Well jeeze! You just made my day! Thank you, can-u-not-my-wayward-son (that was hard to type, haha!) for such a lovely message! xo
Well jeeze! You just made my day! Thank you, can-u-not-my-wayward-son (that was hard to type, haha!) for such a lovely message! xo
So nice to hear from you! It’s been awhile! You know, I’m really glad that post made you feel normal. Hearing that makes me feel more normal too! A friend of mine (who had cancer) once told me that having cancer is like being a part of a club that nobody wants to be a member of. Even when it’s “over” you’re still in it somehow. I guess that sums it up.
Hope you’re well and having a delightful summer! xo
Wow! It’s been quite a long time since I updated the ol’ Boo! I sure hope that everyone out there is doing well. Are you all having a nice summer/winter? (That’s me being all clever and recognizing that some of you are in another hemisphere!)
I’ve just had a full on meltdown watching this BBC show, Call the Midwife. I’m talking a full on crying, have to keep pausing the episode because I’m flipping out so much, many tissues crumbled around me kind of meltdown. I bet you can guess what the episode was about? Yep! You guessed it. It was about a man who had cancer. This is something very interesting that I have noticed within the last say… eight months or so. Let’s say a year just to be safe. I have a lot of trouble watching films/shows where someone has cancer. Especially if I know they are going to die. It’s strange, really. I try to process what thoughts are going through my head as I am weeping in front of a screen but I can’t seem to pin them down. It’s more a feeling. A tremendous, heavy, desperate feeling of sorrow. That’s the best way I can describe it.
I had a little crying meltdown recently when I was sharing the work I have done so far on the Boo Cancer book (more to come on THAT hopefully SOON!!!!) with a friend of mine. I was simply going over a timeline of events as I want them to be in the book and talking about each little point on the timeline et voila! Crying meltdown. I’m talking can’t speak, can only sob type of crying. And all I was doing was talking about when I had cancer!!
When I was going through treatment I felt I was handling it like a champ. Well, like the best champ that I could be considering I had cancer. Even after treatment I felt I did a pretty good job of sliding back into life. Granted I felt a bit lost, as if I had to figure out who I was all over again, but still, I wasn’t crying hysterically if someone with cancer was in a film or on a t.v. show. I think there is a part of me that, in order to protect myself, pushed down a lot of how very heavy and awful the disease was and how scary it was to know that here I was with a disease that kills people. I myself have lost people I know to it. Then there was the moment when having a double mastectomy came up because of that darn BRCA2 gene. And then having my ovaries removed. All things that I still think about, albeit carefully and in my own time.
I think somewhere along the line there was a great deal of sorrow that was pushed deep down inside me which now comes out in these silly moments which are usually accompanied by orchestral strings and good lighting. I’ve had the disease. I know how serious it is. I know how awful it can make you feel. How scared. How utterly alone even when you are surrounded by people. And how suddenly you can go from being a young woman going about her life to someone who has to think about her life being shortened and what that even means.
I think I need to be a bit more careful about the things I watch for awhile. Then again, it’s good to feel. I’ve never been one to shy away from honoring the feelings that come up inside of me. Maybe it’s not a bad thing to have a (HUGE) cry every now and again over something that is indeed sad no matter which way you look at it. Yeah. Maybe that’s the way to look at it. It’s okay to feel scared or sad about something I’ve had first hand experience with that was both scary and sad. It’s okay. I’m going to go easy on myself. Better to feel something than to not feel anything at all.
Thank you, trustedsolitudes! I hope you know that you are not alone either! I think that is one of the best things about having a blog on a site like this. I know that sounds so nerdy, but it’s true. Making my blog was one of the best things I did for myself when I was first diagnosed. It became such a wonderful outlet to vent everything I was feeling, and in turn (much to my surprise!) it became the most supportive place you could imagine. I know it is one of the main reasons I got through everything as well as I did. At least I think so anyhow!
Everything goes super fast when you are first diagnosed. That’s good and bad. It moves so fast because everyone is trying to make a plan for you to take care of this as swiftly as possible. The not so good side of that is that it is SO overwhelming!!!! But you know what? You can do this!! You can! I just know you can! You have a whole network of support behind you!
I hope you are doing okay and that you have a lovely weekend! xo
Oh my gosh! I’ve been so bad at updating my blog!!! Thank you so much for your concern. The second biopsy came back exactly as the first one did: pre-cancerous. Blech. So, I spoke with my oncologist and now I can add one more thing to the list of body parts I have to monitor, haha! Still, it was really good that I was on top of things and aware of the changes that were occuring on my body. Now I just have to be extra diligent and keep paying attention to everything!
Hope you have a wonderful weekend and thank you so much for reaching out! xoxo
Today I went back to get the results of my biopsy. First of all, let me start by saying that Dr. Jerkwad was much more subdued today. I think my kind of snapping back last time and being generally unimpressed with his complete lack of bedside manner kind of put things where they should be. Today we just cut to the chase: the results.
And the result was… pre-cancerous! Yay! Wait. Not yay. Turns out that dark spot that he removed was indeed “evil” after all. Luckily I caught it in time. Yeesh. I did not get through having breast cancer just so I could then move right into skin cancer. No thank you. I remembered while I was in his office this morning that there was a spot on my back that was pretty dark as well so I showed him just to be on the safe side. He agreed that it didn’t look too good and went ahead and got that spot off too so he could send it off to be tested. Better safe than sorry. Now I have to go back in again on Monday to get the results of that biopsy!
It’s strange. I felt a lot like I did when I found the lump in my breast. Somehow I just knew it wasn’t good. That’s how it felt finding these dark spots on my skin. They just didn’t feel good. I can’t stress enough how important it is to be familiar with your body. Know yourself. Girls, that means know what feels normal or does not feel normal for you. Keep an eye on any changes that occur. Better yet, if it comes down to giving yourself a monthly exam, keep your fingers on any changes! Be mindful of your body and proactive in getting a second opinion on things. If you think something is off, have it checked out! Sure, it might turn out to be nothing (and that’s great!!) but then again it might be something and catching it early can mean everything. Trust me. Educate yourself about what is normal for you so that you know when things seem off.
My margins cleared so that was a good thing. I guess these are pretty common. I’m just a wee bit weary having gone through the whole shebang once already. Not really in a hurry to do it again! It’s kind of wild because both of these spots are were in places where I don’t really get any sun. There you have it! I’m really glad that I trusted my gut and went to have things checked out. Might have been one of the best things I’ve done for myself in a long time!
HAHAHA! Oh Maddi! I still love YOU! (Email coming soon). xoxo
This has not been my best week. Emotionally, that is. Something happened on Monday that got things off to a bad start and I just never quite recovered from there. I wasn’t even going to write about it but now that it’s the end of the week and things haven’t gotten any better for me emotionally I guess I’ll just go ahead and get it all out.
Back when I was going through treatment and went to go see a genetic counselor to find out if I had either the BRCA1 or 2 gene I always carried a notebook around with me everywhere. I had so many medical appointments with so many new vocabulary words and terms I had never heard of that I had to write everything down because there was no way I was ever going to remember it later. Not too long ago I found one of those notebooks (there ended up being a few!) and began to flip through it. When I came across my notes from the genetic sessions I noticed that the counselor had said that the BRCA2 gene can predispose you to other types of cancer. One of them being skin cancer, and so it was best to keep an eye on any darkening or changing moles or freckles on my body and have them checked out. I’ve been watching what I guess was a freckle on the side of my left breast get steadily darker for awhile now so I figured it was best to be proactive and go in to have it looked at. Just to be safe.
This past Monday I had an appointment to see a dermatologist uptown. Now, I have Medicaid so I had to look up who in NYC takes my insurance and tried to make a good decision from there. The person I found had so many rave reviews from patients online that I went ahead and made an appointment at their office. I went in Monday prepared to have the spots I was watching checked out. I ended up crying all the way home. But I digress…
When I first walked into the office I filled out the necessary new patient paper work (in which I am well versed by now) and waited my turn. There were hand drawn cards and notes adorning the walls of the waiting area thanking the doctor and telling the doctor how great they were. Good sign, I thought. Then the doctor came out. He sat in the waiting area talking to a youngish girl who was obviously a medical rep of some sort. He told her all about a “rich” client who was flying him overseas and how “rich” this person was and oh did he mention he was rich? When he was done he told me to follow him back to his office.
Now, normally when someone in the medical profession is meeting me for the first time they either take a look at my case history or I fill them in on me having cancer and all that. This is usually the time when we pause and talk a little bit about what happened and me having the BRCA2 gene. All things that are good to know. Not this guy. I told him I had had breast cancer and that I had the BRCA2 gene and he said “so why are you here?”. Okay. I said that I had been advised to keep an eye on any spots on me because the BRCA2 gene predisposes you to… but I didn’t get to finish my sentence. “Nah! That’s not really true. I mean, not really” he said. Then he asked me where the area of concern was. I told him it was on the side of my breast. “Okay, show me.” Excuse me? I asked if there was a gown I could change into. Nope. “Just take off your top and show me. I don’t have x-ray eyes”. This was getting worse by the minute. So, I complied, trying to maintain a little bit of modesty all the while. He took a look at the spot and agreed that it did not look good. He then asked to see my legs and I said there was no need. He told me to go ahead and take my pants off so he could see and I declined. This was definitely not going well.
He told me that we needed to get the spot that had brought me there off. Okay. When? Right then. Immediately. Ugh. I’m totally fine with needles and things like that but I usually need a moment to wrap my head around getting poked with something and having even a minor procedure. Not this guy. No time to think. No time for anything. He shot the area up with novocaine and scraped off the problem spot. This is when it got really bad. “You have the BRCA2 gene?” he asked. I told him that yes, I did. “You should just get a mastectomy. Cut them off.” What. The. Fuck. But that’s not the end of it. He then proceeded to tell me that I should just get implants and that hey, his ex-girlfriend had them “but then again she was a stripper. As a matter of fact my last two girlfriends were strippers.” Amazing. This was hands down the single worst doctors visit of my entire life. I told him that maybe he should chop his you-know-what off. You know, no big deal. He didn’t seem fazed at all.
He told me to come back in a week to get the results. That would be this coming Monday. If the spot we removed is “evil” (his word) then we proceed from there. Let me be clear though. If the spot is indeed “evil” I will most certainly proceed from there but Mr. Jerkwad doctor will not be moving forward with me. I am NOT looking forward to going back for the results. Not because I am nervous at all but because I am still so upset about that visit and his complete LACK of ANY kind of bedside manner befitting someone in the medical profession. Ridiculous.
There. Now I’ve vented and hopefully got it all out. I’ve been upset about this for a week. Now maybe I can let it go and move on. Jerk.