The Sonia Show

Writer. Mocker. Beer drinker. Old movie watcher. Mother. Goober.


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Stray Cat Strut

Yeah, so, we got another cat … sort of.

A stray cat has been hanging around our house for a while now. My mighty, mighty good man David saw this cat hanging around a few months ago, but in the past few weeks its become a more frequent visitor. And, because we’re not monsters, we’ve started feeding it.

We took some photos and posted it on Next Door. No one has claimed him. (We refer to him as a “he” but we really have no idea). He won’t let us get close enough to catch him to take to the SPCA. We’re definitely not going to let a stray cat into our house. What if it had some disease and infected our pets? We can’t risk it. We feel bad for it. It’s been raining a lot, and it’s sad to think about it outside in the rain and cold. We’ve been welcoming. I’ve even debated putting a little cat house (not that kind of cat house, you perv) under the deck, where he will have shelter and can curl up and sleep.

The cat is really cute with the most unusual coloring. It’s kinda orange tabby, kinda gray striped. It’s almost like he’s a Frankencat.

daniel

So, he’s just been hanging around our house. He shows up twice a day at the front door and waits patiently for his food. Occasionally I see him at the bottom of the stairs and I half expect him to be holding up a boom box playing “In Your Eyes.” Of course, that’s stupid, because he’s a cat. The boom box would be playing the Meow Mix jingle.

danielatstairs

So, yeah, if you or anyone you know wants a cat … Free cat!


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I’m a Kaiser fan girl

Yeah, so, I have turned into a bit of a Kaiser dork. It’s perfectly normal to dork out about your medical provider, right? I’m sure everyone does it.

kaiser-heart

I’ve spent a lot of time at Kaiser throughout the past couple of years. After being diagnosed with breast cancer twice, I’ve been to Kaiser countless times for appointments, surgeries, chemotherapy, acupuncture, more appointments, more surgeries, etc. And in the middle of all that, I got pregnant and now have a 4-year-old son that’s been diagnosed with autism. So, yeah, I like I said, I spend a lot of time at Kaiser.

We live in Glen Park in San Francisco, so I’m always hauling my ass to Kaiser on Geary. There’s traffic no matter what time of the day, so it takes me about 45 minutes to get there, and sometimes it can take an hour. I have to park in the world’s most ridiculous parking garage that is always packed with people who think they are going to find a magic parking spot that puts them right on the elevator to go inside. That parking spot doesn’t exist, just in case you are wondering.

I’m friendly with a lot of staff at Kaiser now. Several of the nurses and receptionists on the second floor and the eighth floor know me. When I was dealing with breast cancer the second time, a lot of the nurses and receptionists said, “It’s good to see you but I’m also sad to see you here again.”

I’m always chatting and joking with the nurses, because I have a nervous talking thing I do. My oncologist told me that he knows what exam room I am in because he can hear us laughing.

Sadly, Kaiser has turned into my Cheers, but it kinda sucks that everybody there knows my name.

It’s great that everyone is so friendly, and I’m glad that I make a positive enough impression that they remember me, but also whenever I go to Kaiser now I get an overwhelming sense of dread. It sucks.

I had an appointment last week to get my Lupron injection, and just being on the eighth floor, which is where I did my chemo, makes me feel kinda nauseated. It’s the smell – that hospital smell – and the bleeping of the machines. Ugh. I hate it.

I said something to the nurse about it when I was there last week.

“The smell here reminds me of chemo. You probably don’t even notice the smell anymore, but someday when you don’t work here anymore, you’ll come back and say, ‘Ewww, it smells like work here.’”

So, because of all the bad memories I have about Kaiser on Geary, you will not be surprised to learn that I’m really excited about the new Kaiser buildings in Mission Bay. In fact, I would say I’m downright giddy. When I found out that my dermatologist and my gynecologist moved into the new building, I jumped up down with excitement and clapped. I’m not making that up. I literally jumped around and clapped, and then I told David about it excitedly, and it turned into this:

ross-dancing-o

This is what I mean when I say I’m a Kaiser dork now. I got seriously happy that I got to see the new Kaiser building. It’s new! It’s different! I don’t have any bad associations. Woo-hoo!

I went to the new Kaiser building on Friday for a bone density scan, because being 45 and in chemically induced menopause is fuckin’ rad. It’s OK to be jealous.

OK, so, you guys, it took me 15 minutes to get there from my house. I know, right? 15 minutes! I was living the fuckin’ dream! Plus, there’s all kinds of parking. I got a spot on the second level, which are the first parking spots available for patients who don’t have electric cars. And, the parking garage isn’t a concrete cave. You can see the sky.

The buildings are all windows, so the building isn’t such a downer to be inside. There’s lovely murals and art all over the walls. The elevators are fast, and they don’t bleep at you. You get “Second floor” not “BLEEP!”

And here’s the really crazy thing … apparently, Kaiser patients don’t want to go to the new building. WTF?! I wish all of my Kaiser appointments were in the Mission Bay offices. My oncologist told me that they moved a bunch of doctors and departments to the new building, and Kaiser patients just switched doctors to stay at Geary.

Fine by me, weirdos. That means more readily available appointment for me. Wheee! I’m gonna thrive so hard, you guys.

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My name is not Susan

Yeah, so, there’s an in-law unit in the house we live in.

The woman who lives there is very nice and not home very often, which is perfect. She travels a lot. Plus, she’s got a boyfriend, and they split their time between their two places.

I met the boyfriend last year, and I quickly forgot his name because I’m a self-involved dick. Oh, also I was doing chemotherapy at the time and, well, I had other things on my mind.

I don’t feel too bad about it, though, because every time I have seen him since then he has said, “Hi Susan.”

And I always say hello back to him, and I never corrected him.

The first time it happened, I didn’t really notice until it was a few seconds too late to say anything. Now I feel weird about saying anything. It happened again today.

Him: “Hi Susan.”

Me: “Hi there. It’s a lovely day for it.”

By the way, I have no idea what “it” is … He was sitting outside so I guess I meant it’s a lovely day to sit outside? I don’t understand half the shit that comes out of my mouth. Good thing I’ve taken up podcasting as a hobby.

So anyway, now I’m wondering if I should just come out and say something.

Him: “Hi Susan.”

Me: “Hi there. I feel stupid saying this but my name is not Susan, and I don’t remember you name either. Maybe we could start all over with the introductions?”

Is that a good way to handle it? Or should I just legally change my name to Susan to avoid any awkwardness. I’ll let you know if I need to change the blog to The Susan Show, and I’ll make sure to redirect it to the proper URL.


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I want to be the Honorary Bat Girl for the San Francisco Giants

Yeah, so, I need you guys to help a sister out. I want to be the honorary bat girl for the San Francisco Giants, so I need you to vote for me.

Every year MLB.com holds a contest, in which people share their stories about “going to bat against breast cancer.” The winner gets two tickets to the Mother’s Day game, and they get a special shout out on the field. I entered last year, but I didn’t win. Let’s see if I can win this year. I’ll wear my orange wig.

The San Francisco Giants mean a lot to me. They have helped me through both of my fights with breast cancer. They are the very best distraction, and they give me something else to talk about other than cancer. I went to a few games last year during chemotherapy I wore my orange wig. In fact, I wore my orange wig to chemotherapy. I wore that orange wig a lot.

Orange wig and good buddy Kate at the Giants game last summer.

Orange wig and good buddy Kate at the Giants game last summer.

I’ve gone to bat against breast cancer twice and won. I think I’m a worthy candidate … if I don’t say so myself. It’s super easy to vote.

You click this link to vote: https://secure.mlb.com/honorarybatgirl/2016/gallery.jsp

Then you select the SF Giants as the team, and then click the arrows below until you see “Sonia M.” – it’s a photo of me in my orange wig and good buddy Corso at a Giants game last year.

batgirl-screen

You can click the photo and read the essay if you like, and then vote for me. See? It’s so easy.

Thank you in advance for voting. I would totally vote for you. I really, truly appreciate it, you guys. Also, go Giants!


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Singin’ in the train

Yeah, so, here’s a totally true story about how I started singing Michael Jackson’s “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You” on BART with some random guy.

I was riding back to San Francisco from Lafayette after my hair appointment. And yeah, I get my hair done in Lafayette. Oh, and yeah, I know I hardly have any hair, but I still color it, because I’m not ready to be gray yet. Oh, and yeah, I know that with a faux hawk I look like Ed Grimely.

edme

So anyway, this hair appointment that is every six weeks isn’t just a hair appointment. My sister, my oldest friend Amanda, and my 13-year-old niece Lorelei join me. We all get our hair done together, and then we go out to dinner. I drink several glasses of wine and take BART home. It’s our thing, and our thing is awesome.

So, I was riding home on BART, kinda tipsy as usual — just listening to music, looking at Instagram and trying to stay off Facebook because I don’t want to read about how Donald Trump has gone Full Hitler. It’s depressing.

A man, possibly homeless, definitely off in some way sat down next to me. He pointed at my Star Wars Vans.

Him: “I like your shoes.”
Me: “Thank you.”
Him: “You know those things outside of Oakland? Those structures? Spielberg used them as inspiration for those big walking things in ‘Star Wars.’”
Me: “I know.”

I didn’t bother to correct him that it was George Lucas, not Steven Spielberg, and those things are called AT-ATs and they were in “The Empire Strikes Back.” Wearing Star Wars-shoes is nerdy enough, and I don’t need to school some random guy on Bart about all things Star Wars. Also, Lucas says that’s a myth, but whatever, it’s still a cool story.

At this point, I took out my earbuds. Instead of staring at my phone and reading about other people’s experiences, I was going to talk to this guy.

Him: “I’m not wearing my nice Italian loafers today, because it’s going to rain.”
Me: “I think it’s supposed to rain on Thursday, so you could still wear them for a few days this week.”
Him: “And I have this nice jacket. I bought it in Hollywood in a thrift store. I like to think a famous person used to wear it.”
Me: “It’s a nice coat. I bet someone famous used to own it. It looks good on you, though.”

He went on to tell me that he wants to be a good person, and that he tries to live his life with the morals that he learned from his grandma and great grandma.

Him: “People say that Oakland is a violent city, but I don’t think so.”
Me: “I don’t think so, either. I love Oakland.”
Him: “I think I’m a good person, because I love God. A lot of people say they love God, but they don’t practice what they preach. They don’t really love God.”
Me: “Amen. I wish more people tried to be good people.”
Him: “I just love God so much. You know that song, ‘I Just Can’t Stop Loving You’?”
Me: “Of course I do. That’s Michael Jackson.”
Him: “That’s how I feel about God.” [starts singing] “I just can’t stop loving you. I just can’t stop loving you.”

So then I started singing with him

“I just can’t stop loving you. I just can’t stop loving you. And if I stop … Then tell me, just what will I do. Cuz I just can’t stop loving you.”

He smiled at me, and shook my hand.

Him: “You know your number is 3, right?”
Me: “Is it?”
Him: “Your number is 3. That’s the highest number.”
Me: “How does that work?”
Him: “3 gives off all the positive vibrations. There’s a light around you.”
Me: “That’s good to know. It makes me happy to think there’s a light around me. Thank you.”

At this point, the strap of my purse had fallen off my shoulder. He pushed it back up on my shoulder.

Him: “Be careful. Keep your bag close to you. … When is your birthday?”
Me: “October 2.”
Him: [his eyes got all big] “SEE?! October is 10. 1 + 0 + 2 = 3! 3!”
Me: “I guess I am a 3.”

When we rolled into the Embarcadero station he asked me my name.

Him: “Sonia, it was really good to meet you. Have a good night.”
Me: “It was really nice to meet you, too. Have a good night, sir.”

We shook hands, and he got off the train before I could ask him his name.


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Public Enemy is right, you guys. 911 is a joke.

Yeah, so, last night I called 911 twice, because there was a strange man on my patio. It took the San Francisco Police Department 90 minutes to show up.

WTF?!

When you call 911 you kinda expect the police to show up right away, don’t you? Mighty, mighty good man David travels for work once a month. I don’t sleep super awesome when he is away. Every little sound at night gives me the creeps, but I was able to go to sleep knowing that if someone tried to break in I could call 911 and the SFPD would come. Well, that peace of mind is pretty much ruined for me. Now I’m not so sure that the police will come if I call 911. This is disturbing and upsetting. Public Enemy is right, you guys. 911 IS a joke.

Public+Enemy+911+Is+A+Joke+461306

Why didn’t the police come right away? I understand that the police are busy, but 911 is for emergencies, right? I wasn’t calling because I want the police to come over and watch cartoons with me. I’m calling because it’s an emergency. When I called the second time, the 911 operator told me to make sure my doors were locked and to call 911 again if anything happened. In other words, “Hey, if the situation gets even worse, call again so we can not respond again.”

Something is happening. That’s why I’m calling 911!

Ugh. Goodbye, sleep.

I’ll start at the beginning. Here’s what happened.

Continue reading


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San Francisco County always sends me jury summons, but I would prefer flowers

Yeah, so, in February, right after my mastectomy but before I started chemotherapy, I got a summons for jury duty.

San Francisco County doesn’t mess around. They summon me once a year. Obviously, I got a doctor’s note excusing me from jury duty. I had a ton of doctor appointments, and there was no way I could sit on a jury right after my surgery. I got a six-month extension.

Well, guess what came in the mail yesterday? A jury summons – almost six months to THE DAY I got an extension. Also, I’m supposed to report in on August 31, which is – wait for it – my first day back at work after being out for almost six months.

oprah

At least this time I get to call in first before reporting for jury duty, so there is a chance they would dismiss me. Last time, San Francisco County was really pissed at me for blowing off an earlier jury summons so I had to report to the courthouse every day for a week. I had no excuse other than, “I totally forgot. You mad, bro?” I really  hope they dismiss me. I am happy to serve my jury duty some other time. My first day of work after a six-month leave is bad timing. Plus, haven’t I suffered enough this year? Just to be safe, I have my Princess Leia costume all clean and ready to wear.

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Orange is the new red

Yeah, so, the day before my next round of chemo is usually a pretty anxious day for me. I start to fret about how it will go, how bad the nausea will be, etc.

Luckily for me, good buddy Kate decided to distract me. Since my white blood counts are up the day before chemo, there is no reason why I can’t go out and about. She took the day off from work and got us tickets to the San Francisco Giants vs. Dodgers game. It was a day game, so I didn’t have to worry about getting cold, or staying out late. In fact, the weather was absolutely perfect. The sun was out, but it wasn’t too hot. Good thing, because I was wearing my fabulous orange wig.

Orange wig alert!

Orange wig alert!

Let me tell you something, if you want attention at a Giants game, wear an orange wig. I was very surprised by the amount of attention I got in this wig. And one point Kate said, “It’s like walking around with someone famous.” Everyone looks at you. Most of the attention was good attention. I got a lot of “I love your wig.” I got a few “Is that your real hair?” To which I replied, “You know it is.” A security guard said my orange wig went up to 11, and I heard more than a few older men whisper to their wives, “You should get a wig like that.”

It was a lot of attention. More than I’m used to, that’s for sure. If I was a single lady, I would buy tickets to the Giants’ Single Night and rock this wig. Of course, I think the gentleman suitors would be disappointed to discover what’s under the wig, but oh well.

Of course with all the good attention came some questionable attention. We were sitting in the bleachers, and around the 9th inning, the man behind me decided that his beer-courage had kicked in and he could talk to me. “I wish I could meet a girl with orange hair,” he shouted behind me.

I turned around a politely smiled. “I’m sure there are plenty of women here with orange hair today. Good luck,” I said.

The guy took this as some sort of hint that I wanted a back rub. Umm, no.

“No, thank you. No touching,” I said.

Then he reached out and stroked my wig.

“No touching, please,” I said.

“Don’t worry. I won’t snatch your wig off your head,” he replied.

“You better not. You should not,” I replied.

Kate asked me if I wanted to move, but I felt like he was done. If he is embarrassed that he got rejected by the girl in the orange wig, he could move. I can’t imagine how awful that man would have felt if he had pulled that wig off my head. I’m not some cute little blonde under this orange wig. I’m a chemo patient. You definitely don’t get into heaven snatching a wig off of a chemo patients head.

So anyway, we stayed in our seats for the entire game that went extra innings, and it was a big win! The Giants swept the Dodgers, and all was right with the world.

Big thanks to Kate for the tickets to the game, the delicious Ghirardelli sundae (because I can’t have beer right now – sigh) and the Lyft home (to save me from a crowded Bart train). I’m so lucky to have such awesome friends.

 


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Chemo went much better this time, you guys

Yeah, so, chemo #2 went much better this time. Well, I mean as well as can be expected when doctors are injecting a bunch of poison into your body.

Unlike last time, there was no vomiting. Yay for no vomiting! The Pharmacist came up to visit me in my chemo chair, and we mapped out a medication-taking schedule that really worked. I felt a little nauseous at times, and I slept a lot, but no vomiting.

Scheduling out the drugs really helped David to help me really stay on top of the meds. One of the meds I have to take this time is a Neupogen shot, which is supposed to boost white bloods cells. I have to do this because last time I got a super-low white blood cell count and had to spend a couple of days in the hospital. It sucks. The only I’ve ever given myself is a tequlia shot, and it didn’t involved needles. It’s a little scary to poke yourself with a needle, but I did the first shot yesterday, and it wasn’t so bad.

Oh, and, this time around, I’m off work. In fact, I’m off work until chemo is over in mid-August. Luckily, my work has a really good short-term disability plan for things like this. It’s a huge relief to be able to rest and recover, and not stress about work.

Also, during chemo weekends, Calvin is going to stay with my mom. It saves Calvin from having to hang around Sick Mommy. Sick Mommy is a drag. This weekend, he had way more fun at my mom’s house and visiting his cousins than he would have hanging around the house with Sick Mommy. Of course, David is here, but he’s distracted. Chemo wife and busy 3 year-old is a lot to have on your plate at one time

Calvin had such a good time with his cousins that he was willing to have his photo taken with the creepy Easter Bunny at the mall for the first time

easterbunny

Calvin only looks slightly concerned in this photo.

 

Also, one more thing, voting is still open until April 16 for the Honorary Bat Girl Contest for the San Francisco Giants, and I still really want this, so please, please, PLEASE vote for me. Look! I’m wearing my orange wig and everything, you guys.

orangewig2

Let’s go, Giants!

You can learn all the details riiight here.


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Vote for me for Honorary Bat Girl for the San Francisco Giants

Yeah, so, I really want to be an honorary bat girl at the San Francisco Giants’ Mother Day game, and you can help me make it happen.

MLB.com is holding a contest, in which people share their stories about “going to bat against breast cancer.” The winner gets two tickets to the Mother’s Day game, and they get a special shout out on the field. I’m not going to lie, I want this.

I’ve gone to bat against breast cancer twice. The San Francisco Giants have unknowingly really helped me throughout my fights. They give me something else to think about, something else to talk about. They are the very best distraction. I am going to be doing chemo throughout the regular season this year, and I’m glad that I will have baseball to watch while I’m recovering. On top of the whole breast cancer thing, it’s a Mother’s Day game, and we’ve had a big year on the parenthood front as well with Calvin’s autism diagnosis coming just two weeks before my breast cancer diagnosis. As a team, the MansTracys have really had to step up to the plate. I think winning something like this would mean a lot to me, and my family and friends who have helped me along the way.

So anyway, voting goes like this:

You click this link: http://mlb.mlb.com/honorarybatgirl/2015/gallery.jsp

You select the Giants as the team, and then you will see this. “Sonia” – that’s me and Calvin in the photo.

voteAnd then you click VOTE. It’s pretty easy, and you can vote as many times as you want. If you so desire, you can read my little essay by clicking on the photo of me and Calvin. It will open up and look like this:

vote-for-sonia

I’ll post the essay here for you, too.

Breast cancer is a real jerk with bad timing.

I had just met the man who would become my husband when I was first diagnosed with stage 1 breast cancer in 2009. He proposed just a few days before my left breast mastectomy. Five years later, even though I was taking Tamoxifen, a cancer-fighting drug, I was diagnosed with stage 3 invasive breast cancer in my right breast. This was just two weeks after our 3-year-old son, Calvin, was diagnosed with autism. I had a mastectomy of my right breast in January.

I started chemotherapy in early March, the same week my son started work with behavioral and speech therapists. My chemotherapy will run through almost all of this year’s baseball season, ending in August. This means I will be rooting for the San Francisco Giants from my chemo level seat, instead of club level seat. And I think it goes without saying that I bought an orange wig for game days.

Going through chemotherapy is a bit like having a bad baseball season; you learn who your true fans are. And I have amazing fans. My friends and family are constantly waving their rally towels for me. I blog about all my experiences at my blog TheSoniaShow.com, so people I don’t really know from all over the country are cheering me on. Whenever I step up to the plate for my next round of chemo, I think of my fans. We have a lot going on in our household, but – just like the San Francisco Giants – we take it all on as a team. Together. And just like the San Francisco Giants, I never stop believing that I can do this; that we can do this.

As a breast cancer survivor and a mother, I would be honored to serve as an honorary bat girl during the Mother’s Day game for the San Francisco Giants.

Thank you in advance for voting. I really, truly appreciate it. Also, go Giants!