My Little Bs Have the Big C

A Breast Cancer Blog For Young Women


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3 Years Later

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One thing about getting older that baffles me is how fast time goes.  People tell me this all the time, especially with a young child.  “Enjoy it. He’ll be a teenager before you know it.” “It all happens so fast, enjoy every moment.” And it’s true. Suddenly I have a little boy going into Kindergarten when, just yesterday, he was speaking his first words.  The same can be said for cancer.

On August 1, it will be three years since my breast cancer diagnosis. Three years!!!!  It seems like it was yesterday and thirteen years ago at the same time.  Does that make sense?

I remember that the whole year that I was dealing with cancer was the slowest year of my life.  Other people would tell me how time flew by. Oh, no! Time dragged on much in the same way I imagine time slowing when one is imprisoned.  I was imprisoned by my illness and time would not let me forget it. But as life started getting back to…well, not normal, but just getting back…time began to speed up again.

And here I am.  Three years later.

A lot has changed. Nothing has changed. I still think about cancer every day but I don’t cry every day anymore. Breast cancer is still the thing that defines me, third only to being a mother and artist. It’s a huge part of my identity now, for better or for worse.

I still fear recurrence. The fear is not paralyzing like it used to be but every ache, pain, digestive issue, gas pain, skin blemish, nose bleed…I think it’s back. That hasn’t changed.

I’ve also found that even though I still think about cancer on a regular basis, I’ve had to try to distance myself a bit. I’m sure you’ve noticed I haven’t written much here lately.  And I’ve been reading fewer blogs (sorry to all of those I read regularly and love and respect so much) as well. I’ve found that dealing with cancer in my mind on a daily basis as well as reading and researching constantly was stunting my mental healing.  I’ve had to take a step back, at least for now.

I’m also aware that I’m only two years away from that magical “5 year” mark, feeling that these next two years are crucial.  Being so high risk, I feel like the next two years are a wait and see.

But I’m trying to take control. I’m exercising 4-5 days a week and I’m getting stronger (although the weight is very slow to come off). I’m also trying to eat better. Not perfectly but better. I’m trying to do things I enjoy, like take a Spanish class and go to museums and the theatre more.  Every day is still hard, but I’m trying.

I remember the day I was diagnosed.  I longed for it to be a year later, two, three…  I needed time to pass.  And it has.  Time is passing so quickly.

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Bits of Happiness #25

I don’t think I’ve told anyone, but I’m going to be a warrior!!!!!!  I am teaming up with an amazing organization, Hidden Warriors, to tap into my inner goddess and become a warrior for a day.

Hidden Warriors mission is, “We are committed to increasing self-esteem in and empowering women who have been affected by cancer. Together, we create an experiential and transformative adventure which tap into the Hidden Warriors they already are. The Warrior Makeover Workshop model is achieving this goal!”

I will be spending the day with volunteer makeup artists, costume designers, occupational therapists, yoga instructors, photographers and other amazing cancer survivors.  I absolutely can’t wait.

Yesterday, I stopped by the studio of the mad who makes the head gear.  Darrell is a seriously talented artist and it was so hard to choose which head piece I was going to wear but after trying on a bunch, this one is the one that felt right to me.  What do you think?  Isn’t it amazing?

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I’ll be transforming on April 3rd.  I’m not sure when I’ll get the photos but I can’t wait to show them to you.  In the meantime, here are some past photos they have done.  What do you think?

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A Quick Update

I think some of you might have warned me that the first week after getting the DIEP Flap would be hard.  You are the tellers of truth.  Holy Shit!  This pain is real.  The tightness, the discomfort.  THE DRAINS!!!!!!!  The first day post-op was really the worst.  I didn’t think I was going to make it through.  But each day is getting better.  I do at least 3 laps around the apartment every few hours, which is good but mostly, I sleep.  I sleep a lot.  I get pretty loopy from the drugs but I’m already weaning off the oxyocdon, which I only take at night to help me sleep.  I take valium twice a day because, why not?  But that seriously knocks me out.

I guess, all in all, I’m doing as well or even better than expected.  That doesn’t feel like much right now.  I’ll update you all on the full story of my reconstruction experience shortly.  As soon as I can keep my eyes open for more than ten minutes.

This is the last step, right?


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Fingers and Toes Crossed

I don’t want to jinx it.  The last time I said I was on the mend, I was in the hospital the next day.  So I’m not going to say that I’m better or on the mend.  I’m not going to say that I’m feeling good and as close to normal as I’ve felt in a really long time.  I’m not going to say that I have a good amount of energy and am able to work with confidence.  I will not say any of those things.  I’m not going to say that because I know that my hemoglobin is beginning to dip again (I made a huge lentil soup that I’ve been chowing down on to bring my iron levels up) and my white blood cells are holding steady because I’ve been injecting MYSELF with Neupogen three times a week.  It’s a delicate balance in my little body.

But here is what I will say.  For the first time since I’ve been diagnosed, I worked out.  I don’t know what came over me but I turned to Ken last night and said, “I think I want to do a workout video.  I don’t want to push myself too hard but I want to move.”  So once we put Oliver to bed, Ken had already moved the coffee table out of the way and set up the video.  For the next 20 minutes I did Gillian Michael’s 30 Day Shred. 

I’m proud to say I completed the video.  It was challenging, for sure.  I can’t get as much oxygen as normal but I only had to pause for very short periods to catch my breath.  It’s also obvious that I haven’t worked out in a long time because I didn’t have as much endurance with the strength exercises.  But it’s a start.  I’m very proud of myself.  But I won’t say that out loud.  I don’t want the universe to know.  I don’t want to jinx it.

Post workout glow.

Post workout glow.