Saturday, August 20, 2011

Sometimes ya just wanna wallow...a poem

Nobody likes change.
The baby fights when momma tries to change the dirty diaper.
Granted, it’s not a lot of fun, sitting in your own shit.
But sometimes, it becomes warm and familiar
and to be stripped naked can be just as unpleasant and we wiggle and squirm and try to crawl away from the cleansing.

Sometimes it’s more comfortable to wallow in the mess.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

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This is the blog of a friend who was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis at 19. When people ask who inspires me, I always say, Annette. This is what she's up against now. This is what Arthur is capable of. And this is what courage is.

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Saturday, August 6, 2011


They are a strange thing. Generally they are a time of remembering firsts or commemorating major (happy) life events. However, I find that more often than not, Hallmark doesn’t carry cards for the anniversaries remembered the most.

Yesterday was a double anniversary for me. It marked one year since I fell and broke my right femur. Not just a little crack, this was the mother of breaks (I’m taking a careful bow), an eight-inch displacement that came very close to my femoral artery (anyone who watches hospital dramas knows what THAT means) and making me an official member of the Bad Ass Club. However, time moves faster than we think, I healed fairly well and one year later, I found myself on the track for another anniversary, our eighth annual American Cancer Society Relay For Life, cheering on my mother, tearful and proud, as she carried the Survivor banner for the Opening Lap of the event.

In 2003, my Mom was in her fourth month of chemotherapy to treat (and beat) breast cancer. Coincidentally (Divine intervention, perhaps), I had been hired at the American Cancer Society (ACS) a week after her diagnosis. I supported the event coordinators of the Relay For Life, the ACS' signature fundraising event. Having never been to a Relay before, I didn't know what to expect, but I knew that they had a Survivor celebration. Though our futures were uncertain and she was still technically “in treatment,” I wanted Mom to be part of that celebration.

While the months of her treatment are somewhat a blur to me now, I remember that night clearly. Having lost her hair, her head was wrapped in a bandana and she wore a maroon t-shirt emblazond with scrolling white letters that read, Surviving in Style. So very appropriate if you know my mother. Though it was a sticky, humid August evening and Mom was fatigued from the treatment, she stayed until the sun went down and the track was filled with Luminarias, candles burning bright with the names of those living with and lost to cancer. As silence fell and the names were read, I held my Mom’s hand while we slowly walked around the track, saying a silent prayer for each name on the bag and taking a moment to stop and stare at those with her own name on them. I remember holding onto her and thinking, “What if this is the last time we do this?” The moon was high and bright and the sky clear and I made a wish…Star Light, Star Bright…

Last night, another sticky, humid August evening, we returned to the track and were greeted by hugs from other Survivors and Caregivers who have been making the laps with us since that first Relay. Though she has received a purple Survivor shirt each year since 2003, Mom showed up in her maroon Surviving in Style t-shirt. I stood in the stands and watched as she took an end of the Survivor banner and again, lead the procession celebrating survival and celebrating Life.

As the sun went down and the stars appeared, the candles were lit once again. This time, joined by my sister, the three of us walked the track in silence, listening to the names from the speakers above. We found ourselves stopping more often than we did that first year, stopping to say a silent prayer for each loved one we had placed on that track and each candle that burns in their honor and memory.

As the ache in my femur reminded me that one year before, I was lying in a hospital bed, the stars above reminded me that I had been on this track before and as I held onto my Mom’s arm, I said a quiet “Thank You” and made another wish.

In Honor of:

Pennie Cialdini
Michael Schrot
Barbara Schrot
Rosemary Muccio
Donna Fox-Kliedel
Pami Keenan
Diana Rademacher
Galen Dockter
Bobo Constantineau
Char Jansen

In Loving Memory of:

Hector Cortes
Gladys Akins
Harry Clark
Linda Lawton
and so many others…

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Beginning

Well, it's finally here! The day Dray goes public. For years now, people have been telling me that I should write a blog. "Everybody has a blog," they would say. And that was my fear. I didn't want my blog to be just like everybody else's. But I was more so afraid that I wouldn't have anything to say which, for those who know me, seems rather unlikely. Of course, as I sit here before a blank screen, I am suddenly overcome with stage fright. Not even public yet and I am fearing the scrutiny of the followers I have yet to gain.

So my first post will be rather simple, it is the poem that inspired the name and title art of this blog, the poem called Glass Houses. Written back in 2001-ish, this poem was the first of my poems to ever be read in public and has become a staple at most of my readings. The reason I return to it so often is that I did not know then how eerily prophetic the piece actually was. In the years after writing it, I was to have several falls and broken bones, including a fractured pelvis and a compound fracture which did actually pierce my skin.  Self-fulfilling prophecy or some strange psychic phenomenon? All depends on your side of the coin, I guess. So here it is, my very first public poem to go with my very first public post. Enjoy.

Glass Houses

My bones are papier-mâché creations
Vulnerable to the devastation
Of this tissue-papered reality
I could crumble under the weight of your gaze
Hobbling on pins and needles and platform shoes
Fissures grow deeper
And splinter my foundation
Shattering your image of me in the process
Time is limited
My femurs fracture
And this delicate, brittle porcelain womb cannot hold you for long
Not long enough for either of us
Trembling,    I fear the day
When I am finally in pieces
And shards of jagged bone
Pierce through my skin
Spikes and rods replacing the foundation
That collapsed once the winds came.

Copyright (c) 2001 Deserae Constantineau