1.  In February 1997 I decided to get a closet
organizer installed, to bring some order to my
chaotic wardrobe. I planned to pack up the
clothes that no longer fit, and donate them to
Goodwill. I was sure I’d never lose enough
weight to fit into the size 4 suits I once wore.
2.  The Closet Factory installers came on March 22, 2
days after I was diagnosed with cancer.  As I sorted the
clothes I decided to  hang onto the size 4 outfits.  From
what I knew of cancer treatment, I expected nausea and
vomiting, and figured I’d  drop at least 15 lbs. I
realized I had put a positive spin on the disease:
Cancer, the ultimate weight loss experience. Later I
found out that 50-70% of breast cancer patients gain
weight during treatment. So much for the size 4's.
3.  The day I found out the cancer had spread to my
lymph nodes, I read in The Boston Globe that the
giant panda in the Washington  Zoo underwent
surgery a day earlier, and had his lymph nodes
removed. The idea that I had something in common
with the panda made me laugh on what otherwise was
a very grim news day. I was also relieved that the late
night talk shows weren’t joking about me like
they were about Hsing-Hsing, who had a testicle
removed.
4. Dean Jack Galvin introduced me at Fletcher's
Commencement ceremony by saying "I know Margaret
Thatcher, Margaret Thatcher is a friend of mine, and
Maria Judge is tougher than Margaret Thatcher,"
thereby inspiring 1/3 of the title of this exhibit
6.  For surgery I wanted to take my rosary beads (from the shrine
of Our Lady of Knock, in County Mayo, Ireland, where
miraculous healings have occurred) into the operating room, but
was afraid if I held them the'd get in the doctor s way. I began to
obsess about this, as if there were a high incidence of rosary beads
being stitched up inside people during surgery. Finally I stuck
them inside my sock, where I figured they’d be out of the
way.  A few weeks later I had more surgery, and since the rosary
beads had worked so well, I took them again, along with two small
crosses. This time there were new socks, green and smaller.  
Patients complain the socks fall off their feet,� one of the
nurses told me, and I had visions of my religious paraphernalia
spilling out all over the operating room, but I didn’t dare leave
them behind.  Luckily the socks stayed on, and everything stayed
in.
5.  Of the hundreds of Fletcher students
who attended Commencement, I posed
for pictures with only two of them, both
bald men. I don’t think I chose them
on purpose, but perhaps subconsciously
I was thinking ahead a few weeks to the
day when I expected to look like them.
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