Being thankful

It’s that time of year to take stock of all we have to be thankful for.

I am thankful for friends and family who have stood by me through some pretty horrific shit.

I am thankful for those who removed themselves when they found they could not stand by me.

I am thankful for my continued health (5 years this month since my diagnosis) and the health of my children and parents.

I am thankful I was given a chance at a job I had zero experience with, where I get to make a difference in people’s lives every day.

I am thankful I live in a country where I can voice my displeasure and disappointment in the results of a contentious election without fear.

I’m thankful for the people who read, comment on, and like this blog and share themselves in their own blogs.

I’m thankful for the 50 years I had with my sister and the 30 years I had with my husband. I will miss them both every day of my life, but the memories will live on in my heart forever .

I hope you all have a lot to be thankful for today, too.  xxxooo


15 Reasons Writing a Blog Makes you an Asshole

Last week I jumped on the 15 Random Things About Me blogwagon.  That was fun and I learned some things about many of the bloggers I follow.  Hence the blatant theft of the idea/title.

Today I had a light bulb moment when I was put out with someone and thought darkly “Don’t you KNOW I have a blog?”  I may or may not have offered him some free social media publicity if things were not resolved in my favor.   I thought it was just possible having a blog was making me kind of …. well… an asshole.

About a month ago I was in a snit because someone who should have been the mature person in the conversation, ie. not me, because he held a position of authority out sarcasmed me.  How DARE you, sir? Keep it up and you’ll be in the next blog.

I have blogged about things that bother me with little regard to the person I’m raking over the coals, though I do thinly disguise their identity.

I have taken Walmart, the Susan Komen Foundation, the clerk at the monument store, my doctors and the hospital where I was treated to task just to name a few.   With the exception of Walmart, I never would have said all the things I did in person, given the chance.   It’s easy to hide behind a computer screen (and be an asshole).

I know that’s not 15 things and if you are keeping count, who’s the asshole now?

On a more serious note, two weeks or so ago I had a moment of feeling sorry for myself at the tail end of a block of time I like to refer to as my personal 6 weeks of helliversary.. June 1 through July 10.  The blog post was entitled “My Reality” . I unlinked the post from FB. I  didn’t want my family and friends reading it and feeling guilty. I just really needed to vent.  A good friend did read it (honestly..I was shocked.. I thought family/friends only read this blog when I shoved it down their throats on FB) and commented in a private group.  I got a lot of support and several supportive comments here on the blog as well. But after a good night sleep I felt really uncomfortable.  I realized if I didn’t want the people I loved reading it, I shouldn’t be putting it out there so I deleted it.  I do want to acknowledge the bloggers that offered support.  I read your words and you made me cry. Nice job 😉

How has writing a blog changed how you present yourself to the world?  Does knowing anyone can read your words make you choose them more carefully or do you care if you offend?  Do you feel a responsibility to your readers to be authentic even if that means being an asshole occasionally?

Six month stay of elocution.

How does one end a blog? Do you just stop blogging or make some formal announcement?  I started this blog as a way to wrap my head around my diagnosis/treatment (a sort of self -therapy if you will) as well as to keep friends and family in the know without endless facebook updates. I would post a link to FB and those that wanted to could be informed.  What I didn’t expect to happen was finding a whole cyber community of other cancer patients/survivors/caregivers and genuinely wanting to keep up with them.  I never expected anyone outside my circle of family and friends to find, much less follow this blog.  That was kind of cool 🙂  I could just shift focus and blog about other things, but somehow now that I am done active treatment that just seems self-indulgent. At least on a blog that was specifically started to talk about breast cancer.  

So one final update.. I saw the oncologist yesterday and was given a clean bill of health. My tether has been lengthened to 6 months before my next check and the next time I have anything to report!

I’m going to continue to follow and comment on the blogs of the amazing folks I have met here in the blogosphere and who knows? I may decide I have something to blog about down the road but for now.. thanks for following along and all the support. 


What color ribbon does imaginary cancer get?

In the news over this past week there have been two stories of women who faked cancer for monetary gain.  One  who faked breast cancer will be spending a year in prison with her new implants.  Hope it was worth it. In a conversation recently about this I suggested she should have been sentenced to a few rounds of chemo.  I wanted to suggest making her volunteer in a breast cancer clinic, but can you imagine being a patient with actual cancer and having that around?  I’m guessing it wouldn’t end well.  Then yesterday I saw another story about a woman faking bladder cancer.  This one got a wedding paid for by friends and family.  She was ultimately turned in by her own sister who was worried about her niece and nephew. Can you say “emotional abuse” boys and girls?  Another one back in April got her dream wedding after lying about having leukemia.

Scamming is nothing new, but scamming your own friends and family?  And letting them believe you are dying?  I can’t wrap my head around it.  Less than a week after I was diagnosed we got word that someone who I have long considered family had ovarian cancer. I can honestly say I cried over that more than my own diagnosis.  I prayed for her and asked everyone who offered prayers for me to do the same.  I asked after her often.  Ultimately it came out that it was a lie.  I wish I could say I was stunned, but I had been suspecting it for a while.  I am relieved that she is not sick. I’m happy she will not leave behind a son and grieving parents.   I kind of tabled my reaction because I was fighting my own battle and because I honestly wouldn’t know what to say to her family/friends, but now I don’t mind saying I am beyond pissed. Yes, I know it’s not really any of my business. No, I wasn’t personally affected, but someone who I love deeply was.  This person was devastated by the news that two people he loved had cancer and he couldn’t do anything about it.  He was living and working in another state while his heart was here. While I was downplaying my own struggles at the time out of a desire not to cause more stress and anxiety for those I love, she was taking the other road… causing needless stress and anxiety. I don’t know what her motive was. I don’t know if there was a pay off.  It really doesn’t matter at this point.  Some things can never be undone.

Sometimes people just suck.

A certain glow

Two full weeks out from my final radiation treatment, I feel well. Still kind of tired at times. Lately I am in bed between 9 and 10 pm, where I have a standing date with Barnabus Collins via my little Kindle Fire (I still have not read one book on it and my pile(s) of hard covers continues to grow).  I usually last through one or two episodes, then it’s lights out.   I wake up feeling refreshed, no aches and pains until mid afternoon when I start to walk like I’m 90 years old.  A cat nap fixes me right up.  All in all, no complaints.

Yesterday we had a celebratory lunch at a restaurant owned by a close  family friend.  She and her daughter told me how good I looked. That I glowed.  My response was “that’s the radiation!”. Later that evening I was blaming my “glow” on hot flashes. I imagine it’s a combination of the two.  Or it could be that my new feeling of wellness actually does show on my face. In any event, it was nice to hear. Even if family and friends are contractually obligated to tell you how great you look at the end of cancer treatments.

I have been losing time again. As in I have to look at a calendar several times a week to remember the day of the week, date, etc.   I don’t think it’s remnants of chemo brain so much as time this past year, particularly the last two months, has ceased to exist in any meaningful way other than how many more months, weeks, days to the end of treatment and how many days, weeks, and now months, it has been since my sister passed away.  I’m trying really hard not to focus on how many years (!)  until I can truly say I beat this and be certain.

A break up is imminent


Dear c,

After a 9 month whirlwind of mammogram, ultrasounds, biopsies, surgeries, heart scan, bone scan, chemotherapy, radiation, uncertainty, fear and exhaustion I am cutting you loose after my last dose of radiation on Friday.   I am giving you more notice than you gave me, btw.  You’re welcome.

Obviously this relationship was doomed to fail from the beginning.  I never even respected you enough to call you by your favorite title.. “the Big C”. You’re nothing but a little c to me.

I’m over you.  I’m not taking your calls. Oh sure, our mutual friends at the Cancer Center will want to get together periodically and reminisce about our relationship.  I’ll humor them. It’s the least I can do after how hard they fought to get me away from you. Eventually they will grow bored and our visits will be fewer and further between until you will be nothing but a footnote in my book of life.

So long, c. It’s not me, it’s you.

Got some good wishes in the mail yesterday.

ImageSomeone gave my name to this wonderful organization who sends a head wrap to any woman suffering hair loss due to a medical condition. The wrap, or “hug for my head”  I received is absolutely beautiful. I love it and will wear it often.  What was even better than the hat was the card signed by every member of the staff with a personal message to me.  It will be kept and cherished along with all the cards I’ve received from friends and family.  If you’ve never heard of them, here is the link. I would like to make the donation of a hug or two myself 🙂



If you have nothing good to say ….and other lessons

So life lesson this week was no one wants to hear a cancer patient complain.  Even a tiny little complaint will be met with a panicked “STAY POSITIVE”. I think I am fairly positive most of the time. I try to focus on the fact that I have had very few of the really horrific side effects that so many others in my boat suffer from and for that I am grateful. Doing a quick mental inventory of the people who I interact with daily, both in person and otherwise, I probably complain far less than most, especially about health issues.  When I commented to a relative that I was struggling with my concentration and fatigue, the response made me feel like I should keep those kinds of things to myself unless I am sitting in my physician’s office and since I always have a family member with me during oncology visits, I now feel like I should temper the complaints even then, lest I upset someone.  When I vented to some friends about how that response made me feel I was given a laundry list of excuses for the relative, again making me feel as though I should have kept my feelings to myself.  One lesson I am taking from this is to be a good listener and not try to minimize other people’s feelings or, worse yet… tell them how they should be feeling. The second lesson is to stay positive. Even if you have to lie 🙂