It's very stressful. :)

Suzanne Reese said...

Silly Jennifer,
Don't you know I can only see you as extremely brilliant, amazing and beautiful? Maybe it's one of the weird perceptual warps of motherhood, or maybe it's just cause that's how you are. Don't know. But that's how I'd see you even if you did misspell somethun.

Keems - you're great. Even when you psychobabble (I rolled my eyes on Maddie's behalf). I'll work on psyching myself out before heading to the gym next time.

And thanks "Ms. Maxwell" - I might as well take pride in the frump while I can!

Anonymous said...

I gotta know what the drugs are....I will most likely be on one or both in the near future. Tamoxifen, I'm guess is one. What's the other? Love the part about your cancer thinking the hormones are candy! If you don't want to post the drug names, you can just email me. And speaking of movies, have you ever heard of Living Proof? As Ms. Maxwell, she will tell you the story...
Anyway, I just want to say: Thanks for being you, and not being afraid to write about it!


Suzanne Reese said...

Ahem "Anon" if you get this - take it with a warning that I am so not a professional, but the drug my doc blamed on my brain-confusion was Arimidex. I wish I'd known before I started. I've enjoyed reading about your recent part of the journey, btw. Here's crossing fingers for the rest!