My mastectomy is 2 years old

Someone did not find me amusing, guess who it was?

It has been two years since the wheeled me away. I am not one to have a celebration of any kind when these dates come up I find them too intense.  They hit you in the face like WWF smack down. Sometimes you see them coming and try to prepare other times they come at you with no warning. I obviously remember very clear that my mastectomy was in July but with kids home (I friggin can not wait for September) I lost track of the date. Until I downloaded this stupid "Timehop" app all the cool kids are doing. And it gave me a friendly reminder that it has bee 2 years since the amputation of my breasts. What a concept, to remove ones breasts? I mean come on say what you want it is hard to say good bye to them. They are part of a women on so many aspects, we literally grew up with them. And now because some screwed up cells are being stupid and dumb they have to come off. It seems cut and dry but you must not forget that breasts are hormone producers removing them messes with our hormones. Crap no one told me that. Its almost like PMSing for 2 years , blahahahaahah not funny!

I wish I could remember this more, I was so drugged up!

I wish I could remember this more, I was so drugged up!

Harsh sounding I am sure some of you reading may think, but we have debated this topic on many sites and there has been plenty of blogs written about it as well. There is truth in the reality that your breasts are amputated off. There is truth in the reality that it is a death of sorts the loss of your breasts is real. See the truth is not just in all the obvious physical changes but the emotional havoc that your wonderful doctors do not prepare you for. Maybe they have no clue about it. They should wake the hell up and warn people. It has been two years and I have come a long way but the date like any anniversary whether we want it to or not conjures all those damn emotions. And let me state there are a TON of dates to remember.

Some of us cry tears that will not, can not, won't stop the weeks even hours before surgery because of the loss. Some take to singing and dancing trying their best to embrace this amputation because the reality is you have no other choice. I choose the "no crying" rule, to wear attitude shoes to remind me to stand tall with strength. Even though I was scared I was brave because that meant doing what needed to be done regardless of the fear.  There is no right or wrong way in my opinion there is only your way.

I hate when people ask "what  would you have done different?". Frankly my answer is I wouldn't have gotten cancer! I hated beening shoved into a mastectomy, a lumpectomy or whatever you choose. That part is what pisses me off. I do not do well with being told what to do especially by cancer the fucker! I hate the chooses we are forced to make. I had no choice but to have a mastectomy and drains and all the shit that happened after. But that day was surreal more than any other. The nurses kept saying "your having a breast augmentation" while it was funny the first 5 times it pissed me off after that. I didn't want to have this but shit if I was I was going to laugh while doing it. I blogged to keep everyone updated plus Stupid Dumb Breast Cancer was growing and because it was and is my therapy.

I look at the images that Genevieve said "hey how about if I take pictures" and am still blown away. Mostly because I can't remember them, not just from the drugs and the pain but it was an out of body experience. I know those images have helped me heal but I also know how they have helped others. Seeing someone actually go through this process makes you realize that you can do it no matter how shitty it will be that in the end some how you will be ok. Not to mention she can make a mastectomy look beautiful. No really that sounds weird but I think the reality to my images is that she captures the raw, truth in a beautiful way. Gen has seen breast cancer in a way that none of my friends have and I will never be able to thank her enough for helping me heal this way.  I do not think she understands fully the impact of these images on the masses, I hope someday she understands just what these pictures that we had no idea what the hell we were going to do with have done for so many.

So, here I am two years later and still in the thick of it. Next surgery September 12, it really is never over. I remember in my first blog post and in talking to friends the naïve me said "I just want this mastectomy so I can be done with it" what I joke! I had no clue that between the doctors, the PT, the scans, the blood work, lymphedema and all the other crap it is a life long commitment. I get that there are other health issues that people suffer from and I know they can relate to a lot of what I blog about but those with health stuff that they can change with diet and exercise make me nuts. Like crazy nuts!! I was violently thrown into this life and the past 2 years have taught me a rough lesson, one I am still learning from.  I am becoming a professional surgery princess, is there a crown for that?

While I will not be celebrating my mastectomy date today I will be around my loud crazy family for Sunday dinner. Jokes will be cracked, comments made and wise ass remarks all over spaghetti and chicken parm all with a little sadness in the back of our minds. Cancer effects the whole family and they all felt it. That day 2 years ago I laid on a gurney, was wheeled down the hall in stilettos while they sat and worried I got the easy part for a few hours. They were scared and even came out changed a little too I think.  But they were right there when I awoke from recovery, hey someone has to clap as the princess goes by!  


Blog around the world

You know when you get a chain letter in the mail and you think "so dumb" and in the garbage it goes (ok maybe email cause it is 2014). Then the next day you trip and break your big toe, drop a gallon of milk and it spills everywhere and your dog pukes on your favorite flip flops and you think damn I should have forward that letter. Sometimes as a blogger, yes I am a blogger, you get asked to do a chain blog and instead of worrying about all the bad things that could happen you agree to it. Last year I did the 30 days of blogging with WEGO Health and to be honest it was so stressful I wanted to cry. The pressure was too much to take but in the end I read some great blogs and went outside my little blogging comfort zone and did it.

My girlfriend Joanna emailed me about a Writing Process Blog Tour at first I will not lie I groaned for many reasons don't worry I am going to tell you why. First Jo is an incredible real writer, I am just a soccer mom with stupid dumb breast who swears A LOT in my blog. Second, I felt mild pressure to actually do it because I was honored she asked me. Third, I was scared that she wasn't going to like it. All completely dumb because Jo has always been there for me. She and I met via this world wide web. I wish I could rewind my cancer brain and remember if it was twitter or Facebook or our blogs but we became friends. Yes, we are real cyber friends we worry about each other and check in on one another. See we both have cancer and that connects us and binds us in a way that can not be explained unless you are in this unique circle of sisterhood. "Cancer Connection" we have dubbed it.  One day- which seems like years Jo asked if she could use one of my images for a mastectomy post she was doing about amputation. I agreed, it was an amazing post because after all our breasts are amputated right? Joanna Montgomery's post about amputating body parts to stay alive sparked a lot of controversy on my FB page, I was honored to be a part of an important discussion.  It was honest like her writing always is, it brought forth real discussion about things we were all thinking and it opened up a window into our thoughts for those who do not have cancer. Joanna has a way of doing that, I am so honored to be her friend.

So anyways, that is how I got here. Now my job in this "tour" is to answer some questions and introduce the three bloggers I have asked to do this with me. That was the hardest part, who do I choose. I asked a few and some said no (I hate them now-JUST KIDDING). Which I respect this is a lot to ask. But three said yes! And I am proud and honored to be in their company. I want to introduce them first then answer my questions, they need highlighting and I haven't thought about the answers yet. So here they are in no order, drum roll please....

1. Chris Dean she blogs on http://www.pixiecd.com/ and has absolutely nothing to do with cancer. I connected with Chris on one of the many social media outlets, on one of our insomnia nights, may even have been during the WEGO blogging time. She suffers from being a middle age women with children, a husband and way too many pets with a dash of mental health issues but shit don't we all?? I love her swearing, Star Wars, coffee drinking, chin hair, panic attack butt. She makes me laugh, cry and I can relate to her posts. We have become friends in this blogging community and for that I am grateful. I respect her writing and am always humbled when she reads and tweets my blog. She is a real writer after all, or maybe she is pretending to be one I can not tell any more. I really believe she rocks, check her out!

2. Jennifer Lukowiak  http://www.thefashionistafights.com/ Part of my job at Cure Diva is to find fabulous bloggers for the page. I love it because I think everyone's story should be heard. On occasion I really connect with the blogger, I mean like we start emailing back and forth so much that I forget I am supposed to be working! That is Jenn. I love her smile, her humor, the way she writes but most of all her support. She really gets that the key to surviving breast cancer is through empowering other women hence her book. "Does This Outfit Make Me Look Bald?" a book for women to laugh, cry and feel like they are keeping their fashion on through this stupid dumb breast cancer. She is there with her wit, her sarcasm and her smart attitude to really help those going through this. I love that about her, but I love the friendship we have developed. I just love my job.

3. Emily Helck http://rtonj.blogspot.com/ You know what sucks about cancer I am introduced to girls that are too young to have this friggin disease. Trying to not swear cause Jo doesn't AHAHAH. I had the pleasure of doing a Huffington Live interview with the lovely Emily and Angelo Merendino who I had already been friends with for over a year but I loved getting to know Emily.  We were on discussing why we choose to document the cancer process. It was raw, real and the awareness I want and was doing which made me instantly connect to her. To see this young amazing women stand before me with her body and mind altered in a way that will change her forever yet to see her healing herself through the video and blogging was so empowering. I emailed her that day. She is amazing and I have full faith she will succeed and become something grand, I will be proud to stand by saying "I knew her when".

And now for my Q & A or maybe you are done reading I get that this is a long ass blog post and I am sure Tom will be back soon with the kids so I will try to wrap it up.

What are you working on? Besides mom business and maintaining life I have a thyroid check and neuro appointment this week. I an upcoming surgery (that post is coming). But I am VERY busy with Cure Diva. I am working hard at the Guardian program, getting bloggers, checking products, and many other tasks. I love it. It is actually my therapy. I feel better when I am helping others and getting that email of excitement when I we make them the Diva of the week or Blogger of the week is so worth it.  These are my friends and they need this! They need the encouraging words others leave, they need to release the blog post filled with their emotions and they need the support that the page offers. PSSSSSSSTTTTTT So do I:)

How does my work differ from others of its genre? First, let me say I never thought my blogging would amount to a damn thing. I did it so my loud crazy family would lay off a little-FYI that didn't work. I think why it took off and is different is because I am still me. My spelling sucks, I use horrible grammar, my punctuation is bad but my message is clear. I want women to see and feel that they are not alone. All those insane feelings are real, those sleepless nights, the aches and pains, that itch that won't stop, the anxiety, the anger/guilty/happiness,  are all the "new normal". I do this the only way I know how by being me and I think that is honest and real and people get that, well that and I have really cute shoes.

Why do I write what I do?  HAHAAH sometimes I wonder. My head is a scary place. Truly I feel like if I am feeling it then maybe if I get it out it will help. I suffer from depression and have found blogging to be very therapeutic. Just releasing the words help with the pain that you can not see. As a result others see that this does happen so they are not ashamed. Win win I say.

How does my writing process work? Having insomnia helps. I lay in bed and thoughts start swirling. Then someone will ask me something and BAM I think that goes with what I was just thinking at 3am. Once I start typing I get a mood and I start to ramble on sort of how I talk. Can be good, but I find that my point may get lost. This is were I had a little more writing skill but at the same time I am ok with my crazy writing. It is mine and it is working.

Ok I did it! PHEW. You know what is great about this? You learn a lot about other bloggers. The truth is when before cancer I joked about blogging. My BFF and I would laugh at it like it was a joke, this is no joke. Hard work, but in the end it is worth it. My question to you is did you make it to the end? AHHAAHAAA

 

Can I have a glass of wine? Where is my tiara??

 

 

Don't you get sick of talking about breast cancer?

The other day someone asked me if I get sick of talking about breast cancer and while she is just 14 I really have thought that was an intense question (she didn't mean it that way). I think people who do not have cancer or any lasting illness do not fully understand just how sick of it we are. Just cause you can't see what we are dealing with you expect us to be over this when our reality can not bring us away from it.  Yes, I do get sick of talking about breast cancer for sure. I get sick of dealing with it every frigging day!  I want to forget it ever happened to me but that can not happen for many reasons. I have tried very hard to remove my family and friends from my every day talkings of my cancer life sorry if it filters in but this is my reality now. They are probably reading this thinking BULLSHIT but really you have no idea how much more I want to say. This is what I wake up and deal with every single day, that is when I sleep. I think for them because I am not recovering in a hospital from a surgery or bald from chemo or dealing with burns from radiation they think "well she is all done". Such is not the case.

The scars are so painful it hurts me physically on a daily basis. That being said I now have Phase II of my DIEP coming up where my doctor will address this, he is going to literally cut the two scars off and make just one in hopes that will ease just a little of the pain and scaring of the keloid.  He will adjust the new foobs and help with the nice side fat I have from my tummy scar. I keloid on the side making a constant muffin top and I have fluid built up, nothing a little lipo cant help. FACT- I never asked for this cancer gave it to me. When I look in the mirror naked (which is rare I prefer the neck up) I see nothing but a breast cancer scared women. Yes I am sick of talking about breast cancer but how can I stop when this is what I see daily.

I can not sleep at night because my body is aching from my lymphedema and cording and numbness and weird pains in my breast  that were not there before. The tingling that is in my hands and feet that make them feel like they are asleep and hurt like pins and needles keep me from getting a good nights sleep. My joints ache and I can not get comfortable at all because of my chest being well in pain.  Yes I am sick of talking about breast cancer but how can I stop when I can not even get sleep because of it.

Doctor, doctor, doctor! See as much as I want to get cancer out of my life I have a doctor appointment every other month if not monthly. Then there is scans and blood work in addition to the doctor visits. While you know it will be ok (please breast gods let me get a pass) you just get sick to your stomach every single one. Enter scananiexty which builds really all week. You are poked and jabbed and scanned and felt up more than you ever thought possible. You sit and wait in doctor offices waiting to hear "no evidence of disease" and you breath a sigh of relief until the next time. Yes, I am sick of talking about breast cancer but my doctor appointments make it impossible to avoid.

I have made some of my best friends because of stupid dumb breast cancer. We have formed this bond that is unbreakable. We relay on each other to lift us up to lean on and to commiserate with. We watch as some have been taken away from this disgusting disease. We are then filled with grief mixed with guilt and heart break and a touch of relief that it wasn't us which just adds even more to our survivor guilt. I am completely sick of this cancer world but know that this is my bizarre world that I hate yet love but will not leave because my family is here and they know just how I feel. Yes, I am sick of talking about breast cancer but I will never leave them because I need their support as much as they need me.

Breast cancer never just ends it really does not. Each day does get a little better. We find ourselves as first the newly diagnosed trying to find our way through this and understand all the lingo and the grasp what the hell is about to happen. We start making connections and figure out which we fit into and who will help us the most. We then ease into the surgery and  treatment part where we need the guidance and tips of those who have been there. They help us more than our doctors (even though we do love our docs). We form more bonds and find ways to laugh at our nails falling off and drains hanging from our body because these amazing people have been there. Then we start to be the ones who really are just trying to adjust to the new normal, the ones living the post traumatic stress of the after math of cancer. The "WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK JUST HAPPENED?" because I am still processing the last two years!  Cancer puts you on a full force roller coaster and sends you off on a hell ride leaving you dazed and confused from it all. The after math isn't just about your body adjusting it is about your mind healing as well. The emotional scars do not seem to ever really go away or maybe I am still at the healing phase so the jury is still out on this part. Soon we become the veterans the ones who have been through it all and we want to help those in all stages of this roller coaster ride. Yes, I am sick of talking about breast cancer but shit my head is still on this ride!

So there you have it -sick of talking about it but will not, can not, and won't stop. I wonder if this will help those without cancer to understand why we can't stop. We want to but can't. Here is the thing. Those "cancer free" moments-you know when you are out to dinner with you friends, on a walk, sitting and just relaxing, listening to your kids fight, or maybe exercising whatever that is- that moment when for even a second you do not think, talk breath or FEEL cancer. ATTACK it. Embrace it and be cancer free, cause let's face it that is a state of mind not medical term. Shine that tiara and truth be told through all this talk, pain, treatment and surgery are NOT cancer.

Family history of.....

 Cancer does not run ramped through my family my father's mother had breast cancer but that is it. So I do not think of it much as family history, more like my thing. My son Anthony had to see a pediatric surgeon yesterday because he has a hernia/hydrocele and needs surgery. We apparently need an operation every 6 months in this house. When the doctor was going over medical history she asked "Any family history of cancer" "Yes my mom had breast cancer" Anthony said. And it hit me, for the rest of their life that will be on their medical records. They need this for their history. Maybe because I have boys and I just haven't really thought much about a family health history but I did yesterday.  Now as a family we have a history of cancer and it pissed me off. I am ok with having to deal with it on my paper work but my kids, screw you cancer!

I do not want this stupid dumb breast cancer to ever be the family medical history. It made me mad. Yes I understand why they need to know but I do not want them to ever go through this that is where my head went for that brief second in that surgeon's office. As a parent you never want your child to be ill but as someone who had cancer you do not want anyone to have it especially your child. So having them put it on their medical records made me feel like it was possible. Yes, I know that it possible anyway I am not a fool but cancer makes you paranoid so let me just get this all out before you start with your words of wisdom. I want it erased from their medical line. It may seem silly and they drive me crazy but I love these monkey butts with all I have and I hate that on their mother's side it will say "breast cancer", think I can get the forms to say STUPID DUMB BREAST CANCER? That may make me feel a little better.

As their mom you go right to the "is it my fault" so naturally it must have happened in the womb. Which is plain dumb. In all honesty this kid has been giving me shit since he was in there! Coming out was HELL, seriously I should have known then what was to come. He is a wise ass and always needing something and lately a real pain in the butt. Seeing him on that table hearing surgery,  anesthesia, recovery all words I know too well made me want to be sick. It negated all that crap that he does that makes me want to use the good duct tape.  He will be fine and it is a quick recovery I know all this. BUT I hate that he will be having this. But he has to so we will.  Anthony is just like me where he is not worried about the surgery but about the fact it is effecting his social life and the fact he will be out of soccer for 2 weeks.. He will handle this like the macho man he is and we will fight to keep him down (then I may be using the good duct tape). Not that he will be wearing stilettos possibly Nike Free runs.

Posted on June 18, 2014 .

Sick and tired

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I am going to rant, bitch, scream maybe even yell a little so if you are not in the mood for that I suggest you not read. I have been in a funk. Trying so hard to "snap out of it" but I really can not. Admittedly so I have suffered hard with depression my whole friggin life and it sucks. You get in this hole and try as hard as you can to crawl out to get to that light sometimes the dirt, crap if you will topples on you. Yes I know all of that you are alive junk and you have a beautiful family BS and you are such a princess stuff helps but when you are in that hole it is hard to see that. Add cancer on top and it is like the hole because more like a ditch filled with snakes and nasty bugs!

I want so bad to get back to where I was but I know physically that is never going to be. Between the new body and the aches add the lymphedema and the cording and basically I'm screwed.  I actually hate going to the gym, which just pisses me off. Those stupid people working out and not realizing that they are lucky they can without issues, dummies. I just want to do triceps dips without my arm giving out, is that too much too ask. I guess it is?! It really is a mind fuck because you are starting to feel a little normal then you go to do a sit up and BAM you can't because your gut was sliced in half. I have a constant reminder with the scars every time I undress but that is a broken record that I do not need to keep replaying here, well maybe not in this rant. Or your arm puffs up because you over worked it without your sleeve on trying to act all "cancer free" (blahahahaha). I know lucky to be alive, I know,

The best thing for depression and getting healthy is sleep, blahahahaha. What the hell is that?? Show me one person that has had cancer that went to sleep without a sleep aid 4 nights in a row and I swear to god I will make them dinner for a WEEK. Better yet if they slept for more than 4 hours. Your mind goes, bling blong bing bong- let's think about your neuro appointment, now let's try to find a way to get comfortable, wait did you take your meds, oh crap now I have a head ache, oh man here comes a hot flash,  I wonder if I have a doctor appointment next week too, will I make it to my 5 year mark, do penguins have knees, now I have to get up in an hour,  I wonder if Seporah is awake, I hope Tali feels better, Ugh I have to make lunches, is there anything else I can think about?? You see as much as I want to sleep I can not, your mind will not shut off no matter what. It was bad before cancer, worse now. I thought it was me then I went on twitter or IG and I see all those others awake and realize crap this is an issue. How can I get more than just 4 hours? Maybe I do need those pot brownies!

I am sick and tired of my friends getting sicker and sicker. I can not take that. It makes me so mad. I hate what they are going through not just on a I can image but on a I get it. I see what they are going through, understand it, am right there with them. I want to help them desperately and HATE that I can not. I am not a research scientist and will never have the cure, I can only offer my friendship. And skittles, screw the sugar! I wonder if people were always getting sick from cancer or is there more cases. Am I just in this world now? Some say maybe you need a break, no this is my therapy. Helping my friends helps me. Without them I would feel lost. It is therapeutic to not feel alone, misery does love company after all.

Without them, that is the part that breaks my heart. I have lost so many beautiful friends. Amazing, strong brave friends. I have friends that are stage IV and I know what will happen as do they. When we talk or email it is there but we try to not utter it but how can we not. I think of an email back and forth one day between Seporah and I both having a shitty day. What can I do for you she asked me, "don't leave me" I said, "I won't" she said. What the actual fuck, this is life this is cancer this is how friends who have cancer talk to each other. I am sick and tired of losing these amazing friends. Ones I never had the chance to squeeze and hug, I am a hugger you know!

Depressed, pissed off, annoyed and all together angry. I know, I know it is time to get a grip so here is the thing. The sun will rise it always does, phew. I will look to some positive energy (who has some today?) and I will take their good juju and embrace it. Cause there is one thing for sure as sick and tired as I am over this letting stupid dumb cancer crap take ahold I will push through it into the light. I need good, loving vibes I believe in it I also will give it right back out to you cause I know you need it too. After I of course soak it up, sure hope it has some glitter in there. Let me just say this tiara is not falling off, don't you worry (or try to take it cause I will smack you!).

Happy Birthday, 14 years and no one has gotten hurt

You amaze me and astound me, you surprise me and annoy me. I love you with every part of me yet I want to hang you from the rafters. The day you were born I changed and became a mom and I learned so much I love you for that. Keep your kind heart and your say no attitude but do your damn homework and put the phone down. Pay attention in school and stop talking back to me. Be yourself and love who you are. Accept those faults and learn how you can make yourself an even better human. Admit when you are wrong, it is ok to screw up just do not keep doing it. More importantly get good grades so you can go away to school, far away. Know that lights go together and take them out of the washer ASAP. Treat your love with respect and gentleness and if they break your heart I will hunt them down. Remember that even though you will grow up and be far, far, FAR away I am your mommy. Some day in the future we will be friends but for now you can be embarrassed by me and freak when I come to school and track meets. You do not have to like my rules but know they are there to guide you not to torment you (well maybe just a little). I will ride you and only expect the best because you are simply that and more. Stop being a jackass to your brothers and be the stand up guy you are to your friends. Duct tape lasts a long time and I have plenty of rolls. No one will ever make sauce like momma nor will they love you as much as me. Always come home for Sunday dinners, home is wherever your momma is cooking.  Thank you for making me proud even when I am angry I love you monkey butt. Happy birthday to my first born, Benjamin Edward. You came on the scene early filled with so much charm, god knows some days you need that to get you through! XOXO 

Posted on June 4, 2014 .

Decoding Annie Parker

I have never written a movie review before but then again I never did a lot of things before stupid dumb breast cancer so here it goes (I will not reveal too much). Decoding Annie Parker was a movie about a woman and her life with cancer. PERIOD that is it end of story. Nope not at all it was so much more than that. It showed every aspect just enough to see a the real side of cancer. The heart break of Annie losing her grandmother, mother and sister, what chemo was like with a splash of humor "you are hot bald, one boob everyone wants you" and mostly wanting answers of why she got cancer. I think for almost everyone of us the why we got it the medical why is the answer we want so desperately. To see her work through this was incredible, inspiring even though that word seems so played out. Here is this woman living with cancer that is running like fire in her family being told it is "bad luck" she has no college degree in science only a high school diploma but she is ready to work with all she has on her gut belief that there is for a link.

Then there was Mary Claire King, a women doctor-genetics in the 70's. She was standing up to these male doctors who were laughing at her in a sense no way was there a "breast cancer gene". King did not get give up, she did not have google or a fast computer to research her info. What she had was a young team that believed in her and what she was about to prove! Two women both on a mission so prove there is a connection. How empowering for women of today? This is what we all should be doing sharing our stories to find connections.

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Am I BRCA positive? No actually I am not. I may never know why I got breast cancer, could be this friggin environment, could be another gene or the damn skittles I ate who the hell knows and that pisses me off. But the fact is there are 1000's of genes and this is just one of many they will find more in the future. Here is another fact that BRCA gene is found in many other cancers-ovarian cancer rate is higher if you are BRCA positive. That is why I brought Hope for Heather in to this event because screening for ovarian is not like a MAMMO you need to know the facts, please check their site.

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I can not make you go see it, I can not guarantee you won't cry but I you should go just bring some tissues or the box just on case. I did laugh because her humor was right and I can relate to that dry sense of joking at a difficult time when it should be, also Nikki was next to my dad and there is some crazy sex scenes AKWARD blaahahaha!! Do not walk away sad,  I did a Q & A with Annie Parker that is not what she wants. She wants you to see the hope in the film. That if there was a Mary Claire working so hard to find the gene and an Annie to believe in her there are more! Look I am not a scientist so I will stick fund raising and spreading awareness, what can you do? There must be something right? Thanks so much to Scott for buying those extra tickets to ensure we get that movie here  that is something! Thanks to my Philadelphia gals for coming up I loved that, just loved it. My girl Farah, at Syracuse Woman Magazine for coming to do a write up on a movie not just about someone's life but about real awareness, love this community.  See nothing is too small. Just remember even shining my tiara and fluffing my boa is so important.  

 

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we don't get over we get through

I hate when people say "you will get over this", that is a load of crap no matter if it is cancer or death or heart break. If it is real, caused you pain and you suffered then getting over it is something will never happen. I for one never got over my mother's death or any of my friend's passing what I did was I got through it. My girlfriend's son died tragically last year and that was the first thing I said to her "you will get through this" never over. How can you get over something that changed your life 180 degrees?

 

The reality is cancer never for a second lets us get over it. For those of you just starting out don't freak I swear it gets better but the fact is it is always somewhere lurking to remind you. Sometimes it comes up with maybe a sharp pain in your chest, doc calls it phantom pains I call him a LIAR that is real pain right there. Or it maybe a friendly reminder with that doctor appointment that you have to go to every 6 months, add the scans and blood work every other 6 months with a little scananiexty and BAM right back in. How can you get over something you are in? Is it ever out  of your head I mean really out of your head? No but you have to find a way to push through it to get to that new place of normal.

Getting over something means you do not have to deal with it but every time you get dressed there you are naked truth of what happened months, years, weeks or whatever before. For me with my wonderful keloid raised scars, lymphedema, and cording I am dealing daily with the physical reminders of what I cancer is telling me to "get over". It is my job to push pass these stupid dumb obstacles. And it is not easy these reminders of how cancer changed our lives, what we can not do any more. How it altered our body and distorted our views of our self. But we must push through and adjust our mind, body and even our spirit to this new life.

I know that my family and friends are sick of the complaints of pain and don't really get the scan nervousness for that I turn to my cancer friends. I swear I would be lost without an email from Seporah, a text from Lisa or Jaime, a tweet or an IG post from all my pink sisters and do not get me started with Facebook messages. We lost two sisters this week and their death hit us all hard. I sat here and cried for two women I only "met" through the cyber world but I loved, connected with and considered family. My cancer family was crushed. They get it. How do we "get over" that? Can we just get on after losing such amazing friends? No way but we must push through to a new day. Together we must send love, light and raise the middle finger to cancer because I do not have a cure! They are there for the push and sometimes I do mean they are trying to push me right off the road into the fast lane. They know when to give a shove or pull back they can tell cause they have been there. They are getting through themselves not getting over anything.

So saying "get over it" is dumb. You get over a fence or a stream but cancer oh hell no. When you have deep scars, death of friends, side effects, insomnia, weight gain, muscle loss, physical pain, hair loss, hair growth in friggin bad places, toe nails falling off, mishappen boobs, numbness....how can you get over? Then there are those fabulous moments when you have a "cancer free" day, hour, 3 hours. You go about your business and then you realize that you are free of this crap, but then your arm swells cause you pulled a hang nail and your lymphedema activated. SHIT!  But you straighten your tiara, slide your pretty bedazzled sleeve up, smile, put a dab of gloss on and say

"Don't tell me what to do! I am getting through this my way"

The motherload

I guess I was kid that dreamed of being a mom maybe because I grew up without one. But the truth be told between my dad, my godmother, my grandmother and my aunts and all my girlfriend's moms I had so many amazing role models I was set. I can not complain. I have made a decision this mother's day to focus all energy on these 4 humans I call my sons. Hell I carried them for 9 months (well approximately since Ben was premature, Sam was on time, Anthony was a little late and Jules was way late but you get it). They are what taught me about motherhood. Honestly most of it is crap! Now let me first state that breast cancer taught them a hard lesson and they really rose above it. They were robbed of an innocent part of their childhood but took it in and learned from it which I as their momma am so proud. They saw cancer through my eyes and from that know that everyone is fighting some sort of battle that they know nothing about in turn as taught them to be a little kinder. Now let's talk about what they taught me.

I remember when my siblings and cousins would have babies and I would hold those infants awwww so cute. They really are cute for a reason you know it makes it harder to lose it at first.  I was the ultimate babysitter, what a crock. Even becoming a nanny (that is another story they are really my first children). But being a mom teaches you so much. Like the fact from day one you can never ever go to the bathroom alone again, NEVER.  I have learned just how loud I can yell and actually how much patience I have. Really I do not spank but boy I have come close, I learn to walk away. That you lose all privacy even as a mom of 4 boys they see my space as their own little get away. There is no one in the house that can ever find anything even if it is in the room right there except mom. If there is ANY question being asked I mean even one like "is dad driving me to school?" only mom can answer that. Being a mom taught me that no matter what is needed it has to be given by mom if dad tries to do it he will fail even though he did it just like mom. I can not by any means ever leave the house even if it is for a walk around the block, they need to know when I will be back and will I be quick but dad can go out any time. Driving back from a 4 hour car trip my 13 year old asks as I am unloading the snack bag "Did you do the laundry?", see being a mom also taught me how to do laundry while driving a car 4 hours from one state to the next being nowhere near my washer and dryer!! Being a mom taught me that while I love them bedtime is the best part of the day. That silence is truly golden. Their laughter is fabulous but it usually means they are beating on each other and I will hear "MOOOOMMMMMM" very soon. Being a mom has taught me that Tom and I can never have a conversation without being interrupted with some dumb commented. Being a mom taught me that while I saw and felt that doctor cut the umbilical cord I know for a fact these kids are still attached to me. I have learned that a smack upside the head is ok and duct tape is a legal form of punishment.

So many people say to me "just wait until they are grown you will miss them" or the "they grow so fast". No not really. I think them growing up is fantastic. They are turning into these semi independent beings that want to explore the world, well not Ben he says he won't leave because who will cook or do his laundry for him (I got plans to alter that real soon!!). I want to watch them be kind and make good choices yet I know that wont always be true. The fact is they will screw up, they do now. Being a mom has taught me the hard part of motherhood is watching them do just that. They have to learn from their mistakes and me as their mom I want them to. I want them to own up to their bad choices and come out of them with their head held high and not do it again but that won't always happen.  I want them to be good I could careless if it is right for society as long as it is good for them. They have taught me that they will be the person they are and I have as their momma accepted that and I love them just like that, simply love their silly monkey butts. They may not be doctors or scientist they maybe clerks or push a broom but if they are happy then they win and as a mom so do I. Better yet if they move out I WIN. Cause ultimately that is my goal. See I embarrass the hell out of them so at 18 they move out, explore, see what life as to offer. So they take chances, make others happy, make themselves happy and so they just let me pee by myself.

I will always be their momma, mommy, MOMMMMMMMMMM. They will continue to teach me how to be a mom and I will always love them always. . They will grow up and screw up but they will I just know it do it with a kind heart otherwise I will use the strongest duct tape out there. They will hopefully find the loves of their life and unfortunately get their hearts broken (watch out cause I am from the Nort-side and full blooded Italian, just saying).  They will forever shine my tiara and I will forever embarrass them. They will forever and ever be my boys, who have changed Mother's day for me.

Lumpy-a-versary

 

There are all different dates people hold close to them during this stupid dumb cancer process. Some celebrate those dates, some have mild freak outs and some just let them pass. There ia much debate as to which date to "honor" (boy that sounds so friggin dumb I don't want to honor any of them). But needless to say when they pop up we find ourselves doing that. Well maybe not honor lets call it reflecting. For me the mastectomy date melts into all the other surgeries that followed, the day I was told "You have cancer" was a dream like state and all the rest plays out like a jumbled mess. But the day I found that every loving lump is embedded in my mind like a nightmare I can not ever shake. I had lumpy breast so finding a lump was typical but this was so insanely different.

It wasn't even so much as a regular self breast check nope it was my arm laying on my breast and I felt it. I remember thinking it was in my head. I called Tom who literally rolled his eyes because you see I found a lump all the time. I had these lumpy, dense breasts and had been getting mammograms for 10 years watching all sorts for cysts. But he played the game and felt it. When he pressed my breast to feel for it black sludge came out of my nipple his words "what the fuck is that?". Now if you know my husband he isn't a WTF guy, he's more laid back but seeing black sludge come out like a fountain on top of a real lump was a "WTF" moment. The day proceeded with me meeting my girlfriend MC at a breast cancer volunteer function where we through out the afternoon went into the bathroom to feel my breast and watch the sludge come out. I met a breast cancer survivor that day that had just finished her last radiation and I remember distinctly thinking how incredibly gorgeous she was. I needed that girl that day, who I will later met almost a year later and I will call her my pink sister. Her face got me through that May 5th 2012.

The day I found that lump was a Saturday which made for the longest weekend of my ever loving life. It took forever to get to Monday to 8:30 when my GYN office opened to when I heard Gia's voice. She immediately made a mammo/sono appointment for that afternoon. I went and kept thinking its nothing, could be anything, probably nothing but was whispering "you got cancer don't be a dumbass" the whole time. The office that did the mammo was one I went to all the time for all my previous mammos and sonograms and was really hoping my regular girl was there, it wasn't. For some reason this made me want to cry I really wanted her there. So the tech did the mammo where black, thick discharge oozed all over the machine "I don't see anything on the image" she said to me. Seriously cause the thing just exploded on the plexiglass!!  We went into the sono room where she took he wand went over the lump-"I can feel it when I go over it but nothing is coming up". Are you kidding??? So she checks the normal box and tells me to follow up in six months. Yes this really is what happened. I remember driving over to my GYN office thinking maybe I should believe her, but there was that whisper.

When I got there my doctor and his fabu staff took me in room and that was that. He decided that I was seeing a breast care doctor that a lump with black discharge was far from normal and that he wanted it looked at sooner than later. Have I ever said how much I love my GYN?? Have I ever said how much I love his staff??? How not only do I really believe that he got me into a doc fast that I believe he saved my life?? I am so beyond lucky to have a doctor that not only listened to my fears but knew that this was not normal.

Today is my "Cinco de Lumpo" the day that changed in my life forever. The day I found a real lump. The day my husband had a big WTF moment. The day I realized how important it is to advocate for yourself, to have doctor in your corner. The day that a self breast check showed me that it does work. The day that a mammo and sono failed me. The day that being a breast cancer survivor meant more than wearing a pink ribbon.  The day that began the most surreal summer of my life. The day that tilted my tiara ......just a little.  

We both were wondering what was in my stupid dumb breast but at the same time we knew...

We both were wondering what was in my stupid dumb breast but at the same time we knew...