You Wouldn’t Like Me When I’m Angry.

A woman who no one in my family had met before died and I sobbed about it. She lost her battle with pancreatic cancer at about 11am last Sunday, according to a post on Facebook.

My dad, too, cried over the woman who we’d never met in person and didn’t really know– the woman in the picture with her death announcement was a total stranger to us. If we’d have seen a “healthy” Albie on the street, we would’ve walked on by without a second look. It was the same way with my mama. People who met her during her 8-month battle with pancreatic cancer were shocked at seeing the pre-disease pictures we’d chosen for her memorial service. This disease strips every inch of meat from its victim’s body until nothing remains but a half-alive skeleton. And it gets worse, so much worse.

My dad and I had just finished a greasy diner breakfast (note: challah french toast is king) and on our walk back to my apartment dad brought up Albie. Neither of us knew how she was doing and the last we’d heard she was taking a “much needed break” from her treatment beginning late July. We’d only ever communicated with Albie via Facebook since “meeting” her in a pancreatic cancer support group last fall. The newest post on her wall said Albie had passed away that morning, and my dad and I read in disbelief.

I get mad sometimes. I used to get mad all the time back when my mama was still fighting and it felt like our family lived at her cancer center. We were surrounded by sick people all the time. I was mad because while I spent all my time with people who were either dying, on the road to dying, or lucky and beating death to a pulp, other people kept on keepin’ on with living. I was mad because before I knew what cancer really was I’d also kept on keepin’ on with life. I’m doing it again, too. We all keep on keepin’ on by going to work, making dinner, working out at the gym, meeting up with friends, falling in love, getting married, buying table lamps and oval-shaped rugs and those damn decorative pillows, and we live our lives. It’s the way we’re supposed to live in a continuos and unaffected circle of life. And, I hate it.

I hate the saying: “keep on keepin’ on” mostly because it sucks. Not only has it grown cliche and too sorority (I’m a member of the tribe) but who the fuck in need was ever helped by shit staying the same? What progress has come from us keepin’ on keepin’ on with zero change?

I guess, I’m still kind of mad. I’ll tell you why. (Ha, of course, I will.)

One triumphant moment in my history of being the younger sibling was when I explained something to my big brother (aka my superior who I will never be as kewl as, ever) and he said: that’s a good point! Fellow baby sibs will understand this. This is not shit that happens for us v. often. My brother and I were sitting on our mama’s bed–we all took turns guarding her during those last weeks just in case the mighty angels came down and swept her away in chariots of fire or whatnot–it was our turn and we started debating her initial decision to have fought this stupid terminal disease. Coming out the gate 8-months ago, her doctors were clear on this is how it ends: she dies while her children sit on her bed watching. But she wanted to fight and she fought like hell. The side effects of chemo sucked the life out of her, though, and she suffered through the cycles of side effects like high fevers and intense weakness, plus exhaustion, and even more nausea, and this super weird cold-sensitivity thing forcing her to eat everything at room temperature and wear *gloves all the time.

So why go through with it all– the extra sickness and constant glove-wearing– if she was dying no matter what? Fair question. But, as I told my brother, someone’s gotta be the one to say no. Rosa Parks said no. She got arrested and didn’t get to ride the bus after her “no” but it definitely stirred shit up for the better. Something NOT okay was going on and because she had the courage to say no, despite the consequences, things changed. And it wasn’t an overnight change. IDK (history too well) if she ever got to enjoy the changes she put into motion that day… but, just like my mama, she decided things could not keep on keepin’ on.

Basically, I got my big brother to agree with me that our mom was a lot like Rosa Parks. (He was under a lot of mental and emotional stress back then.)

When it comes right down to it… the reason my mama (and Albie, most likely, also) died is because she starved to death. My mom stopped being able to eat at the end of March, and then her family and close friends had to watch starve to death. For weeks. Day and night. While we planned Easter dinner and then during the entire month of April. We watched her starve for a month and live without water for over 15-days until she died on April 28.

You mad too yet? Nope. Okay, I’ll keep on goin’ on.

My mom’s body stopped digesting solid food and eventually, when even our go-to liquid meal of chicken broth caused her severe pain until being vomited back up, her oncologists suggested (commanded) it was time for hospice care. I’ll remember this forever, of course. It’s imprinted in my soul: the day her oncologist had “reassured” us that her best bet at having more time was by going into hospice care, which my mom surrendered and agreed to, because continuing treatment would kill her. So, her best chance at surviving was to enter into a service that is designed for people who are dying, and they’re dying very soon.

One of the nurses put it best, “Damned if you do. Damned if you don’t.”

When our FB friend, Albie, posted a status saying she was taking a “much needed” break a few weeks ago, my dad and I shared the same thought of that’s not good. After my mama had died, Albie checked-in on us often. My dad and I prayed for her every day and talked about visiting, or meeting, her one day. I replied to her comment on my profile picture once saying how much I wished her the miracle my mama never got. She needed to beat this impossible cancer– for her self and her own family but also for my mama. Go, Fight, Win!

But, the pancreas doesn’t respond to chemotherapy. It’s used as palliative care to stop and/or slow the cancer from spreading. It was big, big news when the FDA approved the drug Abraxane for use along with the already used drug, Gemcitibine, in September 2013. Groundbreaking research was done for the discovery that together these two miracle drugs drastically improved the average survival… by two months. The lifespan of patients went from 6-months to 8-months! Woo! That’s the only advancement we’ve made in 20-years.

And yet no one’s called bullshit.

The Pancreatic Action Network (PANCAN) celebrated like it was 1999 again for two more months! No one had the balls to admit two months isn’t enough and we need to do more. Our patients, loved ones, moms and dads, brothers and sisters, children, trial test subjects, whatever these people are to we who care– need more than an additional two months.

Why should we demand more? Why should we care? As we keep on keepin’ by going to Soul Cycle, shopping at Whole Foods for only organic veggies, buying new shoes, being overall dang good people who donate to charity and don’t litter… why stop our lives and care more?

Because, pancreatic cancer will be the second leading cause of cancer deaths in 2020, according to the American Cancer Society stats. It’s moving from the fourth leading cause to the second in less than four and a half years. Add ten years, and it’s predicted that by the year 2030, the number of new pancreatic cancer cases will have doubled and the deaths will have almost tripled. Last year, 46,420 people were newly diagnosed and 39,590 people died.

This cancer is coming for you, or someone who you love even more than you, and there’s no cure. All you can do is plan what to do with the exciting gift of those extra two months.

*I got Mama a little present to cheer her up during the weird cold-sensitivity-thing, and also make her feel a little more useful around the house. It was good for her to feel like she still had purpose. I bought her fuzzy gloves that were made for dusting! She, however, did not wear them so it was a loss. Great idea, though, glove company!

#ThrowbackThursday Mama Goose on the Loose.

“Last night I remembered an incident from my childhood and the memory made me cry.”

For #ThrowbackThursday, here’s a story written by my mom. I stole it from her diary… Um, are ghosts like a real thing to worry about? I think she’ll be cool with it. Maybe.

“It was about a time when I was about 8 or 9, and I was with my (older) brother, Steven. Some kids rode by us on their bikes and called him a retard and started making fun of him. I felt embarrassed and ashamed. But, I remember Steven saying to me, “Sissy, me different.” He looked so sad! And then, I felt so sad, because he was so sweet and innocent and he couldn’t be sheltered from the cruel ignorance of the outside world that could hurt him so much. I hate that!”

My mom was in school to be a teacher when I was a kid– it kind of looked like to me that she was always in school through my entire childhood… so, you can understand my confusion when my own college days ended. She started out her career teaching fourth graders, but her true passion– which I’ll bet had a big something to do with she had love for my Uncle Steve– drove my mama to get her masters degree in special education. The number of parents who reached out during her cancer battle, plus the many more who contacted us after her death, thanking her for impacting, and literally changing, how their kids did in school was endless. At the memorial service, we watched as parent after parent stepped up to the mic to share stories about how their child was failing– grade levels behind– in school. Their kids had rosters of previous teachers who’d either given up on them or couldn’t spare the extra time on students with learning differences. But then, my mom came into the equation. Many called her “an angel” who was amazingly patient and who understood there are many different ways children can learn. Her teaching was not only effective, but also, (and the kids would even admit it) fun. She had a special gift for helping her students to regain their confidence, and eventually, to also love learning.

Here’s another one:

“I feel angry at Brent (my dad/her husband) right now because when I called him he didn’t want to talk to me– he said he’d call me back due to last seconds of a football game. This makes me feel hurt knowing a football is more important than me to him. I hate him sometimes for allowing him to control my feelings– why do I let him do that?! But, I care that a football game is more important to him than me– it’s like, I’ll always be there but the football game won’t. It makes me think and want not to always be there– so there! Hah! Feelings: resentful, worried, angry, hurt, sad, and fear. Fear is usually behind anger, and the fear is that he doesn’t care and if he doesn’t care then our relationship won’t last.”

It lasted. My parents were married for three decades, and it was about a week after their 30th anniversary that my mom first went into the ER because of bad, bad, stomach cramps. Another week passed, and she was at a follow-up appointment when her primary care doctor first discovered the tumor on an ultrasound. A week later, my was diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer, which is hopelessly terminal, on her 59th birthday. It was 28-years since she’d jotted down her anger over my dad watching that football game– she had no way of knowing, back then, not only would her marriage last, it would survive through so many imperfect life things. A couple months after her diagnosis, my dad left his job, (which ironically, he ended up being an exec at a sporting goods company. Maybe, all that OT watching football paid off… Mama sure did enjoy the heated seats in her Lexus.) He knew I needed help caregiving and also my mama just plain needed him. And he was there. My parents got into a habit during the last months of my mama’s life that was so heartwarming and sweet. They’d both end up waking up around 3 or 4am every night, my dad said, like clockwork. My mama would put her head on his shoulder and let him hold her, and then they’d talk, and they’d remember all the crazy stories from their lasting marriage. (Maybe even the one where my mom almost killed my dad bc he wouldn’t stop watching football.)

I Want My Mommy.

RORY: All I could think of the minute you left was “I want my mommy.” I haven’t thought that since I was two.

LORELAI: That’s natural.

RORY: I’m eighteen. I can sign contracts, I can vote, I can fight for my country. I mean, I’m an adult. Adults don’t want their mommies.

LORELAI: Yes, they do, honey. I’m not a good example, but –

RORY: Everything’s so foreign. I have to share a bathroom. I’ve never shared a bathroom with anyone but you. So I’m gonna be running into people in the bathroom, we’re gonna have to make small talk. I don’t know any bathroom small talk.

LORELAI: Um. . .gee, your hair smells terrific?

RORY: You didn’t socialize me properly. You made me a mama’s girl. Why don’t I hate you? Why don’t I want to be away from you? It’s going to be very hard to be Christiane Amanpour broadcasting live from a foxhole in Tehran with my mommy. I guess you’re just gonna have to learn how to operate a camera ’cause I’ll need you there with me.

LORELAI: I would do that.

RORY: And how did I end up at Yale? I mean, I let Grandma and Grandpa manipulate me right out of Harvard and into Yale. That’s how strong-willed I am. I know nothing about Yale.

LORELAI: Not so – you’ve memorized its entire history.

RORY: How can you be so fine with this? You left here without a care in the world.

LORELAI: That’s not true.

RORY: You couldn’t wait for me to get out of the house. What were you doing when I paged you – turning my room into a sewing room? I should hate you, not miss you. Do something to make me hate you.

LORELAI: Uh. . .go Hitler!

(One of Mama’s favorite Gilmore Girls episodes, 4.02: The Lorelais’ First Day at Yale)

I couldn’t agree more. Life just isn’t fun without Mama. It’s just not. I feel robbed. So many others, too, feel robbed. My Aunt texted me yesterday, saying how she feels robbed of spending retirement visiting, shopping and knitting (well, my Aunt knitting while Mama pretends) together, my dad is robbed not only of growing old along with someone but also of the only person who remembers all the stories they’d collected during 30-years together, my mom’s besties are robbed of decades together spent aging gracefully (and disgracefully, bc it’s them, ha) while giggling through it all, my big brother is robbed of having the mother who– despite not sharing an ounce of DNA and completely by choice– raised him and loved him and lit up outer space laughing at his jokes, my brother and I’s kids (not, like, our kids together… like, kids w/ our spouses… this isn’t GOT… also, I feel like I have to explain this abnormally often in conversations) will be robbed of a Nana who couldn’t wait to spoil them and who wanted nothing more than to be a grandma to her very lucky (and not inbreed) gran-babies, my future husband (or cat) will be robbed of meeting the woman who made me… me and will never know the person who has filled the most space in my life, and I am robbed of the many, many more words we would’ve spoken and the tons of fun adventures we would’ve found, together. Screen Shot 2015-05-15 at 9.59.02 PM


My new plan of attack to ward off park peeps from talking to me: My stellar reading material.

The C.S. Lewis book is from my amazing aunt, who was the definition of blood is thicker than water by the love and care she showered my mama with during the past year. C-Dawg wrote this after losing the love of his life, his wife. Writing honestly about how sucky life felt helped him get through his “mad midnight moments” of grief. So. It looks like a perfect read for a gal like me!

The other book, “Motherless Daughters” is super famous. It’s still studied and referenced on the reg since Hope Edelman wrote its first edition 20-years-ago. They hand it to you when your mom dies and then you get sworn into the club… That no one wants to be in.

Ain’t nobody got time for that baggage.

P.S. OMG, that coffee drink is like heaven is my taste buds. We’re getting married. One look at that caramel syrup swirl, and I was drooling-over-the-drizzle in love w/ this sweet little guy! We’re thinking a winter wedding, bc as you’d guess, his blended family doesn’t do so well in the heat! Xoxoxo xoxoxo love love love love!

Why This Babe Writes.

I write this not because I think I’m totally right, at all– I write it because I read, for hours, in the middle of the night when I couldn’t sleep, while I watched the world around me catching fire—burning and smoking and leaving nothing but a crisp, dark memory of what my life was like before grief— I read what was written in most likely the same state I write what I write. And I hope people read. Not because I’m super vain and begging to be heard, but because I don’t know any other way out of that fire in the middle of the night without getting burned. It was the power of knowing I wasn’t alone, while in a house full of people who came to ‘be there’ for us, and that there were other people who’d lost mom or dad, brothers and sisters, and worse than I can ever imagine, there were parents who’d lost a child. These were the broken people who I made my friends—we were all shattered, but together. And if, while still in pieces and surrounded by slivers with sharp edges pricking their scars, they could continue to live again, well, then
 me too. What I read was sad and hard and made me sob, but it’s the only comfort I felt– just knowing they were still writing.

One thing I recently read, which really nails shit on the head, says grief makes you lose your filter. It’s so true. There are so, so many things I don’t care about anymore— and most of them have to do with what other people think of me. It’s scary and wrong, how little thought I give to what other people are thinking while reading my writing or scrolling through my posts on social media. But it’s the truth: I don’t care. I don’t care because I’d rather have one person, or one follower, who reads my blog or an Instagram caption, or a lonely late night Tweet, and feels a little comfort from it
 over getting thousands of views from people reading pure bullshit and liking everything I do in life. This really isn’t realistic for anyone, of course, but we hella wish it was. And there are so, so many things grief takes away from caring about… ‘what people think’ is so, so very low on my list of things worth ever caring about again.

Let’s Agree to Disagree With Me, Kind Of.

A couple days ago, I posted some writing in opposition to the Slob Rant by a writer at the New York Post. I came across it because one of my favorite writers dropped a post opposite to in opposition to the rant, erm– I mean that he agreed with it. Both writers jibe that people who dress like slobs look like, well, slobs. (They use a few harsher terms, too. RE: Subhuman, which I’m now aiming for as a goal to be labeled… It sounds like I’m a character from X-Men and I get to go to the school for gifted youngsters.) I’m still v. much in agreement with, and a fan of, my post opposing their slob theories. However, I’ll admit I am also in opposition to my opposition.

(RE: My mind should be studied by professionals, or better, read by *Prof. X.)

I posted my daily #IAmWorthIt pic on Instagram and the caption is in opposition to my previous post in opposition to the rant post. I wanted to share it:

I'm usually v. against feet pics but there's always the exception. Pictured here is my feet (again, sorry!) wearing wedges & my legs wearing new jeans. Last wk I wrote a blog after reading two writers rant about how people need to dress better… I was like: AH, HELL NO. However after laying on my floor for an hour or so earlier, I would like to revise my statement: MAYBE. Although I still think there are way more fun & important things in life than wearing proper clothes places, (ex: love, chewing gum & the pursuit of happiness, & plus there's Netflix!) I do agree I was wrong maybe… I kinda have given up on my life. I'm 24, and I have zero excitement about my future… Not okay. It's hard planning a life that doesn't include my mama. But I also don't wanna spend any more time crying on my dirty floor (it'll still happen, sometimes.) I may not know what my plan is now but I think it starts w/ today… Taking baby steps forward in my wedge heels & my big girl pants, bc HELL YAAS, #IAmWorthIt (P.S. my big girl pants literally bc my new pants are a bit too big… But see? I got room to grow in so many ways!)

A post shared by stephrosedoan (@stephrosedoan) on

*Last Halloween, my brother and I had begged and pleaded for my mama– who’d lost all of her hair as a chemo side effect– to dress up as Professor X. We even made plans to borrow a wheelchair from the cancer hospital as she didn’t have (or need) to own one yet. But alas, she decided no.

P.S. I did suffer a bit while I was nicely dressed. And, my pain was caused bc I was, for real, “lookin’ cute.” I was caught off guard when this random man approached me, IN THE DARK! HE GAVE ME A HEART ATTACK. Then it got worse: he spoke. Despite, mind you, that I was wearing headphones…for the love of God, why?! He said, “Can I ask you a question? (No.) My friends and I were just talking (Good! Go back to them. I bet they miss you!) about if it weirds people out more when someone comes over to talk to them if it’s dark out? Like, instead of, when it’s noon and the sun’s coming down and there’s more light.” I shit you not… That is what he said. I cannot, cannot, cannot make this shit up, people! If I could, I wouldn’t have a stupid blog for free, bc I’d have a bestseller, and y’all would be rubbing my feet while feeding me Oreos, yum! I replied, “Yes. It’s freaky. Especially, just now, when you gave me a heart attack. This is the time of night when homeless people come around asking for money.” He told me his life story, asked for my number, and said I look “really cute” 😩 Damn these wedges & big pants! The sun had just set, and luckily, there was still enough light out that I could see he didn’t have a weapon, or pizza, so I safely and politely said no.

P.P.S. My final word on dressing well is it may not be for parks.

Swiffer WETJET Mops Are Derailing American Lives.

My apartment still feels nothing like home, and even worse, I’m sitting here reading the directions to my Swiffer WETJET mop. Summmmmer Friddddday, woo!

My mop, let’s call it Swiffy, isn’t spraying the secret sauce (cleaning formula) when I push the button. My bathroom tile definitely needs extra secret sauce because it’s no where near what I can only guess was the original color, white. But no spray is coming out! Nada. Nothing happens no matter how many times I repeatedly push the button, which 100 percent works on crowded elevators. Brushing around with a dry cleaning pad saddled onto Swiffy isn’t going to do anything but burn calories. Not a bad gain, but I would also like to clean my floor. I’m a modern woman who can workout her dominate arm AND make the floor shiny, too. I am showing women that you can have it all, every day. But not really, because I can’t figure out how to work my mop. My Swiffy just ain’t jiffy.


I’m excited because I just got my delivery from Crate&Barrel! I bought a new laundry basket with wheels, (notice, I say with not on wheels because I can’t get the wheels onto it), a small bathroom trash basket and matching tissue box cover, two pretty sea foam color towels, and what I needed most, a rug for my bathroom floor that actually fits inside the bathroom! It’s big, guys. As in, like big news. It’s not a big rug. It’s actually much smaller than what it’s replacing.

My problem with Swiffy came about because I don’t want to put my nice, new, sea foam color bath rug on a dirty floor. Logically, this would end the world. And, it would be gross.

And then, just now, it hit me (the truth not the mop)… maybe it’s not Swiffy’s fault. Maybe, it’s the same problem for ALL the Swiffer WET JET mops, and it turns out, all along none of the mops actually spray secret sauce. It’s a mind trap. Have you ever really investigated as to whether or not your Swiffer mop is really shooting out the cleaning stuff? How often in this busy life do we not stop for moment and look up to see where we’re going, or look down to see what we’re mopping, too often! I don’t think I’ve ever paused in my day-to-day jaunt through life to examine the bottom of my, or any, mop. So, if we’re not cleaning our floors with these super handy, easy, must-have, cleaning tools, then what does this mean for us as consumers…? We’re all just brushing around dirt and burning dominate arm calories while ‘The Man’ aka, the corporation who makes Swiffer WETJET, collects our hard earned dollars!

And these gadgets are not cheap! Mine was a pricey 30 dollars at WalMart… Guys, at WalMart. That kind of money there means I had to get someone wearing a blue employee vest, who hopefully worked there, to get a key to unlock the glass case where they keep really luxe brands, like Swiffer. Yet, despite my investment– here I am– with my fancy floor mop and my still dirty floor. Does this seem right to you? I hope not.

I started wondering, how long have we blindly allowed this cruel corporate foolery to go on? When did the day arrive that Swiffer first sought to ruin what was once a nice, clean, family-friendly chore called mopping and to turn their product into not just a cleaning device, but a device to capture souls into its CEO’s tyrant grip? What would our world look like today if we’d never allowed these varmints into our homes, our private lives and our bathrooms?

I will tell you one thing, for sure: It would look like a lot more clean floors.

And while I was asking all these brave questions about the powerful history of Swiffer WETJET mops, I read the instructions on the package. Turns out, I need to insert a couple AA batteries prior to using it so that the spray comes out! Oopsie, sorry guys… No worries. It’s my bad. Swiffer, we are totally cool. Thanks again for cleaning our floors all these years.