Friday, October 1, 2010

Too Busy to Write About Having Cancer

I feel the pull of fall activities, much like the pull of the bathtub drain...a vortex which is sucking me into a swirl of busy-ness, away from the relative peace of the summer. Admittedly, much of this activity has been fun: a wonderful boat trip on the St. Lawrence River and exploration of the Thousand Islands region of Ontario and New York; a trip to the DC area for a wedding and a delightful visit with friends; a short but sweet visit with daughter Sarah, who was in the wedding; and a quick lunch with son Gordon in Lexington, Va. where he is attending law school. Nonetheless, the inbox is filling up with reminders of places I need to be, articles I need to read, meetings I need to attend, etc; and I am finding less and less time to write this blog and less and less time to pay attention to living with to eat, think, relax, supplement, medicate.

Today I was ENCOURAGED, even compelled, to write because I pledged that I would blog today for The Army of Women, which I wrote about in a previous post. I am struck by what a powerful vehicle the Internet is for sharing important information quickly and efficiently. What a boon for organizations such as this Army, which needs to recruit nationwide, one million women of all ages, ethnicities, health stages, and locales, to help in the research to find the causes of breast cancer.

So...please consider joining this effort. If you do, you will hear about research projects which you might be eligible to participate in. However, signing up for the Army does NOT obligate you in any way. There is no cost to join, and they are not asking for donations. They just want women to sign up to hear about the studies and possibly decide to participate in one or more. A study might involve nothing more than filling out a questionnaire, or it might involve giving a blood sample. In any event, YOU decide whether to participate.

Now, about using the internet - if you sign up, please tell others. If you are on Facebook, update your status by writing: "I signed up to STOP breast cancer before it STARTS. Have you? Join today at , then copy and paste this status update as your own." Because I am such a neophyte blogger and computer-use-challenged, I cannot seem to insert the PSA video which I want to share. If you are interested, go to and search for Army of Women. There is a great video with Susan Sarandon narrating which I would like everyone to see.

A final note: I have finished chemo, and my hair is growing back - all gray so far - but my eyebrows and eyelashes have disappeared here at the very last minute. I start radiation on October 11. This will last for six weeks and involve going to the Cancer Center for a brief "zap" every week day. I feel just fine, and I am interested in this next phase of treatment. I gather that I may have a bit of a tough time with burning, since I had a mastectomy rather than lumpectomy, and there is less tissue to absorb the radiation. Most folks with lumpectomies do not have as much burning. I guess I can stand a couple of weeks of burning and itching. I was signing a release form concerning the radiation on Monday, and I noted that the reason for radiation, stated in the form, was "to prevent recurrence of breast cancer." I jokingly said I would sign to have the treatment, if the doctor would sign to guarantee that outcome. The nurse/technician did not think that was funny...or else she just was not accustomed to people making jokes about cancer and death rays. And on that note, I end this epistle.

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