What do I have in common with Angelina Jolie (besides oversized lips that are apparent even in our baby photos)?
We’re both moms.
We both discovered through DNA testing that we carry the BRCA1 genetic mutation.
We were both told we have an 87 percent chance of contracting breast cancer in our respective lifetimes.
We both opted for a prophylactic bilateral mastectomy to dramatically reduce our risks.
And we have both been criticized for our decisions. Read more
A year ago I had never even heard of National Cancer Survivor’s Day, a celebration of life held around the world. This year, however, it’s an incredibly important day for me.
What a difference a year makes. Read more
I’ve noticed something in the year and a half since my diagnosis with Stage IIIC cancer. People treat me differently. And I don’t just mean the way people reacted when they first learned I had cancer or saw my tell-tale bald head (a phenomenon I call ”Cancer Face“). I mean the way those in my inner and outer circles still behave around me, even a year out of treatment.
There’s apparently a certain grace extended to those who were nearly lost that other, “luckier,” ones don’t receive. I guess almost dying and having an unknown prognosis gives you some sort of pass. Not that I receive perks or free stuff. I’m talking about gentleness of attitude, and mercy. Read more
Anyone who knows me knows I’m not shy about talking about much of anything, especially sex. Although I’m happily married and in a monogamous relationship (in which I plan to stay for the rest of my days), I’ve been in relationships with both men and women and had my share of experiences during my 45 years. I’m an open-minded, sexual being.
In addition, I’ve worked for more than 22 years in family law. There’s not much of anything I haven’t heard when it comes to sex, and I’m rarely ever shocked. I’m the friend to whom you can talk about sexual positions, weird infections, unique fetishes and favorite toys. I have lots of great stories to tell (mostly about myself). I listen without judgment and can find the humor in pretty much anything.
So why, then, has it been so difficult for me to talk about sex as it relates to cancer? Read more
After I fell in love my now husband, I started experiencing an uncomfortable feeling: a low-level feeling of dread that something bad was going to happen that would take him away from me. I’d never really felt anything like it before.
Actually, that’s not true. I had felt something like it before, but not for a very long time. Read more
I recently learned that I have the BRCA-1 genetic mutation. I made the subsequent decision to have my healthy breasts removed in hopes of preventing me from getting breast cancer. It seems that I have an 87% chance of contracting this form of cancer in my lifetime. If that were to happen, it would mean a second “event” of the disease showing up in my body (the first being the widespread gynecologic cancer with which I was diagnosed December before last).
Yeah, I’d rather that not happen. Read more
So I’ve had my port-o-cath for a little over a year now. It’s literally a part of me. This little medical devise was implanted under my skin last spring to enable my medical team to obtain easier access to my veins for purposes of administering chemotherapy. The catheter connects the port to a large vein in my neck. And under the skin, the port has a bubble through which drugs can be injected and blood samples can be drawn with less discomfort than repeated needle sticks. That’s the purpose of getting a port; and by and large, this was true in my case. The port saved me (and my poor infusion nurses) a lot of angst. But oh how I fought getting it. Read more
I don’t know what it feels like to have a child and not have the dark cloud of cancer hanging over my head. I was diagnosed with Stage 3C widespread gynecologic cancer when my daughter was just five days old. So, despite my best efforts to live each day in the moment, there’s almost always this niggling little voice in the back of my head reminding me, “you might not be here when that happens.”
I’ve tried to document things much more than I might have otherwise. That’s frankly one of the main reasons I did the CafeMom Studios documentary series, “It’s Cancer, Baby.” It’s also part of the reason I blog and write. I want my daughter to know me, even if I’m not around. And I don’t just want her to know about me. I want her to know about her as well, and how she was as a little girl. I love hearing my parents tell stories of how I was as a child. (Don’t we all?) So I decided to start writing periodic letters to my daughter at particular times in her life. Here’s the first one … Read more
I’ve always been a late bloomer. I sucked my thumb until age five. I played with Barbie dolls until junior high (which, in case you don’t know, is way longer than most girls). I was one of the last of my friends to get her period. In fact, I lied for more than a year about having gotten it, I was so embarrassed. I was out of high school before I got boobs.
I didn’t have a boyfriend until I was a senior, and was pretty sexually inexperienced going into college (I made up for it later). And speaking of college, I left after the first semester of my freshman year because I was homesick. Homesick. I later went back, but opted to go part-time while working and living at home.
I was a mama’s girl for sure. Read more
I often tell myself stories, and not the good kind. Stories with unhappy endings. Negative fantasies.
Do you do that too?
George Washington said, “Worry is the interest paid by those who borrow trouble.” And I am so often guilty of that, borrowing trouble. I have burned a lot of energy in my lifetime, worrying and losing sleep over things that never came to pass. And I’ve paid a lot of interest as a consequence. Read more