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Saturday, January 27, 2018

Just A Fading Memory....

So.....2017 has been really, REALLY weird. Not just for me and in my life, but just in general. In the world. Hasn't it? Is it just me?

First...we've lost way too many of our breast cancer blogging friends and advocates. Like, the tab at the top of this blog, "Blogs I Like"....So many of these beautiful people are gone now. It hurts. It's a punch in the gut & the punches just keep on coming. More really does need to be done in the arena of research and monies for stage iv. And that is all I have to say about that.  

Also, the stupid political climate. Just...OMG....It's true, I don't usually speak of politics here, but c'mon now! What's happening in our politics, with our President in particular, is NOT NORMAL! 

What else....Kneeling, #MeToo, the revolving door of staff in the White House .... "covfefe" .... Ok, seriously .... after everything that's happened .... how do we STILL have this Cheeto-In-Chief who can't keep his tiny hands off his Tweety Button?!!!! GAWD!!!

Normal? Ummmm, no.

2017 was wrought with so much dissension... so much divisiveness, protests and violence at rallies and in the streets broadcast live across all modes of media. 

2017 has been not only weird, but also very difficult. So much loss, change, ups and downs..... 

So, most of my regular readers (Ha ha ha!!! Like I write regularly!!) and Facebook followers know that O and I did the whole Texas to Georgia relocation thing. Again. A little different this time. Ok, well, a LOT different this time. 

First, right off the bat, I learned of the passing of my biological father, from whom I have been estranged....And that story is a whole other can o'worms that I am still not sure how to feel about. 

Then the sudden, unexpected loss of a very close family member in January, was not how any of us expected 2017 to start. O and I had been back in Texas since October 2015, and had pretty much successfully pushed a "Reset" button on our life, and then it happened. 

We flew on airplanes about every six weeks to Georgia and back, starting with attending the funeral...and if you know me, you know how terrifying that is for me and how absolutely dreadful it was for O to have to deal with me in flight.  And then we just moved in June.

We got here just in time to ride out Hurricane Irma. Which was awful. We were going to evacuate to northwest Georgia, and therefore didn't stockpile any supplies, until, at the VERY last minute, Irma decided to turn and go straight up to where we were going to go. So we stayed. O's first hurricane. We didn't have any damage. We were lucky. Three major hurricanes....Harvey, Irma and Maria.... So close together. What is happening to our planet??

October brought a cancer scare for me. A 3D mammogram, my first, showed a suspicious area. Ultrasound and needle biopsy later, it was nothing. And I'm pretty sure I would not have gone through this at my regular mammogram place in Texas....November brought a similar scare to my mother....also nothing. Thankfully.

Life is just different. Different good and different not so good. But that's life, eh?

We have reconnected with family, some damaged relationships have been restored, some estrangements have been reconnected. These are the best things that happened for us in 2017.


Sunset At The Beach - December 2017
Ah, 2017....when I reflect on it, it just seems so....so.....noisy. If that makes sense. Thus my inability to get blogs out. And I'm not so sure I'm at all enamored with how this post reads either.


2017 is over. Gone. I'm glad. 

Goodbye 2017. 











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, eventually...one 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 recall....so 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 have....it'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?

Nope.

Not. One. Bit.

(Maybe a little.)