Chronicling Breast Cancer: Bathrooms, iPhones And Other Adventures

I used to go 3,000 miles before needing a commode and now I can't go three blocks. All I look for is the universal sign for restroom.
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Today, the HOTY (a/k/a Husband of the Year) and I were in LA for an appointment with my plastic surgeon (my post-mastectomy and reconstructed lady lumps still looking good, by the way!) and to play a little bit. Sounds nice, right? A little sleepover getaway.

Could it possibly be that easy breezy? Not a chance.

As you all may remember (or have willfully forgotten), after my surgery I had some major (MAJOR) plumbing problems ... as in non-functional. Total shutdown.

Now, I have the opposite problem. OPPOSITE. I know, it's unbelievable. I could not possibly make this s**t -- pun intended -- up!

I used to go 3,000 miles before needing a commode and now I can't go three blocks. I used to be a scratch shopper in Beverly Hills, but now all I look for is the universal sign for restroom. I've even learned the word in multiple languages to save time, which is of the essence: salle de bain, bano, אמבטיה, Seomra Folctha, Koupelna. Can you tell how many neighborhoods I've been in today?

Seriously, commodes are now ALL I think about, all day long (sometimes in technicolor). What happened to the old expression "in by 9, out by 5″? Now, for me, it's "in at 9 out IN 5" -- if I'm lucky.

You would be amazed at how unpicky you become when you really have to go. A good (or even decent) flush is all that's required. Today, I "did my business" as our 4 3/4 year-old daughter says, in places as varied as Hermes (five stars), Prada (four stars), Brentwood Country Mart (three stars) and a gas station (minus five stars).

I especially love when I ask where the closest (emphasizing CLOSEST) restroom is and I get the following response: "Leave out the back door, take a left, then a right and then go up a ramp and down a long hallway. It will be on your right. You can't miss it." WTF? I am not looking to circumnavigate the globe. I just need go to the ladies' room. Need being the operative word. Did these people not see the sweat on my brow or my trembling hands? Obviously not. I have no time, though, to debate these instructions. I just have to hope that I can remember the ludacris directions and make it in time.

On a positive note, I had a designated driver (the HOTY) today, but not for the purpose I would have hoped. As if he wasn't already Husband of the Year (for 2010 AND 2011), he rose to the occasion today and ensured that I made every pit stop in a timely manner.

Throughout all of this, the HOTY has been hoping for some modicum of regularity in all things (in anything really): sleep, eating, potty etc. "Wouldn't it be nice if you could keep the metronome in the middle range instead of going from one extreme to the other?" he asked. Oh, honey, I wish. There ain't nothing fun about this!

On a side note, I have an idea: Could someone (PLEASE) come up with an application that would use my iPhone GPS to show me where all of the available restrooms are (and preferably if they are occupied or unoccupied)? And then, like a heat-seeking missile, I could head for the one most readily available. It's the least that Apple could do for a girl in these dire circumstances! Right?

On yet another note, people constantly ask: "Did you try X or Y?" (to alleviate my disorder). Let me just say YES. I have tried everything! I have so many pills to take for so many different things at so may different times, each of which is designated to start some things and stop others. Maybe I should start taking them in alphabetical order. Hmm ... now I haven't tried that.

As is the case throughout this FBC journey, for every downer there are two silver linings. Today was no exception:

  1. I had an extraordinary, Bondurant-trained driver (the husband) who stopped at nothing (and I mean NOTHING) to ensure that I found a WC the moment I needed it.
  2. I didn't have an accident.
  3. For a brief moment in time, I know what it feels like to be sample size. Let me just say that it ain't worth getting

Wishing you all silver linings in your toilette du jour.

Addendum: I asked if Apple would (please!) create an iPhone application to direct a desperate person to a toilette. Great news: I have found that there IS an iPhone application called SitOrSquat: Bathroom Finder. It is a free and extraordinarily genius application. Thank goodness that tomorrow I'll have an actual tool to help me navigate my way around the WC world.

To read more about Hollye's holistic and humorous journey over, around, above and below breast cancer, please visit her blog, Brookside Buzz ( You may email her at