Story 4

November 2013
Week 6, Radiation Therapy
Hi everyone…
Report from your favorite crispy cancer patient. Week 6 has started and I am definitely getting charred; today Dr. Halberg gave me a day off before the next 2 to 3 weeks of treatment begin. (I’ll spare you the details but suffice to say my chest is violet red and looks like I’ve sat on the Equator topless for one or two months.) My armpit is blistered so all in all it’s just another day in the cancer-killing business.
Last week I hit a radiation treatment number (called grays, or Gy) that ensures that cancer cells are dying (woo hoo) and now the dose begins to increase. I am tired, off and on, with numbing in my left fingers and just trying to keep on, keep on. This will be my last update until I get some good painkillers going (or unless I con someone into typing for me). Reconstruction is now put off until January 2015—my skin needs more time to heal—so the new ta ta’s will have to wait. My next scan is in December and I hope seeing an actual scan will calm me into believing that there is nothing else left roaming around in there.
Luckily the pain didn’t set in until a few days ago and we had our getaway over Halloween weekend. We built sandcastles, watched seals swim by, saw the brilliant sunrise and sunset, ran barefoot in the tidepools, and I got to ride my friend Amy’s horse! I rode around the ring and my body knew what to do and I couldn’t believe I was back to an old part of me. Penelope rode Amy’s pony and I couldn’t stop smiling; it was like a dream. My riding life is hold for now but at least I know I can get back to it one day when my skin and arm muscles recover. (Thank you Amy and Olivia!!)
I have some new additions to my cancer soundtrack: “A Thousand Beautiful Things” by Annie Lennox and “Roar” by Katy Perry, and my old favorite “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You) by Kelly Clarkson. I seem to want to frighten cancer cells away with pop-anthem songs…
Most disturbing moment in the past month: watching a woman smoke as she drove into the cancer center. I literally can’t stand to watch people throw away their lives. It makes me insane. The word “precious” has taken on a new meaning.
The kids are amusing and wonderful and frustrating all at once and adjusting to the newest schedule. Roman chats constantly and says, “Mama go to doctor” and pats my “boo boo” whenever I leave him for treatment. Penelope is back to her old self; she saw me changing the other day and asked me, “When are your boobies going to grow back?” And I was so taken aback I answered, “Next year.” And she said, “Ok, next year,” completely matter-of-fact. She is such an old soul. I hate not being with them every minute, especially when I feel crappy, but I’m praying this is just banking time for the new year. And it does make me aware of every single second I am with them; my focus is crystal clear.
My diagnosis date is approaching and it seems impossible that it was a year ago.
I keep hearing about more and more women getting diagnosed and it just never seems to stop. I email and talk to a few fellow patients and I feel like I’m helping a little bit but next year I want to really help fight the fight.
Send me your happy news when you can—I love to hear about everyone’s lives and I am never on Facebook so send me YOUR updates!
Ending with these lyrics that I had read before but I’ve been thinking about lately:
Ring the bells that still can ring.
Forget your perfect offering.
There is a crack, a crack in everything,
That’s how the light gets in.
– Leonard Cohen, “Anthem”
Much love and good health to you and with much gratitude,

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