Decision 2013

Up until now, treatment for this whole cancer thing has been direct. No getting out of chemo. Definitely surgery. But radiation caused screeching tires and emergency stops. There has been no clear answer whether I should do it or not. Today a group of national radiology/oncology experts looked at my case and voted YES for radiation despite no clear spread to lymph nodes, which typically green lights radiation. Our first thought was to keep calling around the country until we got enough NOs. “Ultimately, this is your decision,” my radiologist said. That’s the whole problem right there. It all comes down to Did I do enough to stay around for my kids? The study behind the YES answer comes from a group of 300 women getting a 10% better chance of survival. Every time I hear a statistic, I think of “Four out of five dentists recommend….” What was the fifth guy doing? I can’t escape the feeling that if the snarky Weird Cancer triple-negative buffoon Guy comes back, I will never forgive myself for not doing every single thing I could. So, I’m sucking in another breath and moving forward. Radiation it is.


1- If I keep going to Good Sam hospital every day, maybe I can get a job there.

2- Now I can finally open that 2013 calendar that is still laminated.

3- The kids just busted through the door.

What fell away?

Yesterday, I wrote a whole blog about how our plans of being over Weird Cancer Guy fell away this week. Nothing but the headline showed up, making it seem a lot more dramatic than it was. We were ecstatic thinking we were done with Weird Cancer Guy. But then, I found out I need to have six weeks of radiation, meaning 15 minutes every day for six weeks. Add that to breast reconstruction and the summer is toast. We’ve never lied to our kids. We told them the truth. Steven sobbed: “I am never going to get to be a kid again;” Liv didn’t react. They were really looking forward to Camp Mom with hikes, swimming, day trips and anything fun I can come up with. Brian was really looking forward to not having to shoulder everything. But I have no idea whether radiation will pummel me or not. I could opt to not do radiation. But with two kids, an amazing husband and an army of friends, I have to do everything I can to beat this. I still have thank you notes to write. Later, Livvie said: “I think we’re supposed to learn something from this, Mom.” Like what? I said. “I don’t know yet.”


1- Got to hang out with Chris, Lisa and her mom while the girls played in a giant blow-up pool. They made me feel much better about going ahead with radiation and not looking back. Thanks so much for listening, guys.

2- We started putting the house back together after letting so many things go. We almost have a dining room table again.

3- At the end of the day, I guess cancer is never truly “over.” Chemo was 95% effective at killing Weird Cancer Guy, but there is no 100%. So I’ll have to find 100% in other places. Like my acupuncturist Tracy Andersen said, there’s a whole lot more positive about our situation than negative.

Anywhere but in my body

Today, I had a choice: surrender or fight. I’m too exhausted to fight. I was upright a lot yesterday doing laundry, which probably killed my fight today. I’ve got all the usual suspects on my last nerves – sick stomach, hot-cold flashes, unquenchable thirst and a scalp that randomly erupts like a sprinkler. In an attempt to forget about all that, I have become completely obsessed with the Big Island of Hawaii. The hues, volcanoes, turtles, mangoes. I’ve been looking at photo after photo just wishing I could teleport all of us there. Livvie’s into it, too. She sees herself on the beach doing a whole lot of nothing. I don’t have a lot of jokes right now; but during my virtual Hawaiian adventure, I did find these weird-rad places to stay on airbnb I thought would crack you guys up. Have a look:


1- Called my friend Dorothy in Georgia. She’s 90 years old and I hated to hear her cry when I told her why I’ve disappeared. She’s like a mom to me, so I soaked in her words of how she knows I’ll be okay. 

2- Steven covered me with a blanket before he left for school. He’s been right with me every step. Livvie cried a little and hugged me last night. She’s right there too. 

3- Brian is grappling with where this all leads. Neither one of us knows. But we’re taking solace in the fact that we’ve all never been closer as a family.