Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Monday, December 22, 2008
Losing the Waiting Game
Monday, December 15, 2008
Friday, December 5, 2008
Big Book News!!
Sunday, November 30, 2008
Top of the World
Monday, November 24, 2008
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Monday, October 27, 2008
Where I've Been
Monday, September 15, 2008
Stupid Cancer Comedy Show
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Monday, August 11, 2008
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Celebrating By The Shore...
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
Think Before You Pink
Wednesday, July 2, 2008
Monday, June 2, 2008
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Friday, May 16, 2008
Sex and the City Countdown!!
Sunday, May 11, 2008
Hot Flashes...Not Just For Grandma Anymore
Now this is something that I can't discuss with my friends since they still get cramps to bitch
about. They don't know what it is like to be in your thirties and have a plumeting sex drive, and
be hot flashing and sweating all the time. My husband knows all too well how often I get them. The nite sweats have me trading in spooning for furiously fanning myself. Really romantic huh?!
Friday, May 2, 2008
I remember when bra shopping was fun. I remember when it made me feel sexy. I remember when it became a chore.
That happened when I lost my boob. And although they built me a brand spankin new one I was now lopsided. Yeah, I know they say that all women have one boob smaller/larger than the other but still. Like it wasn’t already hard enough to be a girl.
It seemed as though once I lost my boob Victoria’s Secret catalogs showed up everywhere I turned. That those dam bra commercials were on some crazy rotation on every channel I surfed through. Don’t even get me started on shopping in that store or any for that matter. I swear I must have tried on every bra known to man. Every brand, every size, every type. One thing I have realized… I live in an underwire world. All I wanted was a bra without wire. I had no clue it would be near impossible. And if I did in fact hit the bra lotto happening to stumble upon one you could be sure it wasn’t a pretty, girly, one.
Now, back in the day I was a big fan of underwire. It was all I wore. I found it pretty comfortable until I tried to shove a newly reconstructed boob into one. My plastic surgeon practically dared me to try it. I laughed wondering “how hard could it be?” I had done it before right? Well, I was in a for a rude awakening. Initially I had settled into the sporty type, which I must admit were sooo comfortable but quite unflattering. I found I had traded the lopsidedness for flatchested and bound. So I lived in those for quite a while as I became increasingly pissed off at my inability to find myself a nice girly bra. Each time I looked in the mirror at my scars, and a newly built headlight that was forever “on” I wondered why it had to be so dam hard to find something to at least make me look nice from the outside….something to hide all that and still make me feel pretty. Sexy even.
As I stroll through VS now I look around at all these tweens doing their own bra shopping wondering how could it be possible that at such a young age it warrants sexy lacy underwire bra’s? You know…the ones I can no longer wear in my 30’s. I remember being that age having my mom pretty much pick those out for me, not that there was much of a selection back then where we shopped. Jealous much?! Not only was I feeling unattractive and ugly, I was feeling dam old!
Not to worry….all this ranting will end on a good note. Where I was heading with all this is that I FINALLY found a one! And it fit all my requirements with a bonus. No wire, with padding (to cover the headlight that never shuts off) and drumroll please……LACE!! I wanted to cry I was so happy. Thank You Calvin Klein!
But you know what happens next right? It is sure to be discontinued! LOL
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Something New to Check Out!
Karen Lynch a two time breast cancer survivor and freelance writer has started a new blog called The Pink Ribbon Review It is a must see for those of you who have been touched by breast cancer or are a fellow survivor like me. It is intended to raise awareness and is full of great info to help you along the journey.
So be sure to stop by and check out what Karen has to say! I can assure you it will be worth the cyber trip!
Be on the lookout for my story over at Pink Ribbon Review!
Sunday, April 6, 2008
Stupid Cancer Fund
One cause I am very passionate about is support for young adult cancer suvivors. You know…the step children of cancer. The ones that are always forgotten about. And it is killing them! Literally!
So if you want to support a great organization that as the sign says… takes care of its own, hop on over to this link and donate to The Stupid Cancer Fund and support iy!!
Don’t forget to send an email blast to all your friends and spread the word like an untreated cancer!
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
Young Adult Cancer Bill of Rights
70,000 people ages 15-39 will be diagnosed with cancer this year. There has been little or no improvement in survival rates for young adults over the past 20 years. What the hell is that about?!! This bill would be established as a standard of care to meet the needs of this underserved population. It needs your support!
Please head on over to Seventyk.org for more info and to sign the petition. Oh yeah, don’t for get to send out an email blast to all your friends so they can do the same!
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Pancreatic Cancer Hits Hollywood and Home For Me
I was always a big fan of Patrick Swayze. Dirty Dancing was one of my fav movies. I even had a poster of him on the wall of my college dorm room. Can you say “crush”?! Anyway, when the news broke that he was recently diagnosed with pancreatic cancer I was stunned as I am sure most people were. I have put off writing this post because the news hit home for me and it is something I haven’t really written much about.
Last April my dad was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Even as I write the words they still don’t seem real. This type of cancer is one of the most deadly types mostly because it is found at later stages of the disease. It is difficult to diagnose and there is really no screening test. My dad ended up going to the ER with vomiting and stomach pain. It had been difficult for him to keep any food in his stomach. Tests revealed a blockage at the place where the stomach connects to the intestines. Possibly a tumor. Further tests revealed that it was a tumor attached to his pancreas. He underwent a Whipple Procedure which surgery specific to removing tumors of the pancreas. The surgery was successful however the tumor was cancer and there is lymph node involvement.
I wondered how it could be possible that cancer was hitting my family again only 6 years after my breast cancer diagnosis. But you see cancer does not discriminate. I was only 31 when I heard the words “you have cancer” and my dad is only 59 years old. Still a youngin in my book. Pancreatic cancer affects males more often and in my dad’s age group. My father is a heavy smoker and an alcoholic. I was stunned in my frantic google search after hearing the news to find that both smoking and alcohol abuse are linked to this type of cancer. My dad amazingly hasn’t had a drink in over 20 years but still smokes like a fiend. With the amount that he drank when I was growing up it is amazing he still has a functioning liver but what kind of damage did it reek on his good ‘ol pancreas? Then again, I had breast cancer with no significant family history at a very young age. Go figure! Thats the scary thing with the big “C”…..there doesn’t seem to be a cookbook answer or rather a textbook case that everyone will fall into. I think it is the same with survival. If you have been diagnosed with cancer your first question may have been “Am I going to die?” I know mine was! And depending on the answer to that one you may wonder “When”. All questions the docs don’t really have answers to. My dad posed that question to his doc and was told he has 8-12 months to live if he didn’t do chemo which he opted not to do. Having gone through treatment myself I respect his decision to not do chemo as I know it has to be his decision and nobody else’s. But here we are coming up on the 1 year anniversary of his diagnosis and he is still kickin around! Not well, but still…
Now after struggling most of my life, oh…who am I kidding…. my whole life, in my relationship with my dad, I have a unique understanding of what he is going through more than anyone in my family. I know what it is like to be a cancer patient and I know what it feels like to be scared you will die. I can also see more clearly what he went through with me when I was sick. I don’t like being on the other side of things. But here I am. Trying to figure it all out. An impossible puzzle to solve……
Monday, March 3, 2008
My Crazy Sexy Life Forum
Well guys and gals I have exciting news to share! I have blogged before about Kris Carr author of Crazy, Sexy Cancer Tips which is a kick ass book that came out back in the fall chock full of great info for young cancer survivors. Her documentary that started it all will be out on DVD this week! It is called Crazy, Sexy Cancer.
I frequent her blog and have met some really cool peeps and not just cancer survivors. There are great people there that want to learn how to better their lives in many ways….both spiritually and physically.
Over the weekend Kris stepped it up a notch and unveiled her new forum
My Crazy Sexy Life.com. I am already addicted! It is so great, and fun! All you have to do is hop on over and sign up, you get your own page, can upload photos, and info about yourself, begin a group, or just hang and chat it up with others. There are cancer guys and gals but also people who just want to learn how to make their life better.
So if you want to improve your mind, body and spirit take a peek and see what its all about! I can assure you, once you step into the crazy, sexy life you won’t want to leave!
Oh, and don’t forget to tell a friend!
Stop back here and be sure to tell me what you think about it!
I’ll see ya there!
Saturday, February 23, 2008
6 Things About Me
My new friend Sherry over at Sage and Thyme posted a meme she was tagged for where she had to tell 6 non-important things/habits/quirks about herself. Although she didn’t technically “tag” me she did invite others to participate. So I am going to accept the informal invite!
Now, I don’t like to admit that I may be quirky but some of these things probably fit that term! We all have weird habits though don’t we? I am secretly hoping I am not alone here!!
- I won’t sit in the grass, I don’t even like it to touch my legs when I walk through it
- When I shop for groceries I won’t take the first or last item on the shelf, only from the middle
- I don’t like to drink cold water, only room temperature
- I am afraid to try new foods due to anticipated potential allergic reaction
- I get sea sick
- I have dental phobia (thats a topic for its own special blog! -yikes!)
I am not going to tag anyone mostly because I don’t know many bloggers! But I will invite you guys to participate if the mood strikes you.
Here are the rules:
link to the person who tagged you
share 6 non-important/habits/quirky things about yourself
tag 6 random people at the end of your post by linking to their blogs
let each person know you tagged them by leaving a comment on their blog
Friday, February 8, 2008
Understanding Cancer TV Spotlights iy!!
Check out this great video starring my new friend and founder of The I’m Too Young For This Cancer Foundation For Young Adults (i2Y), Matthew Zachary. The Understanding Cancer Network profiled i2y in a recent segment posted on their website.
iy continues to spread its wings and is getting the well deserved recognition for all the wonderful things they are doing to provide support for young adults with stupid cancer! It is an organization that I am very passionate about and wish was around when I was diagnosed with cancer at 31.
Be sure to check them out! And if you already know about this cool resource for young adults with cancer then stop by and let me know what your experience has been!
Monday, January 28, 2008
Recently I had the opportunity to lecture at Gilda’s Club to other young survivors. The topic I discussed was body image and cancer. I now want to share some of it with all of you and hopefully get your input on it as well!
For most of us body image issues began way before our cancer diagnosis. I know mine sure did! I never thought my boobs were big enough, my stomach was too fat, and I never seemed to be happy with my hair. When I was diagnosed with breast cancer as a young woman my body image issues increased with intensity to say the very least.
At the top of my list of concerns then was hair loss. Yes, I put that before boob loss. My boob I could hide away under my clothes but the hair…..that was going to be dam tough to hide. I had new scars to deal with when my boob was gone, I enjoyed chemo induced menopause (full on with hot flashes, and I dried up like an old prune at 31), fatigue that felt as if my body was beat until bloody, my skin color began to look a greyish green (oh so lovely) and I was beginning to no longer recognize the girl staring back at me in the mirror.
How did I deal with all that? As a young single woman clinging to the hope she wouldn’t die, how did I try to feel better about myself, about my body, my disappearing self? Well, it wasn’t easy and somedays even now it still seems like a struggle. Here are some tips I want to share to help pick yourself up during cancer treatment and beyond to try and do just that….
- Loose the scale! When I focused on my weight I only felt worse.
- Refocus your energy on healing the inside.
- Wear lipstick everyday……if no other makeup.
- Get a mani/pedicure….I had a standing weekly manicure appointment. It may have been a small thing but it really made me feel better about myself.
- The hair thing…..experiment with wigs and try to have fun. I had more than one wig just to change it up a bit. Or if you are one of those girls that rocks the bald head….you go girl!! You should feel good about yourself no matter what!
- Start to look at your new scars in a different way……my scars are now a daily reminder that I am a survivor!
Most important to remember is that at the end of the day we are all just girls with the same worries we had about our bodies before cancer smacked us in the face. Focus on what makes you who you are on the inside. Change your focus and get rid of fear. Think about what makes you feel creative and what you are passionate about. For me it was writing, photography or just taking a long walk. It was a way for me to empower myself. Fear can steal away our power. Don’t let it!
It is important to realize that you don’t have to keep up appearances. Just be yourself. Turn focus to the positives. Reach out to other cancer survivors who will know what you are going through. Who know what it is like knee deep in the sh**!
What was it that helped you feel better about you? How did you deal with your own body image crapness??
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
As I hung up the phone last nite I felt drained. Like the life was literally sucked right out of me. I felt angry, sad, and guilty all at the same time. Is that possible? To have so many feelings all at once. Is it possible to be so mad at yourself for not speaking up and just taking sh** that you could scream?
My whole life I have struggled in our relationship, I have struggled with my feelings for you. Love and hate intertwined together with me unable to untie the knot. When I was a little girl all I longed to do was make you happy, make you proud of me. I tried and tried. Tried to be good, and polite, and always do what I was told. I feared you. The alcohol always won. I could never beat it. It had taken over you, taken over our lives.
It has taken me many years to forgive. And now that you have cancer, now that you are dying, the little girl inside is trying to figure out how to save you. She is trying to figure out how to make you happy if even for a minute. But again you are lost. Lost in your own hell. The hell you have created for yourself. I have realized that this is your path, your journey, one that I cannot lay out for you nor can I get in the way.
I called you last nite to talk for a while but as usual I barely did any talking. I listened to your complaints feeling guilty because of the cancer. Maybe that is why I listened for so long. For 2 hours. Maybe that is why I felt selfish. Selfish for wanting you to ask me how I was doing. Instead I became your bitching board again.
Just because you have cancer doesn’t mean that I will put myself out in the line of fire. It is called self preservation and it is what I have to do for me.
I am not strong enough….the board is beginning to break……
Friday, January 18, 2008
The Results Are In!!!
I hadn’t posted about this over the summer when the saga began but I am feeling the urge to share the story with all of you today.
Back in May I went for my annual breast MRI on my one good boob. I was as usual stressed out to the max. It is a banner day down at Sloan with the MRI in the morning, then off to Mammo, then in to see the doc. I have to say, instinctively I had an icky feeling going into this test. I found out while I was waiting to get called into my mammo that the radiologist saw a small 5 mm area of enhancement on the MRI. All my scans over the past 5 years have been clean. So you can well imagine where my head ran off too! As I sat there with my doc I could feel the blood draining from me and I thought I would faint. She said that he was 90% sure that it was nothing but wanted to do an ultrasound. So they ushered me off like cattle and before I knew it I was laying on a table with cold gel being dumped onto my boob as flashes of my past bout with cancer flew through my head. Nothing showed up on the ultrasound, and my mammo came back normal. The radiologist wanted to do an MRI guided biopsy to be sure. The problem with breast MRI is that there are alot of false positives. Of course they couldn’t be sure that I was one of those. What the f***! How could I possibly be back in this place of total darkness again I thought to myself. Would I lose another breast? Would I die this time? This news came only a month after my dad’s pancreatic cancer diagnosis. This couldn’t be possible.
I had to wait 3 weeks to get the biopsy done which is totally unacceptable! Even after many phone calls to my doc there was still no way to get me in sooner. During those three weeks I came down with an awful cold…..there’s no big surprise! All the stress knocked me on my ass! For anyone out there who has ever had a biopsy in an MRI machine you will understand me when I say it was freakin barbaric! I can barely stand to be on my stomach in that machine for the scan never mind being jabbed and cut into from underneath like I was a car up on a mechanic’s lift at a garage!
Before I knew it the waiting game ensued. I got an email the following nite from my doc (who was in Alaska on vaca btw) telling me that it was benign and most likely a fibroadenoma. I began to cry and felt this huge weight being lifted off my shoulders. That is until the next day when I got a call from the radiologist. She rained on my little parade when she told me that it actually was a fibroepithelial lesion with differential for phyllodes tumor or fibroadenoma. Translation please! Essentially although it was benign a phyllodes tumor can change down the road and they can grow fast. The radiologist told me that she would recommend surgery to remove it. As I felt the darkness creep in again I wondered why I didn’t hear this from my doc? As I googled phyllodes tumor I was even more scared. When I finally heard from my doc she said that her reason to remove it would be to make it easier to read my scans in the future in case there was growth. She said that it was in no way a malignancy but in my head I wondered why remove it? Why not wait to scan again and see if it did get bigger? Why rush in with the scalpel?
She told me to let her know when I would feel comfortable doing this. To tell you the truth I was never going to feel comfortable. I had my checkup with my oncologist who suggested we do another MRI to see if there was any growth. If there was it should come out, if not just watch it.
So after many insurance mixups with preauthorization (that stuff is for another post!) I finally had the scan 2 days ago on Tuesday. In the meanwhile I have been getting more rigid with my diet, my daily juicing, daily Quigong exercise and my attempts at meditation (which is really dam hard for me to do!) I have even been exploring raw food. I couldn’t help but wonder if all that would help it stay stable or better yet make it dissolve. I have yet to blog more about this as I am a big believer in nutrition and the power of the mind to heal. I will be bloggin more about it in the future.
At any rate this morning I emailed my doc and the results are in!! The scan showed that the lesion is “no longer present”! I have my titanium clip in there and that is all they saw. I couldn’t believe it. It was better than I had hoped for. Even better, now no surgery! We will continue to follow it on my scans. I feel such a sense of relief as well as empowerment. I followed my instincts, didn’t feel comfortable with surgery for something benign and so tiny without even waiting to see what it was doing in there. I believe that all of my holistic stuff chased the little bugger right out of my boob. I will continue to do all of my crazy diet stuff as well as destressing exercise to keep it the hell away! This showed me proof of the fruits of my labor…..
It gave me power……and I believe that power can kick fear in the ass!
Friday, January 11, 2008
Sue Donckels is the former editor that interviewed me and I have to say she did a great job! I have been interviewed a few times so far about my story and she asked great questions. She really made me think and dig deep to share more than was in the book.
So be sure to hop on over there and check it out! You will learn a little more about me as a woman and as a survivor.
I hope it inspires you!
If you have an inspiring story to share I would love to hear from you…..
Monday, January 7, 2008
This is the name of another great organization for young adults with cancer founded by Preston Presnell who is 23 and 11 year cancer survivor. In November 2006 he founded The Life Linkage Network a non profit geared towards Gen X.
He describes it as Facebook and Myspace meets reality.
Survivors as well as organizations can sign up and become a members. Each member is provided with profile space to share with other cancer survivors via online social networking.
As I have said in previous posts it is so important to connect with others who have shared a similar experience. It is crucial to recovery. What I love about this organization is that it provides that opportunity. The online opportunity to connect with and share experiences with other survivors who have all gone through stupid cancer!
So be sure to check it out and pass the word to all of your survivor friends!