Saturday, February 18, 2012

Pink elephants...

Loopedy-loops... feeling floaty... An overwhelming sense of "Aaaaah..." These are the things I'm thankful for a day after my surgery to swap out the expanders for silicone implants. Oh, yes, and did I mention the Percocet? That's good stuff, yo.

I was the source of great amusement to the kids last night as I took a dose before I went to sleep. I understand that I made such little sense that the kids called my folks saying that I wasn't making any sense. My dad had to remind them I'd taken my pain meds, and that's just the way it is. So, they sat back and enjoyed the show.

Now, here I am, floating on pillows of fogginess, feeling no pain (though I can't help but notice the leaking from one of the drain sites - that's a fun feeling), impatiently waiting for the drainage to stop, for the bandages to come off, and the chance to see and mess around with the new twins.

Monday, February 13, 2012

No, really, I'm out to get me...

I've been accused of being paranoid in the past. When I told my parents that the kids in grade school were ganging up against me when I was first labelled "corroded" by David Breakstone in first grade after fishing out something of mine that had fallen into an empty garbage can to when I was in 5th grade, and I was asked out by Marc Leferman, and it all turned out to be a prank, they reacted with, "No they aren't out to get you." When, in high school, my "ethics" teacher would leer at me, and make terribly offensive jokes in class, I was certain he was targeting me and my sensitivities, but I was assured he wasn't out to get me. (Of course, when he called me a "Spic Shikse" in front of the class because I'd gotten higher grades than the more observant kids in the class, I think I proved my point.)

But, this whole cancer thing has brought in a whole new reign of paranoia. If my ring finger on my fight hand itches at the tip, is it a breast cancer cell the chemo missed? Is it a side effect of one of the drugs I'm taking? Is it post-chemo detox? Or is it just an itch?

I used to laugh with my survivor friends before I was diagnosed as they spoke about this fear that a cold was the cancer coming back. And, in the back of my skeptical mind, I thought they were exaggerating. Now, I fear, I'm far worse than any of them.

Perhaps it's because my cancer was detected randomly, and not because there were any symptoms, that I'm even more aware of things that feel out of place. My equilibrium for what is "normal" and "just a " is completely thrown off. The fact that my lips are chapped and skin flaky must be because of the chemo, right? Or is it because I'd forgotten to drink water all day? Wait! I forgot to drink water all day! That must mean that I've got chemo brain! Or the cancer is making me not thirsty! Or, I've gotten obsessive about the task at hand and I've just forgotten to eat or drink. Wait a minute... I haven't eaten anything all day. Oh, no! I've lost my appetite! No, you're just an idiot.

These are the thoughts that run through my mind, in between the urge to call my doctor anytime there is a pang of discomfort, or a pea under my proverbial mattress.

Of course, that really is the question - What is serious enough to tell the doctor?

All kidding aside, when you've been diagnosed with cancer, you start reading and learning about all these insidious, benign little symptoms that we either brushed off for months, leading up to the diagnosis, or that could be a sign of cancer returning, or located someplace else. Additionally, if you're in treatment with chemotherapy, drugs or any combination, you've had to read warning labels, side-effect listings that make the Manhattan White Pages look like Cliff's Notes, and stories about people who had a nail split and was diagnosed with terminal cancer as a result.

I ask this question not because I have the answer, but because I'd like to know.

I had a 30-minute coughing fit for no particular reason yesterday. It was so bad that I nearly rear-ended a car, and, when I pulled into a parking lot, continued to be so bad I nearly lost bladder control, came close to throwing up and I think I burst a blood vessel. Do I call the doctor? And if so, which one? My oncologist, as it could be a drug/chemo side effect? My plastic surgeon, because I could have pulled something? My primary care physician (with whom I've had all of 2 conversations in the past year) because it could be something else? Who do I call? What the hell was that?

Every little thing, now, seems to be a result of the cancer, a side effect, or, in the mind of a cancer fighter, a symptom of something that will prompt another series of frightening tests in large machines that beep, chirp, flash and whir.

What do we do? And when does it get better?

Why is my body out to get me?

Sunday, February 12, 2012


  1. If you're a big fan, and you want to make sure not to miss a post, you can now subscribe to my blog via email. Just enter your email address in the box to the right!
  2. After way too long, I've done another Vlog. I'm so sorry I fell so far behind!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Why do I do this to myself?

I had a friend that resurfaced after several years and visited me and the kids a couple of years ago. I've always been the queen of self-deprecating and sarcastic humor, so calling me, or a loved one "stupid" isn't an insult, it's a term of affection. He, however, took great offense when I called my son stupid. Said friend, it should be noted, has never been one to pick up on social cues or tone very well, so I had to explain that my son knew I wasn't actually calling him stupid, or that he knew I didn't think he was actually a dummy, but that the affectionate tone I used, etc, was inclusive and a term of endearment.

That said, I can honestly tell you that I am stupid. Or stubborn. Or delusional. Here's why.

It's been just under 1 month since my last chemotherapy treatment. It's only been about a week or so that I've been able to touch my toes. I've only just begun pilates and some form of organized movement, outside of rolling in and out of bed, toddling in and out of the car, etc.

And yet, I've committed to not only raising $1,000 by May 1 for Team LIVESTRONG, but to ride the 43-mile TD Bank 5 Boro Tour as a V.I.P. with my son. No, I haven't learned, I'm still banging my head against that wall.

If you've been following my blog for some time, you'll know I rode it last year. I had a rather unfortunate mishap involving the tip of my saddle, my "delicate parts," and gravity which made the final stretch of the ride most exciting. And I went on, at length (ad nauseum) about how out of shape I was last year.

Well, never one to underperform, I'm entering into this venture even less in shape than I was last year. (Huzzah for me!) I have to tell you, despite that unfortunate collision, this was a tough ride. The ramp leading up to the Queensboro bridge is my NYC Kryptonite, as it nearly broke me before I'd even made it onto the bridge. And the approach to and the ride over the Verrazano is nothing to sneeze at.

But, I'm committed. (Or perhaps I should be?) Why?

Because cancer can't stop me. Chemotherapy isn't going to stop me. It may slow me down, it may force me to struggle harder to regain whatever "normal" feels like. But it's not the end of me. I've got fight in me, still, and now I've got one more weapon in my arsenal when attacking a Challenge like this one: REVENGE.

I'm taking revenge out on cancer. I'm taking revenge for losing my breasts. For losing my hair. For losing my eyelashes. (Though, I was thankful about losing leg hair, etc, allowing me to retire the razor and body wax for a while.)

Back this Cancer Vigilante, would ya? $1,000 by May 1 sounds like a lot, but let me tell you, a little bit every day helps tremendously. Please make a donation today - any amount is appreciated.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Patriots fan? Giants fan? No matter, we all hate cancer, right?

I've got a Kick Cancer Super Bowl Pool open from now until Sunday at 5:30 pm EST. The good news? For every $10 donated, you get one square on the grid. The better news? The winners of the pool will get some awesome LIVESTRONG SWAG, including backpacks, t-shirts, hats, etc. The really great news? You'll have taken strides to help LIVESTRONG support survivors and fighters, like me, kick cancer straight through the goalposts and out of the stadium.

I beat cancer in my last Super Bowl matchup - chemotherapy was the field, and I scored the final touchdown.
Enter my Super Bowl pool, and help me and others fight for survivorship with Team LIVESTRONG.

Good luck!

(Of course, maybe I should make Pats fans pay $20... :)  Nah, it's all good. A die-hard NY fan like me is willing to look the other way... this time.)

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

My Contact Submission to Susan G. Komen in response to their withdrawal of funds to Planned Parenthood

To say that my reaction to Susan G. Komen's foolishly dangerous withdrawal of grants to Planned Parenthood, which was primarily used for breast examinations, was strong is an understatement. I've never been a fan of Komen, but this had me seething. If you follow me on Facebook, you've already seen some of my reactions.

My friend, Liza, pointed out that sharing the article isn't enough, but that we should make our opinions known directly to Komen. And she was right.

So, I went to and selected "Report Improper Conduct" as my reason for contacting them. I uploaded a copy of the NPR article, and wrote the following report:


I am horrified to report that, apparently, Susan G. Komen has employed individuals capable of damaging the ability for women to get aid with breast examinations. It appears that President Elizabeth Thompson, and others, made the decision, and stand by the notion that cutting funds to Planned Parenthood, which provided me with women's healthcare several times while I was in financial situations that prevented me from going to a doctor's office, and provided (until NOW), thousands of other women with breast examinations and other crucial screenings in preventing breast and other cancers that affect women, is a good idea.

I write to you not only as a woman, but as a breast cancer fighter myself.

I acknowledge that, yes, my initial mammogram was in a bus that received funding from Susan G. Komen, but I'm quite certain that the hospital could have received that funding from any number of other organizations had Komen said, "No." And I'm also very certain there is a huge level of "buyer's remorse" now by the folks that accepted that grant.

I was never a fan of Komen, to be truthful. As a marketing professional, and non-profit advocate, I've long had a distaste for the manner in which Komen has glamorized a most unglamorous disease and battle. And the manner in which Koman has laid claim to the phrase, "for the cure," and the color pink itself, has made my stomach churn.

Komen was already on my black list when I was first diagnosed, and I called and emailed repeatedly and never got a response from a single soul, when seeking help and resources. Well, that isn't entirely true - you added me (without permission) to your solicitation list.

But this takes the cake.

No, you aren't going to get any donations from me. And I will very happily explain to any friends or family that ask me to donate to their walks, runs or "whatevers" "for the cure" they are participating in why I refuse to give Komen one red cent, as much as I may love them. I will happily convert them to another cancer non-profit that, regardless of my stance on abortion, women's rights, etc, has been steadfast by my side.

But I will take this one step further. I will be calling meetings, writing, and meeting with every single entity that I'm involved with - from the largest women's organization in the world to the smallest boutique in town - that have an affiliation with Susan G. Komen to show them what hypocrites you are and present them with alternatives.

You cannot say that you support women and withdraw support from such a vital organization like Planned Parenthood.

Welcome to the Boy's Club. And enjoy the fall.