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A bit about the montreal massacre memorial, a bit more about the stowaway

Hello, Beautiful People!

Well. What a great day December 3rd was. Good, anyway. I was played right out, though, I tell you what. I went to the Montreal Massacre Memorial event that Rape Relief puts on every year. This year it was at the Native Education Centre, not the central branch of the library, because there was a flood in the library a couple of months ago and they’ve still not finished cleaning that up.

It was a good space to have it, the NEC. Much smaller than the library, which was kind of good too, because it felt like it was really well-attended. Anyway it WAS well-attended. Women came from all over the place, and all over the politics. Some men, too. Allies, real ones, not the sensitive guytm kind. Though I’m sure there were some of those there for a bit. The roundtable discussions and lectures and conversations hit all the points – Law, activism, social services, education, –the day confirmed that we are living in pretty bleak times, the backlash is strong, women-only spaces are increasingly necessary and increasingly rare, heterosexuality is more forcefully coerced, perhaps more than anywhere else in the queer “community” with that impossible-to-pronounce-homogenizing acronym “Lgbttiqqetc”. I sound flippant every time I talk about the conservatism and misogyny of the trans trend that is promoted by every institution of power, but it is a serious threat to women’s liberation and possibly more effective than Lepine’s 1989 women-hating murderous rampage. Sorry, that was a long sentence, and now I’m going to move on without going into a longer explanation right now of what I mean by all that.

It wasn’t all gloom and doom, thought, not at all! We also celebrated women’s resilience and the powers we share with each other in the pursuit of liberation. It was one of the best memorials I’ve been to. Women get it. Why we have to remember, and what the connections are between the massacre and the challenges the women’s liberation movement faces today. Men don’t. Most men. Not because they’re stupid, but because they don’t want to give up their power and the space and stuff they have (at our expense).  They’re willing to settle for the loss of their humanity in exchange for such power and access. We’re not. Not for them, and certainly not for us.

Anyway, now on to recent updates about the stowaway-

On Wednesday November 30, i went for my first appointment to the BC Cancer Agency, and December 8th to my second. Both times I went with Trish and Su. They took notes and asked good questions. The first time we met Esther, a nurse, Dr. Nichol, the radiation oncologist and Tracy, a counselor. Dr Nichol looks for all the world like an elf! he’s not as short as elves are portrayed, and wasn’t wearing pointy shoes, but otherwise, he looked for A LOT like one of Santa’s helpers. His ears are kind of pointy, and he has a narrow chin beard and a Vandyke moustache. Very cute. But I didn’t mention that to him. He said that as of now, there is no way to safely remove the tumour, and that it would, at some point, grow. Eventually I will have to have radiation and chemotherapy. He described some of the “side effects” (I don’t like that term. There are effects you want, and effects you don’t want—) of radiation. They sound very unpleasant. They didn’t have the genetic results of the biopsy yet, so were not 100% sure of its characteristics, but once that comes in they will be able to recommend what treatment and when. As of December 8th, they did have genetic results, and the doctor we saw then, Dr. Theissen, said that it confirmed I had a gazillion-syllable thing in my head. The name of the genetic result is about 20 times bigger than the tumour itself.  Both doctors said they would opt to monitor the little critter by running my head through  an MRI every few months, and when it starts to grow, then they’ll bring out the radiation and chemo. And he said, there are a whole bunch of studies going on, so it is possible they will have new treatments available in time that will be more effective and not as destructive all around as radiation and chemo. He couldn’t give me a prognosis, but did say that often people live for years with these things. Dr. Theissen was more precise, he said that often people can live for 15-20 years with these things, and usually die of other things before the tumour gets ‘em. Also, I am not allowed to drive for six months. I thought that meant May 21st at 4 pm. But  good news! They don’t count the little seizure I had after the biopsy surgery, only the big terrifying one November 3rd. So that means I can drive starting May 3rd at about 2 pm. That was when I woke up from the first seizure, about 2 pm.

Also, this is bad news, Dr. Thiessen said I could never lift heavy again. Ever. In case I strained (called a Valsalva maneuver), thereby increasing intra cranial pressure and possibly triggering a seizure. Never mind that I’m pretty sure my back is past the heavy squat capabilities, I was planning to compete in 2017. Dammit. No fewer than 15 reps, he said. That’s really sad. I started to cry. Su said, “that’s okay, you can just work out lighter but with more frequency”. I KNOW, but I want to bulk up! I’m looking for the prized no-neck look, fer cryin’ out loud.  I’ll just have to work up to 15 reps of 300 lb squats. That may take a little while. 275 was my best 1 rep max, and that was probably 20 years ago. Sigh.

No one knows what caused it, or how long it’s been there. My auntie believes that the accordion did have something to do with it. Also my unwillingness (inability?) to follow Mom’s orders and tidy my room – “even once, Erin, for pete’s sake!” —

In the meantime, once i recover from the biopsy surgery, I can return to work. so that’ll be January 1st. I feel quite well, except for this awful cold I have, and I still play out earlier in the day than I did before. I guess that’s to be expected when you’ve had brain surgery. The first appointment was pretty overwhelming, the second less so. But both had lots of information, not all of it the news i’d like to receive, but overall, it’s as I expected, except for the part of having this unwelcome squatter in my head forever, and never being able to lift heavy, or hike, swim or even fucking bathe alone. Because of the seizure risk thing. Oh! Dr. Theissen prescribed a better anti-seizure drug than Dilantin. That’s good. Dilantin is terrible – is contraindicated for all kinds of drugs, vitamins and supplements. Also can cause facial hair growth (which I don’t think I’d mind, especially now, it’s so cold here…). Then I would run the risk of being ‘misgendered’ though, more than I am currently, and referred to as a ‘transman’ or ze or they. Of course, I don’t know what pronouns people use when referring to me, as usually you don’t refer to anyone who is with you in the third person. That’s generally rude. I hope they use “That hilarious feminist” as my pronoun.

Anyway, good news is the grumpy stowaway is small and looks like it’s not going to grow anytime soon. Bad news is it’s not likely to leave anytime soon, either. Good news is, LOTS of material for comedy and stories. Bad news is, conductor for seizures so no more heavy lifting. But mostly the good news is that I know how much people love me, and that my contributions so far have mattered to my allies, comrades, fellow travelers. And your contributions to the glorious struggle, to the world banks of love and funny, to our shared and longed-for freedom – are essential. Doesn’t matter if we win (but we will), it matters that we do our best, feel the love, keep the faith and never give up.

That all sounds too schmaltzy and sentimental. Sorry. Oh! One more story – I’ll think of more, I’m sure. During the first cancer agency visit (I don’t have cancer, by the way, that’s another good thing), in between the doctor and the nurse or the nurses and the counselor, Trish, Su and I were tossing around ideas of career options for me, or at least how to generate an income because I gave up a couple of things when I didn’t know whether I’d have treatment or anything. I’ve always wanted to be a minister, or preacher. But I don’t believe in god, so that lets out most Christian denominations. Trish suggested to found a new religion called the Church of the Latter Day Rascals, and I said, “We’ll pray to Grumpy Old Dykes”, and Su said, “God”. I can’t believe I hadn’t thought of grumpy old dykes as an acronym for god before! So now, at my twelve-step meetings, I don’t even mind saying “GOD” because I know what it stands for now. What a relief. You can use it too, if you like. Or, Grumpy Odd Dykes. Just as good.

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About easilyriled

My mom was Edith, my dad was John. I have a brother, who is Shawn. I have many friends and allies and mentors in my life. I'm white, over-educated, under-employed, messy, funny, smart, lesbian, feminist "Not the fun kind", as Andrea Dworkin said. But I, like the feminists I hang with, ARE fun. I play accordion better than I did, and i'm learning the concertina. Slowly.

13 responses »

  1. I just call you Erin and I think you are lovely; without facial hair or a no neck status and I’m grateful you will continue to give so much of yourfeministself to us, the beautiful people.
    I love you! xo
    Erica

    Reply
  2. These blog posts are amazing. Happy, sad, happy, wise, poignant, happy. Love you, for writing it all down. And, for just being you. (Do you have any insight articles or info on the potential controversy re “lgbtqqetc” pronoun kerfuffles? Dilution of the fight for equal rights?) xo

    Reply
    • Hi Lyla, yes, Ruth Barrett just published an anthology called Female Erasure, which is excellent, and has some articles about the acronym and the power of naming to ‘disappear’ women, particularly lesbians. There’s more — a blog by “gender critical” professionals, and purple sage has some good stuff–Sheila Jeffreys is a good author, especially her latest, Gender Hurts. And someday, dammit, I will write something too.

      Reply
    • Plus, thank you. Love to you xo

      Reply
      • Great. Thanks for the info. Looking forward to anything you might write on this topic. There’s not enough out there frankly discussing these issues. Aiming some thoughts at the mainstream, at least someplace like the Tyee, might open some eyes. Yes – it does feel like there’s a big try going on to erase feminism, again. How can we be “post feminism” or any such thing, as long as oppression continues?? Diluting the issues weakens the struggle.

  3. It’s sounding a bit more hopeful Erin. So relieved to hear you don’t have cancer and The Stowaway is slow growing, if at all. Yes, it would be great to get your voice into the mainstream once this is more settled and you’re rested.

    And soooooo sorry about your neck plans gone awry but look on the bright side: there’s always doughnut belly!

    Reply
  4. You’re probably able to see that someone is regularly reading your blog from Phnom Penh in Cambodia so I didn’t just want to be a lurker.. just wanted to thank you for sharing your journey with us.. I don’t want to say I’m enjoying it because it’s such a difficult time for you.. but your writing is beautiful and deeply touching..

    Reply
  5. Erin, OMG! (Ha – somebody had to)
    We’ve been working on the December 6 events out here in middle too, and then I came here to see if you might have posted an update. As always, I am happy and inspired to visit with you. It’s great to ponder the vast scope of work that is being done Everywhere! Wonderful too, to be gifted with your good words, and to find you sharing your story with the immense strength that you always hold, whether you will lift heavy or not. I am sorry that you need to change what has been so important, but have no doubt that you will approach this next revision with humour and curiousity. I’m grateful to know that you are surrounded by caring and embraced by love, and that you have wise experts helping to decipher meaning when the words are too big, or the integration of knowing is uncertain.
    Take good care my friend.
    I hear that you have snow, and that brings visions of light!
    S

    Reply
  6. While you were sleeping (sic): That male person who tried to shut down VRRs Montreal Massacre celebration a couple years ago (because it didn’t focus on him) has been busy. He is not only Female, but now a “mother of two children” I mean he’s killing it, Female, mother, Trans and and has thus been staged in two ridings for the Liberal party. First one didn’t want him. Yay! Winnipeg. Now he’s running for nomination back in Van. Won’t someone think of the children being yanked all over Canada to find a position for their “MOTHER”? Speaking of whom. Has anyone asked her — the actual Mom — what she has to say about her demotion?

    Reply
  7. Merry Christmas Erin and hopes, wishes PLANS that you will have the healhiest 2017. You are going to have a GREAT year. We won’t let it be any other kind.

    xxxRiver

    Reply

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