Monday, December 31, 2012


(Copyright © 2012 The Big C and Me)
This marks the 82nd blog post I've written in 2012 (that's twice as many as I wrote in 2011). It's been a good and busy year, and while I have no idea what's in store for me in 2013, I can promise you this: I'll be writing about it. The good, the bad, the uncomfortable and, you betcha: The downright ugly.

This past year has made me reflect a great deal on breast cancer as a whole, and the many ways it taints the many lives it touches. Not just the patient, but ...

Friday, December 21, 2012


It's been a week since my last blog post, the one in which I answered the question of whether or not I think cancer is a gift.

Cancer is still not a gift.

A number of people commented on that blog post, including Ann, who blogs over at the incredible But Doctor... I Hate Pink — and for whom metastasis to her liver means she will never recover. She writes, "If breast cancer is a gift, I'm not exactly crazy about the wrapping paper. My 'gift' looks like a two year old wrapped it, then sat on it." Ann is funny that way. No matter what she is writing about, her pervasive humor seeps into every nook and cranny — every comma, every letter, every word.

But Ann also knows when to get serious, and does so in the rest of her reply...

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


My blogging friend Nancy over at the always-insightful Nancy's Point is revisiting the ever-present query of whether or not cancer is a gift. That got me thinking. Is cancer a gift? 

My Big Fat Cancer Adventure began two years ago, when I really did get
Cancer for Christmas. But I'm not seeing that shimmer (or is it glimmer?) of warm and fuzzy light at the end of the proverbial cancer tunnel. Every time I round a bend on The Big C Highway, there's a new roadblock in my way, another hurdle to climb over, another hoop to jump through. It is never ending and, as the great Gilda Radner's Roseanne Roseannadanna character famously quipped, "It's always something."

But back to the concept of cancer being a "gift." Is cancer an opportunity to live your life differently? Yup. But don't we all have that option, every single day? (Yup.)

Is cancer a wakeup call? Yup. Like stepping into the path of an express train could be considered an eye-opening event, cancer stops us smack in our tracks. Many of us live to tell the tale; many of us do not. All of us are maimed. But am I thankful for the train that is trying to run me over? Nope.

Let's try a different analogy: Does the deer being hunted in the forest think the rifle is a gift? Nope.
(Copyright © CamoGirl_18)

I'm here to tell you that getting diagnosed with cancer is akin to having crosshairs tattooed on your back. You will forever be a target of The Big C. And like the deer, you will try very, very hard to outrun this enemy. You'll attack it with your arsenal of surgery and chemicals and radiation and years of hormone-surpressing pills. You'll fill an emotional moat with your tears. You'll find out all too quickly who your real friends are — and you will take this realization like a bullet to the heart. You'll need a nap every day and be unable to fend off your fears in the darkness of night. You'll experience "scanxiety" any time you have to take any kind of medical test. You'll develop PTSD whenever you walk into a doctor's office (especially at a cancer center) or when you notice a new ache or pain. Of course you'll become an expert on nutrition and additives and the many, many things that are harmful in our environment and you'll try to live a cleaner life. (Good luck with that.) You'll exercise less and eat more. (And then you will exercise more and eat less.) You'll pine for the days when you could remember details quickly, concentrate easily, and be motivated in general. You'll curse the necessity of being your own health advocate 24/7, and appreciate your hands-on WedMD degree. You'll wonder how the hell you ever had time to do anything besides go to the doctor and monitor your own health.

Because in the end, it all comes down to this: Cancer is hiding like a hunter in a blind deep within the woods, holding a loaded rifle with its sights set on you and me. 

And that ain't no gift.

Friday, December 7, 2012


Some things never change.

A year ago, I was dreading my first "cancerversary" and so relieved to find my feelings surrounding the date did not reach epic proportion (as I feared they would).

It's now been two years since I got "the call." And I've spent even less time thinking about my "cancerversary" this year than I did last year. Turns out December 8th — the day after the day that will live in infamy — still holds no charge for me. 
Yes, it's been two years since I learned I had cancer. But it's also been five years since I lost my father to mesothelioma, the asbestos cancer he likely acquired while serving in the U.S. Navy during WWII. Rather than rewrite history, I'll save a few minutes (OK, hours) and repost what I typed in this space one year ago. 

Instead of spending time blogging, I'll be spending the day with my mom, doing Christmasy type things, like decorating the tree. (Well, I'll be decorating the tree. She'll watch. So will my husband. Some things never change — and for that I am grateful.)

Here's my post from December 8th, 2011...