• 30Oct

     

    Early on in my diagnosis, I started to notice words I never noticed before.  Week one:  every sentence contained the word “abreast”  When I was recovering from my lumpectomy, obsessing over my surgical drain, people used the word “drain” a whole lot.  Today, for the first time in my career, a colleague started using “nodes” as the new buzzword to describe the linkages in our organization.  Just like Obama is not allowed to say the word “lipstick”, I’m outlawing all breast related words! 

    Stay tuned for the updated list of banned words!

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  • 29Oct

      

    military intelligence?

    jumbo shrimp?

    non-invasive cancer? 

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  • 28Oct

     

    so…. about 8 weeks ago, I found out I had a tiny little tumor that was miraculously discovered as part of a routine mammogram.  Part of me was relieved.  I’m thinking, “hey …. odds were I would get breast cancer someday … my mom had it as a young woman …. and 1 in 12 women get it, so it’s not exactly rare”.  so here I am thinking I’m gonna get in, get out, quick lumpectomy with a side helping of radiation.  Same day surgery, a few days off from work eating M&M’s and a little radiation every day for 4 — 6 weeks.  In.  Out.  Done by Christmas!  To use a foodservice analogy, I wanted a drive thru cancer, a little something off the dollar menu!!

     

    But what did I get instead????  I got the full extra value meal or better yet, the grand slam breakfast at Denny’s.  We’re talking lumpectomy, axillary dissection, double mastectomy, reconstruction, implants, and with an extra helping of chemo therapy.  We’re not talking chemo therapy-light; we’re talking full fat chemo therapy … you know the REAL kind where you lose your hair, puke a lot and feel generally miserable for months on end. 

     

    this is weird for me.  I’m skim milk, not whole milk.  I’m frozen yogurt, not ice cream.  I’m light beer.  I’m dressing on the side.  I’m mustard, not mayo.  After 46 years of sugar free gum and diet soda, I NOW HAVE THE FULL FAT, ALL YOU CAN EAT CANCER TREATMENT??????????????????????  What’s up with that???????????????????

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  • 27Oct

    think of all the money I’ll save on my swanky overpriced hair hair cut and my “Sarah Pallin” copper highlights…..

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  • 26Oct

     

    Trust me … people use the word “abreast” much more than you ever thought possible

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  • 25Oct

    oh … no thank you.  I’m pretty darn aware this year. 

    Which month is “run away and hide from breast cancer” month?  I’m sure it doesn’t have a nice, pink, signature color, but right now I wish I knew when it was!

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  • 19Oct

    Have you ever thought about how many times each day people say “how are you?” and you reply, “fine”?

     

    I never did either until I had the double pleasure of being diagnosed with breast cancer right in the middle of planning a huge restructuring at our company.  It’s a terrible combination that has the added dimension of turning you into an utter fake and phony. 

     

    typical day at work for me over the past 6 weeks:

    • someone says, “how are you?”  You say, “fine”.   You mean, “I’m going through genetic testing and am scared to death that I have a genetic mutation”
    • someone says, “how are you?”  You say, “fine”.  You mean, “I’m totally freaked out.  Way too many good and talented people are about to learn they are losing their jobs”
    • someone says, “how are you?”  You say, “fine”.   You mean, “I’m about to have six weeks of radiation.  I wonder what the long term side effects from radiation are………..”
    • someone says, “how are you?”  You say, “fine”.   You mean, “how the heck am I going to tell my kids that their mom has breast cancer”
    • someone says, “how are you?”  You say, “fine”.   You mean, “I’m not concentrating on anything you’re saying cause I’m busy praying every minute that my lymph nodes are clean”
    • someone says, “how are you?”  You say, “fine”.   You mean, “I wish I could tell you that your job is going to be eliminated as a result of this restructuring, so please please please go home and get your resume together and start reconnecting with your external network”
    • someone says, “how are you?”  You say, “fine”.   You mean, “I have to have a mammogram every five minutes for the rest of my life”
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  • 18Oct

    it’s all about expectations, isn’t it?  If you told me 6 months ago that I had a cancerous tumor in my breast and that I would have to have a lumpectomy followed (minimally) by 6 months of radiation, I would have broken down in tears and cried in my bed for weeks.  But as you all know,  I spent four weeks assuming I had the genetic BRAC mutation which would lead me down the path of a double mastectomy, followed by reconstruction with a side trip to the hospital to have my ovaries removed (because the genetic mutation is linked to ovarian cancer). 

     

    So here I am elated that I “get” to have a lumpectomy.  Emails and voicemails are coming in by the dozens from friends congratulating me that I don’t have a genetic mutation.  “You must be thrilled!”; “I’m so happy for you”; “This is great news!”……………….. It’s all about expectations………. 

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  • 15Oct

    As part of the process to prepare for all possible surgical outcomes, I’ve visited with several plastic surgeons.  Once they’re done telling you you’re too skinny to be of much help to yourself, they then move to the discussion of implants.  It’s odd; they make lots of small talk and then they try very calmly and carefully to give you the news that, following a mastectomy, even with implants, you would be smaller than you are today.  They try to be so supportive and caring, as though you’re going to break out in tears.  It’s ironic, because all you want to do is say, “thank goodness!!”.  While it may be Pamela Anderson or dolly Parton’s ideal to be a well endowed woman, it is certainly not mine!  Do you know how much time and money I’ve spent over the years to try to make them smaller????  sports bras?  running bras?  running bras with sports bras over them?  minimizer bras?  I’ve tried them all.  I’d be a wealthy women if I hadn’t spent all my money on expensive bras!!!!!

     

    I’m never the runner with the cute little running top with the bra sewn in; I’m the one with 2 bras and an ugly tee shirt.  I’m never the one with the slinky low back dress at the gala …. instead I’m the one with the conservative dress that allows me to wear a sensible underwire bra.  I’m never the one with the cute little bathing suit …. I’m the one that looks like Helga from the German swim team circa 1945!  I’m also the one that has a safety pin in between the second and third button in every button down shirt I own!  (J9:  if you’re reading this, you know what I’m talking about!!!)

     

    so………….. I say to you, Dr. Plastic Surgeon — Cancer sucks, but, for me, the process of having smaller breasts does not! 

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  • 13Oct

    so…. every time the economy gets a little funky, my husband gently tries to keep me away from the stores.  He tries hard to get me to cut back … buy a few less pairs of black Stuart Weitzman pumps, navy Brooks Brothers slacks or  brandy Cole Haan purses.  Usually I ignore him and go off to Lord and Taylor and shop.  This time, however, he’s had some success.  You see, because I don’t know what kind of surgery I’ll have and what I’ll look like after the surgery, I’m hesitant to buy clothes.  I might end up being having little perky “B-cup” breasts which would open up a whole world of tailored shirts never before imagined.  I could become the tennis player with the razor-back tops or the one who wears sun dresses on hot days.  I might become that woman who could actually button a blazer, or wear a cashmere turtleneck without something over it.  Heck… I  may change my look entirely.  Either way, I’m not shopping. 

     

    Ya know, if I didn’t know better, I’d think my husband was just playing a weird trick on me……………………….

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