The Abandoned Boob Chronicles
I keep fighting, and life keeps throwing obstacles. At forty, I’ve joined ranks as the one in eight women who receives a breast cancer diagnosis in her lifetime. Two years earlier, my husband of sixteen years abandoned me. And for good measure, add an entire life lived in the shadows of a bipolar mother. Cancer? Bring it on. I’ve got this. Life has schooled me well.
Asking for help is at best awkward and at worst torturous for a fiercely independent soul such as myself. But that’s exactly what I need—whether it be as positive vibe giver, reader of my words, social media sharer, or financial contributor. Feel free though to go all in and do all of the above! The success of this campaign depends on it.
What I can give to you is my tale. It’s not just a story about breast cancer. This diagnosis has only provided the structure for framing my narrative. Truth is indeed stranger than fiction, and it’s a long damn story. I’ve hedged for years over what I should be writing. It’s time for me to do what I do best, which is write about life as I know it in hopes of connecting with others. Authenticity is my superpower. What’s yours?
There’s a reason I have the word resilient tattooed on my upper back. I won’t let you down. I will fight. And I will win. I always do.
In future weekly updates over the course of a year, I will share the details of my diagnosis and treatment. I will do so in narrative nonfiction fashion. I’ll start with how my love discovered the lump via a handful of playful morning boob, and also tell about the out-of-body experiences that transpire the night after being infused with too high a dose of steroids.
As the owner of Word Bank Writing & Editing, I make a modest living. When my ex got into a taxicab in January 2015 and never came back, I had many choices to make. Rather than return to teaching high school English, I hustled to take on more editing clients. For the first time ever, I began 2017 with projects booked three months in advance. This persnickety breast cancer diagnosis has changed all that.
As of July 31, four months of donations to this GoFundMe campaign coupled with some projects from regular clients have kept me afloat while I've gone through sixteen chemotherapy treatments. With surgery looming, my project queue is practically dry.
Taking on new clients won't be possible until I'm healed and know how much fatigue radiation treatments will cause. In the meantime, I'm re-designing my website and taking part in a monthly business mentoring group to ensure I can hit the ground running come 2018.
This is the first time I’ve probably ever really asked for help. Being self-employed and living on one's own while dealing with a life-threatening illness is beyond stressful. A measure of assistance from my parents has finally kicked in six months after diagnosis when I reached my breaking point and made an emotional call to my hard-of-hearing hardrock miner father.
Some people have asked why I don’t move home for more support. The most obvious reason: I am an adult. I live less than ten minutes from a branch of St. Luke’s Mountain States Tumor Institute (MSTI). I love my little yellow house and the peacefulness of working from home. My parents are aging and my quirky mining hometown of Wallace, Idaho one of isolation and poverty (and a bevy of other depressing demographics). My life is in the Treasure Valley, not the Silver Valley.
My love has offered for me to come stay with him if I end up getting really sick, but since this is the first time in my life I have ever truly lived on my own, I am determined to remain independent. I love him dearly, but given all I have been through, shacking up with someone is not in my cards in the foreseeable future. Been there. Done that.
It’s hard to put a monetary amount on what will help see me through. Even if I don’t meet my goal, please know I am able to withdraw funds at any point during the campaign.
What Your Contributions Will Help Cover:
1. Living expenses such as mortgage and groceries
2. Health insurance premiums and deductibles
3. Business expenses such as a replacement laptop
3. Credit card debt incurred from my hideous divorce
5. Tattoos to cover scars from surgery
I had initially planned to send a portion of the contributions to my therapist who has been seeing me as her pro bono case for over two years. Unfortunately, my AC unit needed replaced in June. She has told me not to worry about it, but that's easier said than done. I still plan to send her funds as I am able, even if it's a pittance.
When my marriage fell apart, the therapist who came into my life didn’t abandon me. Not only does she specialize in the type of addiction my ex was dealing with, she also has a daughter who has gone through breast cancer. Having this person in my corner has made a huge difference in my life's new direction.
Part of me feels like a bum panhandling on a street corner. But you know what? I once rolled down my window and gave a couple of grubby hitchhiking kids a twenty-dollar bill and it felt pretty damn great. If you help me, I promise to pay it forward into the universe when the time is right.
Feel free to follow me on my Twitter and Instagram accounts.
The Big Easy: Update 44
Mardi Gras happened. Hard. My love and I almost didn’t make it to town in time for the Krewe of Orpheus parade due to a flight delay. We managed to finagle a decent arrival time and were picked up at the airport by my nephew and his fiancée. They took us to a wonderful dive called Cooter Brown’s where we chowed down on a catfish po-boy sandwich and a mountain of cheese fries.
The spectacle of a Mardi Gras parade ranks as a once-in-a-lifetime experience as multitudes of over-the-top floats and costumed bauble-throwers pass by the throngs. The event smacks of excess. The parades go on for days, but one evening and morning sufficed for us. At first it’s beyond exciting to catch whatever variety of bead strand gets hurled one’s way, but as they start to hit the ground, discernment starts to set in.
“Oh, look! Black beads. I want a strand of those!”
“Crap! Disco ball beads. Must have.”
“Yay! A long string, a light-up string, a glow sword, a feathered spear.”
“Must have all the things!” This exclaimed as my neck started to strain at the weight of my bead booty.
We went back to my nephew’s shotgun house to freshen up and lighten the bead load before he dropped us off on the edge of the French Quarter. Since he’s lived down there for around eight years, he opted out of the packed streets of drunken revelers. And boobs. Let’s not forget about the boobs. Plenty were on display on both Lundi Gras and Mardi Gras night.
Monday night was all about wandering around aimlessly and drinking drinks. Dancing in the streets was a thing in front of Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop as was the giant slushy drinks procured in the shape of a boot and a lady’s heeled and fishnet covered leg. My purple mohawk, peacock cloak, and jeweled and feathered mask got a lot of attention, but it was hard to compete with those who “earned” their beads.
After a late night, we were up and walking to another parade route the next morning. Our hosts couldn’t believe how much we walked. Fat Tuesday saw us wracking up around seventeen miles according to my love’s Fitbit. Part of getting to know a place means walking its neighborhoods. I’ll never change my mind about that, though the black shoes we wore to match our outfits weren’t the best for traipsing about.
No matter. Sore feet? Blisters? Whatever. Go hard.
After the parade, we also walked back to the house. My nephew drove us to Magazine Street where I got my shrimp and grits fix and tried char-grilled oysters for the first time. Once again, we got dropped off at the edge of the Quarter and proceeded to drink ourselves silly, only this time we fit in a lot more dancing. I’ve now came to the conclusion that I need more cloaks in my life as they are quite fun to flit about on a dance floor.
We still managed to get up around nine. The first attempt at riding the St. Charles streetcar found us going the wrong way, and since the dang things runs so slowly, we ended up getting a Lyft to the Save our Cemeteries Tour of St. Louis No. 2. Visitors have to have a guide to enter that one after the tomb of Marie Laveau was vandalized numerous times.
I’m decidedly in love with taking informative tours, but my love admittedly doesn’t have a stockpile of patience for being talked at or museum going, but I think he likes to say that more than he really means that. I chose the tour I did since it’s affiliated with the nonprofit organization that restores the tombs.
We meandered back to the Quarter to start some day drinking at Pat O’Brien’s and also wandered around the French Market where my love tried on some sexy goth clothes. I hurt myself in the best of ways at a hot sauce store as well by trying over twenty types of mind-numbing goodness. The line at Cafe Du Monde was ridiculous, so this trip passed without gorging on beignets, though we did enjoy gumbo for dinner at a bistro.
After dumping off our souvenirs, we went out for more drinking and dancing in the Quarter. A fair amount of people watching also ensued. My love likes to strike up conversations with just about anyone, but it wore on him how those conversations often ended in, “Help me out, man.”
At one point, a young woman came out of a bar to tell us we looked good together as a couple. “You have that spark,” she said.
I also have received more compliments on my mohawk and white and then purple hair this week, so I can thank chemo for helping me discover the hair-do I never knew I was meant to have.
We borrowed bikes on Thursday to go get breakfast and to ride around Audobon Park and the levee. At the Tree of Life, I met a woman’s pet possum. It was quite the creepy critter. We rode the streetcar to the Commander’s Palace that night for dinner. This was only the third time I’ve ever done a tasting menu with wine pairings, and it was my love’s first. It’s safe to say I delight in getting him to try new things.
I think we actually fell asleep before eleven Wednesday night. Crazy, right? The rental car ordeal began at 9:30 the next morning. Let’s just say that Enterprise logo of “We’ll pick you up” isn’t as efficient as they make it out to be. Two hours later, were were headed toward Houmas House. I’d toured Oak Alley, Nottoway, Laura, and San Francisco plantations on other trips.
We gorged at the lunch buffet on gumbo, crawfish étouffée, and bread pudding before taking the tour. We really lucked out and ended up being the only two to be led through the home. The tour guide was quite personable, which made it well worth it since she could talk to use more directly than would be possible on a big tour. Afterward, we strolled through the gardens and then drove to see the outsides of Nottoway and Oak Alley.
Friday night found us being whisked around town by my nephew. Not enough can be said for visiting a place and knowing someone who lives there. We started on Frenchmen Street where we caught some fantastic live music by the band HyperPhlyy before heading in to the Quarter where we spent time at a few bars he likes. One place served up a dark green toxic baby shot of mystery spirits and a tiny plastic King Cake baby riding the rim. At another, some old guy from San Francisco bullshitted up a storm.
“Back in the Cold War, I was in the cavalry.”
“The cavalry you, say?” I asked.
“Yes, the steel cavalry.”
We then visited a couple more bars before calling it quits. After returning the car the next day, my nephew drove us out to Barataria Preserve so we could see a bit of the Bayou. At eighty degrees and streaming sweat, it’s hard to say what made people want to settle the land that only gets more miserable in the summer months, and yet they did.
People can persist anywhere. Travel always reminds of me of that. We all persist in this life that is what we make it.
My Love: Update 43
You’ve come to know him as my love, but his name is Tom. I met him three years ago when the ink on my divorce decree was barely dry. No matter. Serendipity can’t be planned. Did his handful of playful morning boob that discovered the lump save my life? There’s no way to know for sure, but that’s the story I like to tell myself.
It didn’t take long for my therapist to point out he is the temple of my familiar. Given what you know about my mother and my ex, that initially paints a pretty bleak picture. But in order to truly grow, Tom and I had to find each other. Our strengths and weaknesses mirror each other in a way that makes us both want to be better people, and I suppose at the end of the day, real love is about being open to exploring levels of awareness.
So much bullshit has gone down between the two of us, and we’re still together. Still challenging each other and still growing. It’s hard to say how things would have gone if cancer hadn’t reared its head between us. He could have walked away, but he didn’t. Instead, he became the one who shaved my head and then still looked at me as he’d always had, like I was the sexiest woman in the world.
“You’re the consummate lover,” he’s told me a time or two.
“You’re not too shabby yourself,” I’ve let him know repeatedly.
We’re both comfortable with our bodies and know our minds. We are overthinkers and enamored of processes and asking why. He sees my desire to blossom into the person I’m meant to be because he’s spent decades working on those same core issues within himself. I see him and all of his contradictions and keep putting the puzzle pieces together.
Not long ago, I told Tom one of the reasons I love him so much is because of his ability to see so many sides to a given situation. That tendency is probably the thread that has kept us tethered to the other through so much. It’s also coupled with a degree of ambivalence toward the world on both our parts.
“Yes, and that’s why I’m full of disgust and despair, and you are so full of sadness.”
Neither of us can no more shake those traits off than one can magically change the color of their eyes, but we can try to make peace with them. To acknowledge our annoying habits of mind are just that, habits.
More than ever, I’ve learned that people contain multitudes. I extend a love and an understanding to Tom that I cannot extend to the man who abandoned me or to the mother who gave birth to me. By extension, he does the same for me. More often than not, I am the communication instigator, wordy thing that I am. His faculty for language undoubtedly surpasses my own in some ways, but because he frets over his words so much, they often stay inside.
Granted, before we truly started to get to know each other’s minds, we learned each other’s bodies. I blame the two bottles of wine he brought to my house for our second date when we whipped up some étouffée. Well that and his sexy stubble. The person I am today would not have shed clothes so quickly, but I was quite ravenous at that particular point in time.
We’ve fed each other well and have been patient with each other in so many ways.
What is it like to love this man? This quirky and shy extrovert who dwells in abstractions and counts physics, psychology, and philosophy among this favorite things? He’s amazing to the people who take the time to tune into his wavelength. Often, when I pour my heart out, his response is seemingly unrelated because he doesn’t dwell in particulars.
“My god, Jeri! Are you saying you speak fluent Tom? I didn’t think that was possible.” This proclamation came from The Crafty Devil on New Year’s Eve.
“He tells you everything you need to know if you truly listen.”
My love is the most understanding, accepting, and nonjudgmental person I’ve ever met. He is also the smartest, though he often cringes when I say that. Considering I spent a decade of my life in the teaching field, I’m assured just how rare such minds are.
Such misfits we are, both hindered by social awkwardness but sallying forth regardless. Forever marked by working class roots no matter how far we get from them.
But back to the notion of the temple of my familiar. Psychologists like Freud and Jung have ventured we spend our lives trying to the heal the wounds inflicted upon us by our primary caretakers. I am well aware of my journey and what I’ve been doing for the past three years. My therapist has noted I do a good job of taking care of myself and have chosen my love to be my teacher in some important lessons I’ve needed to learn.
There is so much more to loving than just the euphoria of initial romance. Most couples don’t make it through the struggles that ensue. More than a few times, our relationship has been in its death throes, and somehow we’ve picked ourselves up and kept moving forward. We are learning to be conscious in the way we love, and we are learning to grow.
I may have a codependent streak in me, and he may have a compulsive streak (or two, or three, or four compulsive streaks…), but such labels are broad and merely scratch the surface. Even seemingly negative traits have their redeeming points. The good and the bad are more closely linked than most of us care to admit. Some people see life in black and white because it’s easier, others see its infinite shades of gray.
When it comes right down to it, my conditioning has set me up to continually try to figure out the one I love. It’s a blessing and a curse. As a gloriously unbalanced person who wants to uphold honesty, communication, and to heal, I’ve found a good match.
Not long ago, I told him when we are old and gray and he’s attending his thousandth hippie festival and I’m off teaching English in some far-flung corner of the planet, I’ll always remember him as the one who was there for me when it mattered the most.
So where do Tom and Jeri go from here? Forward. Ever forward. Knowing that true love requires constant communication and recalibration.
Treating the Whole Person: Update 42
Be honest. How often do you take stock of your life? Do you ever feel guilty of just letting its current carry you along? As a teacher, I learned the art of reflective practice. This entails looking back on a given approach to take stock of what did and didn’t go well and why. When done consistently, tremendous growth takes place over time.
There’s nothing quite like a cancer time-out to hasten questioning the status quo. Being abandoned by my ex wasn’t enough. My mortality had to be brought into question to truly open my eyes. To admit I’d been living a life of quiet desperation, not by trying to fill some void within myself with money or accolades, but with love from another rather than love for myself.
I no longer wish to resign myself to a life built around a niggling sense of dissatisfaction.
Yet, I am also learning to be gentle with my progress. To love myself a little bit more. To make peace with the sense of unease and numbness that creeps in over the more robotic aspects of life. Science demonstrates more and more all the time how happiness is a learned skill. As an advocate for life-long learning, my path has been set. Comforting misery blanket and invisible rumination shield begone!
Recovering from cancer tends to take longer than the actual treatment process. Even though I’ve been lucky in many ways, it’s not like a person returns to normal the minute treatments ends. My so-called new normal may not be as drastic as some, but major adjustments are taking place. This writing is proof of that as I learn about what it means to seek true fulfillment in what is admittedly the somewhat arbitrary path of being a human being.
Cancer is a disease that has touched numerous lives in so many ways, but it’s hard to convey just how alienating it can be to experience such a diagnosis. Many people insisted I not hesitate to ask for help, but it’s hard to know what to ask for when reeling physically and emotionally. To have someone step in an take a degree of control in such a situation can be such a relief, especially when a person lives on their own with no immediate family in the area.
Luckily, I was able to mostly fend for myself from start to finish, but so many do not have it that lucky. The donations received from this campaign have made all the difference in the world to help keep me on my feet due to being unable to take on a full schedule of editing projects while going through treatment. Thank you, thank you, and thank you again. Beyond that, the emails and cards and various packages mailed to me have done much to lift my spirits at times.
Volunteer services exist, and if you are one of the three in four families whose life has been touched by cancer in some way, just know there is always help to be found. Aside from online searches, the tumor clinic is often the best starting point. People volunteer to drive patients to and from treatment as well as helping with cooking and other household chores for those in need.
For me, the mental strain was far worse than the physical strain (but yeah, the physical strain sucked too.) So when my best friend would pick me up to drive me to chemo and take me out to breakfast, that eased my blues quite a bit. That we could sit and yak through all those damn drips helped keep my mind off the poison being pumped into my veins. I could have driven myself, but the fact that she took charge helped me so much. She brought me fresh food and flowers from her garden often, as well as pizza after my surgery.
Most of my family probably just doesn’t know what to say to me, but I try to understand how they do the best they can given the particulars of each life they lead. So if you don’t often call or text your family members much, all I can say to that is please take the time to show them you care. Familial love is largely implicit, but it never hurts to let someone know every know and again you are thinking about them. As for the folks who paid me random visits, that goes a long way too. In this day and age of showing support by “liking” things on Facebook, the value of face-to-face interaction can never be underestimated.
In earlier therapy sessions, my therapist often posed the same three questions: Was I sleeping? Was I eating? Was I exercising? Yes, for the most part. It often annoyed me how she would follow that inquiry up with, “Just breathe.” She even signs her emails with that closing.
Turns out, breathing is pretty damn important.
Going through cancer has taught me a lot about learning how to catch my breath. Western medicine does a bang-up job of tending to the body, but a dose of Eastern medicine is necessary to treat the whole person—to treat the mind and soul. The tumor clinic offers integrative services like massage, acupuncture, strength and conditioning, and even music therapy for kids. I didn’t take advantage of such things during treatment, but they are becoming important aspects of life after cancer.
As I go through the Livestrong program, I’ve added yoga and Thai chi to my fitness regimen. Meditative practices are also slowly evolving as well. New habits take time to acquire. A big part of self-care is learning to be patient with one’s progress, not to mention learning to laugh more.
I’m not religious, and I don’t even consider myself particularly spiritual. If anything, I am a philosopher. My analytical tendencies and hunger for data helps with maintaining a growth mindset as I continually point the critical finger of honesty at myself. To live life reflectively means there’s always a new question to be asked. A new what if to explore. Take it all in stride. And breathe. Deeply.
Food is Life: Update 41
Food is not to be feared, but all of us can be more mindful what we put into our mouths without going overboard and taking the joy out of eating. After all, eating is the ultimate sensory experience as it involves all of the sense. I’m too much of a hedonist to deny myself the foods I love, and I’ve no intention of becoming vegetarian or gluten-free anytime soon. I suppose the saying “all things in moderation” fits me well.
“The Cancer Diet” entry I wrote about a month ago did touch on some of the more scary aspects of the foods in our midst. Such a staggering amount of food is so readily available that it seems almost counter-intuitive to question if what’s inside all that shiny packaging is actually good for us.
Fred Meyer likes to send customized coupons based on a buyer’s history. The number of bagged meal coupons I receive has started to dwindle, but never one to turn a good offer down, I bought a bag of P. F. Chang’s spicy chicken to serve over homemade whole grain rice. As I poured it into the wok, I couldn’t help but gape at the fifty or so ingredients listed on the side. Can you say chemical catastrophe?
In general, frozen boxed meals are not all that healthy, not even Lean Cuisine varieties. I have intentions of getting on more intimate terms with my crockpot and discovering recipes I can make to freeze into individual meals. As for oil, not all saturated fats are created equal. So yeah, I’m a coconut oil convert now as well.
Plain Greek yogurt is an excellent substitute for sour cream and mayo. I like to have a dollop on the side when I’m eating eggs and hashbrowns. Tuna fish, chicken salad, or even egg salad doesn’t taste all that much different when mixed with Greek yogurt. The consistency as a binding agent is the about the same, which is key.
Canned soup is on the hit list as well with it’s overabundance of salt and sugar, though I still keep myself stocked with Progresso’s French Onion soup and Cambell’s Homestyle Healthy Request Southwest soup. Gee, can a soup have a longer moniker? I add a couple of dollops of Greek yogurt as opposed to sour cream. Rather than tortilla strips, I sometimes add shredded red cabbage. Cheese? Forget about it. Though salsa verde, chipotle sauce, and lime juice add a nice touch.
A big shift for me has been no longer keeping bread in my house. Instead, I’ve switched to whole wheat taco-sized wraps for lunch. I stuff them with the filling mentioned above, or with garbanzo bean (chickpea) salad mixed up with a homemade vinaigrette. Hummus also makes a decent mix for wrap fixings, though I’m not as enamored of its taste. I need to experiment more in that area.
Have you ever looked at how many ingredients are in the typical salad dressing? Repeat after me: Chemical catastrophe.
As for beverages, I’m not drinking as much red wine, but I’m not going to give it up entirely. Life is too damn short to totally omit such a divine beverage. Thankfully, I have always been a water drinker. This habit became entrenched in college when I was too poor to buy much when it came to groceries, but the distaste for soda began around sixth or seventh grade as a reaction to the copious amounts drank by my family.
Like many others my age, I was raised on Kool-Aid. There’s nothing quite like freakishly flavored sugar water to get a child bouncing off the walls. Mostly, I don’t have much of a sweet tooth. Some research does show sugar feeds cancer, but sugar sucks in general. As alluded to in the other diet post, I love savory and salty things much more.
I no longer use flavored coffee creamer either. Not that there’s any real dairy product in all those lovely flavors. Now I buy half and half and add a few drops of pure vanilla extract. I’ve tried to do away with the heaping tablespoon of sugar I put in my large mug, but it’s just not the same without it. So now I use organic sugar, but all sugar is a refined plant product and has scant nutrients. Maybe I’ll splurge on evaporated cane juice one of these days.
I no longer stock my freezer with shrimp since it can contain high levels of copper and cadmium. I mostly eat baked and seasoned vegetables with chicken or fish at home (still aiming for organic and wild-caught, but again, money!), with a vegetarian meal or two thrown in each week for good measure. Rather than put hamburger in spaghetti sauce I add black olives and baby bella mushrooms instead. I gave up burgers at home a while back, though I’ll certainly still eat a burger out on occasion. Alas, no more red meat at home either. Though for me that used to entail a lean flat iron steak a couple of times a month.
Part of me wanted to give up butter, but you know what? Butter is a natural product and it’s delicious. The French are onto something. Butter makes everything better! Then again the French don’t eat American-sized portions. This moderation thing really isn’t rocket science, yet the struggle is real. It takes the brain twenty minutes to realize the stomach is full, so away we go with our unchecked desire for satiation.
I’m also a fan of bone broth now, but the store-bought variety of this superfood is outrageously priced. I’ve yet to whip up a batch of the chicken or beef variety, but that day is on the horizon as I plan to use it as a base in homemade soups. I embraced bone juice after being told nothing could be done about my chemo-induced anemia. Two months in, when my iron levels were at their lowest, The Looker sent me a bunch of frozen bags courtesy of his father’s organically raised herd of grass-fed cattle. I drank a cup of that magical liquid about every two days, and my levels started to climb.
As I underwent treatment, a couple of people told me about Lugol’s iodine as a way to potentially inhibit cancer recurrence. Yet another told me about Paul Stamets’ Ted Talk about treating breast cancer with turkey tail mushrooms, and a random person on Google Plus who was most likely looking for boob pictures based on their other posts took the time to tell me about sodium carbonate therapy when I published “Two Frosted Boobs Coming Right Up!”
Given my penchant for doing research, I’m taking all the diet information I’m ingesting in stride while knowing I’ll still be going on whole-bag benders of tortilla chips from time to time. Some forms of resistance truly are futile, but indulgence can be mindful.
You make a reasoned plea for Universal Health Care, Jeri. I am so sorry that your cancer's impact goes beyond just bills. On the financial front, when I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, I was a UK resident and benefited from the National Health Service so almost all of the costs of treatment were covered. Now, I'm here in the US, retired and unable to benefit from the ACA or afford the monthly premiums that other schemes want. Fortunately, St Luke's Medical Center - here in Boise - are covering some of the costs - for now. I just hope my recently diagnosed blood cancer stays at stage zero as I suspect that St Luke's wont cover treatment. May yours stay away.
We are indeed stronger than we know, but can someone please stop testing us from time to time??? You should be proud of everything you've achieved this year Jeri. I know people say cancer survivors are brave, and it doesn't always feel that way, as one doesn't always have a choice, but I've been totally impressed by everything else you've also accomplished while going through the shit-show that has been 2017. You really have inspired me to live life, no matter what. All the best for a Happy and Healthy New Year. x
I had never thought of myself as being codependent but after marring the second time around, I found myself relying on my husband for reassurance for almost everything. It's taken me years, more like a couple of decades to get away from that a little. Unlike you, I don't seem to have a problem setting boundaries. I am quite certain that comes from my upbringing though. Now that the chemo and radiation are over, how often are you suppose to see the doctor?
I'm having a hard time believing that all those food can attribute to cancer. Sausage has been around since the buffalo were killed off, probably longer. Maybe it's a question of how it's prepared. As you pointed out fried foods [fast food] is a contributor. Prepared without frying it, could be all right for us.
Its great that you'e looking at diet Jeri, but I think you hit the nail on the head at the end when you talked about less is more. Moderation is a word I suspect you loathe as much as I do, but Ive found thats the only way for me to remain healthy. But we all have to be realistic. So going all out is ok sometimes. Life is full of enough stressors, so denying ourselves isn't always the way to go. Sounds like you've got a real handle on finding something that is a livable way forward.
You know, my dad used to show me the same example of time elapsing by turning a spoon into a cup of coffee. He turned the spoon and then left it hanging on the border of the cup. Then he said: "Saw what I did?" "You turned the spoon in the coffee." "Yes. And that belongs to the past. It's no more." I'm glad to read this update, Jeri.
Jeri -- I admire your courage. While I haven't had a life-threatening illness, I've lived beyond my actuarial life span. Some people would say I'm living on borrowed time, but I prefer to say I'm living on bonus time. Every day is a bonus. I hope you can think that way, too. That every morning you wake up is another bonus day. To quote an old saying, "Just remember tomorrow ain't promised to you." It isn't whether you're battling cancer or just trying to live through another day.
Jeri, I hesitate to leave this comment but seeing how brave you are, I guess I can be too. You aren't the only one with the butt abscess. It happened to me 25 years ago when things weren't quite so specialized. Mine had to be lanced, then drained twice a week by a nurse for 8 weeks. Even after that, I was draining it once a week for what seemed like forever. I have a scar where the abscess was.
Good lord, Jeri, on top of everything else!!! Actually I had a butt abcess in my early twenties, & remember having comfrey compresses that my room mates tied around me ( on top of anti biotic) not for the feint hearted indeed. SO glad Radio. is almost over for you.
Great post, Jeri. You are very brave, and I am glad that you have people close to you that support you. As many other scientists, I have sought knowledge about cancer from a molecular, biochemical, and physiological point of view. But having someone in your family or yourself be affected by cancer is a reality that no amount of scientific study can prepare you for. Thank you for putting it all in words and sharing your experience.
Although I don't believe in all, I do believe in alternative medicine collectively. Attitude and deep seeded beliefs can make a difference on your total wellbeing. Also, stress weakens the body including the immune system. Jeri, practice meditation and yoga so your mind can help your body heal while you go through the tortures of modern medicine.
Mmmm. Something about this post (Update 26) really got me. Maybe that life goes on, even during shitty cancer. Maybe that you have a love who is there for you. Maybe that you are taking this step by step, day by day, and though tired, you keep on. I don't know. But thank you. Your journey is powerful, as are you.