Tuesday, November 27, 2012


After nearly 9 months, 3 tumors, 13 rounds of chemo, 1 badass mohawk, 1 bald body, 1 bout of nasty neuropathy, 1 surgery, 2 grody drains/testicles, shit tons of blood draws, IVs and meds, 1 frankenboob and 30 rounds of radiation, I am officially done with all of my cancer treatments. NOW I feel like a "real" survivor.

Let the living commence...

Thank you - all of you - for following along with my journey and for your endless support! I will continue this blog at least through my final reconstruction next summer. After that - who knows?

Love and kisses and all that sappy shit.


Monday, November 26, 2012

Happy Birthday to me!

Today I turned 42. I did wonder if it'd see another birthday. As always, fuck you, cancer. I'm still kickin'. Woo hooooooo!

Sunday, November 25, 2012


All through radiation so far, fatigue has stayed at bay and I've felt pretty "normal". (Using this word extremely liberally...) For some reason, today, it's reared it's ugly head in a big way. I'm exhausted and haven't done a damn thing. I can't really complain since it's been pretty dormant for six weeks but holy hell... I haven't missed this shit at all. I have to accept the fact that I'll continue to have good days and not-so-good days still.

Tomorrow is a new day - AND my birthday, so I will feel good. One day at a time!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

I'm thankful for...

In no particular order...

1. Eyebrows and eyelashes. Welcome back, my friends. I've missed you.

2. My rockstar husband. He's been to my appointments, laughed with me, cried with me, drained my yucky drains, plus umpteen other things. He's the best caregiver I could ever ask for. He also rocks the bald.

3. Being cancer-free. Duh.

4. My mini-rockstar girls. They were forced to grow up fast with this and have been so helpful, loving and compassionate. They've also got solid senses of humor, which is awesome.

5. My Mohawk. It was short-lived but let me be one badass-looking rebel for a week. It was empowering and freeing, too. Damn, I wish I still had it.

6. My sister. We've been through some unfun shit the last couple of years but we can count on each other. Our relationship has only grown stronger and I'm so fortunate to have her.

7. My pups. They curled up with me when I felt like cow shit or was stoned after chemo. They hopped down at the first sign of Matt coming in the room so that we didn't get busted. Good dogs.

8. Amazing insurance. I understand how people can become financially devastated after an event like this. This stuff ain't cheap.

9. Chuy's. They were my post-chemo eatery of choice and never failed to make me happy. I could always stomach it, surprisingly enough. Creamy jalapeƱo is yummy, yummy crack.

10. All those who have walked, run and relayed in my honor. I'm lucky to walk in a straight line without tripping, so there's that.

11. Scarves. They've kept my bald head warm and hidden. They've also kept Frankenboob warm and hidden.

12. Boardwalk Empire, True Blood, American Horror Story and Duck Dynasty. Violence, sex, vampires and hilarious rednecks have provided excellent distractions one episode at a time. Okay, a few marathons here and there but who's counting

13. Woobies. Perfect for napping or recovering.

14. Social media. I can continue with my attention whore activities AND spread awareness about breast cancer at the same time. Score!

15. MD Anderson. They saved my life. I love that shit.

16. A strong - albeit warped and sometimes wildly inappropriate - sense of humor. It's kept me sane.

17. Prozac. Happy pills help. I'm not ashamed. I'd be a hot mess without them. Well, a hotter mess, that is.

18. Boy bands. That is all.

19. Everyone that's provided meals to us over the last several months. It's so hard to ask for help and this is something I'd never ask for but wow... It was huge. I could never repay that generosity. Seriously. I'm a lousy cook. Ha.

20. You and you and you. Even you.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours from me and mine. Xoxo

Saturday, November 17, 2012


This chemo brain business is still a huge factor. I have days where I'm sharper than others but today is most certainly not one of those days. My memory is horrible today. I can't recall names or simple facts/details very easily. Sure, I joke about it and really do believe that sometimes this medically-induced ignorance is bliss but geez...

I've read that it's generally reversible, but sometimes it can stick around for decades. Nice.

If I forget seemingly simple details, please be patient with me. I may remember what your phone number was in high school, but I won't remember your last name right away.

Crazy shit, I tell ya'...

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Long time no... blog!

I realize that I've been sucky about updating this blog in the last several weeks, but well... life has kinda gotten in the way.

Let's see... Since we last spoke, I had just been mapped for my radiation treatments.  As of today, I have completed 22 of 30 and expect to finish on Tuesday, November 27th.  It happens to be the day after my birthday, (or RE-birthday) so yay for me!

Of all of my treatments, radiation has had the fewest immediate side effects.  I'm in my 5th week and Frankenboob seems to be faring pretty well at this point. I'm definitely pink - like I didn't quite put enough sun block on - but other than some sunburn-like itchiness/rashiness, it's really no biggie.  They've told me that I can use a combo of Aquaphor and hydrocortisone to help ease the affected areas.

The sessions take between 10-20 minutes depending on the tech and whether or not the machine feels like cooperating.  I lay there in my sprinkler/super model pose while the beast whirs around me.  They play a variety of CDs that range from Carrie Underwood to old 50s music to Abba.  The other day, one of the songs was "Beautiful Day" by U2.  If I could have belted that one I would have but they seem to get testy when you move around.  Go figure.

There is a wonderful woman named Barbara, whose appointments immediately follow mine.  She's a few sessions behind me and we chat each day for a few minutes before she gets called back.  Because she drives nearly an hour to get to MD Anderson, she brings a new friend with her each day.  She joked today that at this point, I've probably met everyone in Livingston.  It's nice to compare notes with someone that's gone through exactly what I have.  I hope that we can continue to stay in touch after this radiation "fun" is over.

I got my hair trimmed for the first time last Thursday.  Even though it's far from long, it certainly needed to be shaped.  It's crazy, but I feel a million times better now.  It's like it's on purpose rather than me waiting for my post-chemo baby fuzz to grow out.  I do get quite a bit of compliments on my salt and pepper hair, which blows me away.  I'm not quite 42.  I'm WAY too young for that hair color, but the fact of the matter is that I have hair, so there's that.  I've heard that it isn't wise to color hair for at least a year because it could turn orange from all the chemo.  Um.  I'll take the zero on that one.  Salt and pepper it is!

My eyebrows and eyelashes are fairly normal now.  They're not nearly as thick as they were yet, but nothing that would make people look at me funny.  Other than my Oompa Loompa-on-steroids body, I'm starting to look like myself again and not a cancer patient.  I feel pretty good overall, except for some nagging rib pain here and there under Frankenboob.  It doesn't bother me all the time, but it's a pain in the ass.  Well, or rib.  It's kinda like sleeping for way too long with an underwire bra or when you're pregnant and your baby gets their foot caught up in your rib cage - times 10.  Not fun.  Advil seems to calm it down, which is great.  I believe that it's just the expander pressing on my rib and with the added weight of my bean bag prosthetic - it can get sore.  It could be worse.

Today, when I went in for treatment, I got my "boost" set up.  Dr. Schlembach basically drew a festive green rectangle around Frankenboob and during my final 5 appointments, the radiation will be targeted to that area only.  It'll give the rest of my skin a chance to heal sooner, but it's also focusing on the scar bed from my tumor.  It's a more topical zap as well.

I'm so relieved to finally be nearing the end of this whole mess.  From my first chemo treatment to my final radiation treatment, it's been about 8 1/2 months.  I could have had a baby.  Ha.  I can't even imagine.

Now that I'm cancer-free, oddly, it's somewhat anti-climactic.  It's hard to go from a regular person to a super cancer rockstar and back to a regular person.  Even though I'm all clear, I'm still not done. People have gone back to their normal lives and I'm feeling, well, I'm not sure how to even articulate it.  I'm not upset or mad.  I'm not lonely.  I'm thrilled to feel like I'm somewhat human again, but this stage is just really strange.  People are still wonderful and supportive, so it's not that.  Maybe since cancer isn't as much at the forefront of my life - it's okay that it's not at the forefront of others' lives as well.  Let me be clear... I am VERY happy with where I am today.  It's sort of like when I finished a musical run in school.  It was nice to have my nights and weekends back but I missed the excitement.  Cancer bullshit is hardly "exciting", but you know what I mean... Or maybe you don't.  Sorry if I'm talking in circles.

The last time I took one of my painkillers was this past Sunday.  I've been taking 2 Advil before bed - and that's it.  I'm really not sore (except for the random rib busters that I mentioned earlier) but I haven't had that happen in about a week or so.  I'm pretty much able to do the same things that I could do before, but I'm far more cautious about what I lift with my right arm.  This extra weight is certainly cumbersome, but now that radiation is wrapping up, I can get rid of that, too.

I mentioned to someone yesterday that the old me is gone.  I'll never get her back because far too much has changed.  I am looking forward to the new, reinvented me.  It's time.

Thanks for hanging around and listening to my story.  It helps me to share and I'm happy to know that it's helped others in this situation, too.

Peace out for now...  I'll be back soon!  (I promise!)

This is my friend, the radiation machine.  It moves around me.  Normally, that white cloth isn't around me and I'm fully exposed on that side.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


Hi there. Remember me? I know it's been a long time since I've updated. It's nearly 2:15am, so I'm not going to do it now, but I just wanted to apologize for the long delay. I promise to update soon. Really.