Saturday, October 27, 2007

Life-changing experience

There's a kid in one of my classes who has become sort of a scapegoat. There's nothing fundamentally wrong with him; he's just younger than his classmates and his adolescent posturing doesn't play well with them.

Earlier this week, I caught the end of an interchange between him and Student X, whose mother died of cancer several years ago. What I heard was X saying to Scapegoat, "I get it: You haven't had a life-changing experience yet."

I remember Cancerella saying something similar to me many, many years ago, after her mom died. It's possible to explain how falling through the mirror changes you, but to a certain extent, there's no point. Either you've had a life-changing experience and no explanation is necessary, or you haven't, and no explanation will suffice.

I joined the conversation between X and Scapegoat and recalled the moment 18 months ago when I learned I had cancer. A few weeks later, something went hideously, horribly wrong in one of my classes, and I remained unflapped.

"I realized that if it wasn't going to kill me, it wasn't worth getting stressed out about," I said.

"Yeah, well, you seemed pretty stressed this week," pitched in Student Y.

I laughed. "It's hard to live in the clear spot," I acknowledged.


This morning, I had a hot flash while sorting my pills into the weekly organizer. Then, I realized that I was running out of tamoxifen. For some reason (hormones?), this brought on an attack of the weepies.

"I'm so tired of being a cancer patient," I told my husband.

I have been tired and achy this week, and it's hard not to listen to that bad angel who tells me it's because the cancer is back, that my next checkup won't be clean. I haven't been able to keep up with my exercising for the past three weeks, and if something does turn up on my next mammogram, I will be convinced it is because I didn't walk enough.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Cancer candor

So I'm watching a few minutes of 'The View' because this particular show is going to be all about breast cancer, and their first guest is Dr. Susan Love. She's a big macher doctor at UCLA. So I'm watching this interview and noting that the ladies are all asking their scripted questions one by one and not talking over each other too much so that we in the audience can learn all manner of important and useful info regarding detecting breast cancer.

That's when I notice that Dr. Love is prefacing some of her answers with "Well, with the grant money from (fill in corporate entity here) we are developing a test blah blah blah...."

Oh - mygod. It's the ultimate promo. Who better to have mentioning your company than a doctor who is doing research that will help your biggest demographic?

It made me sad, because I began to wonder if maybe I AM supposed to be buying the pink shite in order to make a difference in the amount of money available for research. More cosmetics from Avon? I guess I'd better get busy if I want a cure for breast cancer found. How much lipstick do I have to wear in order to affect progress in the lab? And is there lead in that lipstick?

See, this is why I don't want to get out of bed some mornings.

Friday, October 12, 2007


Please Jebus, no more. No more chain mail/junk mail 'send this to ten friends' email. This assumes that I have ten friends, and that I'd want to inflict this shite on those ten friends that I might have, as though I can afford to squander those ten friendships by sending them this crap.
I don't care how well meaning you are, how much you want to help "the cause," DO NOT send me any emails that ask me to go to some site and either click on an ad or buy something because that will help pay for mammograms for poor women.

You want to help 'the cause?' How about sending some real money to a real charity, not some online faux charity that is actually a for profit company that doesn't make it easy to find out how much of their income they donate to 'the cause.' I'm looking at you, thebreastcancersite and CharityUSA and Homeline Publications.

As for me, lately I've been feeling like I gave a lot to breast cancer research when I had the mastectomies and the survived the chemo. What more can I do? Oh, right, go shopping and buy some pink shit.

9/11; cancer epidemic - just go shopping, that'll make it all better!


Thursday, October 11, 2007

Frankly, I have no idea what this story about Taxol's ineffectiveness against breast cancer means. I'm not even sure how closely Taxol is related to Taxotere, one of the chemo drugs I was given.

I also have no idea whether I should be eating soy or not.

I do, however, fully understand why women with breast cancer tend to do less and less research on the Internet as time passes.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Dr. Fatherly says everything will be OK

I saw one of my many oncologists this week. OK, actually, I only have two. This is the one who handled my chemotherapy. He reminds me of my dad.

Dr. Fatherly said that one of the downsides of frequent screenings is that you will get frequent ambiguous readings. It's good to be alert to what could be early changes, but it's also nervewracking.

And, indeed, when the formal letter reporting the results of my mammogram came on Thursday, it said right there in English, "No cancer was detected." (But we want you back in six months, even though it's probably nothing.)

So, Mom calls me Thursday night and asks me how my mammogram went.

"No cancer."

"That's good! I was just wondering, because I hadn't heard."

"Well, at this point, you know, you can figure no news is good news."

"... because I know sometimes you hide things from me to protect me."

"Heh heh heh. No, I'm fine."

Am I going to hell for this?