2023-02-16 But what does “real life” look like?…

It’s the middle of the month. I’m still lamenting being home from our big vacation and trying to keep things well balanced. There’s a let down, you know, when something wonderful is over and the best way to combat that is planning the next vacation. 😂 I’m thinking of several actually and daydreaming is nice. 

But there’s no stopping real life either and sooner or later, attention must be paid. 

So what’s new? What’s the “real life” situation today? 

Well first things first… it’s a serious snow day. I woke up to several inches of new fluffy white stuff covering everything. 

Back in the day, when the kids were still in school, there would be much excitement about having an unscheduled day off and a lot of positive energy about the day. But now.. Z is at UNL and probably grumbly about making it to her early Thursday class and C doesn’t have to wake up for his next work shift until 1PM. So it’s pretty quiet and normal. 

I’m getting my daily cardio and after that I will roam the house doing morning chores—dishes, litter boxes, filling food and water dishes, and feeding the fish. Thursday is also the day for washing towels and folding any laundry left in the laundry room. Super exciting. 😂

Then of course I have unfinished business with TGLR. You know, that bottomless to-do list but if the snow continues my plan to visit my parents in CB will be canceled and ill have extra time to take care of lit mag business. Maybe crawl out of that virtual hole a little bit and not feel so much constant stress about being behind. 

What else? Maybe I’ll read that book I started on vacation. Ha! Or work on my writing?! Wonder what that would be like. 

My brain is definitely waffling about where the day could go… and where this post is going. Which seems to be like nowhere. 

Perhaps a bit of self promo? After a long dry spell, I finally have a new poem up at a lit mag called Drunk Monkeys. Despite the name, it is a more reputable place. Reputation, however, is somewhat like poetry itself in that the quality is in the eye of the beholder. 

This poem started as one thing and turned into something completely different as I was writing it. And it went through very few revisions before I considered it worthy of submission. One of those beautiful instances where, once it was written, it got picked up right away and therefore I never had to endure the countless rejections that always seem to make me lose confidence in the quality of the work. 

All that to say, I personally really think it’s a good one. Of course, in this case, I’m the beholder so I’ll let you judge for yourself…

Massage Poem
Published online by Drunk Monkeys
Vol. 8 No. 2
February 2023

The fact I can share this is the best part of online lit mags. Once it’s out in the world, it’s free to find its way to just about anywhere. It’s just a click away. Perhaps I’ll even post on the dreaded socials. 

Like I said, the poem turned into something completely different than my original thought. I wrote from one of my writing retreats in Nebraska City, and I think it was my first day there. I believe I had recently had a massage and was still thinking about that form they always make you fill out. The one that includes your brief medical history even though you’re only there (at least in my case) for a relaxing experience and not actual physical therapy. I always want to ❌ it all out and write “just here for some self care and pampering.” 

The poem obviously had different plans for what it wanted to say… which is how cancer found its way into the lines. 


Almost two years ago now, in the spring, my mom ended up having emergency surgery for a tumor that had completely closed off a section of her intestines. The ER doc at the time callously and nonchalantly told her she was full of cancer. What a way to find out. There was no indication before that and after several tests and the initial surgery, they said it was ovarian—stage 3C. A very grim diagnosis. 

But without the surgery she would have died, so there wasn’t a lot of time to talk about prognosis or options. 

Every single step after that has been just that.. the next logical step in a tried and true treatment plan: 

  1. Six months of chemo, which she tolerated really well. 
  2. A second surgery to remove all the residual tumor tissue and several internal parts she no longer needs—places that would only serve as a breeding ground for any cancer left hiding in her system. 
  3. A third surgery to repair her bowels. 
  4. A fourth surgery to finish that repair as it can only be done in two procedures in her case. 

Of course all this took a long time… with so many tests, several serious complications, and countless trips to medical facilities all over the metro. All told about 18 months. And we weren’t even using the word remission yet when a recent test revealed that cancer cells had been detected again in lymph nodes in her lower abdomen. The next step? More chemo. Another round of 8 treatments. She just had her first one last week and did not tolerate it as well. 

It’s on my mind because I was supposed to go visit her today to talk about it all. Another tough conversation and one I’ve been avoiding in my mind. I suppose that’s part of what I was referring to with my “real life” comment at the top of this post. I suppose if I keep writing now it’s going to get long and depressing. And I don’t want to go there. Not today anyway. 

So I think that’s going to be it. Like my poem, this started out as one thing but switched to something altogether different in the making. Such is life. 

Until next time, 
~Miss SugarCookie 

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