Ground Rules

We’ve had the discussion before about how cancer girls get really tired of talking about cancer.  Folks mean well, but they don’t take into account that everyone is asking the same questions, and a cancer girl’s life turns into a sort of round, if you will.  Like Row Row Row Your Boat.  Only instead of the usual lyrics…“Row row row your boat, gently down the stream, merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, life is but a dream” it goes more like “So, so, how are you? You’re so very brave, my 105 year old aunt just died of cancer, you’ve got a foot in the grave.”  And so it goes, over and over, on and on. 

 And of course, a cancer girl is giving the same answers over and over as well.  It goes something like this, “Hey there I’m just fine, the margins were all clean, starting chemo in a week, feeling mighty keen.”  But all your audience hears is cancer blah blah, chemo blah blah blah, so what happens next is that those people go sing the song with other people, except they fill in the blanks with the worst case scenario. “Hey Madge, did you hear?  Moody’s all but dead.  I heard the cancer’s in her spleen, so she’s just shaved her head.”

 I was reminded of this again recently when a relative of Hubster’s coworker was diagnosed.  Hubster came home from his job at ACME and reported to me that he’d heard that she was really bad off, one foot in the grave, the usual stuff.  I just looked at him, rolled my eyes and said, “You know how that goes.”  Aside from irritating the snot out of me, it really makes me wonder what all the employees of ol’ ACME were saying about me back when I was first diagnosed.  (I’m betting I have one reader who could fill me in, but I won’t put her on the spot.)

 But there is something that bugs me more than the Row row row your boat sing-a-long, and the worst case scenario telephone game.  It is when someone interrogates my child about my medical condition.  You know, this is one of those things that should just not even have to be said, and you’d think most people would have the sense to figure it out: It is not cool to snatch my kid out of her peaceful existence and back into the scary land of your mom’s got The Cancer.  You want to be all up in my business?  Then you come to ME.  Don’t corner Mini Me and ask her if “they think they got it all” 15 months after my mastectomy, when my hair’s grown back and life is pretty much back to normal for her.  Maybe you’re genuinely concerned, and maybe you’re just nosey—I don’t really care which it is—neither one of them gives you the right to do that to Mini Me.  So, next time, find some other way to make conversation, or as Cowboy Bob used to say, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”

Hair I Am…18 Months Later.


Today is exactly 18 months from my last chemotherapy treatment.  I thought that there might be some folks out there who wonder what 18 months worth of post-chemo hair growth looks like, so I snapped a picture.  That’s my “I have HAIR!” face.  I’ve also had, if I remember correctly, 5 haircuts, not including the few times that I shaved my head post chemo to get rid of that chemo clear fuzz.  Yes, my hair IS naturally curly, and yes, it was that way before chemo.

 Also, check out the noob.  What, you can’t tell which one it is?  Mission accomplished.  And speaking of the noob, while I am still not allowed to really exercise, the noob has it’s own regimen prescribed by Dr Grasee.  No, the noob isn’t on the elliptical or taking a zumba class.  Instead, I have to push it around twice a day.  As Dr G put it, I’m supposed to shove it “north, south, east and west.”  Sometimes I even sing it song while it works out, like maybe a little Matchbox 20 or Salt N Pepa. You know I’ve got a whole medley worked out of push themed tunes. 

 I’m sure you’re wondering why I have to exercise the noob.  Well, all expander/implant reconstructions have a risk of capsular contracture.  The body forms a capsule around the implant, just as it would with any foreign object, and that’s fine.  But sometimes, these capsules decide to turn to a life of crime.  And so they contract, and become hard and painful.  When that happens, the implant has to come out, and we start over from scratch.  Since I had radiation, I’m at increased risk for this.  Like, there’s a 50% chance this thing might go bad on me.  So, I have to exercise my noob twice a day as opposed to the standard once a day. 

 Mini Me finds the idea of noob exercises disturbing to say the least.  But then again, Mini Me is disturbed by a lot of this, especially my willingness to show the new construction off to my girlfriends.  At church a couple of weeks ago, Angie wanted to see the newpple.  So, I say come on into the bathroom and I’ll show you.  Mini Me started to follow me, because she hadn’t heard what I was actually doing.  Unfortunately, Hubster gave her a heads-up.  I think it would have been way funnier if she’d have come bopping into the restroom and then actually asked why Ang and I were in the handicapped stall together.

 Last but not least, check out my cool-beyond-words necklace, sent to me by Shirley in South Africa.  Is that not awesome?  I have the coolest readers.


You may remember my post from a back in December when I was passing the time while waiting to get in to see Dr Schmidt.  I was actually sitting down the hall from his office, outside the boutique in a little area where there are computers, and a reception desk.  I’m not even sure what the reception desk is for, but I think they may do some kind of counseling down there or something. 

 As I’m sitting there writing, all of a sudden I hear footsteps coming around the corner, and then an agitated voice says, “The breast model is missing—AGAIN.”  Heh heh.  So, me being me, I’m thinking, “Well, where did she run off to this time?!”  I figure the breast model must be like a hand model or something, only with her around, the doctor can talk about where incisions will be, etc. without the patient having to suffer the discomfort of being half naked.  Now, I guess they only have to suffer the discomfort of being in a room with someone else who’s half naked.

 The voice and the receptionist then proceed to have a conversation in which they lament their lack of ability when it comes to keeping track of breast models.  Seems they’re running away left and right.  I guess being a breast model must not pay very well.  Or maybe they just get cold.

 At one point, I could have sworn I heard the receptionist ask the mysterious voice if she checked in the closet by the Depends.  I guess that’s where breast models hang out.  When they’re not modeling.  Or something.  But apparently the breast model was nowhere to be found.  Breast models do in fact, possess both great speed and great stealth.  Have you ever seen one?  No you haven’t, because they’re so doggone stealthy like that. 

 I don’t know if they ever found the breast model or not, as I was soon called back to Dr Schmidt’s office.  But as much trouble as they seem to have keeping track of her, I’m wondering if the breast model is our old friend Lacey Baum.

Tasty Thursday: You Don’t Know Fat

It’s always amusing to me when the government decides to tell us something about ourselves that we already know.  This condescension usually follows some expensive study or precedes some expensive program, paid for by our tax dollars.  So, today I saw the following headline, and I couldn’t help but share it with you: Massachusetts Proposes Weighing, Measuring Students.  It seems the state government there is concerned about rising obesity, and part of their plan to combat this includes height and weight measurements for all public school first-, fourth-, seventh-, and 10th-graders, to determine whether they are overweight. Results would be sent home to parents along with diet and exercise recommendations.”

 Oh. Heck. No.  Couple of thoughts here.

 Okay, first of all, in this strained economy, can I get a show of hands from those who think that this is something we need to be spending money on?  I mean, come on, who doesn’t know if their kid is fat?  Myrtle doesn’t need the school weighing and measuring her little Bubba Jack—she’s the one who has to keep his portly behind suited up in husky sizes.  Second of all, while this might be welcomed with open arms in Massachusetts, I guarantee you it would never fly in Terre Haute, Indiana, where the motto is “If you want my breaded tenderloin, you’ll have to pry it out of my cold, dead hands.”   In The Haute, parents would be like, “Ain’t nobody gonna tell me what to feed MY kid!  Why, if Pete’s Pride pork fritters and RC Cola were good enough for me, then doggone it, they’re good enough forhey, you gonna eat that?” Thirdly, this type of thing would only serve as something for kids to rebel against.  And can you imagine the peer pressure? “Come on, Harvey, all the cool kids are eating cheese fries.”  Poor healthy Harvey’d be gettin’ his butt kicked on the playground for packin’ rice cakes in his lunch.  How sad is that?

 Besides, I have a hard time believing that those east coast kids are really all that chunky anyway.  At least compared to the kids here in the Midwest.  While New England kids are growing up on seafood, and, well, whatever else it is they eat over there, young Hoosiers are busy giving the Chinese buffet a run for its money.  In fact, I bet if Massachusetts compared their fat kids to our fat kids, they’d find that they are sorely lacking in the cellulite department. 

 Amateurs.  Crying wolf over there with your “fat” kids.  We’ll show you some fat kids—just as soon as we get done eatin’.

So Not a Sausage

I went for my post-op check-up with Dr Grasee a couple of days before Christmas.  I know you’ve all been anxiously awaiting the report from that visit, wondering what sort of crazy newpple I ended up with.  As I’ve often found with this whole breast cancer deal, the reality really doesn’t live up to the hype.  This newpple isn’t as big as a Vienna sausage—it’s not even as big as a cocktail weenie.  It doesn’t look like my big toe—why, it doesn’t even look like my pinkie toe.  What gives?  I mean, after the post-op instructions made this big deal about “do NOT be alarmed” by the freakish way your newpple looks, I was all psyched up for something that would actually be worth writing about.  Why do you think it’s been so long since I last posted?  I’ve spent the last two weeks trying to figure out how to make this thing sound funny.

 But, alas, it’s really not all that freakish.  Dang it.  Well, other than the fact that it’s a piece of my groin skin sewn onto my chest.  So, I guess if you actually *think* about it, it’s kind of freaky after all.  But just to look at the thing is kind of a non-event.

 As far as my recovery goes, I have to say that it’s been a piece of cake.  The pain has been minimal, with the groin incision being the most annoying aspect of the entire deal. 

 Of course, I’m relegated to wearing a sports bra, day and night, for the first 4 weeks.  That’s getting on my nerves, but it’s still better than the surgical bra I wore for the first week.  A surgical bra is like your grandma’s sports bra.  Yeah, I know your grandma doesn’t wear a sports bra, but if she did, this is what it would be like.  Big, white, stretchy, with unstretchy straps which are padded, slide through loops and Velcro back onto themselves.  It also Velcroes in front.  Move over Victoria’s Secret—and make way for Myrtle’s Mystery.  The mystery being, how on God’s green earth is a girl supposed to wear clothes over this thing without looking like she’s a body-armor-sporting member of the SWAT team? 

 As you can imagine, it was very exciting to graduate to a sports bra.  However, I’m getting pretty tired of wearing it to bed.  Add that to the list of things that make me feel sexy.  It’s growing by leaps and bounds.  Biohazard undies, greasy newpple tent, 5″ groin scar, 10″ chest scar, newpple made out of aforementioned groin and sewn to aforementioned chest, and to top it all off, so to speak, the 24/7 sports bra. 

 As I said before, it’s a good thing I’m not too sensitive about all this.