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Saturday, December 16, 2017

Magic Bus....

This is just a brief bit of random rambling that's been in my head for years......

So, sometimes, I think we have to choose what sort of things are worthy of argument. Ya know? And for me, those things change with time. What once was not worthy of a heated discussion, now may very well be worthy of that and more.

So....Had a bit of a cancer scare in October. Had my first ever 3D mammogram.  Which led to the ultrasound.  And then the needle biopsy.  It wasn't cancer.  

December 2017
It was like 2009 all over again.  Sick feeling in the pit of my stomach.  All the memories of surgeries, chemo, baldness....and the way people attempted to comfort me.  One way in particular that really pissed me off and still does to this day is when someone tells you something along the lines of "You really should just try not to worry and stop wasting so much time and energy with being so upset. I mean, we're all going to die, way or another...of something. You could get hit by a bus tomorrow..." And I just sit and smile.... 

Well, I did in 2009 - 2010, but pretty sure Imma have a whole bunch to say back if this kind of shit gets said to me ever again when I am being stressy about bc. 

Yes, the Magic Bus. The one you won't see and just step right out in front of.  Or the one that jumps up on your sidewalk.  

Yes, we all will die of something.  But having had breast cancer, you are kind of put on notice that the chance of it being sooner rather than later just increased. 

Just been on my mind again after the cancer scare. 

So I guess I'm just trying to say that, this kind of "advice" really doesn't do anything but trivialize my feelings and stressyness...and in my eyes, kinda makes you look like an asshole. 

Just sayin'.....

Too much, magic bus.  

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Rising Up To The Challenge Of.....

....My friend Nancy at Nancy's Point! Over the last 2 summers, Nancy has posted Blogging Challenges. This year's challenge is different than the last 2.... 

So, here are my answers to Ten Random cancer Related Questions:

1. Share anything you want about your cancer diagnosis (or your loved one’s). Share your age, cancer type, stage, when you were diagnosed, family history (if any), your reaction, how you learned the news, or whatever you’re comfortable sharing. 

So, I was 40. Freshly 40 at the time of my diagnosis, although I had been aware of the lump in my breast for a couple of weeks. I was diagnosed with ER negative, PR weakly positive (9%) HER2 positive breast cancer, stage 3A with lymph node involvement with 4 of 15 testing positive. I am the only one in my family (at that time) to have had any kind of cancer at all. I was home alone when I got the phone call from my ob/gyn and, just like you see in the movies, all I could hear was the rising sound of a high pitch and white noise...I don't know how I managed to write down the phone numbers of several surgeons who were recommended. And I had an appointment with my surgeon for the very next day at 9am. 

2. What is the most outrageous thing someone has said to you about your (or your loved one’s) cancer?

This is kinda hard to many things were said. But it might be the one where someone asked me, after the first lumpectomy did not have clear margins, if the second lumpectomy was unsuccessful, did I think I'd go ahead and get "that free boob job/tummy tuck" after the mastectomy...Yeah.  I was and am thankful the second attempt did have clear margins, and am happy with my decision to go lumpectomy rather than straight to mastectomy.

3. What is your biggest cancer pet peeve? I know it’s hard to choose, as there are many to pick from, right? But what irks you the most?

If you know me at all or have read my blog or interacted with me on social media, even a little bit, you probably know what my answer to this one is. The battle/war metaphor terms in the language of cancer. In particular, when it is said/written that someone has "lost his/her battle with cancer". JUST STOP IT!

4. What is something you want others to know specifically about breast cancer?

I think many of us bloggers agree on this one. There are so many things, but a couple in particular are that yes, people still die from breast cancer. Every. Damn. Day. Far too many. No matter how many pink parties you attend, or how many pink ribbon flanked pieces of merchandise you buy, no matter how much money you've donated to a Komen event. Just sayin...

5. If applicable, do you worry about recurrence rarely, from time to time or a lot? What is your biggest worry today, right now, this minute?

I do worry about recurrence & metastasis. Not as much as I used to, but for sure, any little ache, pain or anything can set of alarms for me. Currently, my biggest worry has to do with the state of healthcare in our country and the political climate. Scary, scary times these be. 

6. Do you feel cancer has made you a better person? Yes, I know this a loaded question. If you do, specifically in what way?

No. No I do not. I'd like to think I was already a pretty decent sort prior to my diagnosis. If anything, cancer has just amplified the good as well as the bad of me. 
7. What is your favorite cancer book? (No, I’m not fishing for mentions of mine!)

The C-Word.  I knew Lisa online only, as hers was one of the first blogs I read after I learned about my breast cancer. We chatted from time to time on Twitter. She offered encouragement and we shared some stories. And I know I'm just one of thousands she probably did this with. And I miss her.  Nuff said.

 8. Besides your family, where do you turn for emotional support?

My online blogger friends, naturally. And several wonderful ladies I met a breast cancer discussion forum in 2009, immediately after my diagnosis. Although it's very likely that I'll never meet these wonderful women in person, I do regard them as some of my nearest and dearest friends. And of course my bestie. You know who you are ;) 

9. How many cancer blogs do you read and why do you read them?

Well, I "follow" too many to count. I don't actively read as many with regularity as I once did. Time seems to be getting in short supply for the luxury of just chilling and reading. (And blog writing.) The "Blogs I Like" tab here on the blog is ever growing. 
10. Do you call yourself an advocate? If so, what drives you?

Eh, not really. I do speak out, contact my representatives, encourage others to do the same, but for sure not as actively as I'd like to, like many of my blogger friends have been and continue. Thanks y'all for advocating for us all. 

So that's my answers to Nancy's Random cancer Questions in this year's Blogging Challenge. 
Yesterday. Cause, can there really ever be enough photos
on the interwebs of  me next to a giant cock rooster?

Saturday, April 15, 2017

And Everything Is All Right ....

April 2017
Soooooooo, gonna try to share some fresh, rambly words. Dunno how interesting they will be but my draft file has like 55 unfinished, re-working & rambling thoughts in it. Bout ready to just shit can the lot.

Any-ol-way.....I had my annual visit with my most awesome oncologist, Dr W last month. (Are y'all shocked that I stayed silent online about that? Yeah, me too.) I was a bit surprised that I actually got to see HIM, rather than his partner, since he called me in February to tell me personally, that he was leaving the practice, and that he will be working with IBM and this Watson Technology in Oncology and cancer Research. (Told ya my oncologist is the bomb!) So I was super thrilled to get the call a week prior to my appointment with the other partner oncologist, inviting me to see my Dr W!!!

And the visit was pretty typical...congrats on his new upcoming position, catch up chitty chat, an exam, declared that I'm still NED....and then he said a few things that kind of caught me off guard. First was an answer to O's question....could the radioactive iodine I had to take in 1997 for my Graves Disease have possibly caused my breast cancer..... And Dr W was like, well, I suppose it might's definitely possible, but the radioactive iodine is mostly taken up into the thyroid, so can't really say yes or no. But maybe

Ok, it had never even occurred to me that this may have played a role. And no, I'm not getting caught up in the whole "was it something I did/didn't do" blame game thing...not at all.

But then Dr W said something that has made me kind of uncomfortable and it's just been on my mind ever since. He said, basically, given that I'm nearing the 8 year mark, and all the surgeries and treatments I had, plus Herceptin for the full year, and the nature of the type of breast cancer I had, (ER neg / PR weakly 9% pos / HER2 pos) he feels I can pretty much rest assured that I'm "done with this". And that, unless I become symptomatic or feel the need, and as long as I keep doing my mammograms and annual physicals with good blood work results, it is entirely up to me if I wish to continue seeing an oncologist at all. Be it him or anyone else. 

O looks at me and is all like "Doesn't that make you feel better?" 

Dr W is very, very good and highly regarded in oncology. So I chime in with the typical, "Yeah, but you do still hear of metastasis happening even after 20 or more years of cancer freeness...I mean, I pretty much learn of it happening to someone almost every day! So, I can feel reasonably good, but it would be irresponsible for any doctor to tell a breast cancer patient they are 100% D.O.N.E. Right?" 

Dr W agreed, that no, nothing is ever 100%, but he's pretty damn confident. 

Even though he is leaving practicing daily, he is apparently still going to be around several times a month. I decided to go ahead and make another appointment for next year, and then if I don't feel the need for it, I'll just cancel it. But I did get a warm fuzzy when he told the schedule chick to put me down for next year, on the Friday with HIM! I know...I am a weirdo about my doctors...every single one of them. Well, except Dr C....

Anyway, yes we did go celebrate with the annual, much over priced Grey Goose Martini with bleu cheese olives. But does Dr W's confidence totally chase away "the fear" I still deal with?


Not. One. Bit.

(Maybe a little.)

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Does Anybody Know How The Story Really Goes...

March 2017

So, thanks to several of my blogger friends, I came across this raw, honest and powerful post... Reminded me a bit of what I was thinking when I posted the following blog post in November 2014. And since I still can't seem to bring myself to write fresh words, just another re-share...I hope to write something soon, and it will probably have nothing to do with cancer. 

I think I think so...  

I'm Super! Thanks For Asking!
How many times, when you ask someone how they're doing, do you really want to know how they are doing? Do you ask cause you really want to know, or is it just part of your greeting? And when people say they're doing fine/great/super, do you think they really are doing fine/great/super, or is their reply just an automatic response to a greeting?  

I used to do breast cancer so much differently.  In 2009, once I was able to stop crying and pull my shit together after getting the diagnosis, I had made up my mind that I was "tougher and WAY cooler than any stupid infiltrating ductal carcinoma", stage 3a.  And I put on my pink stuff and told any and everybody who would listen that I "HAD bc.  Past tense".  And that I have "already beaten it, cause my scans are clear!"

Oh how naive.  How naive and how unprepared I was.  

And for a couple of years, when someone would see me out and about, they would ask "How are you doing? How are you feeling?"  And regardless of how I was actually doing or feeling at the time, I would chirp "I'm GREAT! I'm kickin cancer's ass!" *Hug* "Thanks for asking! How are YOU?" And then sometimes the convo would go on about what was going on treatment wise, which I would riddle with jokes and sarcastic comments, sort of giving the finger to bc.  I tried to be as humorous as possible and appear to be the most courageous, bad ass, cancer ass kicker anyone had ever seen.  

*Insert eyeball roll here*

At least half of the time back then, if I had answered truthfully, I would have said that I was really terrified of the surgeries pending.  Or that I was totally upset that I'm bald.  And it wasn't until active treatment ended that it occurred to me that, bc people are never, ever really out of the woods. And I spent a good 2 years in a state of complete panic over the possibility of recurrence, or mets.  So during that time, if I had been honest, I would have expressed those thoughts, rather than "I'm great! *Insert # of years* cancer free (?!) and still kickin!"

*Insert eyeball roll here*

Why did I do this?

Because I didn't (still don't) think some people want to hear the horror story that is the new normal for a bc person.  And I'm pretty sure that if I had been 100% honest with everyone, all the time, some people would probably stop asking about how I am. Maybe even go the other way when they see me coming... 

I think it's because it makes people sad, or fearful when they hear someone with bc not doing the whole Pink *Rah Rah, I'm a Warrior! I Fight Like A Girl! I kick cancer's ass!*  stuff and then they just think that you're not doing it right.  You're supposed to be wearing a pink tutu and boa and shouting "C'mon cancer! Bring it on! I got this!"  

Whatever.  I can't do that shit anymore.  Haven't been able to in awhile.  

And here's another reason why...Honestly, some people don't know me well enough for me to have even wanted to be all full disclosure with them. But I no longer "chirp" the pink party line.  Just can't do it. 

So if I do say "I'm SUPER! Thanks for asking!", I actually mean it. 
"Don't you think I look cute in this hat?"