The first thing I asked for after I was diagnosed with cancer was a stuffed liver. Instead of wanting to send out the cavalry to battle my diseased liver (and pancreas), I wanted to cuddle with a plush version of it and protect it from the harm of cancer. I wanted to let it know that I appreciated it, as if the recognition of everything my liver and pancreas have done to keep my body functioning over the years would send the invading forces, the cancer, away.
The stuffed liver arrived a week later. I hug it a lot. Sometimes, I sleep with it at my bedside. My liver and pancreas both. I don’t know–maybe it helps. In any case, cuddles win because i’ve never loved the “battle” and “war” metaphors that a lot of people use to get through cancer treatment. My cancer is a hell of a long battle–so I prefer to call it a marathon. Or a triathlon. Something that is more endurance-based than a battle.
I Heart Guts made the original stuffed organs (the ones that appear in my banner) that i’ve been hugging all these years. Now, I have some of my own. My crafty younger sister, who already has an Etsy shop where she sells beautiful handmade pillows, started making a few “i am a liver”-themed pillows. She even has some that are shaped like livers, with spots for tumors (hey–we’re being realistic here). Coming soon are zebra-striped livers (super cute, the “girl” version has a little red bow), priced the lowest, to celebrate neuroendocrine cancer’s symbol.
My sister has been my faithful, never-complaining, Halloween-pajama-pants-enabling nurse through my seven weeks of recovery and here she’s stepping up again. Not only do her pillows remind me that i AM a liver, even when i’m feeling crappy, but she is donating all of her profits to my medical care. All of the generous donations I received last year have helped a lot with my medications, doctors visits, and now surgery, but there is likely a trip to Europe for treatment in my future. And for that, I can use every dime I can find.
If you need a reminder every now and then that you are livers too, or if you’d just like to have a soft, happy liver pillow to cuddle with, this is the “i am a liver” merch you’ve been waiting for. Thank you. While you are cuddling, I promise I will write from Europe when I go. My Donate page has been updated with the limited-time, while-supplies-last pillow promotion, along with the usual link to PayPal. Also, a picture of me looking skeletal post-surgery, with some of the pillows. I lost all my water weight and then some. Working on that.
Also, somewhat appropriately, this is my 100th post.