Thanks For The Mascara, Tammy Faye.

There is a lady that works at our neighborhood grocery store.  She is perhaps…hmmm…160, maybe 170 years old.  Always with the smiling.  The English…ehhhh…iz noht so good.  But she is always there with that smile. And a kind word and fake grocery store money for the kids.  I’m pretty sure she stashes it in her bra but at least it’s nice and warm when they get it.  We call that ‘Meemaw Cash’.

I love her.

For her smile and words and all of that but what I REALLY love her for is her MAKE UP!  It. Is. Ah. Mazing.  And the hair…a swirling, sugary pile of color and light.  And more color.

Remember Mimi from The Drew Carey Show?


MiiiiMiii…hand over the spray paint and no one gets hurt…

Yeah, she kind of makes Mimi look like an Amish nun. (Let me save you the Google…that’s not a real thing. But it should be.)

So I’ve always loved her, but now I ‘get’ her.  I just know that she wakes up every morning, feeds her cat, waters her African Violet (I can sense it…see owns an African Violet and it sits on a very starched doily) and then she marches into her bathroom and trowels on those layers because it makes her feel better and braver to face the world with a little armor.  And it works.  She just radiates happiness.

I’ve started ‘getting ready’ almost every day now.  Make up. Hair. Nice clothes.  EARRINGS!  That’s a big one for me.  If I’m wearing earrings, take that as an outward symbol that something is probably exploding inside of my body.

Like today.  Skirt. Boots. Nice jacket.  And a trip up to see the rheum again.  Biopsy results are in.  That weird rash on my arms?  Cooooome oooon dooown MORE vasculitis. (Say what you want about the ol’ sassculitis but he sure knows how to keep the romance fresh.)

So now they are pulling out the big guns.  Apparently I’m a bit of a mystery case…uhhh paging Dr. House!  I need a surly Englishman with a limp and a prescription drug addiction.

Here’s where we sit.  Weaning me off of the steroids…sloooooow like a herd of turtles stampeding through peanut butter.  I’m on 60mg/day and can come down 5mg every 5 days.  WHOA DOC!  SIMMER DOWN!  On the plus side we’ll be able to combine the the boys’ college graduation parties with my ‘No More ‘Roids’ party…

BUT.  Blub blub blub. I start Dapsone.  Okay, definitely don’t Google that.  Because that there is, uh, one of them drugs used to treat LEPROSY.  It’s not nearly as glamorous as it sounds…despite all of my begging and pleading, apparently I don’t get to down my pills while lounging in a hammock in the South Pacific.  In a leprosy colony but still…show me a mom that wouldn’t take THAT vacation.  And I’ll show you a liar.

It makes me feel better to think that she's missing her feet because she's a leper.

It makes me feel better to think that she’s missing her feet because she’s a leper.

Next up…he’s worried that this ‘very unusually resistant strain of vasculitis’ is being caused by something bad that is currently asymptomatic (holy cheddar that was a hard word to spell!).  So something is lurking in there that has yet to rear it’s purdy little head.  We need to ‘go on a witch hunt’.  His words.  (Maybe I need to dial down the eye makeup.)  Then he threw out words like, ‘lymphoma, CT scans, colonoscopy, mammogram, chest xray’ while I nodded very thoughtfully and tried to make out the brand name on the arm of his glasses.  (Calvin Klein in case you’re interested.)  I had a mammogram last summer (patting self on back), I just had a chest xray to rule out Wegeners Syndrome and I had a lymph node biopsied last fall that came back clean (probably the start of all of this mess but I didn’t realize it at the time).  So that leaves the abdomen as the last place that lymphoma can hide.  We’ll hold off on the colonoscopy until everything is back in.  That’s okay…it will give the doctor time to save up for the nice dinner I’m assuming he’ll be buying me first. I’ll be glowing with radiation by the time this is all over but keep in mind that I will be renting myself out to light up your next nighttime backyard soiree.

Then it was up on the table to check all of my lymph nodes.

“Just put this gown on.  You can leave on your underwear.”

Uhhh…except.  It’s laundry day and I may or may not be wearing underwear.  (Not.) And I HAVE to tell him this so he doesn’t get a shock and drop to the floor clutching his chest because I’ve gotta tell you…despite the Calvin Klein glasses, he’s old and I am NOT up to date on my CPR training.

Gah.  I put on my leggings this morning and thought, “Just wait for your clothes to finish drying and PUT ON UNDERWEAR!”  But you know how it is once you actually GET the leggings on. Then the other side of my brain (I call her Judy…like from the tiny hands Kristen Wiig skit), Judy says, “Naaaaah…who is ever going to know??”  Well JUDY…just you and me the the doctor who you just made blush.  Geez.

"Don't put on underwear!  Eat a squirrel!"

“Don’t put on underwear! Eat a squirrel!”

I tell you this story to illustrate to you that rarely a day goes by where I don’t somehow embarrass myself.  The earth may in fact stop spinning if I ever behaved like a normal civilized human.  So you’re welcome for the gravity and oxygen and all that.

Anyway…I’m all for finding out what is going on inside my body so test away.  And bring on the Dapsone.  Hit me with what you’ve got and then if nothing works (or even when it does), I’ll feel confident knowing I’ve exhausted all of my medical options.  So until May the 7th…I’m all yours, Doc.  (Errrrr…maybe not the best way to put it in light of recent non-underwearing incident.)

And also…next time you see that little old lady with the lipstick waaaay outside the lines of her mouth…tell her she looks nice.  Because she does.