Riding In A Car With A Boy

It’s been all quiet on little blog, I have many drafts, of many different types of posts but I’m finding it hard to find the words these days or the concentration span.

So in my come back post (as I am melodramatically thinking of it) I am choosing to write on a subject that I find so intoxicatingly, happy inducing I can’t possibly allow my inner gremlins to sabotage it.

Yes, friends I speak of my love of Country Music.

I know, I know, people will sneer and roll their eyes but as I rock around town as a baldy; sunglasses on and Headphones securely in place. It’s my Country Playlist that makes things OK, through the stares and the nudges and the pity.

Hell, it doesn’t just make things OK it makes me want to DANCE.

I discovered Country Music on a road trip, driving around the US of A. I think the sentence says it all, in fact I defy anyone not to fall for the down-home charms of Country under similar circumstances.

This was my first big trip. It was the first big trip I’d taken with a boy. A boy, I’d only been dating for 9 months, a long distance boy. A boy who I’d only spent time with in small doses – 4 days max.

So we did the only sensible thing and planned a month-long road trip to see how well we really got on. It was our ‘put up or shut up’ moment.

At the time, I’d say I was not the most alluring of travel buddies; I hate planes, I couldn’t drive and I’m THE worst map reader ever. Seriously I have no sense of direction.

I had serious nerves on the eve of our trip. I worried that we didn’t know each other that well, that my carefully cultivated cool (ha!) would be shattered, that we’d be eaten by bears in Yosemite, that we’d somehow, inevitably end up becoming drug mules and spend our lives in jail or worst of all that we’d have nothing to talk about for the long hours of driving. It could have gone horribly, horribly wrong.

It didn’t. We saw amazing sights, ate amazing food, talked an amazing amount, had amazing fights, got amazingly lost – all the good things you’re meant to do on a road trip.

Then we discovered Country Music. More specifically we discovered Kickin’ Country Radio and life got even better.

If you’ve never driven between the pinky, hazy, dusty wonderlands of Arizona, Utah and Nevada on pretty much deserted highways – blasting songs about trucks, beer and girls- well then I’m not sure you’ve really lived.

Same goes for the epic vistas of the California Coast highway, accompanied by songs that remind you just how good life can be, especially if you have a truck, a beer, a good woman and probably an old guitar.

I loved singing loudly and off-key, wind in my hair (back when I had hair) and leading this smiling boy completely the wrong way to a motel that wouldn’t have any rooms free anyway.

The smiling Boy was A. and one month after the trip we moved in together and the Sunday morning Country Music Dance Parties started.

That first trip seems a lifetime ago now but the music remains a touchstone to a life that, for the time being, feels paused. Perhaps the lyrics and the sentiment are a little hokey but I’ll cling to anything that reminds me what it’s like to feel human instead of this sick person. That reminds me to be grateful when I don’t feel inclined. It’s simple but I’m a bit simple at the moment.

Also, if all else fails you can play some excellent drinking games with Country Music – take a drink every time truck, beer, whiskey, hating work, liking fishin’, cheatin’, prayin’, small towns – well you get the picture……You’ll get pretty buzzed.

Top Ten Tracks gracing the Pollygosh Country Playlist:

1) Rain Is A Good Thing – Luke Bryan
Mr Bryan is a lyrical genius, it was not quite believing the lyrics of this tune that first started my love affair.

Rain makes corn, corn makes whiskey
Whiskey makes my baby, feel a little frisky
Back roads are boggin’ up, my buddies pile up in my truck
We hunt our hunnies down, we take ‘em into town
Start washin’ all our worries down the drain
Rain is a good thing

2) Country Girls (shake it for me) – Luke Bryan
Mr Bryan again, watching A. crack up every single time he sings “squirrel” with a southern drawl. It kills me. It also makes me “Shake it”.

Shake it for the young bucks sittin’ in the honky-tonks
For the rednecks rockin’ ’til the break of dawn
For the DJ spinnin’ that country song
Come on, come on, come on
Shake it for the birds, shake it for the bees
Shake it for the catfish swimming down deep in the creek
For the crickets and the critters and the squirrels
Shake it to the moon, shake it for me girl, aww

3) I’m a Little More Country Than That – Easton Corbin
The Dude is more Country than that and his name is Easton Corbin!

Imagine a dirt road full of potholes
With a creek bank and some cane poles catchin channel cat
I’m a little more country than that

Picture a small town with an old hound
Layin’ out front of the courthouse
While the ol men chew the fat
I’m a little more country than that

4) Here – Darius Rucker
One of my favourites.

I don’t really know how I got here
But I’m sure glad that I did
And it’s crazy to think that one little thing
Could’ve changed all of it

Maybe it didn’t turn out like I planned
Maybe that’s why I’m such, such a lucky man

For every stoplight I didn’t make
Every chance I did or I didn’t take
All the nights I went too far
All the girls that broke my heart
All the doors that I had to close
All the things I knew but I didn’t know
Thank God for all I missed
Cause it led me here to

5) Better Get Livin’ – Dolly Parton
It’s Dolly and we know how I feel about Dolly.

I said you’d better get to livin’, givin’
Be willing and forgivin’
Cause all healing has to start with you
You better stop whining, pining
Get your dreams in line
And then just shine, design, refine
Until they come true
And you better get to livin’.

Your life’s a wreck, your house is mess
And your wardrobe way outdated
All your plans just keep on falling through
Overweight and under paid, under appreciated
I’m no guru, but I’ll tell you
This I know is true.

You better get to livin’, givin’
A little more thought about bein’
A little more willin’ to make a better way
Don’t sweat the small stuff
Keep your chin up
Just hang tough
And if it gets too rough
Fall on your knees and pray
And do that everyday
Then you’ll get to livin’.

6) Look It Up – Ashton Shepherd
It makes me smile – revenge country if you will.

The word is faithful, look it up
It don’t mean sneakin’ around
Behind my back like you ain’t gettin’ enough
How ’bout forever, just look it up
It means through thick and thin and
Pitchin’ in even when the times get tough
The word is easy, look it up
And you’ll see a picture of that piece of trash
Ridin’ ’round in your pickup truck

7) Drink In My Hand – Eric Church
If the above is classic female country, this is classic male. Though I’m not convinced I understand a lot of the lyrics…..

Yeah the parking lot is muddy can’t get to the door,
I take my jacked up drop er down in 4×4
Chill down a long neck, warm up the band,
All you got to do is put a drink in my hand

8) Love Like Crazy – Lee Brice
It’s just good life lessons, I don’t even mind the praying reference – cos it rhymes.

Be a best friend, tell the truth
And overuse I love you
Go to work, do your best
Don’t outsmart your commonsense
Never let your prayin’ knees get lazy
And love like crazy

9) Country Strong – Gwyneth Paltrow (!)
I’m pretty sure Ms Paltrow didn’t write it but it was one of my favourite songs to run to. Now it just makes me feel a bit tougher.

I have weathered colder winters
Longer summers without a drop of rain
Push me in a corner and I’ll come out fighting
I may lose but I’ll always keep my faith

‘Cause I’m country strong
Hard to break
Like the ground I grew up on
You may fool me and I’ll fall
But I won’t stay down long
‘Cause I’m country strong

10) Gimme that Girl – Dallas Davidson
Just because.

Gimme a girl that’s beautiful
Without a trace of makeup on
Barefoot in the kitchen
Singing her favorite song
Dancing aroun’ like a fool
Staring in her own little show
Gimme the girl that the rest of the world
Ain’t lucky enough to know


The Brain Vanishes aka Chemo Brain

I pretty sure I wasn’t told about Chemo Brain prior to starting Chemo. I forget.

With that one sentence, I’ve probably covered all you really need to know about the topic of Chemo Brain.

It’s an actual thing. It’s recognised. There’s a knowing nod you get from fellow Chemo people and medical professionals when you’re grappling to remember times, dates, symptoms or your name.

‘Chemo Brain’ is a common refrain around these parts. Mostly when the hob is left on or the radio has been paused for 3 days…. I guess it’s like Baby Brain or Getting older but with no Baby and still this side of 35, it’s all slightly perplexing.

In fact perplexed is probably my fall back facial expression at the moment. For a long time my fall back facial expression, I’m reliably informed, was worried. So I guess perplexed is better? Both lead to furrow lines in my forehead which, due to lack of hair, are more prominent. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again cancer; it’s fun at every turn.

It’s not as bad as the lobotomised feeling I get directly after Chemo but it’s eery, like constantly being wrong footed.

I forget. I forget to send emails, texts. I forget to return calls or I convince myself that I have already done so. Either way it makes me look rude, which I can’t stand.

It makes reading a challenge too. I was a good third of a way through a book, prior to my last Chemo. I’m unable to read for a week after Chemo. Seriously, a short article in a newspaper or magazine takes about 4 sessions to complete. Books are my Mount Kilimanjaro. Now, returning to said book, I can’t remember a darn thing about it. It’s a crime drama. Re-reading it, I get a weird deja vu feeling. Like perhaps I read it in another life.

You know when you are indignantly arguing with someone; say you thought you’d told them about an appointment and they swear blind you didn’t? (not based on actual events) There you are all insistent and self-righteous and then you get the creeping realisation that actually perhaps you didn’t tell them?

I don’t get that anymore. I have total memory lapses. There’s no foggy half memories, it is blank, utter blank. I don’t even get to do the climb down apology. I kinda miss them.

Don’t get me wrong it’s not all the time, I’m not a Goldfish…….

Don’t get me wrong it’s not all the time, I’m not a Goldfish.

Although, that somehow makes it worse. I don’t even know when it’s going to strike. Then there is the reliance on others, to trust exactly what they are saying. It’s Hitchcockian, this reliance that they are not trying to send me mad. It’s all very The Lady Vanishes. I could be getting paranoid.

I carry little note books everywhere and I write a lot of lists. Which is all well and good but you have to remember to read the darn things in order for them to work.

The worst is forgetting words. It can be any word. I’ve always been something of a – see it’s just happened, I can’t remember. I’m now going to have to google: Character from a play who mixes up words, possibly beginning with ‘M’……..

Malaprop! That’s it! I’ve always been something of a Malaprop. These days it’s even harder to find the word I want. This makes it difficult to write and that breaks my heart because writing has been my saviour.

Finding or remembering the topics and sharing them in an amusing or useful manner is getting harder and harder. This is why I have 7 draft Blog posts and no new posts on the site.

I’m contemplating a Momento-esque tattooing spree of my ‘truths’, though I’m pretty sure Tattoos and Chemo don’t mix.

Now I know a had an articulate, thoughtful and witty way of finishing this post but as it’s now stuck in the vortex; can you all smile wryly, give a slight head shake and say to yourself “Ah Polly, nailed it again”.

I thank you.


This post isn’t funny, interesting or informative

I feel like I’m trying to cello-tape my thought processes back together; in a rainstorm, using cheap, non-branded tape.

I have three draft posts, Three. None of which are post-able because if viewed by another human they would read as one long deep, anguished howl of frustration, terror and pain. Aimed at, (in no particular order):

People who write cryptic and/or negative statuses on Facebook. Don’t just don’t. Goading people into caring doesn’t work, as you are proving, as NOBODY has asked you to illuminate on the subject.

A Government who is monetarily pushing the development of self-driving cars. Really? That’s really what this world needs? This, the same time it approves Fracking because “we are fast running out of natural resources”. A. says I know the world doesn’t correlate so neatly…..

Humanity in General because frankly, it looked like as a species, we lost ours prettily spectacularly last week. I promised Dad I wouldn’t write on the subject.

It’s car-crash city over here people, it ain’t pretty and more upsettingly not one draft is funny.

So what happened? I got my ass handed to me by Chemo Round 3. I’ve spent the last 10 days as close to lobotomised as I ever hope to get. Not that I’ve ever hoped for that to be fair; perhaps an Eternal Spotless situation but never an actual Lobotomy. Though if actually lobotomised, I’d hope you could knock out the nerves too. Dumbness and Pain. That’s what happened.

I’ve stared off into space a lot. I’ve watched a lot of kitten videos – on purpose. That is what a lobotomy feels like.

Turns out Chemo is the Silverback and this Beta needs to remember that. It’s like King Kong vs well, anything. It would be awe-inspiring if you weren’t left feeling so crippled.

You can’t fight Chemo, Chemo doesn’t fight fair. Case in point – it’s the hottest week of the year, I have had to surgically attach myself to a hot water bottle AND endure Hot-flashes. Chemo doesn’t fight fair. It also has a thousand resources you don’t have.

It is more like a mugging. Chemo mugged me; of my health, mental capacity and well-being – gave me quite the kicking too. So I’m licking my wounds and feeling sorry for myself.

Turns out like any other wounded animal, scared and in pain, I lash out. I’ve become bitter and bitchy. Hence my soon to-be-deleted rant drafts.

I’ve had to ban myself from Facebook, I’ve been itching to write troll-like comments all week. These self enforced restrictions hearten me somewhat, I guess good Polly is still in here somewhere.

On PollyGosh, I aim to be either; funny, interesting or informative and above all truthful.

But I get to choose the aspects I write about and sometimes I should choose differently. Nobody polices me, if I don’t want to think about something, I don’t write about it. However, like with grief, I’m not sure that’s going to work out that well.

I forget that this all started simply as a documentation of my Cancer, treatment AND MY FEELINGS ABOUT THAT, all my feelings.

I thought by choosing to not write about Chemo, I was being in some way noble. Protecting others but I think I was protecting myself.

This post isn’t funny, interesting or informative but it is truthful.

I’m struggling at the moment. Stuck in a prison of my own thoughts, I strayed away from the path I normally set myself and got scared. I don’t think I’ve been scared before.

I also don’t know how I am going to submit myself, in less than 2 weeks, to do it again.

Also, when you’re sick and bald. You look sick and bald. Which isn’t strong or beautiful. It sucks. It sucks when you can’t recognise what’s staring back at you and you’re too weak to put your mental armour on.

This post has a defeatist tone that I’m not going to apologise for. This is the truth of all this. For this moment in the process, this is the truth and to not write it would be a massive disservice to the me now and the future me.

Luckily I have 2 Goliaths on my side, they keep me in check.

Dad has possibly transcended Sainthood. Songs and epic poems written about the depths of his wonderfulness.

A is still the only person to make me laugh and he maintains that I look gorgeous. Which is the sweetest lie you can tell someone who looks like a Sphinx Kitten (cat video obsessive). He’s the tough cop, truth-teller, backbone and I think he’s the best.

Normal services will, no doubt, continue again shortly.