The Cancer Diaries

A 2016 Wrap-Up

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It’s a different world here, with amazing sunsets and moments of unexpected beauty...

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Bad, Bad Doctor... No Cookie for You!

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Because of my breast cancer history, I’ve accompanied a few friends to their appointments. Either for consultations with their surgical oncologists or to their G.P.s to hear their results, mostly to listen and see if everything they’ve said seems normal and sounds okay. I’m not an expert. Not even close. I have learned a few things, though, from my own experiences. And while I usually don’t write blog posts motivated by fury--I’m an easygoing person most of the time--on this day, I’m seeing red...

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Grappling with Life, and Sadness

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The high school is small, the student body in shock, trying to grasp the death of a friend, their contemporary. I tried to grasp the cruel hand his parents have been dealt. But some things just are not possible to grasp. I looked into the eyes of the teachers and principal and saw the grief. We shared the understanding; no words needed to be spoken...

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Cancer Update: The State of Me

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At the end of Let Me Get This Off My Chest, I promised that I’d update my blog some day and share my progress. As of yet, I have no nipples; no tattooed-on areolas; my implants are still a little strange. During my last visit with the plastic surgeon, she decided that since the skin on my radiated side was so thin...

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A Somewhat Strange Dialogue Between the Body and the Breasts

…for Breast Cancer Awareness Month…

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Body: Well, you have to admit, the underwires do make you look perky.

Breasts: True. That is true. But can we ration them to our once-a-month date night, then?

Body: We’ll see. I’m making no promises.

Breasts: Also, I’ve been meaning to talk to you about those five-inch heels…

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Let Me Get This Off My Chest: A Breast Cancer Survivor Over-shares is Now Available

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When I started talking about my surgery in conversations online, the word “mastectomy” was hard to write. I’m over that now. Available in paperback and Kindle versions on Amazon, and in paperback on Barnes & Noble

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My Kickstarter Project, or What The Bleep Was I Thinking?

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What the hell have I just done? This is what I asked myself almost as soon as I hit the launch button to make my project go live. Who did I think I was, asking my friends, family, and random strangers on the internet to fund my project..?

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Removing the Bandages

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I stand in front of the bathroom mirror—a pail of warm water, a wash cloth, pair of scissors, and a bottle of vitamin E oil. Slowly, I peel back a corner of foam tape. It doesn't hurt, not the first few millimeters. Then it does. It pulls at my skin, revealing red pain underneath. I grit my teeth and pull a little more, then cut the tape away, dab the skin with the wet cloth, then smooth a little oil over the area. And repeat…

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Two Things I’m Getting For Christmas

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This was a surprise since at my last appointment we discussed surgery in the new year, somewhere in January or February. Anxious to get these uncomfortable tissue expanders out, though, I found myself committing to a surgery date before I’d really had the time to process everything. My mouth said yes; my brain was all fuzzy…

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Cancer Diary: Some Random Thoughts on Life, People, and Everything

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I laughed a few times and chatted with the cute nurse who rolled my bed down the hallway to my room. Until she told me about “the transfer” -- me moving from one bed to the other. Picture, if you will, one of those cartoon moments when the character’s eyes pop out of their heads. I was that cartoon character…

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Who am I..? 51 Things about Me (Updated!)


13. I still haven't mastered our universal remote control.
20. Have never had a manicure.
45. Have learned to love ABBA.
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Cancer Diary: Some things I’ve Learned

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When I first went through breast cancer twelve years ago, besides the initial shock, my predominating thoughts went to my beautiful two-year-old boy with his long hair and sunny disposition — just as any mother or father’s would. Would I see him grow up? How was it possible that I could be parted from him so early? It was nearly too much to bear. I can remember the waiting — waiting on results and pathology reports; the trip to pick out the Christmas tree the same day I received my initial diagnosis, and how surreal it all was, but there was my child to be strong for, and we – Husband and I — were strong. And everything turned out just fine, which I know it will this time.

But I learned about life the first time...

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Adventures in Breast Cancer! Update 1

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So I spoke to my oncologist to get her input. I thought about how young I was when diagnosed the first time; I’m still considered young for this recurrence. I also considered that there were a lot of years ahead of me in which I’d be worried about the possibility of recurrence on the “good” side. I’ve already been through one biopsy on the good side two years ago…

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Cancer 102 - Second Semester:
Some Breast Cancer Etiquette

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1. When someone tells you they’re going to have a mastectomy/reconstruction, don’t tell them, “At least you’ll get a brand new pair of boobies!” or anything closely resembling this statement in a well-meaning attempt to cheer them up about a sucky situation. I’ve only told a handful of people so far, and I’ve already heard this nearly every time...

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Lung Cancer, Robots, and Devil Dog


Yesterday, my mother-in-law was put under anesthesia and this robot removed the upper lobe of her left lung....

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Story Telling


So many of us record our stories, our lives, in our blogs for everyone to read (or not). I thought about how an illness or accident can take us and change us so completely. One day we're walking around, minding our own business, the next we're confronting our own mortality and weaknesses. We all have our stories. But then, I also thought, some stories really need to go into the vault, never to be heard again. Let’s talk about apples... Read More...

So Much for Not Worrying

So my Lenten no-worry policy lasted for about three days. Those were good days. On day two, I noticed my right breast was swollen but didn't worry yet. After a couple more days, I decided to see my oncologist... Read More...