Theodora L'Engle Knight

Theodora L'Engle Knight
Portland, Oregon, USA
July 02
Pack Leader, Her Royal Highness
Prozac On Paws: The Tale of Three Spayed Females
jewish writer/former screenwriter/recovering accountant from Boston now moldering in the rain in Portland, OR. and, yes, of course i should move but I battle with Agoraphobia and have trouble even leaving my apartment. but i'm blessed to have a fabulous 9 year old service dog Cocoa Chanel. Ella Fitgerald was my Official SD. she was 11 years old and so perky and such a trooper but she passed away in July. Cocoa has been stepping up and taking her job very seriously, which is so moving. so we now have a kitten. he drives us crazy and then he conks out wrapped around cocoa and we forgive him. we thought he was a girl. i named "her" Gloria Steinem and she was a feminist and a feline-est. but it turned out that Gloria's Balls had dropped. so his name is Gary Cooper or G-Coop. as annoying as he is much of the time -- apparently he's a Teenager now -- he takes our focus off of losing Ella, which was my intent when we adopted him.

MARCH 4, 2009 9:35AM

my dog didn't eat my night guard & other good news! Part One

Rate: 31 Flag

(is the font too big and overlapping? if so, please tell me.)

 I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m constantly look for signs from the universe, signs that the tide is turning, signs that something good is ahead or, well, something really bad.  But I’ve been living the really bad stuff for a while now, what with George the Benign Pituitary Brain Tumor (hereafter either George or BPBT) moving into my sinuses and my getting pretty depressed and testy about not being able to breathe – breathing is sooo underrated – and the regular radiation zapping my energy and vitality and, well, the funny neurotic “able to take a good breath and smile about it” me of Me that I enjoy and to which others seem to respond.  

Some even called me brilliant back in the day, when that Me was predominant. Well, I’m far from brilliant, but I’ve been missing those times when I leave my body while I’m writing, and I hit that zone where everything just flows and the voyage I’m on becomes so clear, like those fabulous sailing trips of Puff’s and Little Johnny Paper’s, well, before that asshole Johnny grew up and took a powder. You guys all know that magical place and how fabulous it feels and how not great it is when you can’t find it again because you feel like complete exhausted shit or because your KF--- radio voices are whispering around you, the ones you have to talk back to – telling you that you’re an imposter and can’t bring the funny or the poignant any more. (Oh, God, Broadcast News is on and it’s that horrible scene where Albert Brooks gets a chance to anchor the news and he gets that fucking flop sweat that just keeps getting worse and you just pray for it all to be over for him so he can go drink heavily and/or botox his armpits if botox was available back then.) 

Okay, so, first came the clinical trial with the laser radiation that zapped George right out of my nasal cavities, and things seemed to be looking very much up. And, what I’ve kept to myself, is that ANOTHER SMALL CHUNK OF GEORGE IS GONE. Excellent news, of course.


But what is hard to explain is that my feelings about my BPBT and the laser working are complicated. I’d love it to be all pure joy and disco dancing with the puppies – cocoa know how to go dancy dancy dee on her hind legs now, but that’s a story for later on – but it just isn’t that simple when you’ve loved and lost. God, I’ve just remembered this stupid thing out of the blue. My Cousin Eli owned a company that made all of those little plastic things, the little doodads that they give away at conventions and business conferences. Well, he showed us one that I actually loved. It was a keychain that said, “Better to have loved and lost than to have paid for it and not liked it.” Words to live by, for sure. The company is now gone because of all the in-fighting that erupted when his daughters’ husbands all joined the ranks, but that is another story for another time. I really am working on my tangents' tangents.

So, well, I’m feeling horribly haunted by survivor’s guilt -- yes, I know it’s irrational but it’s also real for people who are still here when others didn’t make it  – over my husband’s long battle with pancreatic cancer and his not getting the miracle ending that I’ve been given. Same thing with my writing partner and best gay who succumbed to another pernicious form of the big C.  I wanted last minute reprieves for all of us, you see. I didn’t want to be the one who survived only to be left all alone.  

Now I’m here with my good fortune and all I want to do is share it with my dead loved ones, to go out and have a fabulously and sinfully fat-filled dinner that we can actually afford and to get pleasantly buzzed and amorous on a great bottle of merlot or the argentinian malbec that I’d come to love just before I got poor. Richard adored my best gay Robert also, and the witty repartee that I miss so much bounced off the walls when we were all together, and everything seemed fun and funny and so possible that the creativity just bubbled away around us all. My particular slice of heaven on earth.


What does comfort me in a sick way is that they still haven’t found a cure for the pancreatic thing.  Randy Pausch died and he was beloved by everyone because of his outstanding last lecture and his general exuberance about his family and the life he had left, and he, I’m sure, had access to the best medical care available. Same thing now with Patrick Swayze who is looking more and more gaunt as the days go by. I feel for his dancer wife.  It’s a hard haul. I don’t know how i would have dealt with the powers that be finding a cure for that cancer a few months or years after Richard died. So god/gd spared me that at least. I think i would have gone over that proverbial edge, the only consolation being that i would get to go live once more with my beloved fellow looney tunes and the nurses who love me for being a high-functioning wacko.


 Well, so the laser zapped another chunk of George the end of last week, and I was about to share it on here and celebrate and then, well, things got a little dark for some of us. I want to express my extreme gratitude for all the outstanding support, kindness, patience and “people saying they would miss me” or whatever that is called, that I got from beloved friends and strangers on here, so many comforting comments and PMs, but I needed to retreat and process the awful events that showed up in the flashbacks and work through those memories so that they could then move on and out, like a splinter that hurts like hell below the skin's surface and then not so much at said surface and then not at all when it is gone. Other trauma survivors know all about this and I guess the others of you will just have to take my word that this is where the relief and the renewed sanity come in and make good things seem possible again.  

I owe huge apologies for going completely off on someone whom I love on here, someone who supported me so wonderfully in the beginning and then drifted off when I began writing about depression and George and the dark stuff, which is all understandable but apparently also hurtful and unprocessed to me on a daily basis since I channeled all my PTSD rage and frustration towards her. I could not be more sorry or more mortified for what I said in comments and in an awful PM. I don't expect forgiveness, but I need to express my extreme sorrow.

 Okay, so it’s been an up and down rocky couple of weeks, but something miraculous happened last night. An unambivalently good sign, if you will. I was in the middle of my one of my 12-15 hour sleeping marathons when Ella woke me up with her hideous scream-barking at something outside the full-length window covering slatted blinds that she peeps through incessantly. So I went to give the pups a little of their organic healthy kibble, got back in bed and realized that my night guard was no longer in my mouth. Well, cocoa ate my last night guard a few years ago, the 600 dollar one, when she was a puppy and teething, so I just assumed that she’d eaten this much kinder gentler one (the one that the exceptional Deven had told me about) that I didn’t, thank god, have to boil and fit to my teeth because I failed miserably the last time I tried that and ended up with a mangled and unwieldy hunk of plastic. If I smoked I would have used it as an ashtray. It looked like very bad piece of modern art. So I sighed and went back to sleep, tucking my kibble-filled Ella-vator back under the covers and pulling the softly spooning night guard gobbling Cocoa to me.  


So I got up this morning, resigned to having to buy another night guard and to the bitter feeling that god/gd hated me a little even though I’d been so brave and worked through the rape flashbacks. I was sitting hunched over on the dust mite covered bed, taking my generic Tylenol and one of my many sinus and George meds, when I saw Cocoa poking at something on the filthy carpet. So I dragged my self-pitying self over to her and, to my massive astonishment and great joy, I recognized my night guard that she had very very much not eaten! Immediately I looked up and thanked god/gd for this abundance – as I’ve said before, god needs to get his props too and he enjoys compliments as much as the next divine being does.  now, lasers eating a hunk of your tumor george is one thing because you don’t know if the laser will get the whole thing, and there are those complicated sometimes homicidal feelings about wanting this kind of treatment years ago and the giant asshole insurance people refusing to pay for it then and the why did you have to go through 3 sessions of radiation that killed my immune system and yada yada yada..


Well, it is such a giant relief to get a sign from gd that is unconditional, not at all complex, plain old good news! It felt/feels like a nod from my higher power that things are indeed looking up in a simple non-triggering way.  There is other good news to share, amid all the so far unshared very frightening and threatening administrative crap that has come my way, but I’m going to take a much-needed break for my sake and yours and tell you about all of that in Part Two.  

Love love love and enormous gratitude and please RATE me, not because I’m an attention ‘ho but because I’m part of the way back to the me of Me and to that zone where the voyage ahead is all clear and flowing and possible. 


Now this doesn’t mean that I will be able to quickly catch up on all the posts I’ve missed. I still have my differently abled brain and i'm still exhausted from the regular radiation and i find reading online to be challenging even when I’m at my best. But please let me know if there is something you really want me to read and even why and i will do my best to get there! When you share good news, some people tend to think that everything is all better and that you should be held to regular non-George standards again, which other tumor survivors know is now true. Again, love love love to all and i'm really shutting up now.

 hit counter joomla

Your tags:


Enter the amount, and click "Tip" to submit!
Recipient's email address:
Personal message (optional):

Your email address:


Type your comment below:
Good to hear that George is becoming smaller and smaller!! I'm glad Cocoa spared the second night guard too....600 bucks? Wow!! Rated!
Theodore, When I saw your name in the "recently posted" list or whatever that's called, I actually squealed. Tom thinks I'm a little nuts, but I don't even care. I'm so glad you are posting! I know exactly what you mean when you say that because the radiation treatments are working, people automatically assume that you're "all better", and should be up and running at your old superspeed. With that being said, I'm going to let you go. Read your other comments cuz there will probably be like 100 of them. See ya.
I rated!
Keep going, Teddy! Good to see you back, sweetheart.
I'm so glad you are getting better and the dark cloud has lifted.
Wow. It has to feel good to get all those pent-up thoughts purged, as it were. As for the "survivor guilt", remember that it's only the survivors that get to write about surviving. Make the most of that opportunity.
pleased to see you back however often.
loved this. can't say more just now. i'm typing around "the other george," who is eyeing the computer in the way one would eye a mortal enemy.

glad you are feeling better; however sporadic your moments of bliss and wellness may be. eventually there will be more than less.
thank you, all, for coming to see me. i'm too tired on every level to do the individual thing but may do it after a big nap. i hate to admit this because i sound so freaking ungrateful, but i was hoping that the comments would be about my health, which is on the way to better, and i'm so thankful that anyone cares about my wellbeing, but perhaps over this lighter tone that i thought that i maybe was achieving or beginning to achieve. maybe there were jsut too many tangents having tangents or i was just too freaking dark again. in any case, i shouldn't need other people to validate what i did, except that i bet a lot of you do really enjoy that feedback. :)

love love love and huge gratitude for the love and kindness,

teddy/theo and the napping wonderpups who are more patient than god/gd but will get a walk at some point soon.
Hey Lady!
Welcome back. Glad you didn't stay away too long.
You are not alone here and you are loved.
Hope today is a good one. Find the light and breathe.
Spirits are soaring I see. Nothing wrong with being an attention whore. Anyone here who says they aren't is.... how can I put this gently....Lying their asses off! Way to come back with a bang, Theo. Good to see you up and around and writing so well. Visit when the mood strikes and keep on moving up!
Welcome back Ms. Teddy ... although every time I say "welcome back" I get the theme song to "Welcome Back Kotter" in my head. (Maybe I'll have to find another way to say it.)
I've been away a while too, girl. I had a non-cancerous cyst on my ovary that I named Olivia. When they took her out I got my two baby dogs.
I'm glad you're doing a little better. I can only imagine it's incredibly hard, but I hope that maybe you can keep up the positivity. I love your blatant honesty in this piece. It may be blunt, but you're incredibly courageous to put those thoughts out there.
Anyway, keep on truckin' hon. I'm rooting for ya.

Oh, and I'm a big Merlot/Malbec kinda girl
michael, i love you as always. not mad at you anymore.

annithyme -- i have missed you girl!!!! someone else i love told me i was back to myself again but it feels good to hear it again. btw, the guy who wrote Welcome back, kotter, and i have that thing too where i think of songs or jingles or whatever, dennis palumbo? well, he was my best screenwriting teacher when i was taking courses at UCLA extension. small small world, eh? lov elove love

and i will catch up with everyone else who came to see me later on. i wasn't annoyed with you guys, so count your blessings. it's not pretty when i feel slighted, man. love lvoe lvoe and enormous gratitude!!!
thank you, mungular. again, those whom i haven't thanked personally who probably loathe me now, these are people whom i felt abandoned me and whom i nagged or worse to come back. should they be favored with responses? no way. but life sucks and i'm a kiss ass. what kind of dogs?????? the cyst is gone? and thanks for saying i'm brave or wahtever because i can't help being this way and over-sharing but sometimes i read some of my stuff and think, shit, this woman is brave and rremember it's me. love love love and gratitude for being back. we assholes and dog lvoers have to stick together!!!!
Glad to see you on here and post...WOOOOOHOOOOO!! I am glad you are feeling better and hope it continues.
Great news!! Great Post!!
Hooray, Theo is BACK, and more "back" than the pre-clinical trial Theo!
Hooray, George is Shrinking! (Maybe you should call the Clinical Trial people "George Shrinkers--God love me, I'm sooo technical!)
Hooray, Cocoa didn't eat the night guard!
Hooray for being able to breathe freely!
Hooray for kindly signs from the cosmos!
I hope when yo are well and not tired that you can still write in this wild style. It's very cool.
Congratulations on the shrinkage of George! Hoping that soon we'll discover he has disappeared completely. Glad to hear you are feeling better, both mentally and physically. I hope you have a chance to go check out my slide show, it's kind of uplifting.
And we've had sunshine here, too!
Ohhhh my god!
Just LOVED this post...
THANK you for sharing
(Big hug)
You know, it really is true that your writing is getting clearer. I can tell you're feeling better just from the way you write. I hope you just keep getting better and better!
had a bad health day and night. not george, just my regular immune system crap, fevers, sinus infection -- yes, immediately after george was gone, etc. so i won't be doing individual comments and im' an ingrate. it's also partly because i'm bitter because i always comment last because i keep weird hours and i never ever ever get a comment on my comment. love love loev and extreme gratitude for showing up and being so kind.
You are a survivor, born to survive. I know that doesn't make much sense but what th eheck, I am just plain happy for you.

May God, your best buddy help you even more.
I can tell you're seeing the light just because of the font! Why we don't all try different fonts, I don't know but it was kind of a pleasure to see. So glad you're beating back that globular George. He's a weak schmuck ultimately and you're showing him what's what.
And you certainly do have your own special brilliance in your writing! You have a style that I would recognize even if you never signed your posts, and having a "style" is really great as a writer.

Finally - I am so glad you apologized on your post to that certain someone, since I was saddened to see the battle unfold between two people I like (even though I don't "know" either of you!!). I hope you send her a PM, even though it may take a while for you two to recover.

Emotions just seem to explode on here!!
deborah, thank you for the style comment!!! that means the world to me. i can't help it but it's good to know that it's not a drawback. i don't think that i apologized to the person you think i apologize to but it's all good. didnt' hear back from that person and won't. people rarely forgive me when i lose it and go off. at least i apologized for what i did and that is that. i was in full PTSD mode and that's life in the dysfunctional city. people who haven't been there? there is no way in hell that they can ever ever ever understand it. i'm not talking about one rape, although that is horrific enough. i'm talking aabout a long history of sexual violence. just like war, it changes who you are. i call it Soul Murder.

shit, sorry to get so dark again. i just so want the people who've been where i've been to know that i know and that i'm here if any of them needs me. lo velov elove
Yes! An uneaten mouth guard is most definitely the sign you were looking for that things are looking up for you. God doesn't send burning bushes any more; he's moved onto orthodontic appliances. :) Kudos to you for finding comfort in this small sign.

This was like four stories in one. Your grief for your husband and friend, your guarded elation at the tumor being chipped away, an apology (although I must have missed the event for which you were apologizing because I don't know who it is), and underneath it all, a sense of gratitude.

Here's to even better days ahead!

P. S. I can't make up my mind about the font...
lisa, go back to bed and get well. is 4 stories in one a good thing???
So much to ‘chew on’ here! (Bad pun).

Good stuff, good news and nice to hear things are looking better. Just have to say, lasers are pretty cool.
Hi, Theo,

I agree with whoever said that you have a distinctive writing style, a unique voice... and of course, that is a gift to any creative person.

Feedback on the font, that you've requested: the size is good. I find, as I get older (and I am cursed with bad eyes, have a strong glasses prescription) that it seems the writing everywhere is getting smaller and smaller. I can barely read the writing of ingredients, which I must do to avoid certain things I have unpleasant reactions to. Anyhow, I liked the size of the text. But, the leading (spacing between 2 lines) was too tight for me, and that made the readability less than ideal for me. Oh, the font was fine, too. Just, space between lines could be greater. But... can you give me a hint or two how you changed the font and font size? I know HTML, but some tags I've used here appear in my preview, but not in the actual final post!

Um, it's a little (or a lot) self-indulgent of me, but I love your 'tangents upon tangents'... but that is because I do the same thing! A teacher friend of mine who had specialized in teaching gifted children sometimes teases me about the tangents... but says this is so very typical of the gifted creative person, that I have the classic 'symptoms'. So, think of your tangents as a sign of your creative intelligence. Yeah, people who are more focused on concentrating on a topic and directing discussion towards that are probably saying 'blech! What a cop-out'. Oh well.

You have sometimes mentioned your late husband Richard and your gay friend. By the little that you have mentioned of them (unless I missed some posts), it sounds like they really 'got' you, that you were really seen by them, and it sounds like there was great love among you. Yes, it sucks not to have them in your life now, but in other ways, you were blessed to have those people in your life. May I ask, how long were each of them in your life?

Now, to read your newest post...
Oh, it's wonderful to hear such good news from you! I'm also delighted to see that you have posted again!
david, i love you, as always. and lasers are very cool.
cyn, i write in word so i use the fonts from there. i can't even begin to figure out fonts on here. i don't know HTML so it's a pain. and, yes, my best gay and richard really got me and vice versa. i may write about them soon.
renlady, thank you for your kind kind words!!
and love love lvoe to all!!!
Good to have you back, Teddy! Even better to have more of you and less of George back! Thank you for reminding me of Randy pausch and his wonderful lecture. I shared this with my kids and although I thought they might find it morbid it was a really good thing to do together, actually. Your post reminds me of a poem by Dag Hammerskjold, may I share it with you?

Night is drawing nigh -
For all that has been - thanks.
To all that shall be - yes!

(ok, I admit it - I checked the spelling on his nae before posting this comment!)
*hugs* and rated for joy at your return
oh thank you, psycho. i've missed you. i'm glad you're back with me. love lvoe love