Cesspool of toxic waste

Yesterday I had to “do my business” outside our house. Not once, but twice. Ick!  Doing one’s business in a public place in Mexico is a horrible experience guaranteed to cause PTSD in even the hardiest souls. Going to battle with a Mexican bathrooms is not fun.  Of course there are hundreds upon hundreds of lovely bathrooms in Mexico. This blog post is not about them.

I don’t know why so many Mexican restrooms look like they have been bombed. It’s not something I understand, but it happens repeatedly.

You can usually count on one or more of the following happening:

  1. No toilet paper (50 percent chance)
  2. No hand soap (70 percent chance)
  3. No toilet seat (85 percent chance)
  4. Overflowing waste baskets (50 percent chance)
  5. Toilets that won’t flush (50 percent chance)

I’m getting more and more used to these less than ideal conditions but yesterday with my stomach acting up, I just about lost it.  The first bathroom (in a really nice cafe we go to all the time) had one stall completely out of toilet paper and the other stall had no toilet seat!

The second place we visited (a cultural center set-up music and food festival) had no toilet seat either in one stall, and while they did have soap– hooray! – they didn’t have any paper towels.  I found it even more interesting that when I was in the bathroom, they had someone cleaning it but she simply told me in Spanish that no paper towels were to be found.

If a bathroom has a toilet seat, paper towels, hand soap, and is clean, I always say a little prayer of gratitude in my head. I really do!

The state of Mexican bathrooms is of great interest to me because in Japan (where we’ll be living in the spring) every single public restroom even in the busiest train stations is spotless. I trust their state of cleanliness so much, I would completely adhere to the “five second rule” if a piece of candy fell on the floor.  I would do it!   I would eat it. I trust their state of cleanliness that much. I’ve never seen such clean bathrooms in my life!  They never run out of toilet paper or hand towels and their soap containers are overflowing with sweet smelling, silky liquids. Don’t even get me started on how high tech their toilets are!

We’re headed to the United States soon for four days. I’ll see my oncologist and Andy will get some tests.  Then we’ll be back in Morelia for 12 days before we move to Zihuataenjo for four months. I’m excited to return to the beach.




Happy Cancerversary to Me!

I’m a chick who defies odds. This much is apparent. At birth, I weighed just 2 pounds, 11 ounces. I came out of my mom two months early and it was unclear if  would live. But I’m here now dazzling readers with my witty musings so that’s good enough for me. My early entry into this world was just the first time I beat the odds.

Fast forward to the spring of 2015 when I got diagnosed with advanced stage ovarian cancer.  The odds said I shouldn’t get cancer so young, at age 48.  The odds said I probably wouldn’t have the BRCA 1 gene mutation, but the odds were wrong again.


This photo is so special to me.  I don’t know how I managed to smile so widely, but this photo was taken the day I got diagnosed.


I think the pain pills must have had me smiling after my cancer surgery.

Now today, November 5, I’ve defied the odds again!  It’s my 3 year cancerversary!  I finished chemo three years ago today!


Andy sported a cool bandanna to keep my bald head company.

Three years ago today, I left Kaiser hospital in Oakland feeling weak from 18 weeks of chemo.  Andy and I hadn’t yet decided to move to Mexico and I was 4 months into a new job as the Executive Director of the Walnut Creek Education Foundation. Little did I know that we’d eventually quit our jobs, move to Mexico and live a completely different type of life.  I never imagined I would be cancer-free three years after my initial diagnosis. I simply assumed I would be fighting another bout of ovarian cancer because most people with my type of cancer recur within 18-24 months after stopping chemotherapy and once the cancer does come back, it’s considered incurable. Even worse…it comes back in 70-80 percent of women.  I’m still going strong at 36 months with no sign of cancer rearing its ugly head.  I’m incredibly lucky.  Most women diagnosed with ovarian cancer aren’t. I’ve already lost one friend (diagnosed the same time as me) and another friend has had a very, very short lived remission. She’s back fighting this ugly beast.

I don’t know how much longer I can continue to be someone who defies these sucky odds. Many, many days I worry about my cancer coming back. I try hard to keep my fears in check, but the odds are not in my favor. If I can make it cancer-free to the five year mark, I have a good chance of beating it completely, but that’s still a very long way off.  So I continue to try to live in the moment. I continue to celebrate life, celebrate love, and live.

Happy Cancerversary to me!