Happy 9th Birthday you rotten Kid

"Mom what's for dinner?"

"Gross not that?"

"I have nothing to wear"

"When are you doing laundry?"

"When can I get a phone?"

"It's not fair that Ben gets to"

"BUT MOMMMMMMMM"

Anthony is the biggest pain in the butt. No really he is, 9 years he will be off to college and we are counting to days although he is the biggest food snob we have so what the hell he will eat is beyond me. He complains nonstop, tries very hard to get his way, hoards his money and wants me to buy everything and my biggest consumer. But he wakes up in the morning and gives me a kiss a big juicy sweet kiss. When we walk anywhere he holds my hand and does ours "special thang" I ain't telling you fools its our thang! He hugs me and tells me he loves ne every morning before he gets on the bus. And when he can we snuggle. So I guess it makes up for being my complainer. He is my lover boy and no matter what he makes my heart happy when he gives his love.

I won't dare go into his delivery it was scary scenario, I should have known then what life would be like with this kid. Or the fact he crawled at 4 months just to torment his brothers. But today I am so happy that I have an Anthony Jude, he is a way cool dude. Really almost too cool. Please keep your daughters away I can not control this one I have tried, Tom has done his best we just can not anticipate what his swag will do. Actually you may want to keep your sons away too he maybe the ring leader in some serious party rocking in the near future.

Happy birthday Anthony go rock the world!

Posted on October 4, 2014 .

Was it worth it?

I get asked that question daily. Really no, none of this was worth it, it all sucked. But inquiring minds want to know so let's dish about my reconstruction. I am not going to blog about the suck ass part, you know lymphedema, exhaustion, can't move your arm, elephant on your chest all that crap- this will be just recon. I won't rehash the bullshit of "oh my god you are getting a FREE boob job", "finally getting the boobs you wanted", "are you going bigger", "no more saggy boobs" because I will just get angry and no one likes angry AM. Plus we all know that is utter nonsense. See a boob job is a choice we did not choose this and it comes at us full force. Recon from breast cancer is different they scrap you to 1% of breast tissue, rads and chemo effect how that implant sits too. Your body is going through a trauma and trying to adjust. Now add your mind set or your mind wrapped in cancer, completely different than a boob job.

The you have cancer comment happens then almost immediately after it is the "do you know a plastic surgeon?" I think our issue starts there. Why do we push right to recon? Our body is about to go into major overhaul adding this element is something I think is more pushed by society. Think about it, the first and most important is to remove the cancer. Just that surgery is intense and takes a toll on our body. The drains, the removal of the breast, the exhaustion and the mental part. Add a foreign object and what the actual f$^k just happened. Then there is chemo and rads making it all a big ass mess. Recon should come later but it does not. In retro spec I would have gone flat and fabulous to heal mentally and physically then done recon. I am not anti recon only on Brideplasty that show pisses me off.

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The recon started right at mastectomy with expanders was difficult. They felt like a squeaky toy inserted in my body. Then with the fills, ugh.  I felt nausea set in and pain like a hard work out, do able but with everything else it sucked. There is a metal piece that they use to find the part for the needle to inject the saline in, seriously read that again that is in our body!  I set off the metal detector at an SU football game and had to explain to the security guards, they were freaked out I was amused. The expanders were a bitch-uncomfortable and odd. Just didn't know what to make of them. I think watching your body change before your eyes is a mind screw too. Cancer messes with you on the inside but you can not see it this you watched literally. Looking back I know I joked about it but I  think it was hard to watch yourself change like that.

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Then you have the implant itself. Hard, unmovable, lifeless thing inserted into your body. CRAZY! Now do not get me wrong it works for some, not for me. I hated them. Zipping up a dress they didn't move and that got me for some reason made it so sad to me. Granted they shifted into my arm pits, not a good look. This and infection is common because of the above reasons chemo, rads, and scarping to 1% of breast tissue. I remember when I went into the plastics office the first time and asked for a tram surgery he laughed at me, rude! I weighed 107 pounds and was fit and healthy he told he couldn't find anything to make even one breast from that is why I went with implants first. It was such an alien invasion for me but everyone kept telling me how great they looked I didn't see it nor did I feel it.


I went in to have my scars that were HUGE keloids and very painful looked at and the PA said first we need to figure out what to do about the shifting. UGH another surgery. I asked about the DIEP because now thank you cancer you dirty devil it gave me 27 pounds and I could. I was warned of the surgery but knew what it was because I had done my research and talk to many who had it. I was mentally prepared, I really believe that is why I did so well this time. My head was ready for a 10 hour surgery, 3 days in ICU, 3 days in the hospital, 3 weeks resting, months recovering, and  another surgery to follow. Do not be fooled by the tummy tuck bull shit this is not what this operation is about so do not go in thinking that. I felt like using part of me was like taking two back from cancer, hahaha I was a thief in the night and was going to get myself back. Dumb to some but to me I needed this.

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Then came the revisions. ALL of my friends told me the lipo was the worse part. See with this surgery you get what someone (who the hell was it I would like to know) dubbed "dog ears" on your hips. Its from crap settling after and you need adjusting. So every time my doctor would try to explain but Ann Marie you are having.... I would reply I know the lipo is the worse. He gave up and I went in a dumb ass. This surgery kicked my ass. He removed ALL my scars, YAHOOOO and we will watch and ride them like crazy. He made my breasts the size I wanted, I always knew he went bigger the DIEP so he had something to work with. He did good but he basically did another mastectomy. OPPS I should have listened.

After reading all that do you think recon is easy? NO! Was it worth it? I won't answer that. It is what it is. It is what I had to do to feel a little like me after cancer. It is not what I wanted no matter how many times before cancer I joked about perky boobs I would never to plastic surgery as want ever. Recon SUCKS but like anything it should be your choice. Do you have to have this no way. Flat and fabulous is just that but like recon not for everyone. I think the best thing is to talk to as many people as you can and listen to their experience and remember it is just that theirs you are different than them and will handle this your way. For now my size is comfortable, they feel comfortable and I am in a good spot. When I am dressed that is don't get me started on the scars, OY this post is long enough. Did anyone make it to the end? My tiara got dusty just writing it!

  This is what my breasts have been through in 2 years, this is a lot of trauma for a person's body.

 

When mom gets cancer

I can sit here and type about how cancer effect me emotionally and physically. I can tell you how it stressed out Tom, worried my dad, freaked my family and friends and changed my kids. But I can not explain in detail what they felt. Every family feels cancer that is just a fact, especially kids.  Fact is kids are selfish by nature not in a mean way they learn over time to thin of others (yes I know some are giving right off the bat but come on not all). Cancer makes it hard for kids to get out of their little world and think about their parents. When I was diagnosed my son Ben then 12 was hit hard- he was in the midst of teenage years, fitting in, being a selfish child and well honestly he hates sickness even a cold he runs the other way. Add the fact he was the oldest made it  a lot was riding on him. He acted out which made me so sad because Ben and I were so close.

It was through writing I learned that Ben was angry. Not at me really but since I had cancer that was where it was directed. Cancer is not a thing to touch or see or feel and really who would want to? So in turn kids especially take it out on the adult with cancer. Once we realized this with Ben we worked through it and it all made sense to both of us.  I remember once in the hospital I was so mad cause he wanted to leave to go to a friends, I wanted to see him. I cried when he left. It wasn't until I read the reason for him hating the hospital that it was clear to me.

When Cure Diva asked for a Mother's Day post a little different then the regular type they asked for Ben's point of view. He said sure and we posted. It went over great. So great that Marie Claire posted it on the web, beyond exciting right? I thought so until I got some emails and saw the bigger picture. People were emailing telling that now they understood why their children where lashing out, it made sense. One women had her son read it and he was crying telling her "Mom he wrote what I feel". Another said that her daughter was so angry she was not speaking to her and wasn't coming to the hospital, her daughter has OCD too and now it clear why. See Ben's writing was validating these kid's feelings, he was showing them that they are not alone. And it was helping parents see that kids are effected my this frigging disease no matter how we try to shelter them. I am blown away this morning. I literally can not answer all the emails, which proves to me that this MUST be read by parents and kids. Please share it, I am sure you know someone just like Ben feeling his feelings too. Yes I am a proud momma right now, it may last all day this time.

http://www.marieclaire.com/health-fitness/when-my-mom-had-cancer#post_comment

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Take a good look

A friend recently posted asking when was the last time you took a good look at your scars. I thought about that question all week. I look at them daily. Mostly to figure out how I can make sense of them, how to accept them. I stare and wonder if looking is the way push through the pain of how they look. I know all the posts about scars make us stronger, they are the story, or my favorite "a scar just means you were stronger than what tried to hurt you". But honestly those words are mute when you stand naked.

I can start with the mastectomy ones that remind me of cancer. The fear that cancer brought in my life and left me with a mark to show it had been there. I can move on to the scar that was left by a lump I found a few months after that my doctor removed in her office "just to be safe" another reminder that cancer was lurking and could be back. Or the burn mark that I got from cooking because I have no feeling in my chest any more which resulted in 2nd degree burn humorous in a warped way until I undress and look at the wound it left. My worse are the drain marks-painful from the keloids, extreme pain but the reminder of the awful drains is almost worse. The DIEP left the most pronounced scaring ever. Deep, bright, thick, painful marks across my breasts and belly leaving me looking like a rag doll. The images make them almost look good so in a way they help more then the mirror.

 Alive but sew together to stay that way.

Someone once said to me "You are married why do you care about the scars". I think about that comment when my husband and I on the rare occasion are intimate and I wear a tank top because I am embarrassed of the scars not wanting him to touch them. Or when I go to change at the YMCA and run into a private area so no one sees what a mess I am. Or worse when I have to stand in front of a mirror naked and wonder how I got in that body. Scars are hard to look at think about when you are in line at the store and you see someone burned or scared you have to look away because you want to star but that would be rude. That is how I feel 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Add the eructating pain that keeps me up because of my keloids and you have an entire other element. Do not tell me this is purely cosmetic this is so much more than that.  

Downer post for sure but as I go in for phase 2 which I know will addresses some of the scaring I can't help but focus on them which results in pain. And as they say "pain is meant to be felt". Breast cancer results in the amputation of our breasts by no means is an easy thing to deal with. Processing it, accepting it and pushing through takes years. It is easy to walk around covered up you may even forget for a moment but with my scars I can not. I feel them through clothes, they are bothered by certain tops that rub against them, hell I can't even wear certain underwear because of the my stomach. So yes the cleavage looks great, but the size is too big and the scars are too deep. You can have the cleavage.

I didn't ask for this road I am just navigating my way down it through the bumps. I am figuring out which shoes to wear and how to walk because trust me when I say this changed my confidence level. Adjusting to the new takes time.   I just hope I have enough shoes to get me through this because it requires a lot of attitude!

Posted on September 11, 2014 .

Happy Birthday to my favorite son (don't tell the others)

Today my big hearted baby boy is 12. My Sammy boy has a huge love for family, his friends and an even bigger one for sports, he is caring and kind kid and wants nothing more than to make people laugh. He is one of the hardest workers I have and I can always count on him to get the job down. I rely on him for a wise ass remark or to give me a classic Dickie V voice over and over again especially during March Madness. He is a major sports freak, the kid can tell you stats on every local, major, minor and profession league in any sport from soccer to curling ( I am not exaggerating at all he will make a ton of money some day working with his cousin Tommy P). Family is the most important thing to Sam, he needs Sunday dinner and Cape Cod like we need air to breath.

Cancer hit Sam very hard and he had no problem showing it through tears. Every surgery, appointment, scan or check Sam is nervous and worried telling me before how much he loves me and always remembering when I get home to ask how it went. Sam reached out to Lola Scott and Talia an when they died a piece of Sam's innocence was taken and my heart broke watching his face when I told him. When there is a Bravery Bag to be stuffed, an event to go to or a #giveitup to do Sam is right there with an idea to make it bigger and better. He wants to be involved because he has a heart of gold and wants a change!

Today my boy is 12 and I could not be more proud of the kid he has become. His laugh is infectious and loud, he thanks for me for dinner and clears his spot, his smile from ear to ear and is always on his face especially when he is annoying I mean making his brothers laugh and more importantly he has big dreams of going to college FAR FAR away! That being said this is the kid that will be taking car of me and Tom so I know he will be back.

Happy Birthday Samuel Thomas Otis my favorite .......shhhhhh do not tell the others it will cause chaos. 

Posted on September 6, 2014 .

#giveitup4mets

I get that everyone is always asking for money. Hell, I have a fund raiser every month. I get it. I also know that there is a large elephant in the room. Guess what- I am not a researcher ( I know you are shocked, but I am not). I know absolutely nothing about how to write a grant, what genes to focus on, or where to even begin. I do know, however, that 30% of those with breast cancer will develop metastatic cancer, meaning it will spread to other parts of their body. Sometimes fast, sometimes slow, either way taking their life in some form. These lives are those of women and even a few men that I have become very close with.  Isn't that number too high for you? 

Yes, donating money is always a big deal. Who do I give to? How much can I afford? What will my money actually do?  METavivor is a non-profit that is dedicated to those with Stage 4 breast cancer. "METAvivor remains the sole US organization dedicated to awarding annual stage IV breast cancer research." According to the METavivor page ,"every fourteen minutes someone dies from breast cancer." What they are doing is making a difference and you can, too. What can you give up from your life to support the research?  

Can you "give it up"?

Here is the deal. Video tape yourself giving up a little something- a coffee, a lunch (couldn't you bring it to work one day?), a drink at the bar that you don't need, that shirt that was on sale at Target.  These are things you could do without for a day, right? What we need is more cancer research! If you can't give up something, how about some time? Write a note of encouragement, or sit down and inform yourself of the facts. Metastatic cancer hasn't had a decrease in the numbers in forty years. Why is this acceptable? You don't need to mow the lawn this week (my husband thought of this), dinner at that swanky restaurant is not a need... but research is.

 

The Otis family decided to give you some ideas on how to make this a family adventure! We gave something up, and in the process my kids got a better understanding about metastatic cancer. They make me proud.

What can you give up? Post it on Stupid Dumb Breast Cancer FaceBook , the METavivor Faceboook or email me and DONATE on METavivor page. Let them know SDBC sent you.

Step by step

1. #giveitup- what will you give up? A candy bar, coffee, a night out? Every dollar counts.

2. Have fun making a video and get your family and friends involved. Let them know you are "giving it up" for metastatic breast cancer. Make sure you ask a friend to give it up, too!

3. Post that video with the # metavivor #sdbc #giveitup4mets on all those socieal media places. Let your voice be heard!

4. Now this one is important: DONATE to METavivor. Every single dollar makes a difference. Together all our dollars can be the research and the voice that those with stage 4 need.

 

 

***disclaimer Mimi got her coffee, no cupcakes were ever eaten (the case wasn't even full so we were not  tempted), Tom LOVES washing the car so that was rough, Sam does NOT have a British accent, Ben will be riding the big wheel to High School and Anthony really isn't getting a new back pack.

Rebecca #giveitup4mets GO SU!!!

Sadie #giveitup4mets desserts who needs them we need research!

 

Missy #giveitup4mets video loves coffee  but mets research is more important

Surgery, cancer book, lifer and fried pickles

I had preop the other day for my up coming phase two of the DIEP the other day. It is like old hat to me now. I sat in the waiting room and this fabulous women sitting next to me who happens to be having surgery same day as me asked if I was that "stupid dumb breast cancer lady". I love that. We chatted, hugged, laughed even found a couple of moments we had tears in our eyes. Her implants didn't take and she is having revisions done, mine shifted so we had a lot to shoot the shit about. That lucky girl got her hospital preop canceled I have to go through that all over again, I mean seriously I have had 6 operations there I am pretty sure I am in the system. But I am going there next week to sit and go through all that arggg.

I went in to talk to my doctor about what we will do and I signed all the papers and got my meds no problems. I am not worried or nervous actually happy to get rid of these dog ears (really that is what everyone calls them) that have puffed on my hips. I can't wait to get these toobies the size I wanted so that part I am feeling good about. I am hoping with everything I can that he can help with these painful scars. That wasn't the issue.

I couldn't help but to think back two years ago at myself walking in there. Naïve to this whole experience thinking that it is simple as you having a lumpectomy, mastectomy, swap and done. What a frigging joke!? Now I must admit that the office never even once told me this, he and the staff told me about revisions, changes and settling. But they never prepared my mind for what was about to happen. How can they? Can anyone explain to someone how emotional the entire cancer process is? How losing your breasts is devastating even though you are glad to be rid of them?

If only I knew how my head was going to be confused about all this. Wanting to be rid of the cancer yet wanting the saggy breasts at the same time. Being happy to be alive yet thinking about dying from cancer and wondering when it will be back. If I only knew that this cancer world doesn't let you leave for many reasons then maybe I wouldn't have acted like a tough girl and said "I can't wait til its over". Its never over. The fact is I wouldn't leave because I have too many friends here now but I hate that we are bond by cancer. I hate that I have lost so many friends and so many more are suffering in ways that isn't right. Cancer SUCKS did you know that?

Don't get me wrong I am not all doom and gloom here. I just feel like doctors really do not let their patients know that not only are you a lifer in their office but your head will be in the game forever.  I wish someone would have warned me about this cause I really thought there was an end. Truth is its like a book, you close one chapter and open the next but the story goes on. Your chapters get a little less about cancer but the its always some how finds its way in, the bastard!

 September 12 is surgery day , I get my dog ears taken care of and toobs resized. But more importantly my painful scars addressed. They hurt beyond words and make it very difficult to feel any lumps. Gotta do those selfies (you know self breast checks). It is amazing how they have changed, Genevieve is taking pictures next week to show the change. How can one's body do that in two years?? Makes me exhausted to see it then I realize that is me!  

Well you know what surgery day means right? SHOE shopping! And the kids go back to school so it is perfect. I am thinking something red, what do you think? But for now this little princess is off to my favorite place, The Great New York State Fair. The fair is one of my happy places, do not judge or hate. There is nothing a little fried pickles can't comfort.

Fair 2010
Posted on August 20, 2014 .

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.