Hello. This is Hugh.
Hugh Manatee if you’re formal. Mr. Manatee if you’re nasty.
I have a friend named Lisa. She is insane. That’s a quality I really respect in a friend because it means I have to spend a lot less time explaining why my ideas are great ideas. Lisa has her own manatee. His name is Harlan. Harlan was a gift from her husband, and Harlan brings her comfort when he makes sweet, sweet manatee love to her. (This involves lots of squeezing, manatee hugs and occasionally spooning.)
I opened my door a few days after I had let my close friends and family know about my cancer and saw that I had a package from Amazon. At first I thought it was a juicer. I’ve heard that everyone diagnosed with cancer gets a free juicer. One of the cancer rules is that I now have to juice all the time. I’m down with that. Kale juice is actually pretty tasty in a bloody mary. But to my surprise, I saw a gift box. I opened it and there it was: my own personal manatee.
Hugh also likes his booze. He and I are besties now. I don’t share the same fondness for lettuce, but no one is perfect.
I spent quite a bit of time trying to decide what gender my manatee identified with. I was leaning towards a girl manatee because girl manatees seemed like they’d be more understanding of the whole having breasts things. But then my husband accused me of being sexist. He started his argument out with the fact that men can get breast cancer too, but his real argument was that guys like boobs. Therefore, my manatee should be a guy.
I still wasn’t convinced. Like baby names, I collected a cute list of girl manatee names: Esmerelda, Gertrude, Trixie (after Trixie Belden of course). But then my husband pulled out the big guns. If my manatee was a boy, he could be a drag queen. He gets me. He really does. So I allowed him to name him as a reward for that brilliant suggestion. And he came up with Hugh. Get it? HughManatee. Please don’t encourage him.
Hugh seems to be right at home here. He’s already hanging out with Peaches & Cream Ken. The cats seem to like him.
Hugh promptly ate the flowers that another of my wonderful friends sent to me.
Hugh has been and will be joining me for all the fun cancer activities I have planned for this wonderful visit to Cancerland. He’s got his own special manatee bag.
My mom made me promise to not introduce Hugh to my doctors on any of my first visits. Luckily, Hugh’s flippers were crossed. Besides – my mom should know me better than that.
So far Hugh has gotten to put his flippers through the boob holes in my breast cancer center’s MRI machine.
Like I’ve mentioned before – a breast cancer center seems to have everything a regular cancer center does, just with boob holes in everything. He got to pose with the two lovely radiology nurses. He got to stay in the control room while my MRI was being done. My nurses seemed delighted with Hugh, and thought he and an amazingly high amount of Xanax would get me through this MRI in a very creative fashion.
I got a picture with two of doctors. The doctor that performed my biopsy and read my MRI results is here. She’s awesome. Cancer should never fuck with her.
My surgical oncologist made me promise not to post his picture all over Facebook. This is a shame because this man has gone to the Crystal River and swam with manatees. He even has a small manatee figurine (one of his staff told me). Luckily, I came up with a compromise. I only have the iPhone app for CatPaint. I was very upset to find that there was no ManateePaint app.
It’s in his surgical notes for my case that his Hugh will be able to hang out in the operating room and send me calming manatee vibes. I think he would be very good at poker, because at no time did he give me a “Bitch – you be crazy” look.
The people he works with are also amazing. George is the guy in shades. Cancer should never fuck with George.
Hugh hung out with my mom and me when I had to go to UT for bone scan & CT scan. This was terrifying. First, I had to get an IV put in. I’ve already detailed my phobia of needles. Then I had to take tests that would tell me if my cancer had gone metastatic. Luckily I had a man that was a boss at starting IVs AND he liked Hugh.
Hugh cuddled with me while I got the IV put in (He thinks I’m HILARIOUS when I take Xanax) and he helped me drink the crazy amounts of water you have to drink when you have these scans.
Like I’ve told you all before: I’m not really interested in fighting cancer. I’m leaving that up to the professionals in the medical field – both doctors and researchers. I want to get through this whole experience and put it behind me. While going through this, I want to make cancer feel really bad because I’m mocking it so much, but I know it disconcerts some of you when I say I don’t plan to kick cancer’s ass. You don’t need to be scared anymore. I’ve got Hugh. I can concentrate on getting better and mocking cancer; Hugh can attack cancer with his crazy ninja kickass cancer moves. Hugh has some amazing gun skills as well. More news on that later.
But you know what really helps? That my amazing friends and family and my wonderful blog readers understand these concepts:
I added a new item to my bucket list – swim with manatees. And all of the silly gifts, silly and/or heartfelt notes, offers to make superhero capes for Hugh and/or me and cheering me on with encouraging messages on Facebook, Twitter, my blog and the message board I run? I know exactly what that means.
I love you too. So damn much. Between Hugh and you all? I got this.