Friday, August 31, 2012


Twice a year, my dear pal P. and I celebrate our birthdays by taking each other to our favorite spa.

Yesterday was my turn to be pampered, and we got in plenty of quality GTL (Gym, Tan, Lunch) time. The kicker, for me, was the quote that was printed on the front of our lunch menu. It so aptly describes the process of getting through a cancer diagnosis. 

Don't cha think?

Thanks to P. for another awesome birthday celebration. It made the ordinary, well, extraordinary!

(This post is part of JBBC's Celebrating the Ordinary Challenge.)

Thursday, August 30, 2012


I am enjoying one of summer's simple pleasures: A perfectly round, perfectly ripe, perfectly delicious, perfectly delightful tomato.

Much like a mate, finding a good-looking tomato is easy; finding one with substance that's also nice and sweet? Now that's another matter entirely.

Until now.

(Copyright © 2012 The Big C and Me)
For lo, I have discovered the lovely Kumato®— a super-sweet and small (just an inch and a half in diameter) tomato that is brownish-green on the outside and reddish-green on the inside. Yes, quite unusual but OH so delicious! I buy them by the 6-pack at Trader Joe's for the very reasonable sum of $3.49. They're imported (thank you, Canada!) and their flavor can't be beat. They don't even need to ripen. Just pop 'um in the 'frig. They are consistently yummy, I swear. 

And no, this is not a paid announcement. Just sharing a little culinary secret with my besties!

PS Hats off to the JBBC challenge — for were it not for Marie, I would never have given the Kumato its due!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


(Copyright © 2012 The Big C and Me)
Ordinarily, I try to spend a few afternoons a week each summer swimming in the pool. I use my noodle and do a variety of contortionist water aerobics moves. I am quite the sight. (So much so, one of our dogs insists on keeping watch over me whenever I'm in the water.)

With my surgery fast approaching, however, my days in the deep end are dwindling. And I'm oh-so-weary of the hot waters of reconstruction anyway. I'm jonseing for a calm, cool, uncomplicated end-of-summer slide into fall.

So I guess if I want to cool my jets, I'd better get splash splashing before Wednesday.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012


It is Day 3 of Marie's Challenge.

I haven't been hiking in several weeks because it's just been too damn hot. But this morning, I brave the sun and head out early — with an umbrella. (Something I have never done before.) A biker passes me and asks if I am expecting rain, which is pretty funny since I live in a desert-like climate and we won't see rain in these parts for several more months. (Certainly not like the rain Isaac is about to usher in to the Southeast U.S.). I simply reply that I am ever hopeful.

(Copyright © 2012 The Big C and Me)
Just as I am ever hopeful about seeing flora and wildlife when I go hiking. And today I was not disappointed. I came upon a few sunflowers — the last vestiges of summer in an otherwise stark and arid landscape. I move in closer for a better shot, and am surprised (just as I was yesterday) by the tiny creature I find ... this one hard at work (dare I say it?) busy as a little bee.

I continue hiking for another 20 minutes, then turn around. (Too hot.) As I round one of the final bends, BAM! There they are: A family of deer crossing the trail directly in front of me. (I love when this happens and have written about this before here, but they are always such a treat to see!) I count six of them as they make their way gingerly down the steep hill, across the dusty trail and down into the forested gully. My little camera doesn't zoom so well, but you can make out four of them before they disappear into the thick, dry brush:

(Copyright © 2012 The Big C and Me)
At the top of the ridge, I take a moment to look out over the landscape of this place that I know and love (and have written about before). Next week, I head into my sixth (count 'um, 6!) surgery, the one I have been looking forward to since this breast cancer journey began, the prize at the end of the struggle. Though my path hit several snags (whose hasn't?) and my surgery was shelved for a year while my body took its time healing, the day is finally arriving. A full 19 months and two days after my bilateral mastectomy, I will have my tissue expanders finally removed and exchanged for implants. My left expander has been in since February 2011; my right since December 2011. That is a long time in the life of a tissue expander.

(Copyright © 2012 The Big C and Me)
The loss of freedom is indescribable, so hell yeah, I can't wait to experience the "feeling" of having implants. And getting a semblance of my former self back. Though my chest will forever be a "no feeling" zone, at least I can rid myself of the unpleasant sensation of carrying around bricks. (And you ladies who have been through this know what I am talking about.) The sensation is akin to wearing a very tight bra that is holding, well, bricks, that you can never take off. Ever.

For now, I take my hike and drink in the view so that I have a pretty mental picture in my head before my friendly anesthesiologist sends me off to slumberland next week.

This is me this morning, all Mary Poppins-like.

Just another ordinary day.

Monday, August 27, 2012


Nothing is ever quite as it seems.

(copyright 2012 TheBigCandMe)
I went outside this afternoon to take a photo of our Crepe Myrtle tree (I'm taking part in a one-week blogging challenge that was started by Marie over at Journeying Beyond Breast Cancer). The abundant blossoms don't last very long, and they are so pretty, so pink. They never fail to make me smile each summer.

So I got up under a tree branch and positioned my camera just so, in order to get a glimpse of the vibrant pink blooms against the bright blue sky.

Imagine my surprise when I saw this little face peering back at me from behind the lens.

Sometimes the obvious is right smack in front of us, but we can't see it because we're too busy looking for the pretty.

A perfect metaphor for life, don't you think?

Sunday, August 26, 2012


I'm taking part in a one-week blogging challenge that was started by Marie over at Journeying Beyond Breast Cancer.

As Marie puts it, this challenge is "about celebrating the ordinary simple things we can sometimes take for granted each day. Will you join me in finding one thing each day to take a picture of to remind us of the simple ordinary pleasures in life?"

So of course I said YES! If you have a blog too, you can join in by posting your photo on your blog and then leaving a link at JBBC. If you don't have a blog, you can still participate; just go to Marie's Facebook page and upload your photo there. Marie will be posting everyone's photos on Facebook as well.

This little duck symbolizes the past two summers I've been physically and emotionally staying afloat while navigating the wonky waters of reconstruction. I've had to do a lot of wading (and waiting) while my body took the time it needed to heal. For the most part, I've been able to chill out with a smile; after all, I'm still here. Still swimming. Still enjoying the sunshine. So many others are not. 

I am a lucky duck.

Friday, August 24, 2012


Forgive my posting another saying, but I couldn't resist... it's a good one. (PS: I'm currently working on a piece about anger, so stay tuned!)

Monday, August 13, 2012


I'm willing to bet this statement is true 100 percent of the time when it comes to cancer. 

Is it true for you?