Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas Kitten

I am not a happy holiday shopper. My list is short and if it's not available on Amazon Smile, it's not happening.

My husband and I exchange the same thing every year... socks. Socks are stress free. Socks are one size fits all and you can never have too many.

Last year I used the excuse that I was going through chemo and bought NOTHING. Last year was not a good Christmas.

Two years ago, on Christmas Eve, I willingly drove down Greenwich Avenue—a quarter mile grid of upscale shops in the center of town—with the intention of  buying ONE gift. It didn't matter what the gift was as long as the store was directly in front of an open parking space.

I was halfway down the avenue before I found a spot. It was in front of St. Mary's Parish. There, on the front lawn, beside a life-sized mangier, stood an elderly, elf-sized nun.

Convinced that this was a sign from above, I got out of my car and wished her a Merry Christmas.

"Want to see what I found?" she asked, "It's inside."

Refusing a nun on Christmas Eve seemed wrong, so into the rectory I went.

I was led to a dark corner of the kitchen, where a warped cardboard box housed a single kitten.

"Someone left three kittens on our doorstep," she told me.
"Where are the other two?" I asked.
"I can't remember," she confessed.

She lifted the unsuspecting kitten, squeezing him a bit too tightly, and handed him to me.

With two dogs and a cat at home, and condo rules that state only one pet per household, the last thing I needed was a kitten, but the odds of him surviving were grim if I left him behind.

I was halfway out the door, kitten cradled in my arms, when I remembered I was babysitting Mylo, my grandson's rambunctious rat terrier, who was anxiously waiting for me in the car.

Convinced the kitten was for his enjoyment, Mylo opened his mouth and lunged at the kitten the moment I opened the door.

The terrified kitten scurried out of my arms, up my chest, and onto my shoulder—imbedding his nails into the fur collar of my coat.

With my left arm on the wheel, my right hand on Mylo, and a kitten on my shoulder, I slowly worked my way down the avenue to my final stop before returning home—a seafood shop called The Lobster Bin.

My initial thought was to leave the kitten in the car and tie Mylo outside the store, but I couldn't get the kitten to release his grip so into the store we went.

The Lobster Bin was packed with frazzled shoppers. Immediately John, the owner, leaned over the counter and asked why I had a kitten on my shoulder. Everyone listened as told the story of the abandoned kitten.

"How much you want for him?" John asked.

"How about a donation to the church. You decide how much," I answered.

"Deal!" said John, "But I can't bring him home. My wife is allergic. He will have to live here."

"That's one lucky kitten," said a women to my left.

Overhearing this, John smiled wide and reached for his new kitten.

"Come to Papa, Lucky," said John.

The kitten, governed by his keen sense of smell, jumped off my shoulder and into John's arms.

My quest for a single gift turned out to be for me. I was given the gift of a story—the true story of how I flipped a kitten, in less than fifteen minutes, one magical Christmas Eve.

xo, Monkey Me

Saturday, October 25, 2014


Four months of NOTHING from an otherwise outspoken monkey. Where have I been?

I am here.

I am guilty of enjoying a stoma free, cancer free life.

I am living it up in all the right places, most of it fueled by music and my love of the dance.

I am enjoying my choice of work. I am helpful instead of helpless. This is wonderful medicine.

I am relishing the relationships that cushioned me from the isolation of a merciless illness.

I am revamping the ones that cause me to question every aspect of myself.

And I am releasing the ones that no longer wish me well.

I continue to explore my souls true purpose and strive for a life lived beyond fear.

After a visit to the Omega Institute, where I basked in the healing energy of John of God, I discovered that I have not forgiven myself for my son's death. The guilt is there, buried beneath my bravado and unshakable resilience. Guilt festers and feeds my dis-ease.

It is always my fault, especially when it isn't. If you sit across the table from me and spill your drink, I will blame myself for off-balancing the table. This is my way of punishing myself.

I am learning how to forgive myself, how to find peace within myself. It is an ongoing process and for me, a difficult one.

I am learning how to love myself, celebrate the goodness that governs most of what I do (when I am good) and accept my shortcomings.

When I am high, I make plans. I expect wellness. I fix my gaze on radiant abundance and I rejoice in the magnificence of the moment.

When I am low, I go to the colorectal cancer boards and count the ones who have advanced to stage 4, or worse, are dead. I recap their decline and envision their suffering. I have yet to find someone who died without pain. I fear the pain.

I am quick to correct people when they declare that I have "beaten cancer" when in fact, the best that I can tell you is that my body shows "no evidence of disease."

I am one of the lucky ones. I have been granted the luxury of clear scans and "within normal range" tumor markers. I can now stop fighting and adjust to the permanent side effects of chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery.

Instead of following my doctors directive of scans every three months, I opted to have scans every six months. It's been six months. Now I'm thinking I'll wait until November.

In celebration of Halloween, I am headed to New Orleans with my beautiful daughter and several wonderful friends. We will be joining other wonderful friends. There will be an abundance of merriment coupled with sassy silliness and tales so scandalous your heads will spin. Because this is what I do when I release the fear and focus on the joy. There is so much joy.

Burning Man 2014. 
Vamp Camp's staged (fully functional) bidet.
Again and again, the playa provides.

xo, MonkeyME

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Miss You Much

I am a writer. I owe this, among many things, to my father.
Happy Birthday Dad.

6/19/24 to 1/29/2012

Play Date For Dad

The screech of my father’s velcro-fastened sneakers, scuffling across a well-waxed gymnasium floor, catches the attention of everyone in line.

It is Election Day, and the local elementary school is overflowing with civic-minded seniors.

Because Parkinson’s disease transformed his once commanding stride into an unsteady, rigid gate, I insist he use a cane. But he hates his cane more than he hates peas, and so, like a belligerent child, he drags it behind him.

“Address please,” spouts a poll worker.
“Proof of residency,” requests another.
“Name please,” demands a third.
“Hi Roger,” murmurs a fourth.

He doesn’t mind the inefficiency or the formality. It’s a beautiful, crisp fall day, and we are “out and about.”

“That's a sharp hat, Joe,” says Dad to a man sporting a New York Yankees cap.
“Smart purple outfit, Dottie,” he says to a stout woman with waves of freshly set, snow-white hair.

“It’s velour. Want to feel it, Roger?” flirts Dottie.
“Maybe later,” winks Dad.

Dad despises the Yankees and has always considered purple a gauche color, but he knows how to make people smile - most of all, me.

Dottie hands Dad a ballot, hooks her arm in his, and escorts us to a small, makeshift voting booth.

“Fill in the circle next to the candidate of your choice,” instructs Dottie as she hands him a #2 pencil.

 “I can’t see. You do it, Shannon,” whispers Dad.

One by one, I pronounce each candidate’s name and party affiliation. When he hears the one he wants he lifts his hand and declares, “that one!”

With voting now complete, we move to the ballot box at the far corner of the gym.

“Put it in there,” points Dottie.
“I know where it goes,” insists Dad.
“Good for you,” says Dottie.
“You take it, Shannon,” whispers Dad.

As we exit, Dottie says, “You know Roger, Bill doesn’t leave the house anymore.”
“Why not?” asks Dad.
“Parkinson’s,” whispers Dottie.

During their glory days, Bill and Dad were fierce rivals on the high school football team and were often featured on the front page of the local paper. 

“You should stop and see him,” suggests Dottie.
“Can’t…too busy,” insists Dad.

Dad built his company, a security/investigation/detective agency, from the ground up. His work ethic was as ferocious as his athleticism.

“It’s not the right way, or the wrong way, but Roger Kennedy’s way!” he would bellow.

Two blocks away from our office is the Senior Center - a town funded facility that offers numerous social activities including exercise classes, lectures, and well-balanced meals.

“I don’t have time for that place,” insists Dad. “I have work to do.”

Dad comes to the office every day, sits at his desk, reads the paper, and takes a nap.

I know he enjoys watching the mayhem that plays out during a typical workday, and now with me at the helm, there is an undeniable sense of pride in his tone.

“You accomplished a lot today,” he’ll tell me.
“Don’t let it get you down,” he’ll say when things don’t go my way.

I know how fortunate we both are to have this time together, but he lacks the companionship of people his age.

Later that week, I tell him about my plan.

“I’m taking you to Bill’s house,” I tell him. “It’s a beautiful day, come on let’s go.”
“I can’t today. I’m too busy,” insists Dad. “Besides, it’s too far. I can’t walk there.”
“I’ll drive you,” I tell him.

It takes Dad longer to get into the car than it does to get to Bill’s house.

“There it is,” shouts Dad when he spots Bill's modest home. “It’s across from the cemetery, just past the old hospital.” (Torn down in 1951.)

I park in Bill's driveway, walk to the passenger side of the car and open the door.

“Can’t get out,” says Dad.
“Why not?” I ask.
“Too many leaves,” insists Dad.

I kick a dusting of freshly fallen autumn leaves to the side and, with two hands, urge Dad out of the car.

Bill is waiting on the front porch. Joan, his wife of 52 years, peeks out from inside the front door. Just four steady steps separate these former rivals.

“Take your time, Roger,” says Bill.
“I got it. Don’t you worry,” asserts Dad.
“Hold onto the rail,” instructs Bill.
 “Help me, Shannon,” whispers Dad.

Not much has changed since Bill and his wife settled into their home in the mid 1950’s. Pale blue, low pile acrylic carpeting covers the living room floor. Tattered, gold-striped curtains mask cloudy windows. A collection of knick-knacks and family portraits rest on doilies that dot dusty tabletops.

Bill insists Dad sit in his favorite chair - a velvet tufted recliner.

“Go ahead Roger, have a seat,” instructs Bill.
“I don’t need to sit,” says Dad.
“You don’t need to sit, or you don’t want to sit?” asks Bill.
“I don’t need to sit,” counters Dad.
“Ohhh you’d better sit,” urges Bill.

“You need to sit, Dad,” I whisper, as I coax him into the chair.

Getting Dad in a chair can be a challenge, especially if the seat is too low to the ground. It is more like a well-aimed plop than a steady squat.

Once situated, Dad surveys the living room layout, spots a matching love-seat across the room and asks, “Where are YOU going to sit Bill?”

“I prefer to stand,“ says Bill. “Don’t you worry about me, Roger.”
“You don’t need to sit, or you don’t want to sit?” asks Dad.

It’s as though I’m watching a game of chess, each attempting to outmaneuver the other.

Joan waits in the hallway, smiling. “Want a cup of tea?” she asks me.

I can feel Dad’s eyes pleading for me to stay close, but clearly these two need one-on-one time.

I listen as Joan talks about her ailments but mostly she talks about Bill. She tells me about Bill’s debilitating condition. She tells me about his time in the hospital and later in the nursing home.

“Terrible place,” she moans.

Dad also did some time in a nursing home, but I keep this information to myself.

From the other room I can hear Dad brag about all the things we do together. About our trips to the beach, rides to the cemetery and watching sports. My father paints a pretty good picture. Truth is, we don’t get “out and about” as often as we should.

“We go to the UCONN Huskies women’s basketball games,” he tells Bill.

We've been to two games total.

“We go on the Island Beach boat a lot,” he insists, although we missed all of last summer.

“I like a glass of wine when I’m at Shannon's house,” he boasts. “She's a really good cook."

I have never been known for my culinary skills.

“How old are you, Roger?” asks Bill.
“What?” asks Dad.
“I said, how old are you,” repeats Bill.
“I didn't catch that,” says Dad.
“ROGER, I can’t remember how old you are!” shouts Bill.
“I’m 84,” says Dad. He is 85.

Bill waits for my father to ask him how old he is. My father knows that Bill is younger, so he sits in stoic silence.

“I’m going to be 83 in two weeks and they’re throwing me a big party!” says Bill.
“Let’s go, Shannon!” shouts Dad.

And off we go.

The total time at spent at Bills is just short of 30 minutes.

“Boy, he looked old,” says Dad.
“I thought he looked great,” I tell him.

“Did he brag about his daughter?” I ask.
“Of course he did,” says Dad.

And then Dad surprises me.

“Next time, let’s bring Bill to my place,” says Dad.
“Sounds great!” I tell him.

And so, I set another date. Another play date for Dad.

Roger and Bill

Dad, chasing his man down on Havemeyer Field, where, at his request, I spread his ashes. 

With Love and Sustainable Memories, 

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Happy Birthday to Me

Sunday, June 8th, was the 55th anniversary of my birth. I celebrated this miraculous, much anticipated event, on June 6th, 7th, and 8th. By Monday, June 9th, I was exhausted and spent the day horizontally fixated on a steady stream of rain.

My celebration took place without cake, balloons, or a "Happy Birthday" song. For these are NOT some of my favorite things. Instead, there was a plethora of ponies, free flowing dresses, champagne, and oversized straw hats centered around a much anticipated polo match. And most important to me, there was an abundance of laughter and well wishes from good friends.

These friends included two people I have known since kindergarten – Monkey Gurl and Husband #3. As you all know, #3 had been missing in action since our separation in September of last year.

A reunion seemed impossible. With the help of my close circle of friends, I settled into my new, single life and #3 moved on without me. A cancer-free woman was waiting in the wings. A woman with real breasts, eager hands, and eyes fixated on a man whose heart was clearly broken.

To me, love hurt more than cancer.

And then it happened... a BOLT so fierce that it broke me open.

I was in Baltimore undergoing preoperative testing prior to my reversal surgery when an enlarged pelvic lymph node was detected and a PET/CT scan was ordered to rule out the suspicion of a local reoccurrence of cancer.

"Local reoccurrence" would mean stage 4, terminal, chemo for the rest of my painful, miserable life.

"I'll be dead in a year" was all I could hear. People would talk about everything and nothing and all I could think of was, "I'll be dead in a year, what do I care."

In the depth of my despair, clarity seeped in.

What I knew to be true was that I loved my husband and he loved me. It didn’t matter who was right or who was wrong. I was tired of punishing him. It didn't matter how much pain we caused each other or how we tried to extinguish it. I didn't have time to waste on anger, jealousy or bitterness. I only had time for joy.

And so, I waited for my test results with my husband in the shadows. I cheered my cancer reprieve with my husband at close range. And I celebrated my 55th birthday with my husband by my side.

Because I live my life out loud, (which often includes heart wrenching tears), I have received a LOT of well-intentioned criticism regarding our reunion. And I get it. But my job is not to please others. My job is to be true to myself.

My birthday was divine!

Early that morning, a happy chirp from a text alert prompted me to open my eyes and the first thing I saw was the time.  It was 7:27.

27's are all about Kerry.

That same morning, I stepped into the day and found a perfectly formed pink rose bursting from a bush outside my door. It was the first bloom of the season and I knew it was for me.

When we arrived at polo, I was greeted by a handsome man who asked, "Aren't you Kerry Magann's mother?" It was the catcher from Kerry's high school baseball team. He was a badass then and now, almost 20 years later, carried a diaper bag and a sweet baby girl who would NOT stop smiling.

I cannot tell you how good it felt to hear my son's name. To know that he is not forgotten is the best gift imaginable.

Love, real love, never dies. And so, I celebrate it.

"Oh no, the ladies getting arrested. How will I get home," worries Sasha.

 #3, Monkey Gurl, Sasha and at the line, little Miss Lucy (she's hard to see)

Monkey Gurl and Monkey ME

Where is Sasha?

Typical Bernese "Berner" behavior

xo, MonkeyME

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Bottoms Up

After eight months of sporting a stoma, I am finally free! My bottom now functions like your bottom does. It's an amazing thing. The reversal was, for the most part, a breeze thanks in part to my sphincter muscle exercises and my will to succeed.

Gently put, the job of your colon is to move digested food along. The job of your rectum is to store it. When you remove your rectum (I don't recommend it) and utilize part of your colon as a rectum, your colon still thinks it's a colon. It doesn't know it's been upgraded to a rectum unless you tell it. It doesn't know how to hold it, or for how long, or even why it's holding it. It just wants to keep moving things along.

So... I now talk to my colon, or Colonel Mustard as I call him (my new rectum is a man, who may or may not have done it with a candlestick in the library). And he obeys me just as all my men do (don't spoil my fantasy).

Now that I am stoma free, I have never felt more alive, more vibrant, and more beautiful. It was hard to rock that stoma, especially when the "baby head" (incisional hernia the size of... you guessed it, a baby's head) was jutting it forward.

But now, finally, for the first time in my life... I am sexy and I know it!

Talk about little unexpected gifts. I never felt confident about my body before, but now, when I stand in front of a mirror with my two fabulous, 450 cc fake breasts (and thinking about enlarging) laced in scars that stretch across the center, an impressive frankensteinish scar that runs from my belly button to my pubic bone, 3 drain hole scars (don't ask), a chemo port chest scar, two melanoma scars, and an itty bitty 2 inch stoma scar, I can't help but think... DAMN I'M HOT!

After all, what is more attractive than an overexposed woman who faces her flaws and fears with humor.

I so want to show you the beauty of being cancer free but blogger says I'd need a "mature audience" warning in order to do that, so for now I will have to settle on a well scripted visual.

And... I have news, exciting news. I have a new man in my life. His name is Chet.

Chet is sexy and sophisticated. Chet is efficient. Chet knows exactly what a girl wants. And... he comes with a remote control!

Chet is my ultra cool, brand spanking new, bidet from Why I feel the need to name inanimate objects I cannot tell you, but I can tell you that Chet puts the "OH" in Bi-O-Bidet.

Everyone.... meet Chet -  part of the "Bliss 2000" collection.

Isn't he gorgeous! 

I first fell in love with bidets back in my late twenties when I saw one at a friends house, mistook it for a seatless toilet, sat backwards on it, and was overjoyed when a gentle stream of mis-aimed water ignited my little lady in the canoe.

But unless you live in Europe, bidets aren't typically implemented in bathroom so to compensate, I took several trips to Paris. It was expensive but invigorating. This also explains why I have very few photo's to highlight these trips, I barely left the bathroom.

When Mark (husband #3) and I first bought our condo, I considered reducing my bathroom vanity space to half in order to make room for a bidet but it simply wasn't practical.

Then, thanks to my rectal cancer diagnosis, and the information I found on the colorectal cancer boards (cancer victims version of Facebook), I met Chet.

With Chet you don't need extra space. The magic of Chet is built right into the seat!

In less than two weeks time I had Chet trained. Chet knows exactly where to point his nozzle, and at what speed and temperature.  Chet keeps the seat warm on days when the weather dips below 60 degrees, and if I feel the need to freshen up my lady parts, with just the touch of a button, Chet is eager to please.

For a while there, I was so enamored with Chet, that I couldn't find a valid reason to introduce a two-legged man into the equation until I stumbled upon this Mack Weldon's underwear model and was instantly reminded of what Chet was missing.

Sorry... blogger, made me put that CENSOR shield in.

Chet can't be the complete package without a package. And that package is... very important.

For now, Chet will be my appetizer and my dessert, until the right underwear model comes along.

xo, Sexually Ignited, MonkeyME

Want more two-legged Chet?

Watch two-legged Chet disrobe, rub his belly, run his fingers through his hair, smile and adjust his glasses. Damn, this Chet has got it going on! What else does a girl want or need.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Happy Anniversary to ME

"The Jump is so frightening between where I am and where I want to be... 
Because of all I may become I will close my eyes and leap."  Maryanne Hershey

Recap and Release

May 20th, 2014 marked the one year anniversary of my "wrecked-tail" cancer diagnosis.

I put off having a routine colonoscopy at 50 because I hated the idea of someone shoving a rod up my ass while I slept.

At 51, with no family history and no obvious precursors other than the fact that I was a women over the age of 50, I was diagnosed with breast cancer, in both breasts, and underwent a double mastectomy. The head plastic surgeon at Memorial Sloan Kettering allowed two attractive female residents to do the first stage of my reconstruction and their gross errors resulted in six additional surgeries.

Twenty days after my final reconstruction surgery (and yes, they are finally FABULOUS) I went for a routine colonoscopy even though I had no symptoms, and again, no family history that would suggest any concerns.  

When I woke from the procedure I was immediately told that I had advanced rectal (wrecked-tail) cancer and that if the tumor was not so large and so low in the rectum, I would be in the operating room that same day.

My initial tests were done at a local hospital which is affiliated with Yale New Haven. I also went to Cornell Weill, Memorial Sloan Kettering and Johns Hopkins.  Each hospital did their own battery of tests and had their own opinions. The only thing they were in agreement with was that I had a low rectal, T3 tumor and that I would need surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. 

Memorial Sloan Kettering told me that my cancer had spread to my lungs and two or three pelvic lymph nodes, and that they would have to treat my lungs first with chemo for six months before addressing the rectal cancer. This would mean I was stage 4, incurable, with a very grim prognosis.

Cornell Weill suggested surgery first, followed by chemotherapy and radiation. The surgeon told me he was 90% certain I would not need a permanent colostomy bag if I did NOT have radiation prior to surgery but my oncologist warned me that I had a better chance of survival if I had radiation and chemotherapy prior to surgery.

The radiation treatment plan for both Sloan and Yale New Haven was six weeks of external beam radiation combined with chemotherapy in the hopes of shrinking the tumor prior to surgery.

External radiation never made sense to me because without visual confirmation, they were guessing at the exact location of the tumor. The rectum hides behind the bladder, the vagina, and the uterus, and all this could easily be damaged during radiation. Vaginal stenosis and bladder incontinence are two of the many possible (probable) side effects.

Johns Hopkins was the only hospital in the country that offered internal, high dose radiation without chemotherapy prior to surgery, and it was the only option that made sense to me.

It wasn't fun having a rod shoved up my ass, this time awake, but it was doable if it meant the side effects were less and the odds of shrinking the tumor were greater.

Trying to get all the doctors - surgeons, oncologists and radiologists - from four different well respected institutions, to agree on my treatment plan was futile. In the end the decision would be mine and I chose well.

In July of 2013, I became the 16th person in the United States to undergo Endorectal Brachytherapy (internal high dose radiation) and on September 10th, of that same year, I had 21 inches of my large intestines removed which included my rectum, my sigmoid colon and part of my colon. In addition to this, my surgeon used part of my colon to create a "Jpouch" which would later serve as my rectum. Fortunately my sphincter muscle was not effected by the cancer. If it was I would have needed a permanent colostomy bag.

I received a COMPLETE PATHOLOGICAL RESPONSE (the best possible outcome) from four rounds of internal radiation at Johns Hopkins which meant that the post surgery pathology report showed no evidence of cancer. And out of the 26 lymph nodes that were removed, none of them tested positive for cancer.

Even with this report, I would still need a port placed and six months of chemotherapy. For me, the chemo was pure hell - worse than surgery, worse than radiation, worse than living with a stoma and an ileostomy bag.

Sixteen days after surgery, my marriage fell apart. I was intrenched in physical and emotional turmoil. Not since the death of my son had I felt so frightened and fragile.

As much as I needed the support of my husband, I could not allow him to be part of my life. The wound was too deep. In addition to his loss, I lost the support of his family and most of my family. I have two sisters and a brother but they didn't care for me before my cancer so I didn't expect that to change. What did surprise me is that I received absolutely no contact from my mother during my chemotherapy and recovery. My fathers death in January of 2012, left me missing him more than ever. I felt abandoned.

In fairness, I could have reached out to my mother and one of my sisters did offer to pray for me.

As I have mentioned before, I received amazing support from my close circle of friends and from my immediate family - my daughter Lindsay (aka Ling), Mary, and grandson Jackson. 

On May 6th 2014, two weeks short of the one year anniversary of my diagnosis, I had my reversal. During this surgery my stoma, which is an exposed portion of my small intestine, was closed and repositioned below my stomach muscles. I also had my chemo port removed and an incisional hernia (aka "The Baby Head") repaired.

The adjustment is difficult but it is temporary and most important, this dance with cancer is now behind me. It is time for me to focus on living and stop worrying about what I cannot see.

I give tremendous credit to the skilled doctors, physicians assistants, and nurses that treated me, but I also give credit to the ((((((LOVE)))))) that was sent my way. I felt it everyday.

LOVE heals ALL wounds.

With Love and tremendous Gratitude to my Circle of LOVE and all who smile my way.

The Circle...

 Lindsay, Mary, Jackson,
Jay, Miss Pegged, Miss Claudia, Camille, Mairead, Monkey Gurl, Annika, Sarabarakat, Bev,
Eddie, Jesse, Chris, Chad, Tracy, Shoes, Turtle, Fox, Dust Bunny

Jay and MOnkeyME

my beautiful daughter Lindsay - what a gift she is

Monkey Gurl, Trombone Shorty, MonkeyME

Steve, Miss Pegged, MonkeyME, Ling, Monkey Gurl

Spitfire Steph

A Tale of Two Shannon's

Annika, MonkeyGurl, KiKi, Miss Pegged, Ling, Torrey, Steph, Drew, Nukki

MonkeyGurl, Miss Pegged, Sarararabarakat

Love and Light, MOnkeyME

There are four questions of value in life...
What is sacred? 
What is the spirit made of?
What is worth living for, and what is worth dying for? 
The answer to each is the same.
Only love.

Johnny Depp

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Belly Down

Silent Lake by Arbebuk

It was the final stretch of winter when chemo ended. My body mirrored the spindly twigs of barren, river birch branches. 

Overexposed, vulnerable and weak - I rest, belly down, in silence.

For months I forged my way through murky water not knowing what hid on the bottom. Through it all my inner circle was fierce but like any absurd, tragic memoir, there was betrayal.

Karma will take care of the bottom feeders - the people that tried to capitalize, emotionally and financially, from my suffering.

I never saw it coming and I'll never know how to defend or deflect it because my heart and mind doesn't work that way. This is a side effect of soaking in a steady stream of goodness.

If I wrote fiction I'd tell you about a mature "mountain woman" - a mother of two grown girls who selfishly beds a man knowing his wife is battling cancer.

If I wrote fiction I'd tell you about  a women who struggles to bring peace to a man who has shown his weakness time and time again. Forgive... Release... is her mantra.

(She wants to punish him.)

If I wrote fiction, I'd tell you about the business associate who deliberately attempted to deceive and coerce clients - the bread and butter of her business - away from a women in the pit of her anguish.

He lost. Shot himself in the foot. It is a slow bleed. He is bleeding still.

But I don't write fiction and I don't like casting myself as a victim, so I have no stories like that to tell. 

Today the air is heavy and moist. And I am here with you. And I have missed you.

All the ridiculousness that is cancer is behind me. I am free.

Celebrate with me!

xo, MonkeyME

My Fuck Cancer - End of Chemo Party
With Trombone Shorty and Friends at The Capitol Theater
Port Chester, New York

Thank You For Encouraging My Joy of Writing

Thank You For Encouraging My Joy of Writing

Shannon E. Kennedy


Photo by Joan Harrison