Sunday, May 30, 2010


I have a very good friend at work. Yesterday, she said, "You are starting to look like yourself, not that other person." We laughed, it is funny. But this morning, I started thinking about all the lies we tell, regarding cancer.

We lie a lot, "I feel fine", "But you look good", "You are going to beat this".

I lie so I don't burden people with my reality, they lie thinking if I think positive, the cancer will be destroyed by my Mary Poppins fairy dust.

I am still hanging out in limbo land, scan on Wednesday and results revealed on Thursday. I am coming to terms with the fact that the results may not matter a whole bunch. I met a lady who finished treatment, had a clear scan, and two months later she is having two brain tumors removed. I met another lady who has been dealing with this shit for 19 years, remission and recurrence, remission and recurrence.

So, there is no point in me getting hung up on the scan results. They are simply a snapshot of where I am today, not an indication of anything long term. If they come up bad, I will use different weapons, if they come back good, I will pack up the arsenal for the time being.

I do wonder, if I still have the glowing lymph node, will they do more chemo before we graduate onto radiation. But I will find that out soon enough.

If I do have to do more chemo:
I will henna my bald head, I didn't do that last time.
I will use my toxic pee to kill the grass that grows in my driveway.
I will convince myself that doughnuts and crab rangoons taste nasty.
I will enjoy the chemo glow that my skin had, my skin did look great.

My 10yo daughter took eyelash inventory, I have 7, four on one side, three on the other. What a helpful update that was.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


See how the pink part of my nails is turning white? The white is crawling up my nails a little every week. If you google white nail beds, you get heart or liver failure or anemia. I am hoping this is just a side effect of the Taxol, which sometimes makes your fingernails fall out. I am keeping my nails short so I won't catch the edge on something and rip them out.

Nothing much is going on at the cancer front. I have a break between medical things. So, I have a glimpse of life after treatment. That is a weird place to be, what to do...what to do. I am working out at the Y, at their after breast cancer program. I am pleased that I actually show up. I am seeing my cancer shrink and have found my cancer peeps support group. I work, I homeschool, I babysit the toddler, I crochet.

I think I should spend a little time thinking and planning on who I will be after cancer while I have this break. But, then again, next week I will have my scan and Oncology visit and infusion. So I will be all cancer-y again. And, the scan may show that I am less cancer-y or more cancer-y. So I will wait for the deep reflection on who I am until I have more info on how I am .

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


I got a little pissed off last night. I washed my face and more eyebrows fell out. With my swollen face and no eyebrows, I now closely resemble Aaahnold in Terminator during the eyeball plucking scene. Did you ever notice how strange he looked with the movie make-up during that scene? It was the lack of eyebrows that made him look so fake.

So I went to bed, doing my lymphatic drainage and I am noticing a weirdness under my involved side armpit. I am thinking lymph node but am not quite sure if I have any left on that side. Hopefully, it is just a blob of scar tissue from where they ripped the lymph nodes out on that side.

Scan coming up, I will find out soon enough. Do I think positive and take a chance being dissapointed? Do I assume the worst and hope for relief from results. What if I assume the worst, be nervous for the next week, the worst is confirmed and then I have wasted a week of being perky and optimistic. (Perky is a little joke, I don't do perky).

This all goes back to that making your own reality thing, the powers of self delusion. I have to decide what my reality is today, which is, that I have finished six months of chemo, there is no reason to believe that I am in worse shape than I was before. The first chemo made a positive change, I will assume the second recipe did the same.

Crap... I thought my scan was next week, it is in two weeks, time crawls when you are waiting for important stuff. Two weeks, that is too long to be stressed, so I am choosing the ignorance is bliss path, for now.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


Feeling better every day, haven't napped in over a week. I even walked up the stairs at work a time or two this weekend! That is a big deal, I used to always take the stairs and towards the end of chemo, I had to ride the elevator up everytime. I have also worked out at the Y twice, a very wimpy workout, but it is progress.

I am also proud of myself for using my sleeve. I have had to turn the car around twice after forgetting it, but I am actually following medical advice and using my sleeve when doing activties with that arm or at work. I have used the push mower, did my upper body workout and worked at the nursing home with my sleeve and have had no noticeable swelling- Go Me!!

I went to a new support group meeting last night. It is not a breast cancer group, it is a generic cancer group. Very small, all cancers, all stages, pretty cool, but I cried a little. I may need to cry occasionally, I might sleep better. I am realizing that I do spend a lot of energy trying to portray the "fine-ness" of everything. People really don't want to hear how crappy things are, it makes them feel helpless...and scared. I think people want me to be "fine" so they know that they too, can be "fine" if it ever happens to them.

I have been crocheting like a mad woman, I have all these squares in a stack. Maybe one day, I will join them all together and have a big blanket. But for now, I only have the attention span to do 10 x 10ish squares. The kids bought me a book of fancy stitches, I can't follow the directions but my mistakes look pretty cool. I have found that if you just keep doing the same thing over and over, it loos like you are doing it on purpose.

That is with yarn work, I guess it applies to life too. But with yarn work, your mistakes make a pretty pattern if you screw up the same way every time. I am pretty sure that real life shouldn't work like that. It shouldn't, but people try and make it work like that. Once they screw up, they just keep doing it until it becomes a pattern. It becomes their new identity since they refuse to pull out the yarn and do it over, correctly.

"No, really, this is who I am." That is what they say, but it is not who you were designed to be.

Sorry, I got off on a tangent thinking about some people in my life. Hopefully, therapy will help me to see that I should appreciate the interesting pattern that has been created by all our screw ups. That would make me all inner peacey and all that and the assholes would love that.

I told my new cancer shrink that I feel guilty that cancer has not given me those new eyes, a more enlightened view of the world. She said that was an unrealistic expectation, most people are just really pissed off about cancer.

Friday, May 14, 2010


Yesterday was my first day that I would have normally had chemo, but I didn't. So, this means that I should start feeling better every day. I did have my Herceptin infusion which was very uneventful and boring is good. I felt like the people I used to envy, those that popped in for a quickie IV and then be-bopped out of there. I didn't have to have a driver, I wasn't on the drip for hours, I wasn't drugged and crampy, piece of cake...umm cake.

Since I have finished the six months of steroids I have been on, it is time to stop eating cake, and crab rangoons, and all the other stuff I have been eating while I had chemo mouth. I gained 22 pounds on chemo, I am hopeful that some of that is water weight from the steroids. But, much of that is from crab rangoons and it is time to get that off of me. I lost 35 pounds on purpose right before my diagnoses. So time to get back on that horse.

I saw my cancer shrink yesterday. Now I have a cancer shrinker and a cancer shrink. I also started the YMCA after cancer workout program and I am going to the cancer club today to expand my cancer social skills.

And I don't have a doctor's appt for almost three weeks!!!

Monday, May 10, 2010


I have finished chemo, I sat with a camera so I could capture the last drop as it fell. It didn't fall, it turned into a bubble, flapping around like spittle from a dog's mouth. It finally dropped, the machine beeped and no confetti spewed out...bummer. It was a little anti-climatic as I will be back in a few days for an infusion of the Herceptin, which I will do every three weeks. So it is not the end of the poking and dripping, but it is the end of the toxic, napping, stinky sweaty, nauseated days.

At least for now. I don't have any confidence that this will be the last of chemo that I will see in my life.

I made an appointment for therapy, with an oncology counselor. I am curious to learn her interpretation of what is an appropriate thought process for someone in my situation. Everyone tells me I am handling this well, except for one nurse. I pointed out to her that I was not terribly perky before cancer, this might just be my personality.

I did check out a meeting for breast cancer people, but found it entirely too pink for my liking. I also have gone to a cancer support place, all kinds of cancer, no pink to be found. I hope that they can be my cancer "peeps". They have family support, stuff for kids and all types of cancer are represented.

A new hair development has occurred. I have some hair, very short hair, and I go "topless" 99% of the time. Apparently, now it is not assumed that I have cancer, people now make assumptions about my sexual orientation. A construction worker actually yelled something to me as I drove down the road. A co-worker confirmed my suspicions that the loud mouth asshole was attacking what he assumed my sexual preference to be.

What people yell out on the street is not really my issue, it is that people think it is OK to yell anything out at all. I don't know that I have ever felt strongly enough about anything to just scream it at strangers as they pass by.

But, I guess it is impressive that at 41 years of age, this is the first time that a stranger has insulted me directly, meaning that directed it only to me. I guess I have spent my life being pretty invisible.

I should take that up in therapy.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


I live outside of Nashville, Tn and we have had unprecedented flooding this past weekend. My home is safe and dry, but there are so many in the area that have had devastating losses.

I was scared, and that is the first time I have felt new fear in a while. I think after I was diagnosed, I thought I would be done with fear since I already had cancer, what else could happen?

Maybe it is more anxiety than fear. I am pretty sure I can handle what comes down the pike, I just get nervous waiting for it. Not that I am saying, "Go ahead and hit me with all the shit now", let me throw that disclaimer out to the universe. I just don't like waiting for the other shoe to drop.

My divorce was like that, the process took forever and I just hated the waiting to see how bad it was going to be. There is something surreal about watching the flood waters come up and waiting to see if it is going to enter your home or not. Tornadoes happen rather quickly, we are used to that. We have had days of watching the river, waiting to see how much destruction it will cause.

Maybe that will be my new normal, like living on a flood plain. With every bad storm, you wonder if this is the one that washes you out. So you do your thing, live your life until the rain falls, the scan is scheduled, a new pain is explored.

In my odd and detached way, I am curious how my brain will handle it once treatment is done.

Yep, therapy is on my to do list.

Saturday, May 1, 2010


Yesterday, my 12yo daughter came to me with a problem. She has marks on her breast which concern her. My daughter is extremely shy, but she showed me the marks. They were just stretch marks from puberty. I am angry that my daughter has to worry about breast cancer, but I am so proud of her for paying attention and letting me know her concerns. She is very proud of her boobs and said that she would hate to get them wacked off due to cancer.

What a terribly shitty thing for a 12yo to have to worry about.

I also have concerns. The end of chemo is coming up. What if it didn't get it all. I had a dream that they told me that I was up a creek since I have finished six months of chemo and I still have cancer. I also dreamed that I tried to have a conversation with my ex-husband about dealing with my stuff (house, insurance, etc) after I am dead, he wasn't interested... big surprise.

So now that I am awake, I will try to be more logical. I still have radiation to go through. If the chemo didn't get it, hopefully the rads will. But anytime I have a scan coming up, there is anxiety, that is appropriate and normal. But I won't get scanned for a few weeks, I don't want this anxiety for that long. So I need to learn to table the scanxiety for awhile.

Good news is that I get to do rads in my town, a quick drive instead of the longer drive that I have to chemo. I haven't met anyone from rads yet, that will be new and exciting. I did go to the building where scans will be for my echo, I saw two bald people! I seem to be the only bald person where I get chemo, I don't quite understand that. My Mom feels I am the only one without enough sense to wear a wig. She still has bald daughter issues.

I was cleaning my room the other day, I have a basket of scarves and such. I am not sure that I should donate them, I think I need to pack them up. I am not at all confident that I won't need them in the future.

One day, the cancer will be gone. Then I will just worry about it coming back. I will beat myself up for not being able to enjoy a cancer free life.

I think I need therapy.