a little c

because I refuse to give it a big one

Posts Tagged ‘being blessed’

Use your words

Posted by wendy on 2012/01/12

I wrote a pretty harsh Facebook status yesterday:

That cut and paste status that likes to insinuate that I don’t CARE ENOUGH about cancer to copy and paste someone’s lame attempt at being profound on MY status needs to DIE. Seriously.

I’ve touched on this subject before–as you know, I am no fan of cut and paste–but, I thought I’d elaborate on this a bit, and doing it here seems a better spot than writing another short status update.  My updates are for flippy remarks and what kind of sammich I had for dinner.  Long explanations and heartfelt thoughts go here.  (Well, for the most part–I do admit to being  flippy over here, too.  I can’t help myself, y’all.  I’m flippy.  It’s my nature.)

This is one of the many viral updates that get under my skin and make me cringe:

All of us have thousand wishes. To be thinner, to be bigger, have more money, have a cool car, a day off, a new phone, to date the person of your dreams. A cancer patient only has one wish, to kick cancer’s ass. I know that 97% of you won’t post this as your status, but my friends will be the 3% that do. In honor of someone who died, or is fighting cancer, or even had cancer, post this for at least one hour.

This is me around 8 months ago. I didn't have just ONE wish, you guys. I had just as many wishes then as I do now. Beating cancer isn't about wishing. Beating cancer is about DOING. None of us sit around and sigh and "wish" to get better. We fight and we plan and fight some more. Do not equate your 'wish' to lose 10 pounds with my fight to beat cancer. They are very different things.

First and foremost….if 97% of the people who see your Facebook status are not your friends, then may it’s time to delete Farmville and step away from your computer.  Go make some friends and stop being all passive aggressive with the ones you DO have.   It will do you some good.  ooo…I’m snarky.

Look, everyone.

Mira.  Mira.

Lean in.

I’m going to share and it’s kind of important.

You are not a parrot.  You are not a myna bird.  You’re not a toddler mimicking his parents until he learns how to speak correctly.  You can speak for yourself.  I realize that this takes more time than a right click.  I know you’re busy.  I am, too.  We’re all busy with our lives and our virtual farms and getting that high score on Farkle.   Okay, maybe that’s just me with the Farkle.  But, I digress.

As a cancer survivor, and as someone who has lost people that I love dearly to cancer, as someone who has friends who fought and survived, who are fighting as I type this, I want to make something very clear:  You are not honoring anyone with a thoughtless right click and a paste.  If you want to honor someone, then use your words.  If you’re thinking about someone who’s fighting cancer, then tell them.  Sending them an email or send them a card through the mail.  Give them a call.  Tell them you’re thinking about them and send them your best.  As someone who has been there, I can tell you that words mean more when they come directly from you.    Truly sharing how you feel about someone takes time and thought.  If you want to honor someone who lost their battle and wish to share, then…SHARE.  Talk about that person, tell us if they made you laugh, what they smelled like, how they made you feel.  Tell us you miss them.

Use your words.  

It really does not take much longer to write “I am thinking about you.” than it does to copy and paste someone else’s status.  I realize that people love to use Facebook as a soapbox and the internet dearly loves a good bandwagon, but I like to dream of a world in which the passive aggressive “shame on you” bandwagon is the empty one.

Use your words.   It won’t matter how bad your grammar is or how awkward your words sound–if they come from your heart, they will be appreciated.

Use your words.  Because, when we are sick, when we are suffering, it is YOU we want to hear from the most.

Use your words.

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Happy Cancerversary to me!

Posted by wendy on 2011/11/11

I STILL prefer wigs to my hair, which is curly like mad and drives me insane.

So, I feel like I should write something about today.  It’s pretty momentous.  It’s Veteran’s Day (Dear Veteran’s, Thank you for keeping me safe.  You guys are doing a bang-up job.).  It’s also 11/11/11 – the day of “ooooo”.  It’s also my cancerversary.  It’s also Day 3 of me being gainfully employed (ah, back to 2 jobs again–the way it’s intended).  Unfortunately I don’t particularly  FEEL like writing, so this is going to be more ‘update’ than ‘thoughtful blog post about my feelings’.

So, this time last year, I had cancer and was losing my job.  This year, I’m cancer-free and starting a new job (incidentally, my new job is literally in the same building as the old job–and, with many of the same people, as they hired a good many of us back).  My contract work is steady.  Those are good things.  I can see it’s going to take me a while to figure out how to balance all of it and still have a personal life–it feels like I’ve done nothing but work for the last 3 days.

I’m getting a da vinci in December.  I’m not particularly looking forward to more surgery, but I prefer a bit of pain now  to avoid a lot of pain later.  I’ve always been the girl who rips her band-aids off as quickly as possible.  Fast and painful trumps slow and painful every time.  ha.

I have been absent from this blog (badness!), I know–I’d like to say that I’m ‘concentrating on living!’, but really, I just spent most of October completely avoiding cancer-related stuff as much as I could.

I’d make a fine ostrich.

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Hit it again

Posted by wendy on 2011/10/22

When I signed into my dashboard today this was in my top searches box:

what+do+you+do+when+you+have+fought+so+hard+for+something+but+you+keep+hitting+a+brick+wall?

Personally, my favorite link on that search result is the Aqua Teen Hunger Force movie script.   There is a small part of me that thinks someone would probably benefit more from that link than if they hit my blog looking for answers.  Really, I have none.  Lately, it feels like all of the answers are out of my reach as well.

So many of my photoshoots end up with Pip The Therapy Dog crashing the party--no zombie bride pictures today, because Pippin wants to sit in my lap. 😉

I’m all over the internet this month, taking pictures  and playing  silly Facebook  games and pinning pithy sayings to my pinterest page…but, am I talking about cancer this month? Not so much.    As someone who made it through 8 rounds of chemotherapy without tossing her cookies once, how much of a right do I have to even complain about my experiences?  Sure, I felt like crap and I lost my hair, but it’s grown back and I had a full head of it less than 3 months after chemo ended.  The surgery was hard, but I recovered and I actually like my teeny little breasts more–clothes fit better, they don’t get in the way of daily activities, and they look fabulous in a tight sweater.  I had all the lymph nodes removed on my right side, but I regained full range of motion with my right arm and while the numbness is annoying, I’m used to it so it doesn’t bother me as much as it used to.  I lift weights.  I do yoga.  I was a text-book case of breezing through surgery, chemo and radiation with minimal difficulty.  Did I have cancer-lite?  No.  It was aggressive.  I had multi-focal DCIS and a big freaking tumor on my right breast.  It had spread to 1 lymph node–but, again…I was lucky–we caught it before it spread further.  So many women had it–HAVE IT–so much worse than I did.  I feel guilty because I feel like I really did get the pretty end of the shitstick.  I mean, any way you look at it, it’s still a shitstick, but I got the end that cleans up faster.

Lately, I don’t even like to talk about how lucky I was–it’s like I’m afraid I’ll jinx it somehow.  And…as someone who has both been there, done that, and purchased the pink t-shirt, how much of a responsibility do I now carry to continue the fight to raise awareness?  As a survivor, do I offer hope or do I offer reality?   Can we have both?  I can see how women with metastatic breast cancer can feel left out of all of these pink rays of hope we’re shooting around the world this month–because, the happy hopeful survivor place?  That’s the place I’d much rather dwell, too–and that feels like such a cowardly thing for me to say, but if I’m going to be honest here, then…yeah.  I don’t want to think about this coming back and I don’t want to think about it spreading.  Maybe it’s too soon for me to face the ‘what ifs’.  Right now,  I want to focus on the fact that I WON this round.  But, I was lucky.  So many women are not.  What will I do if my luck runs out and I’m faced with that brick wall once more?

Aqua Teen Hunger Force says “hit it again”.   And, I will.  But, I’m not going to think about that today.  Maybe I will tomorrow.

 

Maybe.

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Relief and Gratitude and a House Guest

Posted by wendy on 2011/10/09

I have a mouse.  He is freaking adorable, but he is not allowed to live in my house so the game of Catch or Kill is on.  I prefer “catch”, but if I have to resort to “kill”, I’ll do it, because mice aren’t very good house guests at all.  They use your good towels on their muddy feet, don’t put the little wrappy thing back on the bread, and put empty cartons back in the fridge.  I’m pretty ruthless about empty milk cartons.

I’ve spent the last week in a kind of frenzy of gratitude and excitement and fear.  The fabulous people who particpated in the boobiethon netted me $2,555.  You know,  the ‘thon has taken its fair share of flack over the years, because Komen was the main recipient (and for the boobies)–but, in case anyone ever tries to criticize them because the women who need it don’t benefit–send them to ME.  Send them here:   I am a breast cancer survivor and the Boobie-thon has just paid for the next 4+ months of my COBRA.  I don’t have the proper words to say how much this has meant to me.   I’ve tried thanking everyone who donated to me (I think I thanked a few of you twice–haha) and it feels like it was just this litany of “thank you, I’m overwhelmed, and OH MY GOSH!”.  hahaha.  If I babbled to you, I apologize.  I really was completely overwhelmed.  Thank you Mel for doing such a fantastic job as the organizer, and thank you Statia, for nominating me.  I love you guys so much.   I’d be remiss not to mention that Pete’s image  went up to $350, and my very good friend Jason is also auctioning off a shot for me (it ends Tuesday).  I have such amazing friends.  I really do.

Don't freak out--I was stopped at a red light when I snapped this.

There is a sense of relief that this little bit of attention is kind of over for me now, though.  I have to admit–I felt like HIDING a lot last week.  I have no idea how I suddenly became The Shy Girl, but oh maaan—I just felt so completely undeserving of all of the kindness directed my way.  I couldn’t look at my stats, because I’m so used to the 20 or so people who read this and when there’s suddenly 700 views on your blog…it’s scary to feel so opened up and vulnerable.  I’m not used to it.  🙂  Overwhelmed.

Physically, I’m doing really well.  The hot flashes haven’t gone away completely–but, they have subsided.   I think I had one yesterday.  Hurrah for Effexor!   My hair–much to my chagrin–is very curly.   DO NOT WANT.   Seriously, I actually had a moment yesterday in which I missed my wigs desperately.  I feel terribly ungrateful for disliking my hair, because–helloooo, at least I have hair, right?   WHINGING!  I should stop that.  I’m just super lazy and hate fixing my hair every day.  Seriously I do not get how short hair is easier.  Ponytails are easy.  Massive amounts of hair gel are not.

What a difference a week can make!!!  For reals, people–my biggest complaint about my life right at this second is that I have to fix my hair.  I’m going to stop and just enjoy that for a minute or two.

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The Tale of the Phantom Port

Posted by wendy on 2011/10/06

I noticed yesterday in the shower that I was still very carefully washing my neck and upper chest, so as not to touch the (skeeevy) chemo port that is no longer there.  Old habits die hard, don’t they?

It’s still a shock to me when I look at pictures of myself now and there isn’t a hard little round disc sticking out of my chest and I still occasionally feel a bit of a phantom pull in my throat where the port met my jugular vein.  I expect this will all fade eventually–I mean, I finally learned where my breasts are located on my body–for the longest time after my first surgery, I found myself trying to wash under breasts that were no longer there.  (Seriously.  It was super annoying.)  It stands to reason I’ll figure out my neck is OKAY TO TOUCH AGAIN eventually.

Why yes, I did make myself a shirt. Iron-on transfers, ftw!

Right now, the only real obstacle I face in the shower is shaving my right armpit–because the underside of my arm is numb (and will remain so–this is something that won’t go away since they removed all my lymph nodes on that side) and I haven’t gotten around to getting an electric razor yet, so cutting myself without realizing it remains a possibility.  I never realized how much one shaves just by feel.  The pressure of the razor against your skin is how you tell you’re doing it right and I can’t feel that anymore.  Frustrating, but not end-of-the-world stuff, so I can deal.

I’ve been pretty lucky so far with my arm.  Working out doesn’t bother it (I’m being very careful not to overdo it, as I know it’s a bit risky–but, I think the benefits outweigh the risks.  It cannot do me anything but good to build up the muscle in my arms.) and I’m hopeless when it comes to remembering not to carry my purse on my right shoulder, but it hasn’t affected anything.   I haven’t had to deal with any swelling or other signs of Lymphedema yet.  I have full range of motion with the arm as well.   Dr. Awesome (my surgeon) was unsurprised at my progress.  “You’re young, you’re healthy, there’s no reason you shouldn’t do well.”.

I’m going to just take a moment and enjoy those  words.  Cause I really love it when my doctors talk about how ‘young’ I am.

Tomorrow is the very last day of the Boobie-thon, and I am just completely overwhelmed with gratitude over how generous people have been.  I’ve talked about ‘moments of grace‘ here before, and I want you all to know I’ve had more of those moments this week than I can count.  I feel like I keep repeating myself over and over, but it’s all I know to say or do.  Thank you.  Thank you.  ❤  One day, I’ll pay all of this forward.

This is the very last Boobie-thon ever, which is such a bittersweet thing to all of the women who’ve been involved over the years–but I think especially to Robyn, the founder, and Mel, who took over organizing the thon for Robyn a few years back, and I’m sure for my Hot Internet Wife, Statia, who was the reason the whole thing began.   These women have worked tirelessly for a cause they really believe in and I think they’re amazing.  There are a few really fun contests (win a Kindle Fire or a $30 Amazon card!)  running over there right now, and you still have time to enter, so head over if you like.  Now, shoo!

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Hey, those fancy movin’ pictures are nifty!

Posted by wendy on 2011/10/04

Seriously, I should have prepared something instead of trying to wing it.  It’s never pretty when I try to wing it.  🙂  But, hey, that’s me up there, being my usual awkward self, trying to thank people and rambling on about hats and hair instead.  I am blessed with the best friends in the world, the best family in the world–and hey–I am also bless with meeting the best total strangers in the world.  If you’re reading this now, just feel free to assume that YOU are awesome and move forward with your life secure in that knowledge.

It’s Day 4 of the Boobiethon and they’re going strong over there–there’s a tweeting contest happening right now that you should totally try to win, and of course, they need both boys and girls to donate pictures.  My dear friend Pete is auctioning off one of his gorgeous pictures for me, and I am beyond overwhelmed by all of this.  I feel like I keep repeating the same thing over and over–thank you, thank you.  But, it is sincere and it is from the bottom of my heart.  Thank you.  Thank you to everyone who’s donated, thank you to everyone who’s passed my site along.  I feel so completely undeserving of such amazing support, and I look forward to the day that I can pay it forward.

I am so lucky.  I am.  I can never say it enough.  Thank you.

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The Tragics

Posted by wendy on 2011/08/31

I can barely lift my arms as I type this post (new BodyPump release–ow ow ow), but I must update, cause cool stuff is happening this week!  I saw my radiologist yesterday, and she pronounced the boobage free of any signs of fibrosis or any other hinky stuff, so I don’t have to go back for SIX MONTHS.  Can we all say YES!! together?  Cause..YES!!   There was a cute moment when the receptionist asked me if I preferred morning  or afternoon and I was all “Um…next February?  I have no idea what I’m going to be doing next February–I don’t even have a 2012 calendar yet.  hee.”

Tragic!!! Although, not so tragic that I didn't bother to put on lipstick before taking my picture.

I actually have loads of appointments to make this week.  Tomorrow, I have my baseline PET scan, then I see my oncologist on Friday.  (The camera is down at OMI, so my PET scan has been put off til Tuesday. ) I have to set up an  appointment with my gynecologist and then set up my next mammogram and it feels like a LOT of doctor-type stuff is happening, but there is a bit of comfort in knowing that the majority of what I have ahead of me is really just routine stuff.  There is a small bit of fear attached to the routine stuff now (WHATIFITCOMESBACK??) …but, I’m not going to dwell on it or let it overtake me.

I had a wonderful time away, and while I am suffering from a tiny bit of jetlag and a very large case of The Tragics (which consists of a lot of sighing and laying around looking like someone stole the stripes out of my peppermints), I’m doing pretty well.  My zenfolio subscription expires tomorrow, and I will not be renewing, (because food comes before internet toys), so I will take this time to thank everyone who bought an image from me, or passed the link along so someone else could.  Seriously, you guys helped me  more than I can say.

There is so much wrong in my life right now that the enormity of it occasionally crushes me, but there is also so much in my life that is right and good and wonderful….and I really do believe the good outweighs the bad.  It nearly always has.

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You may get whiplash from this post, because there’s a plot twist in the middle. I’ll try not to give away the ending.

Posted by wendy on 2011/08/16

My hair is about to hit that awkward "over my ears" stage that I always used to hate. I love my awkward hair.

[Wendy note:  I wrote this on the plane ride over, but the shot to the left was taken a few minutes ago with my droid–please note that I have The Pink Eye or, as I see every ailment I have postcancer, “OHMYGODITSEYECANCER!!111!!!eleventy!!”  Actually, I think I just need to take a shower and rest my tired eyes a bit, but y’all know how dramatic I can be.]

I’m typing this as I fly 23,000 feet in the air above the fine state of Tennessee—at least I think we’re still over Tennessee—we haven’t been in the air that long.

There is a part of me that feels that it’s wrong to take a trip right now—so much of my life is in flux at the moment.  I liken myself to a juggler who has at least four or five balls in the air…and I’ve walked away from all of them, mid-juggle.  But, I know that those balls will still be mid-air when I land at Heathrow, and I also know there will be an extra pair of hands to advise me and help me figure out how to stop juggling them all and perhaps lay them in a nice orderly row at my feet.  I could use that.  He is good for me in so many ways.

Since my diagnosis, there have been moments of absolute, sublime grace for me. I would not trade those moments for anything and I like to look back at how far I’ve come since I found that nasty little lump.  I wrote about my first mammogram the other day—but I just discussed the technical aspects of it.  What I didn’t mention is the way I felt sitting in the waiting room in my clean white robe listening to the other women chatting casually about their bouts with breast cancer.  I was seething with resentment and rage at the time.  I hated sitting there with those lovely women, listening to them discuss PET Scans and mammograms.  Mastectomies vs. lumpectomies.  I did not want to be a member of the cancer club.  I still remember that anger I felt towards them for being so casual about the entire thing.  What I did not know at the time was that those beautiful, wonderful women were giving me a glimpse into what acceptance and grace can do for you.  It took me a while to accept that I had cancer, it took me even longer to reach the point of…see, I want to say that I am grateful, but I don’t think that is quite the word I’m looking for.  Well, occasionally, I am grateful.  Not for cancer.  I mean, seriously—cancer can suck it.  But, I am grateful for the clarity I have gained this year.   I am grateful for the old relationships that have strengthened and for the new relationships that I have found.  For all the hardship in the past year, there has also been some amazing and wonderful things that have come from this ordeal.  I am grateful to wake up to wiggly, happy dogs.  I am grateful to see my son become more and more the man I hoped he would be.  I am grateful to be alive and sitting on this  airplane, winging my way to one of the most amazing, generous, loving (and oh, hey sexy!) men I’ve ever known.  I am grateful for my life–even the hard and nasty bits.  I am grateful to be alive.

Twist.

I am going to rant a little.  Well, I am going to rant a lot.   I’ve complained about this before on FB, but I have yet to mention it here and really ‘here’ is where I get to talk about stuff that bugs me at length.  Now, anyone who knows me knows that I am no fan of forwarded emails, and copy/paste FB statuses.  So, when the two are combined—an email forward that tells me to copy and paste something into my FB status?  Urggggh.  And, lastly, an email forward that tells me to copy and paste something into my FB status with regards to cancer?  Flames on the side of my face, people.   I mean, really.  Really.   [By the way, if you loooove facebook status memes and email forwards…you should probably stop reading now.  Go here and do a bit of light reading.  It’ll do you some good. –xo]

Here is the thing.  Just because I have had cancer, it does not make it okay to send me the ‘cancer’ forwards.  In fact, I’m going to take this one step further and say that because I have had cancer, perhaps, you should NEVER, EVER send me a cancer-related email forward again.  I hate, HATE, the “put the color of your bra as your status, but don’t tell any males what it means” or that really stupid one that tells you to mysteriously tell us where you like to put your purse. How does this raise awareness, exactly?  No, really.  Someone needs to explain that to me.  And, the Someone who tries to explain this to me should probably make sure they aren’t within my Smack Proximity.  Because it really does make my hand all itchy.  Cancer is not cute and cancer is not coy.  Teasing the boys with sexual innuendo on FB about our [Super Secret and Sexy!! Girl’s Only!!] Cancer is not ‘raising awareness’.  You wanna flirt with all the boys?  By all means, flirt with all the boys—but don’t pretend you’re raising ‘awareness for breast cancer’ when you’re doing it.  The only damn thing you’re raising  is my ire.

We raise awareness with discussion.  With action.  (For instance–Breast Cancer isn’t “Girls Only!”–boys get it, too.)  We raise awareness with….oh,  for Pete’s sake—aren’t we all pretty well aware of cancer?  I’m not so much about raising awareness as I am about finding a cure or prodding my loved ones to get checked, because I know very few people who have not been impacted by cancer personally or through a family member or friend.  And, I don’t know anyone who doesn’t know what cancer is.   I mean, is there one person out there who’s read “Blue” or “I like it on the floor by the stairs” in someone’s status only to say “Oh my GOD YOUR PURSE! I HAD NO IDEA THERE WAS A THING CALLED CANCER!!  I’m so glad you’re wearing a blue bra today!  I feel so aware. Where’s the donation button?!  I gotta call my doctor and schedule a mammogram RIGHT NOW!!!”??

Not that I’mma tell you not to jump on the meme train.  If that’s your thing, by all means…jump away.  But, expecting ME is jump on the meme train just because I’ve had cancer is rude.

So stop sending me that crap.  I mean it.  Stoppit.

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(hot) Flash Dance!

Posted by wendy on 2011/07/24

Seriously.

This is how I feel at least 3 or 4 times a day.

They’re baaaaack.  With a vengeance, seriously.  It’s the tamoxifen, I know–but, I’m kind of hoping that when I call the clinic on Monday morning (First thing.  I am calling first. thing.) they’ll be all “Oh, just take an extra Effexor and they’ll clear right up!”.  A girl can dream, right?

I remember her telling me this would be a side effect, but we were hoping it wouldn’t be too bad for me since I’ve been on Effexor for a few months now. Oh, lowest possible dosage of Effexor, you are doing me no good whatsoever at the moment.  le sigh.

Of course, the entire nation is stuck in the middle of a massive heatwave–no one is happy at the moment–but, seriously, there’s nothing quite like getting a hot flash when the heat index is sitting at 110 and you’re sitting in your car and your keys are swimming around the bottom of your purse and you cannot find them and I’m not sure WHY I thought buying such a huge purse was a good idea but, I’m just going to start using a safety pin to attach my keys to my clothes all second-grade latch key kid style and God help any impressionable children who may be within earshot of me when this is happening.  (“Mommy what’s a #@$%! purse?  I’m scared!”) Hey, I was desperate, people.

Hot flashes are so hard to explain to anyone who’s never had one.  It’s this…heat that comes from inside–not the fun, sexy heat that you get when a cute boy  kisses you, but a  really uncomfortable hotness that seems to start in my stomach and spreads out from there.  The worst area for me is the back of my neck/head.  My skin gets clammy all over, my face gets all flushed and I break into a sweat on the back of my neck.  (I know–sexy!)  I feel like I’m running hotter all the time, actually.  I sweat more at the gym than I did before–an hour on the elliptical and I’m drenched in sweat now.  That’s not a complaint–I actually like to sweat at the gym.  It’s more an observation.  I’m definitely  hotter now.  In so many ways, she said flirtatiously.

I lived through the last bout with them, and I’ll live through this one–I mean, I guess, ultimately, that is the operative word, isn’t it?  I will live.  I have to remember that when I get stabby over the little things.

I had some really nice reactions to my last post and I want to thank everyone who helped and thank you to those who passed along the link.  I appreciate it so much, and I so appreciate how supportive everyone was.  Thanks for not making me feel like a…a…I don’t know what, but the big black cloud over my head is a bit lighter now.  I made 6 sales over the last two days, which is really awesome.  I will be adding more shots (and items–I’d like to offer greeting cards–although, I may have to go through cafepress to do that.  I’ll update later.)  here, so if you know of anyone who would be interested, please send them my way.

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I want to name this post “Winning!”, but I think Charlie Sheen has ruined that particular phrase for all of us.

Posted by wendy on 2011/07/18

EDITED TO ADD:  You can totally buy the print above at my Cafepress Store!

I actually hesitate to write this post while I’m still all giddy and high off endorphins, but hey, why not–it’s my blog, amiright?  😉  I had my very last radiation treatment this afternoon!  I’m done!  I’m done!  *dances the dance of being done*  I just so completely blown away that it’s over (and a bit incredulous, because–really?  It’s over?  How did that happen?).  I feel all invincible today, you know?  When I was walking out, the oncology nurse gave me a little pin that said “survivor” on it, and it made me cry a little.  It feels a bit like a cheat…like I shouldn’t wear it until my five years are up and I get my official ‘pronouncement’ of suvivorship, but you know–I DID survive.  I will survive.  (Oh wow, I just went all Gloria Gaynor on your asses, didn’t I?)  I’m in the next stage now.  I have to take tamoxifen for the next 5 years, but hey-I take a multitude of vitamins every morning, so I’m not feeling terribly put out by that anymore.  My onc wants to schedule a baseline PET scan for me next month, and then it’s just regular check-ups and keeping an eye on things.  OH!!  And, there is the removal of my Frenemy, The Port.  This baby is coming OUT, people.  Hallelujah.

So, there is a lot to talk about here and I’m just going to jump right in, as I cannot think of a witty segue-way from “YES!!  I AM DONE WITH TREAMENT!!” to “Hey, this is what a radiation rash looks like.”

Radiation Rash

I feel like I should have painted my nails before I showed you my rash. I also feel weird that I just showed you my rash.

I had zero fatigue with radiation, which is a very good thing.  And, I had no real effects from it until this past week when the rash sprang up.  It’s not painful, really–but, it DOES itch like madness.  I’m putting benadryl cream on it, and it helps a bit.  My skin is also a bit tender and pink–like a slight sunburn at the radiation spot.  It’s kind of funny to note that it is actually in a perfect little square section of my right breast.  When I saw the Dr last week, she pronounced my red, rashy skin to be “exactly what we like to see at this stage”.   She said it shows them that the radiation was actually doing its job and that I will continue to get pinker over the next week and a half, but then it will probably clear up just as quickly as it showed up.  (and seriously–this rash?  Popped up overnight–it was crazy.)  So, there you have it, Dear Frantic Googler.  That’s a radiation rash you see over to the  side of this post.   You can also see why they were at first concerned about my port getting in the way–and I really wish that I had pushed this issue–this is probably the most uncomfortable thing I have going right now–the skin over my PORT is itchy and sore and I have to put cream on it, which means I have to TOUCH MY PORT.  So, I’m both uncomfortably itchy AND skeeved out.  It just doesn’t feel fair at all.

Life is rarely fair, but it can be good.  Oh yes.  It can.

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