The Lizard Chronicles

Some of this is true. Some of this is better. –Too Much Joy

Come Back to Me March 16, 2018

Filed under: Life tales,cancer — lizardesque @ 5:57 pm
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I took you for granted, and I’m sorry. I hope you realize that I always loved you, even when I complained that you just wouldn’t cooperate. I know I was hard on you. I should have been more understanding. Everyone has bad days now and then. The good days far outweighed the bad in your case. I should have appreciated that more than I did, rather than focusing on those few times when I just couldn’t deal with you. I guess I was frustrated because I cared for you and nurtured you the best I could, but sometimes you just did whatever you wanted, refusing to meet me even halfway. Still, I had it so good with you, and it took the threat of your leaving for me to realize that. By then it was too late. I savored our last days together, sadly knowing there was nothing I could do to make you stay.


You can’t possibly know how much I miss you—not just for your beauty but for your warmth, your soft embrace, the way you protected me, both physically and emotionally. Anything else is a poor substitute. I’ve managed to go on without you, but truly, I’m not myself. My very identity was intertwined with you, and although I’ve tried various ways to cover it up, it’s painfully obvious that there’s something missing in my life.


I hate that you had to leave, but I understand why. It was a toxic situation, and you had to get out of it. Things won’t be like this forever, though. I know you need time, but I have faith you’ll return. I’m not going to make empty promises and say that when you do come back, everything will be perfect. What I can tell you, though, is that when I see you again, I will rejoice. I will cherish you—every last strand of you, even the grey ones.


Strange Things March 7, 2018

Filed under: Life tales,Poetry,Writing — lizardesque @ 7:45 pm
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Baldness and nosebleeds

Is telekinesis next?

Who wants an Eggo?


My Side Effects Have Side Effects January 25, 2018

Filed under: cancer,Poetry,Uncategorized — lizardesque @ 3:42 pm
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Prescription hand cream

Smells like dry-erase markers

Hand-foot syndrome blues


Side Effect #546 (or I Miss Flavor) January 24, 2018

Filed under: cancer,Poetry — lizardesque @ 11:44 am
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Chemical taste in my mouth

Tongue feeling fuzzy


Positive Mental Attitude January 21, 2018

Filed under: cancer,Poetry — lizardesque @ 9:47 am
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Post-chemo mind haze

Vision: flaming undead bears

Defeating tumor


I am not my hair (or fuck you, cancer) December 5, 2017

Filed under: cancer,Life tales — lizardesque @ 9:04 am
Tags: , , ,

Being a redhead has always been a big part of my identity. Even when I was a little kid and this way in which I was different was called to my attention a bit more than I would have liked, it was undeniable that it was a part of who I was. When I was a little older, I appreciated my red hair much more, and I was especially happy about it when my granny told me that redheads don’t go grey. Eventually, I learned this is not true across the board, and I developed a kind of existential dread around my hair, fretting about the day it would fade into a stawberry-tinged white (or until I had to do lots of maintenance to have it dyed back to something approaching its former glory).

I had short hair for most of the first couple decades of my life. I tried to grow it out a few times, but I was never able to get past the awkward in-between stage before I broke down and got it cut short again. But beginning when I was around 23, finishing grad school and moving a number of times (combined with a bit of laziness) meant not having a go-to stylist for a while. Next thing I knew, I’d neglected to get my hair cut (aside from the sometimes unfortunate bang trims I’d do myself) for more than 18 months, and it was long. Once I did find a stylist I liked, got my tresses trimmed and shaped, and learned to work with my long hair, it became an even larger part of my identity.

After my hair had been long for a while, I couldn’t imagine going back to a short cut. I could dream about it, though, and the dreams were nightmarish. I don’t recall exactly when, but some time along the line, I began to have dreams in which my hair was cut short against my will. The circumstances varied, but they were always the sorts of situations that make sense in the midst of dreaming but would not be plausible in real life. In these dreams, I would cry. In fact, I would cry so hard, I’d actually start to sob and wake up a blubbering mess. I calmed down once I realized my hair was still intact, but the uneasy feelings from the dream always stuck with me for a while.

I knew there were various possible reasons my hair could be taken from me without my consent—accidents, diseases, hair-fixated stalkers—but none of those were especially high on my list of worries. Instead, I returned to fretting about the increasing frequency with which grey hairs popped up and began to quietly threaten to overtake my scalp. My stylist insisted I was probably the only one who noticed them but still helped me cover them and make it look natural. So, my worries were largely kept at bay.

Then I was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Losing my hair was not my biggest concern, but it certainly was high on the list, along with losing my life and much of my independence (if only temporarily), pain and potential side effects of surgery, as well as many of the other non-hair related ravages of chemotherapy. At first I held onto hope that maybe my particular kind of chemo would not lead to hair loss. Acquaintances told me of cold caps that allowed some people to minimize their hair loss during treatment. As I went through a barrage of tests and got more information about my particular type of cancer and treatment options, my mind was set at ease in learning that my prognosis was quite good. However, there was no getting around it—the chemo was going to make me lose my hair.

I tried to look on the bright side. I love hats and scarves (and have a lot of both). My hair would grow back. I could get a wig. Getting ready to go out wouldn’t take so long. These offered some consolation, but dread, panic, and tears still welled up whenever I imagined my locks coming out in clumps.

So, like many women who have been in similar situations, I decided to exert what little control I had over the situation. I made an appointment to get my hair cut very short. I figured that would give me time to ease into things and would make for less trauma when my hair began to fall out.

Two days before I started chemo, I went from hair to the middle of my back to pixie cut. I’m not going to claim that wasn’t a bit traumatic in and of itself. In fact, I still have a whole stew of emotions about it simmering. I really do like the new cut a lot, but I hate why I had to do it. I also know that my remaining hair will only be around for a few more weeks. I’ve got a wig on order, but that’s never going to be the same. The hair will grow back, but I’ve got a long and difficult road of both hair-related and non-hair–related tribulations ahead of me before that.

For now, I just keep repeating a few things to myself:

  • I loved my hair, and I miss my hair, but I am NOT my hair (no offense, Lady Gaga)
  • Fuck you, cancer—I’m going to beat you

Oh, those carefree, long-hair twirly days!


Off to find a new home


Feeling empowered to kick cancer’s ass


Forty-two Awesome (or at Least Notable) Things I Did While I Was Forty-Two October 24, 2017

Filed under: Life tales,lists — lizardesque @ 9:20 am
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Today my age is tweedle and twee. I’m prettier than I used to be.

-–Woody Guthrie

  1. Was unbreakable! (at least for Halloween)
  2. Cheered, jumped up and down, and hugged total strangers when the Cubs won the World Series for the first time since 1908…


    Holy cow!

  3. …and then drank 30-something year-old whiskey (saved especially for the occasion) from a ceramic cub


    I’m not a whiskey person, but I took one for the team

  4. Finished NaNoWriMo for the fourth time
  5. Finished knitting my first afghan


    Stewart approves of my knitting

  6. Saw the Terracotta Warriors exhibit at the Field Museum
  7. Waffled many things

  8. Marched for women
  9. Contacted my elected officials more than I ever have before
  10. Successfully escaped another room with some friends


    The escapees

  11. Went to a murder mystery party (my fourth one) and (for the first time) was not the murderer
  12. Adopted Daisy


    Daisy also approves

  13. Knitted a cat


    Life imitates art

  14. Made a ceramic narwhal


    They’re the unicorns of the sea, you know

  15. Made robots


    Robot date night

  16. Knitted a bunny
  17. Took a knife-throwing class
  18. Won the family Peeps diorama contest


    Power to the Peeps!

  19. Marched for science


    Science is real!

  20. Became aunt to a furry niece


    Miss Cleo

  21. Brushed up on my Spanish



  22. Had a drink that contained Pop Rocks


    Candy Crush

  23. Visited La Sagrada Familia


    La Sagrada Familia

  24. Visited Montserrat
  25. Visited Sitges
  26. Visited Park Güell


    Park Güell

  27. Purchased a suitcase to bring home wine and shoes from Barcelona
  28. Added another European Ferris wheel to my collection



  29. Took a selfie with Jesus
  30. Had some fun in a hall of mirrors



  31. Ate at NoMi


    The view from NoMi

  32. Went to a baseball game with my brother for the first time


    Now if I could just convince him that there are not 27 outfielders on the field at once

  33. Waffled more things (yes, I’m counting this twice–I waffled a lot of things!)

  34. Got an honorable mention in the Glimmer Train Very Short Fiction Contest
  35. Finished another year of Julaiku
  36. Explored weird Chicago
  37. Participated in much silliness


    Wedding photo booth fun

  38. Saw the total solar eclipse from within the path of totality


    It was freakin’ amazing!

  39. Saw Hamlet in the park
  40. Shot a gun for the first time (It was target shooting, and I’m hesitant to call this awesome since, deep down, I’m still a gun-hating liberal. However, it did seem like a notable experience.)
  41. Started…and eventually finished knitting a shawl
  42. Expanded my vocabulary