Sunday, March 28, 2010


This weekend, one of my patients told me that I really seemed "plugged in" to the people that I am working with. That was pretty cool and I think, I hope, that she was right. I seem to make eye contact more, I seem to be engaging people more. I tend to be where I am more.

I think part of that, is because my brain cannot process as many things as it used to. So when I am talking to someone, I am listening, not thinking of the next question. I cannot multi-task these days. Whatever I am doing gets all of my attention. Now, that is not that great, since I am running at 1/2 capacity. But if I continue to be plugged in once my brain is at full power, well that would be great.

I had a nice errand run today. I needed to pick up a part for the lawnmower. The guys at Lowe's were so incredibly "plugged in" and helpful, I called the manager to brag about those two guys.

I do realize that they may have just felt sorry for the bald cancer chick... but I will give credit where credit is due. It is just a sad state of affairs when one is so surprised by good customer service, that it is the exception rather than the rule.


I read other cancer blogs and they are so witty and profound and I have nothing..

This past week has been a little crappy, very unpredictable as to how I will feel on any given day. Some days, I can stay vertical and I "over parent" the kids to try and compensate for the days I am horizontal and leave them pretty much to parent themselves. I imagine they will need therapy for this, or they are going to say to me "we raised ourselves during cancer year, we don't need you to start parenting us now".

I do realize I am being over dramatic. I am still raising them, I am just tired of being limited.

I do feel the need to apologize or at least acknowledge how hard this must be for my Mother. I do really hate how hard it must be to see someone you love going through this. There is a part of me that feels it must be harder to watch it than it is to live it.

I carry fear with me of someone I love being diagnosed. This seems odd to me, but in a way that I am very comfortable with, being odd and all.

Tomorrow I see the lymphedema specialist for my truncal lymphedema situation. I am looking forward to this as it will be a learning experience plus it will hopefully, help me with this swelling I am toting around.

Someone else asked me yesterday, why I shaved my head... so interesting. Maybe I don't look all sick and cancer-y. So I guess I should put in a plug for Mineral Silk make-up. It seems to be doing the trick to make me look less corpse-like. So thank you,!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


Today, I will get number 6 out of 12 of the second phase of chemo. The kids want to celebrate the halfway point. The kids would also like to celebrate the 1/4 point and the 3/4 point, because the kids like eating out.

Yesterday, my 10yo DD said "Mom, I hope this doesn't offend you", (this is always a bad sign, she is going to say something offensive), "but if you are still alive when my sister gets married, will you help pay for the dress?" This was interesting to me since I am pretty sure that 10yo DD was questioning the depths of my cheapskate-ness and not questioning my mortality.

I chuckled aloud which may have scared them if she was indeed, asking if I would be alive to see 12yo get married one day. But this was more of a question about my frugal ways and would I be bargain hunting for a wedding dress. There was an unspoken message, though. A quiet acceptance that we don't assume anything. I think most kids assume their parents will be alive for their wedding, we have lost that. We don't talk about it often, I don't think we have really talked about it at all. But there is an understanding that has happened. I have never sat them down and talked to them about my long term prognosis.

No one wants to have that conversation with me. I can't even talk to my Oncologist since my Mom stays in the room with me when the Oncologist is there. I have considered asking her to wait in the waiting room for me, but that would freak her out. I will see him next week, I do have some questions for him, but I don't want to ask in front of my Mom.

Having the "safe sex" talk with the Oncologist, in front of Mom, was pretty awkward. So I am pretty sure that asking the Oncologist if I need to stress about my lack of a retirement fund would be pretty uncomfortable.

The kids and I were shopping (at the thrift store, of course). Someone was giving me the weird eye trying to figure out what was up with my hair. 10yo picked up on this and asked loudly "When is your next chemo, Mom?" She admitted later that she asked that in front of weird eye lady to get her to stop staring.

I have to believe that this is teaching the kids valuable life skills.

Saturday, March 20, 2010


Feeling very blessed to have slept for 6 hours straight last night. Feeling blessed that eyeball is healing well and eye doctor said I must be a good healer, a skill that I hope will serve me well. Feeling blessed for my wonderful children and how well they are adapting to this experience.

I had a few hairy moments this weeks (hairy is funny when you are bald). A bad chemo day, feeling all toxic and yucky. A bad mental day, mourning this assholes that are gone from my life (glad they are gone but sad that they are assholes).

I am experiencing truncal lymphedema, puffiness at a side boob location where there is no boob. I am grateful to have been referred to an actual lymphedema specialist and will see her in a week.

Nothing much is going on, I just feel like I am living on the outskirts of actual life. I go through the motions like normal people but I am not actually "plugged in". It is a very strange feeling.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


State of my hair check-up. Ignore the bad skin and the bags under my eyes, I'm not sleeping well.


It is past 3:00 AM and I can't sleep.

But I just came across this article that I liked, so I am linking it here:

The author wrote about that cancer verbiage; battle, survivor, brave, etc.

This article moved me since I have had these discussions with my friends and family. My daughter hates the term 'survivor' as she doesn't want to think of the alternative. But a 'survivor' friend of mine refers to herself as such quite readily. A patient of mine asked if I was a cancer survivor and I answered "So far". In my opinion, the only was I can say I survived cancer is when I die of something else. Maybe I just feel that was since I am still toting around cancer. We are co-existing.

I also don't love 'brave'. I don't feel brave, I just show up. The alternative is to hide in the closet and that wouldn't be a good idea.

I don't want my obituary to say 'lost battle with cancer'. If it gets me, I hope it is not because it beat me, I just chose to find a new roommate. Maybe 'chose' is not the right word, but if this disease progresses, than this real estate that is my body may become inhabitable. So my 'leaving' this real estate would be seen as a good thing. Maybe I should have "Movin' On Up" from The Jeffersons played at my memorial service.

Well we're movin on up,
To the east side.
To a deluxe apartment in the sky.
Movin on up,
To the east side.
We finally got a piece of the pie

Sunday, March 14, 2010


There is an experience that I had in the hospital that keeps coming up in my mind. I figure it needs some more processing, so I will process.

It was the morning after the mastectomy. The previous evening, I had apparently talked to a friend (I have no recollection of this) and told her that my "armpit was not massacred so I must be OK". That morning, the surgeon came in, reported that my lymph node biopsy was positive and that chemo was in my future. As I recall, I became very aggitated, went to the nurses station and started asking (demanding) that I be discharged. I was due to go home that day, but I wanted out now. I remember saying "I am NOT OK and no one can help me". I just hear myself saying that over and over.

I was so hopeful that the surgery would remove the tumor and it would be a done deal. I realize now how silly that sounds, but that was my plan. Somehow I had convinced myself that the radical surgery was going to fix my problem. They had discussed chemo before surgery to shrink the tumor and have less drastic surgery, but I declined and opted for the mastectomy.

So when I was informed that I still had cancer... I was not OK and no one could help me.

I have had a good dose of chemo and I still have cancer. I don't know if I am OK and I don't know who can help me. After this round of chemo is done, I will get another scan to see if I still have cancer. There is something in my brain that can deal with chemo to prevent stray cancer cells from setting up housekeeping that is different from knowing there is a visible mass still in there that we are measuring and killing, damn squatters.

So anyway, in a PTSD kinda thing, I hear my voice telling those nurses to let me out since I am not OK and no one can help me. I hear it a lot. I don't like it.

Maybe hypnosis can remove that memory. Maybe that voice is serving a purpose. Maybe I need therapy.

Saturday, March 13, 2010


Couple of things...

First-Damn that was a good burger I just ate. Not much tastes good these days, but that hit the spot.

Second-I have been dealing with a stomach bug and an eyeball problem this week. Stomach bug has been going around, kids had it, I got it, no big deal. But when my eyeball needed to be pulled out of my head, I couldn't drive, I couldn't see. So I had to carefully consider who my friends were. Who would be willing to take me to the doctor when I might possibly shit in their car?? I was on the toilet every 10 minutes for hours and I needed to go the doctor about my eye. Who can you call in that situation?

Turns out I do have good friends and I didn't shit in their car, but it means a lot that they were willing to chance it.

I did have a corneal abrasion and some other kind of trauma to my eye. So I added another lovely feature to being bald and boobless, swollen and blind. The doc put yellow dye in my eye and it ran out of my nose, damn I am sexy now!

Here is my deep thoughts about cancer today. You cannot be indifferent after cancer. There were people in my life before that were kinda on the fence. You do learn who your friends are. Those who are good, get better. Those who sucked, get worse. It is an interesting magnifying glass that I can see with now (out of my one eye that is not swollen and leaking yellow crap).

Unrelated, I had to get my yearly auto exam thing to get my license plate renewed. The car passed and the guy said "See you next year!". I thought, the chances of me and my car being around next year are not that great (the car is a 1992 model). I just thought it sad that I don't make those assumptions anymore, and I wiped yellow snot from my weepy nose.

I also realized that cancer took my boob but growing big brass balls must be a side effect of chemo, I think that is an OK trade.

Sunday, March 7, 2010


This is just pitiful. My 10yo DD and I are watching the Academy Awards (she is rooting for Avatar). I keep having hot flashes (from chemo induced menopause...chemopause). Everytime I have one, I tell her and she keeps her hand on my head and is awe as she can feel it heating up.

We need to get out more.


I don't think I have ever been this tired for this long in my whole life. I have a level of fatigue that doesn't respond to rest. Of course, I don't think I have slept through the night in at least two weeks. I am whiny.

Saturday, March 6, 2010


I think I am starting to get very burned out on this Cancer business. I have done my third of twelve weekly new chemos. Weekly chemo sucks, no break. Even if the side effects are not as bad, there is just no "good" period. Plus, the oncologist office calls me every Friday wih an automated voice message reminding me of my appointment.

For some reason, this almost always brings tears to my eyes. Friday night is when I am getting ready to "play normal" and go to work for the weekend and pretend everything is OK. The kids are gone so I don't have to feel guilty if I nap or don't cook. I hate being called every Friday night to be reminded of this crap, I get it, I am not going to forget.

Went to the prothesis store this week looking for a mastectomy bra that looks less matronly, no dice. We were discussing the lack of attractive bras and the sales woman asked if I was married or not. I found this interesting and asked her "Who needs sexy bras more, married woman or single woman?" She answered "married woman" and then admitted that it made no sense. Having been married and sales woman being currently married, we acknowledged that husbands don't really care about bras.

And I am not even going to start on husbands and what they feel about what is under bras, I am still boobed out. It is ass cheeks all the way.

I did do something positive. I made an appointment to meet with the breast cancer chick at the local YMCA. She will advise me in an exercise program and lymphadema info and nutrition guidance. I am looking forward to this as my ass is getting big enough I will have enough to keep two ass men happy.

An interesting thing happened this week. I had two very different conversations with two friends. With #1, he was asking me if I still worry about dying and I shared the stats with him (which are not all rosy and unicorny). He said he could relate to my worrying about surviving to my children's adulthood. He recently had a physical and although everything came out perfectly, he could understand my fear.

Now, I love this friend, I know he is having a hard time wrapping his brain around my cancer. But I don't get how your great physical gives you insight into my cancer thinking.

But then, on the flip side, #2 friend had a sinus infection but stated that he couldn't complain to me about how he was feeling since I have cancer.

Hmmm, I don't like that either. Sinus infections suck, he feels worse that I do. Yeah, you can complain about how crappy you feel. I don't want to be a cancer bitch who has lost all compassion for everyone who is "healthy". That is not who I am. Personally, I think that living with the fear of the unknown is a hell of a lot scarier than post diagnoses. Before D-Day, I worried about what might happen. It scared me. Well, IT has happened and I am OK. I hate that my family has fear of being diagnosed. I hate that my friends worry about developing some life altering condition. Been there, done that, it sucks and I don't wish it on anyone.

My 10yo daughter was reading some Cancer magazine that got left in the car. She asked me if I was mad about getting cancer. I am not, there is no reason why I shouldn't have it. Someone has to get it, why not me? I never said "why me?". My daughter made me happy, she told me that I was not a wimp and I could handle it.

That being said, I am pissed that my kids have to deal with this. It isn't fair to them. But fair schmair, I have to believe that this experience will serve them in their future.

I don't know if any of this made much sense. Like I said, I am a little burned out.

Monday, March 1, 2010


Couple of things going on this morning in my little brain.

First, my sister (from whom I am estranged, hopefully temporarily) sent me an email informing me that the cast of 70's show "Eight is Enough" would be on TV. OK, this should be fun, and sis sent me an email that wasn't scathing! So I am watching the cast, googling trivia on the show, nice walk down memory lane.

But what about the Mom on the show? I didn't even realize she had ever been on the show. Turns out, the actress Diana Hyland played the Mom for four episodes and then pretty much dropped dead of...breast cancer. She was 41 years old. She was working and living and got too sick to continue filming and a few weeks later (maybe months) was dead. Maybe that doesn't qualify as "dropping dead" since she did have a few weeks in between becoming too sick to work and dying. But I keep telling my kids that I won't "drop dead" of breast cancer and that story sounds like cutting it pretty close.

Of course, I mean no disrepect to Ms. Hyland or her family. I had the same reaction when I heard about the lady from "Survivor" that recently died of breast cancer. I just need to believe that I will have plenty of warning if the cancer gets me. Which sounds silly when I think it. No one has warning about being hit by a moving...whatever (fill in the blank). People drop dead of heart attacks, strokes, tramatic brain injuries, impalings, etc, etc. Cancer does not mean that I am entitled to a endearing death bed scene with friends and family surrounding me.

OK, now that I have that in perspective. (The feeling of entitlement is a hot button topic of mine and when I see myself feeling entitled to anything, it smacks me on the nose.)

Second issue, the whole boob thing. Someone in internet land is having reconstruction because her husband had an affair with someone with two boobs. Someone else in internet land was dogging a young woman who had a biltateral mastectomy since she carried the gene and wanted to avoid cancer. He said that she would never find a husband without boobs, blah blah blah.

Since I have still not made a decision about reconstruction, this stuff really drives me nuts. I am sure I have seen way to many pics of boobs lately. Real boobs, lifted boobs, scarred boobs, reconstructed boobs, nipple-less boobs, tattooed boobs, barbie boobs, good boobs, bad boobs, boobs, boobs, boobs. Even the word looks stupid.

I am hoping to meet an "ass man". Or maybe a one-armed man. Surely these boobs cannot be all that important. Maybe I just took them for granted since I had pretty decent boobs for a pretty good while. I love grabbing a handful of cute man ass, but I don't think I would dismiss a man if he had no ass cheek.

Maybe I should spend more time looking at pics of cute man ass, I think I am all boobed out.