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Tuesday, December 31, 2019

2020 24 Hours To Go...

November 2019
I wanna be sedated.....  

Seriously.  Thank you cousin S for the lovely Effen Vodka.  Sedation happening in 3 - 2 - 1... Kidding!  (Am I?) 

I wish I could say "nothing to do, nowhere to go" but lately, LTC runs with scissors!! As in, it's been crazy time around here these last couple of weeks.


Goodbye 2019.  Goodbye 20Teens.  

I don't really have a whole lot to say about this past year.  The decade, though, has been all about fucking cancer.  As will the rest of my life, however long or short it will be.  And also moving.  Texas to Savannah to Texas, back to Savannah.  

So yeah, being 10 years out from cancer should make me feel victorious, right?  Wrong.  I'm still waiting for the other shoe to drop.  Now, more than ever, is when it might rear it's ugly head.  But then, this has been my thinking since the day after active treatment ended, so...  

I'm glad to say, as I have before... This has been a pretty uneventful year.  As in, no cancer scares, no biopsies....  Pretty ho-hum and I'll take it.  This is a good thing in cancerland.  It has also been chock full of family, fun and food.  My kinda year.

I'd love to be able to report so many things accomplished this year, but I can't.  I did get my Realtor® license though.  And that was pretty awesome, given that I had the discipline to self study online and actually pass the test on the first try.  So there's that.

June 2019 - 50 years old
I also turned 50.  Five Zero.  
The Big Five Oh.  (The other F Word!)  Received my AARP Card even!!  And then promptly prescribed cholesterol medication.  Awesome.  

I'm thankful for so much though.  I am blessed to have my O with me here in Savannah.  And the family.  And to still be NED.  

Just wanted to take a minute to say thanks for hanging out with me here, especially since my posts are getting fewer and fewer.  Maybe in the 2020s that will change.  I really cherish the relationships I have with you all thanks to technology and social media.  

Please join me in raising a glass, and a middle finger to the end of this decade.  May the 2020s be b̶e̶t̶t̶e̶r̶  good to us all.

Also, VOTE.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

I, Hate Everything About...

This ad.

(The following is a short rant that's been boiling in my head for several weeks.  Apologies for the lack of cohesive thought here.)

This stupid ass thing has been clogging up my news feed on social media for weeks.  And I hate it.  I hate that, of course, she's wearing pink.  Hate the fist pump.  Hate the "warrior" triumphant facial expression.

Find. Treat. Live.  REALLY??? Mammograms do NOT save lives people!  Mammograms detect the presence, or lack thereof, cancer. Period.  And, if your 3D mammograms detects cancer, and it is stage IV.... Peace of mind?  

No. A 3D mammogram is NOT peace of mind.  Sure as hell wasn't for me my first time at the 3D rodeo.  Rather, it landed me straight in panic mode, as it detected something the radiologist wanted to have biopsied.  So, no.  It provided zero peace of mind.

I posted a comment on the ad stating these thoughts, amid all the "Yes it is" and "Getting mine next week" posts.  I even private messaged the page thinking...hoping for a reply and even removal of this stupid thing.  But no. I still see it.  Like, just now saw it and decided to come here and bitch about it.

And, when I do go to get my third 3D mammogram, every single damn employee and technician will have some sort of pink bullshit on their outfit or lab coat.  

So over it.  I'm also considering moving my mammogram to the first of the year, since it has somehow managed to land in Pinktober, rather than in September.

September 2016
Again, as in years past, I am reclaiming October for Halloween and spooky fun.  

The end.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Mine Is Forever.......


My outlook. My thoughts. My opinions. My expectations.


May 2018
*Here is a majorly rambling rework of what was supposed to be my post back in June 2018, on the anniversary of my diagnosis. It's not a flowery post. And I also feel the need to express that I'm not going around all gloom and doom, pissed off and sad all the time. And I'm not all cancer all the time either.*

*Additional edit, July 2019...I can't believe I'm still re-working this stupid thing! GAWD*

*Final Additional Edit: This is coming out on the 10 year mark of my first sit down in the chemo recliner. Whatever.*

A rambling muse that's been running around in my head.

You know how sometimes an experience can change the way you think, or feel about a person, place or thing? And how, sometimes, that change lasts a long, long, looooooong time, and other times not so long? Maybe a week, or a month. A year...maybe longer?

Example: "I couldn't eat hot dogs for about 10 years after I got food poisoning from eating some when I was about 12."

Or, like the time you just weren't in the mood to do a thing because of the bad day you're having, but maybe you'll want to do the thing tomorrow, hoping it will be a better day.

Might last a day. Yeah...

I still think of my life in terms of "bc/ad" - "beforecancer / after diagnosis."  And I am for sure a different person after cancer. Pretty sure not for the better.  Some people claim that getting cancer turned out to be a "gift" in their life. Made them feel a deeper gratitude and stuff and they are SO much better off for having had it... This is not, nor has it ever been my feeling about having to go through all the shit that one goes through because cancer happened to you. And I'm not trying to tell anyone how to do their cancer. However you do/deal with it, it's right for you. Likewise, please don't tell me how to do or feel about my cancer.

I find it more and more difficult to be honest with some people abouthow I feel. Because, apparently, there are still those who will shame you for still being pissed off that you had cancer. Or be all annoyed because you are going through a bit of scanxiety on mammogram day. Because, you know, I'm 10 years out. I'm not supposed to think about recurrence or metastasis or have any non-flowery feelings anymore. Cause so many others have it so much worse...worse cancers even. (There are no good/better cancers out there btw...) BUT, let me remind you, again, 30% of those diagnosed with early stage breastcancer will become stage IV. Still. STILL!!! Let's not take off on that tangent.

June 2018
Here's the thing...I'm SO grateful for SO many people, places and things. But the cancer experience isn't one of those things. "Thanks" to cancer, my whole outlook, thoughts, opinions, expectations, whole inner monologue has changed. And not for the better. Maybe not for the worse either, but that would depend on who you are talking to about how "she's different since the cancer"..... Which was actually said about me to someone the minute I left a room (in a bit of a huff) one time in the not so distant past.... And it was said with a touch of irritation that I'm so different now.

When I first started taking my lump around to the doctors, I was assured that it's "probably nothing because the mammogram was clear, and there is no family history, and being not quite even 40 years old....probably just a fibroid."

Yeah. So I hoped for and expected the absolute best outcome when I went in for the re-check.

And that went well, didn't it?! Stage 3 infiltrating ductal carcinoma with 4 of 15 positive lymph nodes.

So expectations of things, of results and outcomes....changed. For the worse. I get it. It does bother me. It annoys those close to me, too. 

It seems that I now anticipate the worst result in everything. Not just cancer stuff. Everything. I do, however, always hope for the best. Wish for the best outcome or results in anything and everything. And at the same time, expect the absolute worst.

Cancer did not make me an all new and improved version of myself. Didn't make me stop and smell the flowers more or anything. (I'm more, stop and smell the toast If anything, I think it amplified everything about me. The good, the bad and the ugly.

In a recent (well, recent at the time of the first draft of this post! lol!) conversation, I was told that I have "such a pessimistic outlook". Well, sorry about that. These days...and especially these days, in our majorly fucked up all the cancer crap...yeah....I'm pretty pessimistic and pissed off in general about lots of things, while still managing to seek out fun and try to enjoy life. And yes, I do try to live in the moment...but that's a hard one for me lately.

Look, I'm pretty sure I've always had a pretty pessimistic outlook, in general. And now, probably even more so.

Lately, I don't even recognize myself in many ways...this country....this life.

Mine is forever....
July 2019

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Let's Go To The Hop!
Nancy's Summer Blog Hop Challenge

Time for Nancy's Summer Blog Challenge and this time it's a Blog Hop! What a great idea! Here we go with the 14 Random Questions.
Blog Hop Challenge Questions
1.  Who are you? If applicable, share anything you want about your cancer (type, stage, when diagnosed, whatever.) Share something about yourself such as where you live, the name of your blog and it’s “mission”, a challenge you have faced or are facing now, or whatever you want.
I was diagnosed on June 30, 2009, Stage III, HER2+ at barely 40 years old. I had known about my lump for a couple of months. It did not show up on my mammogram. I got an all clear letter in the mail. I had 2 lumpectomy surgeries, 15 lymph nodes removed - 4 positive and had a mediport placed before beginning chemotherapy. My chemo regimin was 6 rounds of Taxotere, Carboplatin and Herceptin. Herceptin continued every 3 weeks and ended on August 26, 2010. I also had 33 doses of Radiation, including 8 boosts to the tumor site.

I am not a fan of all the pink party like breast cancer awareness bs.

I also love to cook and eat good food. 

 2.  Have you ever participated in a blog hop before?
No. This is really cool though.
 3.  What’s your favorite sort of blog post to write and/or read – personal story, informational, how to, controversial, political, opinion, rant or other?
When I was posting more regularly, I would post about all kinds of things. I would even post about things that have absolutely nothing to do with cancer. Like, how difficult it can be for O and I to grab a bite to eat! I also post some ranty rants from time to time. I love to read a good rant. 
4.  Describe yourself in three words. Yes, just three!
Hmmmmmmmmm.......... Short. Foodie. Empathetic. 
 5.  Name three of your favorite books from your youth (whatever age that means to you.) that had an impact on you.
The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein, The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster, The Diary of Anne Frank by Anne Frank
 6.  What are you reading right now, or what’s on your to-read list for when you have time?
I prefer to read non-fiction. Biographies in particular. I'd love to have time to read more, from an actual book. I do use the Kindle app too. Right now I'm reading lots of recipes and cooking blogs.
 7.  What’s your favorite dessert of all time?
I'm not a big sweets eater. But I think it's a tie between chocolate mousse and creme brulee. 
8.  Tell us about a special pet you have, had, or would like to have. (Never wanted a pet, that’s okay too.)

I miss my pets. We have none currently. But my black kitty, Spaz, was such a loving kitty with a spunky personality. And our pomeranian, Simba, was just the sweetest dog ever. He knew lots of tricks! We loved them both so much and still miss them.

9.  What’s something people don’t know about you and might be surprised to learn?
I always thought I would work in the music industry. Either in the Recording Studio, or even as a Roadie. 
10.  Do you believe healthcare is a privilege or a right?
Everyone should have access to healthcare without the risk of becoming bankrupt or having to burden or bankrupt their family. Healthcare here in the US is completely effed up.
11.  What’s your favorite thing about blogging and/or reading blogs?
Blogging, for me, has been like therapy.  And I have "met" sooo many wonderful people through blogging. Some of my best friends I most likely will never get to meet in person.  
12.  What’s something you really suck at?
Blogging, lately.  And complicated math.    
13.  What’s something you’re pretty good at?
I think I'm pretty good at cooking. Especially spaghetti sauce lately.
14.  How do you escape from cancer (or life in general) worries?
Now that I am living back in coastal Georgia, I like to take what I call a "Mental Health Day" from time to time. We'll either go to the beach, or to our Historic Downtown district. I am a native tourist. 


Well, that was pretty fun! 

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Ten Years Have Got Behind You....

I have officially been NED for 10 years now.  (As far as anyone can tell.)  It went pretty quickly, and super slowly, all at the same time.

It is the only cancer related date I celebrate. I acknowledge them all, but only this one has me raise a glass anymore. And it's always a nice martini.

I always want to give a big shout out and send much love to all who participated in my care and treatment. Big, big love to you 
Dr. V, Dr. W, Dr. L, Dr. D, and all the wonderful day surgery nurses whose names I don't know, and especially my friend and chemo nurse, Ms. C, and also my ob/gyn nurse and long time friend Ms. F!

I'm also so thankful to the friends, both in real life friends, and those online friends I most likely will never meet in person. Y'all know who you are. Huge hugs from us in Georgia to you all.

And of course, my love, my O, and my mom..... All my family. Y'all know how I feel for y'all. Super lucky to have all of you. 

Grateful doesn't come close to describing the emotions when I look back on these past 10 years. Grateful, but also, still grappling with "the fear". That insidious asshole that lives constantly in the back of my mind. And I'm working on some fresh words about that, so that, especially right now, is a topic for another post.

So, join me, won't you, in raising a glass to NED, what I like to call "cancer-freeness", and also let's raise a finger to cancer.

Thought I'd something more to say...... But I don't. Here I am on the anniversary of the cancer-freeness on June 23.

In case y'all were wondering what 10 years of cancer free-ness looks like.
July 23, 2019

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

(REPRISE: 10 Years) Do You Remember The Time...

Ten years ago today. I'm pretty sure I roll this one out on Facebook every year, but this time, I'll re-post this one from 2014 as a Reprise. Funny how time seems to move so quickly and slowly, all at the same time. I have had several events remind me of how true that is. 

Today, for whatever stupid reason, I remember just about every single thing about the events of 10 years ago. Biopsy, lunch, some food shopping, and lots of news coverage about MJ. 

It was the beginning of "b.c." Before caner. The beginning of the end of life as we knew it.

This is also my birthday month. Ten years ago, after lump discovery, but before diagnosis, I was so happy to celebrate turning 40 with family and friends. And a couple of weeks ago, I enjoyed VERY much, turning 50 with family, friends and multiple celebrations. We were all celebrating not only the fact that, I am now eligible for my AARP card, but also that I can still be here. That we can still be together.  
Left turning 40 - 2009. Right turning 50 - 2019

I'm letting the birthday memories overtake the biopsy memories. May it remain so.

Do You Remember The Time...
Today.  Today marks five years since Michael Jackson passed away. Farrah Fawcett as well, but all you saw on TV was Michael Jackson. I remember this day well. Ok, not "well" but, rather, vividly. Because when I heard the news that the King Of Pop was dead, I was resting on the sofa, ice pack on my boob, really flipping the fuck out from having just had a biopsy.

It was the beginning of the shit hitting the fan in our life.

Although I do tend to Remember The Times through all the procedures and treatments, this particular one might have been forgotten...except for MJ. And Farrah.