Just a quick post from sunny Texas!

Here on vacation with the boy and his missus who are awesome hosts as always.   The weather has been gorgeous! I was worried that my chemopause would make the heat unbearable but that hasn’t been the case.  It was only really hot one day and by evening was beautiful.  Apparently there is a Nor’Easter brewing at home. So sorry to be missing it.

I dutifully wore the compression sleeve while flying and had no problems at all. Maybe I wouldn’t have anyway, but why risk it? I’ll wear it on the flight home as well.

I am now able to cross one more thing off my bucket list. I got my tattoo on 6th Street in Austin on Monday.  I used a very scientific method to choose the parlor/artist. I picked the building with the friendliest looking storefront.  It was amazingly clean and bright.  I’m not sure what I expected but I felt like the whole process was more sterile than my medical treatment at times. The artist, David, was covered in tattoos and piercings (of course) as was the rest of the staff.  He was great, explaining every step, offering to stop if it hurt too much, and fast!  He sent me off with better skin care instructions than my radiation oncologist. Go figure! Just goes to show you should never judge someone by their choice of body art.  If you are ever in the Austin area, looking to get some ink (doesn’t that sound badass?) visit Affinity Tattoo and ask for David.  He won’t even question the fact that you are a 50 year old conservatively dressed woman with her husband and son along for support getting your first tat. No judgment.

p.s. it really didn’t hurt. It didn’t feel good, mind you, but I wouldn’t call it painful.  Maybe biopsies and endless needle sticks have desensitized me to pain or maybe I was just too excited to be getting the tattoo but it wasn’t bad at all!

As for the rest of the bucket list.. I’m working on it and while my bucket list isn’t all that long, my fuckit list grows daily.

Check out the chemo curls!  Still not long enough in the front to cut and style, but it’s getting there!

I went with the forget-me-nots. The skin looks angry and red, but that didn’t last long at all and it looks great now! Didn’t he do a great job?

Look good, feel better? Not so much.

Today I went to the Cancer Center to participate in the Look Good, Feel Better program. First, let me start by praising the program and the volunteers.  The volunteers give freely and generously of their time and were so friendly and upbeat.  They gave skin care and make up demonstrations.  (Apparently I have been doing it wrong for 35 + years). They even cut and styled two wigs.  We all left with make up and skin care products worth well over $200.00, donated by top brands. So what’s the problem you ask?  I went into this feeling pretty good.  When I looked around my heart kind of sank. Many of the other women looked like.. well… cancer patients.  Maybe I’m delusional and I do, too, but I really don’t think so.  And then, as women do, everyone started chatting.  There were the usual pleasantries, but a lot of talk of diagnoses, treatment and prognosis.  Not much of it was very positive. One lady asked me how I dealt with depression and I answered honestly that I haven’t experienced any (yet?).  She looked kind of skeptical.   Before we left one woman asked if I attended the support groups at the center.  They are held one Wednesday evening a month and I had thought about maybe going in the spring.  I’m not fond of driving all that way in the winter, at night.  Now, I’m rethinking that. Maybe I’m the world’s most selfish breast cancer patient but if today was any indication of what those meetings would be like, I cannot see myself voluntarily sitting through them.  I just can’t surround myself with cancer and sadness, depression and anger.  I was told if I ever have blood drawn or go to the ER to be sure to identify myself as a cancer patient and I kind of bristled at that.  Yes. I have cancer. I also have green eyes, a tendency to migraines and an irreverent sense of humor. None of those things on their own define me.  I refuse to be defined by a temporary medical condition and I don’t want to be around people who define themselves that way.  On the other hand.. as soon as I started this blog, I immediately searched for other blogs about breast cancer, chemotherapy, women with cancer.. and I follow several.  Not all are cheerful every day, but all make me smile or comment. Most of the bloggers that I follow are hopeful and see the humor in the same things I do.  Some are very spiritual and I find comfort in reading their words.  Some are brutally honest about not so great medical results, but not one has ever left me feeling so dark and sad as that meeting today. I can’t explain it but then I’ve never claimed to make sense.

I don’t know what I expected to get out of today. It seemed kind of rude to turn down such a generous offer and I thought it might be fun. Some of it was, but I left carrying the little red makeup bag that identified me as a cancer patient in case anyone needed clarification, a headache and a lump in my throat. And my wig was choking me.