Tip #2, Love Is All You Need or Bridget’s Surefire Guide to Keeping Up With Your Friends So That They Don’t Forget How Fun You Are

Your friends are awesome. When you’re temporarily health challenged, they are even more awesome than usual. They come visit, send you cards and presents, make you cupcakes, volunteer to cat-sit, and maybe even help you raise money to cover your medical expenses.

But the thing is, when you’re sick, you sort of just want to curl up in a hole and hide from everyone. You don’t feel good and you know you aren’t your usual sparkly self.

Don’t curl up in a hole! They are cold, nasty places and you will have to live with badgers and not the cute kind, the mean snarly ones like those statues in the capitol building in Madison.

Plus, keeping in touch with your friends and family will make you feel better and it will keep them from worrying about you.

Or forgetting how fun you are.

Bridget’s Surefire Guide to Keeping Up With Your Friends So That They Don’t Forget How Fun You Are:

*When you’re at your lowest isn’t the best time to see people or even plan to see people. If you’re on a treatment schedule, take advantage of the times when you’re feeling better to plan for the next time you think you might be feeling better.

*Put everything you are invited to on your calendar even if you’re fairly sure you won’t be able to attend most of it. If it’s on the calendar, you’ll mentally start to plan to go and you might surprise yourself by feeling up to it. You can always cancel if you aren’t.

*Keep a list of everyone who’s tried to contact you when you haven’t been up to responding. When you do feel well, you’ll be ready with your list to return phone calls and e-mails.

*Make a special e-mail folder called “Check Later” and automatically put personal e-mails you are unable to respond to in the folder. This is a good back up for people you forget to add to your reminder list. Remember to check the folder on your good days.

*Find a way to reach a large number of people with updates—it’s impossible to give each person the amount of time you’d like to when you aren’t feeling well and this can take some of the pressure off. Facebook, mass e-mails (set up a Group in your e-mail), or blogging can keep people up-to-date, as can using a few gossipy friends (I mean that in the nicest way) to spread the word. You don’t need to give people a blow-by-blow of your illness, just a general idea of what’s going on.

*Put together a Thank You Card Kit. People do all of these nice things for you and you want to thank them, so make it as easy as possible for yourself. First stockpile a bunch of cards. (These make really nice gifts for people who are temporarily health challenged—I still have a nice stash from Jenny Jackson. Thanks, Jenn!). Add to this whenever you come across nice cards. PaperSource is a luxurious source that has a location in Portland on NW 23rd.

Get a small-to-medium-sized box to hold everything, put in a selection of cards from your stockpile, several books of stamps (you can buy cute ones online), and some nice gel pens that live in the box. I recently added a cool stamper from Sweet Papery with our return address on it.

As things come in or people do nice things for me, I add their names to a running list. If I don’t have their address in my digital address book, I rip it off the card or package and throw it in my Thank You Kit. Try to plan regular Thank You Card days, or do a few at a time whenever you have a good day. If you get a light plastic box, you can throw it in your bag to work on in waiting rooms.

Some of these tips might be helpful too for writers who go through cycles of getting sucked into their work and then coming up for air.

Next up–Tip #3, Feeding Your Brain.

Love to you all,

Bridget

My Christmas Present to You

Over the past couple of years of living with cancer, I’ve actually learned some things (I was surprised by this too) and I realized that it might be helpful to share them. I know many of my blog readers are in perfect health, but maybe you can pass these tips along to someone who isn’t. Or use it for gift ideas for friends or general entertainment. Most of my tips are going to be helpful to people who are chronically ill, but some of them might help if you’ve had a sudden spurt of not-goodness, have had surgery, recently delivered a baby or somesuch.

I hate calling chronically ill people chronically ill because I believe this whole being-sick thing is temporary and you probably do too, so maybe I will just use “Temporarily Health Challenged”.

I’m going to post tips for the next several days, until I run out of steam.

And so begins, Bridget’s Guide to Surviving Life & All It’s Bizarreness When You Are Temporarily Health Challenged:

Tip #1, Notebooks

Going through chemotherapy is sometimes like being that guy in that movie Memento. You wake up one day and HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO RECOLLECTION OF WHAT YOU’VE BEEN UP TO! It’s startling. I imagine this is what the Hulk feels like after a hulking out episode—there’s the detrius of collapsed buildings and dirty laundry and you have no idea how it happened while having a faint sinking feeling that you are probably responsible.

The solution? Notebooks! Just like that guy who wrote all over himself in the movie. Hulk, you must see the movie!

Except notebooks work much better than writing on yourself as this allows you to bathe as frequently as you like without disturbing your notes.

I keep different notebooks for different projects that I’m working on plus a general Jotting All Ideas one. This one you should try to keep on you at all times—you can always transfer ideas later to your special project notebooks. I buy cute patterned notebooks so that they stand out when I’m searching for them through the wreckage and I CLEARLY LABEL THEM. This is very important. While you might think you will remember which patterned notebook goes with which idea, there is that chance that you won’t and you don’t want to waste time reading your most recent crazy, rambling notes to figure out which one it is.

I use these notebooks to keep track of research, phone calls, ideas, anything that I would rather not forget later. So when the package delivery guy comes with a “Live Animals” crate and asks me to sign for it, I can consult my notebooks to find out if I have decided to start a cute and fluffy wildlife animal refuge in the backyard or if I was doing research on cancer cures and snake venom.

Some of my special notebooks include one for each novel I’m working on, one for general story ideas, one for research on alternative health, and a Questions to Ask Your Doctor notebook.

Try not to write any old notes in the special notebooks or you will lose track of them. That is what Jotting All Ideas is for!

Target usually has decent patterned notebooks and Powell’s has some nice journal-style ones.

I hope this was helpful! Stayed Tuned for Tip #2, Love Is All You Need.

Love to you all,

Bridget

Napping Day

I would like to interrupt Napping Day for a very special “Thank You!” to everyone who participated in the auction! It was a huge success and we can’t thank everyone who was involved enough. We are overcome with the generosity of our friends and family and the kidlit community. You all seriously, seriously rock!

I had all of these big plans to do up a big Thank You! video with costumes and choreography etc., but then today turned into Napping Day. When Napping Day comes there isn’t much you can do about it, but go with the flow and let the body do its healing thing. Today is all about my couch, a box of herbs and meds, and my napping cohorts.

Who are sometimes great nappers and sometimes noisy ones. Is it really necessary to announce your intention to nap loud enough so the neighbors know too?

I will see what I can do about a flashy Thank You! video, but in the meantime all sorts of warm, gushy thoughts will be directed your way during the remainder of Napping Day.

Also, if you weren’t able to participate in the auction but are thinking, “Hey, that Bridget, she’s okay, I’d like to keep her around,” there is a “Donate” button on the right side of my blog where you can donate directly via paypal. Or if you’re like, “Bridget, eh, I can take her or leave her, but that young Barrett fellow, he’s the right stuff, I’d like to help him out,” all donations are welcome.

And a great big thanks to everyone who already found the “Donate” button or sent us contributions directly!

With love,

Bridget

The Girl Who Lived

My oncologist looks a lot like a less-hairy Dumbledore.

If we’re going to fight foes of darkness etc., a Dumbledore lookalike seems like a good guy to have on our Bridget Kicks Cancer team, don’t you think?

A team which is currently knocking my socks off–the auction is amazing! I had all of these big plans to highlight each totally awesome item so that people who hadn’t been to the site would be so enticed they couldn’t help but click on the link. Who wouldn’t want to NAME A PRINCESS IN A BOOK? Or have their VERY OWN name in a Jennifer Holm novel? Or have a piece of original Babymouse artwork? Or the gorgeous alternative Lips Touch cover up on their wall? And I really can’t say enough good things about Linda Freya and know you’ll love her meditation class so much it will change your life.

I could have spent the entire last week blogging several times a day about auction items and not run out of fun stuff to highlight. Unfortunately, I got sucked into chemo-land which involved two gorgeous sunshine-y days that I didn’t make it outside for (boo!), but, on the plus side, Barrett surprised me ON HIS BIRTHDAY with a manicure and pedicure which I had been lusting after since first hearing that they had them at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America (Barrett has never quite gotten the hang of the birthday thing–I have to work so hard to try and spoil that guy, I had to start two weeks ago to make sure he didn’t skimp on his birthday fun!).

I’m all sparkled up now with Ruby Pumps nail polish on my toes and some sort of glamorous red gel color on my fingers. I’m hugely fond of Ruby Pumps–It’s red, it twinkles, and is quite probably magical too.

Only one day left to participate in the auction and to help kick some cancer patootie!

Love to you all,

Bridget

Gems

Writers and aspiring writers, if you need a fresh look or even a first look at your work, consider the critique services offered on the auction. I know it’s difficult. So many fabulous writers, how to choose???

Don’t overlook less published writers. I don’t know all of their work, but the ones that I am familiar with are really fantastic writers and critiquers. When you’re looking at query critiques especially, less published writers are often going to be closer to their query-writing days than writers who’ve had agents for years doing most of the heavy-lifting.

Like the lovely Emily Kokie. We were in a writers group together in Madison and she is a great no-nonsense critiquer. She also did what is almost impossible–she landed an agent within the first year of having finished writing her first novel. Not only did she land an agent, she landed superstar agent Chris Richman of Upstart Crow Literary, and subsequently scooped up a book contract with Candlewick.

She’s a stellar writer who knows how to query.

And I know she isn’t the only one in the auction. If you look through the list, I’m sure you will find the perfect fit!

I hope you had a great holiday!

Love to you all,

Bridget

Thanksgiving Curry and Pie

Barrett is downstairs making the last of the feast we have planned. Indian food, mashed potatoes and pie are on the menu for Piesgiving this year. Last year we tried eating everything in pie form, but since Barrett and Matt took Indian cooking classes we decided to mix it up. As much as I love pie, an all pie meal was, well, a LOT of pie.

This week Barrett has been making little bits of our half of the meal every day–one night he made chutneys from scratch, even hacking open a coconut and scraping it out for his coconut chutney. Another night I entertained him while he made paneer which I could never do as it requires someone to stand at the stove and stir it for like an hour or something crazy. It seemed like forever. SO good though! This morning he’s working on some curries.

Our house smells delicious.

The auction is humming along–a huge, ginormous thank you to all of the planners, donars, and bidders!

I hope everyone is having an awesome holiday.

Love to you all,

Bridget

The Auction is Up!!!

There are SO many completely awesome things in the auction. You must check it out!

I’m once again overwhelmed by how generous and wonderful people are. It makes me want to be a good person someday.

It sounds like there are a few links out there with issues so I’m putting the shortcut link here: http://bit.ly/bridgetauction

If you do reach a page that says you need a secret code, password or whosimawhatsit, here it is:

ID: bridgetkicks

Password: cancer

Good luck and happy bidding!

Love,

Bridget

From the Mixed-up Seasons of Portland, Oregon

If you’re from here, you might not realize that for most of the rest of the country it is completely insane to have buds in the front of your house

fall leaves in the back of your house

full blooms sprinkled throughout your yard

whole swaths of full summertime green

and a peek of snow out the window.

Have a great weekend!

Love to you all,

Bridget

No Laughing, Are You Kidding Me???

He was not.

Kidding me in the least, that is.

When I was last at CTCA my surgeon told me with a perfectly straight face (after having just spent the last half-hour applying tourniquet-like pressure to my wound after having removed the rod shoved up my hepatic artery half-way through Start-Pre-Treatment-At-4:30am-Then-Insert-Painful-Device-And-Chemotherapies-And-Make-Bridget-Lie-Flat-On-Her-Back-For-Fourteen-Hours Torture Day) that I would not be allowed to laugh for at least the next seven hours.

I can take a lot (obviously), but NOT LAUGHING?

And he knew, in his evil little surgeon brain, how hard this was going to be because, as I mentioned above, HE HAD JUST SPENT THE LAST HALF HOUR WITH ME. He knew just how hard not laughing for the next seven hours would be. Someone who giggles through thirty minutes of tourniquet-like pressure on a wound (ouch!) just isn’t going to make it.

Then he explained why I wasn’t supposed to laugh.

He began to seem less evil and more like maybe he was Doing the Right Thing with his inconceivable suggestion.

Surgeon Reasoning:

1) laughing tightens your tummy muscles.

2) tightening your tummy muscles while trying to heal your hepatic artery is bad.

3) bad because it an cause bruising (surgeons have no appreciation for living art).

4) worse because, and this is exactly how he put it, the pressure from the tightening tummy muscles can push blood through the artery and make the seal he’d just made with the tourniquet-like pressure POP OPEN like the cork of a champagne bottle.

5) no one wants arteries to pop open.

I still couldn’t do it.

We had to resort to some laugh-free sleepy drugs. Plus, I banned myself from watching All Kittens All the Time tv, and instead watched a movie I saw with Laini earlier this year and, from what I remembered, had no laughs whatsoever.

And I made it. Huzzah! No hepatic artery explosions, no ginormous bruise, and all was well.

Until next time (which due to unavoidable scheduling conflicts is on Barrett’s Birthday. Poor guy).

Love to you all,

Bridget

P.S. I am posting this before my web designer has a chance to see it to save you all from the rather interesting blood exploding graphic he wanted to insert. You can thank me later.

Only Two More Days!

There are only two more days to donate to the Bridget Kicks Cancer Auction!

You can find details about the auction in one of my earlier posts, by clicking a link in the sidebar of my blog, or by going to my friend Amy Baskin’s blog. Thanks to all of the super cool, fabulous people who posted auction info on their blogs, facebook or twitter. And for just posting nice things about me like the fabulous Inara Scott did on Romance Bandits.

Plus, thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone who has already donated! I’m a little bit superstitious about peeking at the auction, but I did take just a teeny, tiny peek and discovered that the auction is a marvelous place in cyberspace to be.

Love to you all,

Bridget