Reflections, Revelations, and Ridiculousness

January 16, 2016

This post was originally started prior to  Thanksgiving, but unexpected health problems delayed the editing and posting of it.

It’s Holiday Season. Whether you agree with the principles or not, whether you celebrate or not,  it’s a good time for reflection. A cancer diagnosis … and the subsequent treatments … as well as the death of friends, has forced me to be more contemplative. I reflect on my life, my choices, and what is really important to me.

I know I’m going to die and not in the “we’re all going to die some time in the future” way. That may be true, and we are all “terminal” as one of my doctors philosophized when he was asked about the implications of my metastatic diagnosis, but most of us have the luxury of at least thinking that death is a far off notion. Some theoretical concept to prepare for, but after the grandchildren have grown. Keep reading

Continue Reading 1

Imerman Angels 1-on-1 Cancer Support

December 16, 2015

From Jackie Herigodt of Imerman Angels:

imerman-logo-20150220-v4

Imerman Angels 1-on-1 cancer support was created on the belief that no one should face cancer alone. Imerman Angel’s connects cancer fighters, survivors and caregivers with “Mentor Angels” – a cancer survivor or caregiver who is as similar as possible in age, gender, and most importantly, cancer experience. Mentor Angels give cancer fighters and caregivers the chance to ask personal questions and receive support from a peer who has been down the same road before. The service is absolutely free and helps anyone touched by any type of cancer, at any stage, at any age, living anywhere in the world.

To learn more about Imerman Angels, please visit their website or view the brochure [pdf]. Keep reading

Continue Reading 0

You’re not a Doctor

December 8, 2015

One of the many reasons I started this website was because throughout my own treatment I discovered “simple fixes” to problems AFTER they happened. I missed opportunities that could have made my life a lot easier. I struggled to retain some normalcy during something that no one should have to go through … all the while encountering people who felt they had the right to make decisions for me. I also discovered that I had difficulty telling people no…even when they had absolutely no right or knowledge to make demands. I spoke to others in similar situations and I heard the same thing over and over … “I wish I would have known…”

Thank God, I was introduced to a woman who became my mentor and refused to allow me to acquiesce to family and friends or even doctors, much less aggressive acquaintances. During consults and after diagnoses, she filtered everyone else out and asked me, “What do you want?” and would not accept a non-answer or easy submission. Keep reading

Continue Reading 1

It’s not Fair

November 21, 2015

My first inclination when I hear that is to say, “No shit, Sherlock!” However, I am trying to hold back my sarcastic tongue … I tend to be the only one who finds it amusing anyway. So, I shall say, “You are right and I sympathize.” Now what? Of course life isn’t fair. If it were, children wouldn’t suffer or die. At the very least, I would be 5’10, weigh 135, be 29 forever, and married to Dwayne Johnson! My fantasies aside, what else have you got?

I’m not saying that you don’t fight against unfairness. I’m saying that you also have to accept it as a given FOR NOW and figure out a way to reach your goal anyway. For example, I’ve been reading about the debate on whether or not higher education should be free. If you want to go to college, but it’s not free, what do you do? Keep reading

Continue Reading 1

If He Says He Can’t Help You, Believe Him…

November 19, 2015

Several months ago, I had a dream. A strange occurrence for a variety of reasons. First of all, I don’t normally remember my dreams. I sleep, admittedly with a lot of difficulty since this new journey began, then I wake up…normally tired and feeling as though I haven’t slept at all. That’s it. Normally …

However, as I was recuperating at my parents’ home from a hysterectomy which became necessary when my cancer metastasized, I had a dream of a man. A friend and I were in a wooden paneled conference room having a very frustrating discussion with a third woman… someone who, to this day, I can’t identify…about accounting errors on an unknown project (My friend and I have never worked together and neither one of us are accountants, but that was the set up.). During our conversation, I looked up and saw a tall, slim, bald, middle-aged man wearing flared jeans with ragged seams and a sage color, short-sleeve tee shirt. Keep reading

Continue Reading 2

Why Me?

November 18, 2015

Why me?  Why did I get cancer, especially since there is very little history in my family and I’m relatively young? I don’t know and, to be perfectly frank, it’s not something I’ve ever asked. I don’t care why I got it. I don’t waste my time on “why me”… ever. I want to know “what next” and focus on “what now” in order to pursue the best quality of life for as long as possible — something I probably should have been doing even without this diagnosis.  I definitely don’t wish it on someone else in lieu of me. What do “why me” questions offer?

Mind you, I have had people try to assign blame to me, including a doctor who pretty much told me it was my fault that the cancer had advanced so far because I hadn’t done enough self-exams. However, the same doctor was unable to explain to me why the mammogram didn’t catch it (because of fibrocystic breasts, a gynecologist recommended that I start getting mammograms every two years when I turned 35. Keep reading

Continue Reading 2

Welcome to the Site … and I’m Sorry

November 16, 2015

Welcome to our site. I’m sorry that you’ve been touched by this disease, but I hope that, together, we can support each other along the way. This post is the start of a new life for me and a closing of the old one. I’ve shed my skin and lost my innocence … mostly. A lot has happened since I last wrote that my oncologist informed me the treatments weren’t working and there was nothing else they could do to help me other than chemo and radiation “when the time came.” I left my family and friends, my medical team, and my dog to move almost 800 miles to New Haven, CT and Smilow Cancer Center. I completed the transition from having insurance to relying on medicaid, from working to being on disability, from living a somewhat carefree life to being, as my friend and caregiver calls it, tethered to a new location. Keep reading

Continue Reading 0