Thursday, March 17, 2005


I'm not by nature superstitious. This is not particularly anything I can claim credit for, I just don't run that way. But there are gifts I have gotten lately that have come to be talismans for me and some deeply superstitious part of me has been tapped. One of them is my El Riesco Siempre Vive hat and another is my Fuck Cancer hat. I wear my wig almost everywhere in public, but on chemo days, it's a scarf and one of the hats. I pretend that it's practical, but the truth is that when I'm wearing a gift I feel...gifted. I feel wrapped in charity, in caritas. I don't feel as if something will go wrong if I don't wear them, but I feel safer and comforted in them.

They are magic. For me that means, it turns out, that they have to be a gift. I can't go out and buy magic. Maybe I could make it on my own, but I haven't tried. My husband is a skeptic. Bob subscribes to The Skeptical Inquirer. He's a skeptic the way some people are Catholic. This isn't to say that he doesn't have his own secret talismans--he has worn a yellow Livestrong bracelet every day for months and if it isn't a comfort to him, it is certainly a comfort to me. But mostly he isn't a lucky charm kind of guy.

But even he was as blown away as I was by my new jacket. It's a jacket my by a Texas woman shaman. I'm not going to identify her by name, although the people who helped her know who she is and who they are. The feeling of magic just rolls off this jacket. It's covered, quilted in personal symbols--Chinese ideograms for health, two Ferrari's (printed on cloth, and Bob and Adam were both very psyched) cranes for longevity, butterflies, birds, blue water. I've never, ever owned anything like it in my life.

I don't know how to say thank you for the hours and care that went into this jacket. I'll get Bob to take a digital photo of it. (I keep taking it out and showing it to people.) Today, for the first day, it's warm enough that I can wear it when I go in for my CAT Scan.

A good friend of mine was wrongly fired and Cleveland writing community rose up and spontaneously started a campaign that got him re-hired. We sent letters, copies of which ended up with my friend. He said that it was a little like the scene in Tom Sawyer where the boys get to hear their own eulogies. I feel that, too. I feel as if I have been cosseted--no buffeted with caring. I wish everyone could have this feeling.

But nobody but me can have the jacket.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love the hat. "Fuck Cancer" seems like such a cool thing to wear. Cool, not as in fashion, but in aesthetics. Thanks for writing this. I am going to mention the hat at, where people are trying to be crafty without being stuck in the 1950s.

I wrote you 8 or so years ago for an interview for a college newspaper. I'm still an avid fan.

March 17, 2005 5:21 PM  
Blogger Jack Naka said...

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October 05, 2005 3:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am also a cancer survivor and related to everything you wrote. I retired because of it and decided to sell hats and shirts with various cancer slogans. When I went in for my chemo I would be so cold from the poison going in so I just got in full zip sweatshirts that I need to get on my website. I would love for you to visit my site and link me to yours. I would love to do the same for you. My website address is:
Here's to good health for you!!!
Teri Pearson

November 14, 2005 5:08 PM  
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March 24, 2009 12:22 AM  

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