Summer Blogging Challenge!
Summer blogging challenge accepted fellow blogger, Nancy! I have had a whirlwind week but after reading three responses from fellow bloggers, you, Rebecca Hogue, and Britt Lee, how could I not chime in?
I have another fellow breast cancer and breast reconstruction pal coming to visit this weekend so my answers are going to be short and well…. hopefully sweet!
- Share anything you want about your cancer diagnosis (or your loved one’s). Share your age, cancer type, stage, when you were diagnosed, family history (if any), your reaction, how you learned the news, or whatever you’re comfortable sharing.
Diagnosis #1: 2002 included two lumpectomies; 18 weeks of chemotherapy including the “red devil” that landed my Irish ass in the hospital with low blood counts; 6 weeks of daily radiation; 5 years of Tamoxifen Early stage; No family history… yep, I’m the designated family poster child…. That’ll do it for Dx #1
Diagnosis #2: Damn! Both sides this time. Off come “the girls”; double mastectomy in May 2014; no lymph node involvement so no radiation; Onco score in the low-end of the “high-risk” zone & chemo was recommended. No, and HELL NO! Had it before and here I was again. Screw you chemo and I’m still here 3 years later and dancing every time a song comes on with a clean bill of health, living a healthy life style, and oh, did I mention dancing?
- What is the most outrageous thing someone has said to you about your (or your loved one’s) cancer?
I kid you not, this actually happened in Texas during my first treatment. Not only was it culturally insensitive to my Arabic friends but shockingly insulting to say it in front of my son. We were on an elevator headed to treatment. I had a blue turban around my head to disguise my baldness from chemo. I was ashen gray…. Ashen gray, OK? Are you getting this visual? A man stepped into the elevator we were on and said to me in a strong Texas drawl, “Hey there! Are you AAAAA-rab?” I’m Irish for God’s sake and bald from chemo! I was so shocked I stood there as gob smacked as my son over the comment. Later, as we were walking down the hall to treatment my son looked at me and said, “Mom, you should have pulled your turban off and said, No! But I am on chemo, asshole!” #NuffSaid!
- What is your biggest cancer pet peeve? I know it’s hard to choose, as there are many to pick from, right? But what irks you the most?
I suppose dwelling on the negative. Cancer is a downer all the way around and I personally try to stay above the negativity by surrounding myself with positive people. Even on my private Facebook group I put that we will be a positive community front and center on the site.
- What is something you want others to know specifically about breast cancer?
From a 2X survivor: Keep moving, keep going, and keep busy! If cancer doesn’t take you down, something else will. We’re all here for a short time and it’s best to make a difference in small ways and big, while you’re still around.
- If applicable, do you worry about recurrence rarely, from time to time or a lot? What is your biggest worry today, right now, this minute?
I worry about recurrence since I’ve had it twice. Who wouldn’t? Do let it rule the day? Absolutely NOT! My biggest worry today, right now, this minute? Finishing this blog so I can get the rest of my “to do list” done. Seriously, Nancy, thanks for the challenge and I’m glad I took it on.
- Do you feel cancer has made you a better person? Yes, I know this a loaded question. If you do, specifically in what way?
It made me a different person. More than anything, I want to leave my two sons, and grandchildren with a legacy that inspires them to make a difference in their lives and the lives of others. It is to honor them.
- What is your favorite cancer book? (No, I’m not fishing for mentions of mine!)
Oh my, I’m afraid I don’t have an answer for that one as I never seem to get through to the end of one book!
- Besides your family, where do you turn for emotional support?
My tweep peeps, my fellow breast cancer “breast friends”, my fun neighborhood gals who play dominoes, life-long friends who like to sit long, talk much, and share a good plate of food and glass of wine.
- How many cancer blogs do you read and why do you read them?
Holy moly! I can’t count them all. I do have to give a shout out to my friend, Rebecca Hogue. When I opened my WordPress blog and latched on to her Facebook group, Cancer blog mentors, she was a calming, guiding voice when I was in the frantic stages of learning all there was about blogging. There are some amazing cancer bloggers out there so KUDOS to all of you. You know who you are!!
- Do you call yourself an advocate? If so, what drives you?
1,000% YES!! What started with a blog, DiepCJourney.com, morphed into opening a non-profit foundation, DiepCFoundation.org after going through an amazingly successful DIEP flap breast reconstruction. I advocate for all options of breast reconstruction after mastectomy due to breast cancer or a gene mutation. I don’t ever tell anyone to have breast reconstruction because it is a personal choice. But, without the resources and support, they cannot make an informed decision. Who inspired me to open the Foundation? My oldest son, Rich, and my amazingly skilled and compassionate plastic/microsurgeon, Dr. Minas Chrysopoulo. I actually found out he can dance! That’s really the only reason I chose him to do my breast reconstruction. LoL! Just kidding, Dr. C! All the wonderful lives you have changed support your reputation! But, you do a damn good pre-surgical dance, too!