Thursday, January 5, 2012


I cannot write when there is chaos.

There is chaos here.

There is chaos in my house. In my mind. In my body.

There is chaos here.

My chaos is catstir.

There, I said it.


Dear Reader, 
Because I was immediately bombarded with google images and advertisements relating to the "C" word, I have incognito-ed it.  
xo, MonkeyME

I won't know if I have catstir until wednesday.

I have a degrading biopsy on Monday and then I wait 48 hours for the results.

Even without knowing, catstir has caused chaos in my house.  In my mind.  In my body.

I've been walking around trying to act like everything is fine.  But it's not.

I don't want to think the worst.  I want to focus on the best. But the dark unknown scares the shit out of me. And I know that bad things can happen to me. To all of us.


The graph above summarized the results found when a breast catstir cell is compared with that of a normal cell. The round, outer ring shows the 23 chromosomes of the human genome.  The blue lines in the third ring, shows internal rearrangement.  The red lines in the bull's eye, designates switches of DNA from one chromosome to another.

There is chaos in catstir cells.

This chaos disrupts a gene called RAD51C which is involved in mending serious chromosome breaks, those in which both strands in the DNA are disrupted. The impairment of double strand break repair could be a major cause of all the other rearrangement (according to research led by Oliver A. Hampton and Aleksandar Milosavljevic at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston).  

In other words, the chaos in my DNA needs to calm the fuck down.

I now talk to my RAD51C gene on a regular basis. I envision RAD51C as a powerful pink, commanding, all knowing force. 

"calm those crazy fuckers down RAD51C.... do it, do it now..." 

Already, I'm faced with choices and I want to make the best possible choice for ME.

Do I go with a standard biopsy that will leave me disfigured OR do I go with a biopsy that is degrading (in the world according to Shannon), but has minimal scaring and is considered in catstir circles to be a less invasive and ALMOST as effective as a standard biopsy.

After many sleepless hours spent on websites and discussion boards - googling everything I could find, I am opting for a steriotactic biopsy.

In this barbaric procedure, I will be given a shot of lidocaine and then asked to lie face down on a table. The table will have a hole cut in it.  My breast will dangle from this hole.

In comes the mammogram machine. The machine will pancake my breast, while I lie motionless, and the doctor inserts a needle into the tissue surrounding the micro-calcifications that have formed here.

Afterwards I am awarded an icepack and sent home to wait.

They would never, EVER, do this to testicles! I can't even find an image of it on google search. Not even a cartoon. This is the best I can come up with...

"squished balls"

And THIS pisses me off. With all the money that goes into catstir research, all the annoying pink ribbons, and breast walks, and awareness shoved up our asses, THIS is the best they can come up with????


Why am I screaming at you?

Sorry, I guess I'm angry.

Not even a lawn jockey can lift my spirits today.

I don't want to kick the cat, or ignore the dog, and I don't want to be hypersensitive to the walk, talk, and casualness of my committed husband.

My husband is adorable but alas, he is a non-communicator (SHOCKING) so I don't get verbal stroking from him (something we writers crave). He does the best he can do. We all have limitations. He does well if I tell him what to do but I don't want to tell him what to do. Okay, if I can tell RAD51C what to do, I guess I can tell my husband what to do.

Dear Husband,
Love me if I'm sick
Love me if I lose a breast or two. 
xo, MonkeyME


There is wisdom that comes from fear, loss, pain, and suffering.

I woke today realizing what I mean when I close to YOU dear reader with "xoMonkeyME"

I mean.... 

XO = hug & kiss 
which represents me, LOVE 

monkeyme = ME 


Please love me. 

There... I said it.  

It's a vulnerable thing to admit, to write, to release. 

Now that THAT is cleared up, my chaos feels calmer, 



and I feel freer 

to write. 



  1. If anyone can kick the crap out of catsir, it's you, Monkey. And you don't have to be strong alone. We are here for you.



  2. CATSTIR... come on, its funny. Laugh with me people!!!!

  3. I meant catstir, that's not anything like catsup, is it????


  4. its close.....but less bloody. :) thanks for the love MG. I can't wait to ask Jesus about this! (preview of whats to come on tomorrows post)

  5. by the way... I thought about calling it "catsir" but I thought it sounded to regal. Catstir sounded more chaotic. AND I just got a google ad for a cat toy that goes round and round. So much better than the other ads!

  6. Giant witches cauldron, insert cat, stir with LARGE ladle while green faced Monkey stir and stir and stir? Wait...those are supposed to be witches. Hmph, I'm scared FOR you. And I'm here. And I almost always have something (a lot) to say (unlike your husband, and mine...who last night offered me a tums after I ranted, cried, and said I felt like dying...but I did, after all, want a tums). Stir, stir, stir!

  7. Shannon- I had the very same procedure years ago. Sure, I was frightened and I thought the table with the hole was a tad medieval, but it really wasn't so bad. I took my sense of humor into the room and was blessed with a funny and sensitive doctor at the other end of the needle. My test proved negative and I'll keep my paws crossed for you.

  8. Shannon, everyone here will love you no matter what. Surround yourself with peace, or humor, or your great sense of playfulness, for that procedure on Monday, and we'll all be sending positive energy.

  9. I don't know why, but my reaction to catstir was poo-flinging. A monkey response? Curious. It's hard to find someone who hasn't been touched by catstir in some way. Take it a step at a time. Make the best decision that you can at each step. I'll hope for good test results. I suggest riding a pig into the lab to set the tone.

  10. Whoops. The poo-flinging was from Sam.

  11. Wishing and praying for you, sweet Green Monkey.

  12. So glad you didn't find a better pick of squished it's the best they can come up with is because what they make in donations they spend at least 50% of it advertising to get more donations.

  13. Good POINT cat loving Pat Hatt!

    and Ben, that simple line touched me deeply... thank you.

    Sam, we all KNOW you're a breast man, any comment must have been hard on you. because of that, I will, I WILL RIDE THE PIG!!!

    Joan and blissed out GM .... big HUG and gratitude!

    Merc - you're silly brilliance is wonderful!

  14. I thought you had nothing to write about. This is nothing?? Lots of luv your way, dear Shanny!! Let's hope you get results like Banjoan!

  15. My best friend went through the whole ordeal you just described. Plus the consequences. She went to MD Anderson in Houston. She is no cancer-free for five years. It is scary, but medical science has made light year strides in the treatment of breast cancer.

    You have great odds. Like the movie said, if you were a gaming table in the casino's, you would be the most popular table with the longest line.

    It is anxiety-producing but the Great Physician has yet to be heard from. And I will bend His Ear on your behalf as soon as I finish this, Roland

  16. I meant to type with my fumbling fingers that my friend is cancer free and has been for 5 years. Sigh. My fingers look correct, but they are really all thumbs! :-) Roland

  17. Shannon, Hope... that is all you need. I have lived on Hope for years, and I know your fear but all my fear has left me, I am not frightened anymore because I have HOPE!! I will be sending positive thoughts your way! <3
    Love, Rose

  18. Nobody knows exactly what to say. Everybody imagines what they would feel/say/do if a doctor said to the,"I'm sorry to tell you this, but your have the Big C." I know what I felt/said did. It wasn't pretty. Mine was a different type but not less humiliating with treatment that was medieval and barbaric. BUT,that was eleven years ago and I'ms till standing and free from C.

    YOU make YOUR decisions and do what YOU have to do, regardless of what anybody else says.

    Come and talk to me anytime at all. I'll do what I can to be there for you. I don't have any answers, but I do have some idea of how you feel (not exactly, but some idea). Been there and done that. Hope to never have to, again.

    Here's a hug ( )

  19. SEK The anxiety will beat you down, Don't be afraid to be funny- its helps
    9 years ago I was diagnosed with a rare form of lymphoma- now 8 &1/2 years catsir free :-)
    another parellel we share !
    before I was diagnosed I could pronounce Lymphoma- once I was told I had it I could no longer pronounce it for a month ! your going to be OK & you know where to find me (lets be FUNNY)

  20. OH, honey...



  21. GEE.... JQJQ - I think we might have been separated at birth. Okay, funny it is!

  22. Dear Shannon's DNA: behave! You know that your purpose is to allow her to have a vehicle to write brilliantly, party heartily and laugh uproariously! Do your job!

    With you, hon. You're amazement and brilliance. Don't ever forget it!

  23. Shannon, I love the fact that you can write and share all your feelings...good, bad, funny, scary, etc. You are one amazing woman and every time I read your blog, you just prove it all the more! I agree with a previous commenter...YOU can certainly beat the crap out of catstir! IT doesn't know who IT is dealing with! I'm here for you, xoxoxoxoxo.

  24. I've been in and out of the hospital for a whole year. Four operations and no job. Guys have vasectomies and prostrate checks and colonoscopies. Most surgeries are humiliating. I wrote a few things about hospitals. One article on my blog is called Trauma and Drama. I am a humor writer and if you don't laugh at that article it means you are my wife under a pen name. Read it. It will cheer you up. Believe me, I feel your pain. You have to have a sense of humor.

  25. In this barbaric procedure, I will be given a shot of lidocaine and then asked to lie face down on a table.

    I worked on x-ray machines for a while and saw that same type of table. To me that damn needle looked like a harpoon and I said the very same thing:

    "They would never, EVER, do this to testicles!'

    I used a different word than testicles but it meant the same thing. After that I walked out of the room holding those items.

    All I can write is that you will be in my prayers.

  26. Writing about the bad things DOES sort of de-fang them, though... At least it always works that way for me.

    I suppose there's nothing anyone can say in this situation. Keep writing to keep it in perspective and thanks for writing this one!

  27. I was so afraid you guys weren't going to comment and I'd be out here, on this branch alllll by myself!

    special hugs and thank you to everyone who has shared their catstir tale with me :) and nooooo Curdmudgeon, this is NOT your wife .. your humor is so much better than a kick in the ass.

  28. Okay I did laugh, though I felt guilty. :) I have no catstir story but I did have a biopsy on my thyroid.

    My entire being is praying for you dear monkey!! And as usual I'm always here if you feel the need to scream.
    Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

  29. me too Jules, and I thought needle in the throat was bad!

  30. Aw shit! I fucking HATE catstir as much as hate all the breast catstir awareness shit. As if ANYONE could be unaware when just about every fifth person in the world has catstir! I am so sorry you have to deal with it on such a personal level. Two women in my family have had it, one mastectomy and one without and both are doing well and are healthy after 5 or more years. But it's still a bitch and scary as hell. You've a right to yell and this is ther perfect place to do it. I will love you no matter what. Breasts or no breasts, disfigured or not. Sheesh, if you saw my spirit you would truly know what it was to be disfigured!

    I'll be praying for you that it is all as easy and painless as possible and that your transparency and sense of humor help you through!

    ((big hug))

  31. My dear, dear Shannon. When I read this,I wished I was near you physically. I would give you a long, warm, comforting hug leaving no doubt in your mind that you are receiving love. But since I'm not with you in body, it is my spirit that travels through space to permeate all those misbehaving cells with enough love to make them transform, and bring calmness to your life.

    Sorry to sound sappy, just know I love you.

  32. It's cool you can make a scary thing funny, Shannon! Sending positive thoughts your way!

  33. I'm going to copy and past your comments in a word doc, print them out and take them with me! Thank you everyone (((((monkeylove))))) the BEST kind!

  34. Shannon, I've been on that table with my boob hanging through that hole. I'm not going to lie to you - my knees trembled when I walked into that room. Nuclear Medicine is a scary thing, still scares the piss outta me. I made it outta there. The machine didn't show what the doc thought was there. Please, please, don't bury yourself, there's always a chance, and, if worse comes to worse, the closer to the the nipple the better the chance to rid your body of that stuff. I'd already signed the papers for a double removal, didn't care if the doc replaced with cans of tuna fish, whatever, just get rid of that crap. But that sliver of a chance straightened my knees and here I am. I don't know about tomorrow, as life is life, but, girl, you hang on for all you've got, fight like you've never fought before, but, above all, whatever happens, remain positive. My thoughts and prayers are with you!!!! HUGS!

  35. Wish I had read this before! Thinking of you now and will be keeping you in my prayers. Will definitely be wishing, hoping, and praying that everything will be fine and chaos free. *HUGS*

  36. Dear Shannon, You are so much stronger than "catstir" because you've got the love of hundreds of people who have never even met you in person! I just came across this post tonight, so I'm signing up for the late shift of thoughts and prayers. I believe that you'll be fine. I just do. Love to you!

  37. thank you Katie and Jamie! I'm back in bed, in a bit of a slump, playing the waiting game now.

  38. I don't know what to say, other than to let you know that you are loved. We are all here for you. Mr. Marbles

  39. Shit. I love you. Call me if it would help. I'm sending anti-catstir lasers. I can calm the most stirred cats. I am the Catstir whisperer. <3

  40. Oh, by the way, I want one of those spirograph thingys. I'm old and fat and almost have a C cup. think they'll give me one? eewwww! Sorry,I addressed lawn jockeys in my zeroscape articles. Been reading your articles as I can I'll be reading more.

  41. <3 our thoughts are with you Monkeypuss. <3
    Call me too if you want to. Just get on that pig and hold on tight. We love you!
    Btw my sister has been catstir free since 96...she barely slowed down. You remind me of her!!
    LOve LOVE L O V E crazy bunny love from DB and BB


Thank you for encouraging my JOY of writing. By reading and commenting you are feeding my soul, stroking my heart, and in the end...making me a better writer.

Thank You For Encouraging My Joy of Writing

Thank You For Encouraging My Joy of Writing

Shannon E. Kennedy


Photo by Joan Harrison