Category Archives: Life stories

The world’s most expensive vacation

We didn’t go to Italy last year. About a month before we were supposed to depart, the tumor was discovered.

Photo Oct 11, 12 20 13 PM

My doctor said I could travel, but Mom was reluctant.

“I’m not traveling with you–you’re a ticking time bomb!” she said. Continue reading

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One of a thousand #MeToo posts I could write

This story is gross and upsetting and I have long been embarrassed about it. I could have sworn that I wrote a post about the incident, but searching “Chris” and “gross” didn’t produce any results.

Even now, many years later, I feel uncomfortable typing the words. But the story is timely and in sharing it, maybe I can help someone feel less alone while they consider their own #MeToo moments.


I was young and broke and living in NYC. My first job after college graduation paid just $25,000* and my rent was $950 per month. If I’d had any common sense at all at twenty-two years old, I would have realized that living alone wasn’t a viable option. But I was stubborn and wanted to feel independent, even as I accepted subsidies from my parents.

Recognizing that I was locked into a year-long lease, my mother didn’t give me too much grief when I called home crying poverty. But she did suggest I get a second job for some hours outside of my 9-5 gig.

*At some point, I will write many blog posts about the importance of negotiation and the many mistakes I made in this realm before waking up.

Continue reading

A lighthearted post about food

Update: Try @Cookunity for an artfully crafted and healthy meals by local private chefs. Use my link to get $30 off! 

In an effort to lighten things up from this, that and the other thing around here, let’s talk about food. You like food, right? Of course you do!

eat-clean-2

(Gag)

During my time in LA this spring, I had the opportunity to sample some meals from a local private chef. I was staying in an apartment in busy, noisy Hollywood so there wasn’t any room service and I dreaded walking around the tourist-packed neighborhood, looking for carryout. I used Seamless and TryCaviar a bit, but it was much more expensive than in NYC. Continue reading

I miss him

Tomorrow is Monday. For most people, it will be just another work week starting. But for me, it is the worst anniversary: two years since we lost Dad.

July 17 used to be just another summer day, but now it looms like an exam I didn’t study for or a long, painful dental appointment.

As this summer approached, I didn’t think about lounging by the pool or trips to the beach. Instead I thought “was Dad in the hospital by now two years ago?” Anxiety festered inside me as I tried to decide how I should observe the day. I worried “what if I missed the anniversary completely? What if I forgot?”

Maybe someday I won’t dread July 17, but I doubt I will ever forget what happened on that terrible day. Continue reading

Good news. And yet…

Yesterday was my most recent CT scan. As I mentioned before, I’m slated to have scans every three months for a year.

I prepare myself for the waiting, and yet I still find myself bewildered by the actual experience. In situations like mine, appointments are more suggestion than commitment. It’s the trade-off for accessing a world-class specialist, and for him offering to review your raw test output with you in real time, same day. It’s the knowledge that a patient in my situation will wait pretty much as long as is required to get whatever answers and comfort are available.

There is much variety within the waiting. Am I waiting in the wrong place? Did I arrive on the wrong day? Did I fail to prepare? Or is someone simply out to lunch? Continue reading

I’m not myself right now

I should do something. But I’m so tired. I should go to the gym or write or something. 

It’s Saturday and I’m lying on my bed wearing gym clothes. I didn’t make any plans for the weekend with the exception of Sunday brunch and I’m semi-OK with that. On one hand, I am tired from a lot of recent business travel. On the other, I miss my friends and know I am going to be traveling a ton these next two months so when will I see them?

But back to the first hand. Lounging on my bed with Law & Order playing in the background is all I can seem to do. I don’t even have the energy to visit the cats today.

Baby cat 20160818_120116

Enter a caption


Five or six weeks ago, I emailed a therapist specializing in grief counseling to request an appointment. I followed the process spelled out on her web site after going through a painstaking process to identify her as someone who accepted my insurance, didn’t have hellaciously bad reviews online, wasn’t geographically undesirable and maybe-hopefully had a basic web site via which I could confirm the particulars.

She has yet to respond to my initial inquiry, or a follow up one made after three weeks of silence. Thus far, I haven’t been able to make myself place a follow-up phone call. And I absolutely don’t have the energy to cross-reference the thousands of listings of people my insurance company swears take my insurance (not this one) with ZocDoc or Yelp or similar. As a result, I will probably try to make an appointment near home at a place that doesn’t take insurance, but does respond to appointment inquiries and fast. At $300 per session, they are quite ready to sign me up.

But I will figure something out eventually, right?

I don’t feel depressed in the sense that I have before. Depression is not unfamiliar to me. I take medicine and previously worked through the things that hurt me in therapy. The black dog has followed me for as long as I can remember. But it has become manageable. Had.

This part of me isn’t something I had been ashamed of, but I had long felt it was well addressed and I didn’t need to talk about it.

But this is different. I feel flat. There’s so little that excites me. My ‘happy place’ right now is lying in bed playing Words with Friends or sleeping. I cancel plans frequently.

I find it so hard to focus. I feel tired every hour of every day. My body aches. About once a week, spurred by thoughts of my father, I have a big cry. And yes, typing that sentence caused a lump in my throat followed by a rush of tears to my eyes.

I miss Dad so much – the uncomplicated nature of our relationship and the constancy of his support. While we had philosophical disagreements, I always knew he was listening to me, absorbing my thought process and considering it carefully.

Dad’s absence has changed my relationship with my mother too. I knew it would, of course, but the changes are not at all what I expected, making me feel lost in the dark. I thought she would need me more and it’s not that I wish for her to need me more, but I can’t say I understand how to act right now. Additionally, in spite of her strength, I don’t feel like I can tell her how rough I have been feeling, particularly after what I put her through last fall.

Even though I know I have reason not to feel my best, I feel guilty for the fact that I don’t. I feel terrible about my inability to write, or to focus my pitiful attention long enough to read a chapter of a book. I can’t fathom ever pushing myself hard enough to get fit again.

I don’t feel terrible, just low, most days–only some. I’m not sad daily, but my energy level is poor. One day, I am able to power through with smile, more or less. But others, I spend hours in bed. Making small talk, something my livelihood depends on, feels like torture sometimes.

I know from experience that this too shall pass. But in this moment, I can only wish to feel better soon.


It’s Sunday. I wake up excited to have brunch with my friend Brooke and then do a little skincare shopping together. The sun is shining for the first time since I returned from my most recent business trip a few days ago.

On my way home from brunch and shopping, I stop at Whole Foods in hopes of finding some of my favorite ice cream – score! – and then stop by to see the kitties.

 

Some days are easier than others.

Before and After

Yesterday was my first abdominal CT scan since the tumor was removed in late September. The results were good: no sign of any tumors elsewhere.

Yay!

If you’d like to hear more about the scan, there’s more beneath the fold, including not-gross before and after pictures.

(the gross pic is here)

Continue reading