Just hitting the week mark before M-day – Dec. 10th. I overscheduled myself with activities this week and find that being busy has occupied my mind enough to settle my fears of the unknown just a bit; however, I have had to deal with the reality of the situation here and there.
Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving, I had to have a bilateral, diagnostic mammogram and wait for the results. They stated everything looked fine and that they couldn’t see anything out of the ordinary for a lumpectomy. This day was also my father’s birthday, and I had completely forgotten. Totally unlike me but my father said he completely understood, noting that I am going through an awful lot right now.
Anyway, while there I was sitting in the lounge in the white terry cloth robe they give you to wear waiting for my turn. I was seated next to two women in their 50s/early 60s. They stated they gather a group of 3-4 of them and go to have their mammograms done every year. I commended them on their effort to go together simply for the moral support. One woman stated to me they had to practically drag her as she saw no reason to have it done since it wasn’t in her family.
I read an article just a couple of weeks ago that 85% of all breast cancers are completely random, meaning no family history. We hear it all the time from women, “[I]t doesn’t run in my family, so why did I get it?” This is one point I think all women, especially younger women, should be educated on. I realize I’m very special in being in the tiny minority of the already seriously genetically flawed with respect to breast cancer, but too many women believe if it isn’t in their family they have nothing to worry about. Our genes, cells and environments are changing all the time. I told the woman she shouldn’t sit so easy thinking it couldn’t strike her as it can hit anyone at random. Cancer doesn’t discriminate.
Another reality head-smack happened yesterday when I decided on my lunch hour to venture to the lingerie shop my doctor’s office suggested to look at post-mastectomy garments and prosthetics. The whole experience felt uneasy and left me a little unhinged. I cried all the way back to my office and told my friend, Kim, over the phone last night that everything in me just wanted to call the whole thing (i.e, surgery) off. She said, “what are you going to do then, bury your head under a pillow, and then what?” I know I can’t do that and that I just need to get past the fear and mental blocks that are swirling around in my head. I know I need to move forward with getting this done, but I can’t deny the enormity of the situation nor pretend I’m not having a tough time dealing emotionally with it all. I can say that the part of me saying, “I got this, I’ll be okay,” is getting a little louder.
Click here to purchase tickets: http://austinpremieredecodingannieparker.eventbrite.com/
The Austin Premiere of Decoding Annie Parker brought to you by the Breast Cancer Resource Centers of Texas. This inspirational and informative evening will include a cocktail reception and Q&A panel discussion with the film’s screenwriter and director, Steve Bernstein.
PROCEEDS TO BENEFIT BCRC & BRCA GENE AWARENESS, INC.
DECODING ANNIE PARKER
Based on true events, this irreverent and heartwarming film tells the story of two women demonstrating extreme bravery as they individually challenge established beliefs about breast cancer. Annie Parker (Samantha Morton) is on intimate terms with the disease, having watched both her mother and sister succumb to it. When she herself is diagnosed and believing her disease is hereditary, she struggles to hold her family together while displaying remarkable will and spirit in the face of immeasurable odds. The film is also the story of Dr. Mary-Claire King, played by Helen Hunt, the Berkeley-based geneticist who struggled for funding and support from disbelieving colleagues until her discovery of the BRCA1 gene and its link to hereditary breast cancer forever changed the understanding of the disease. Director Steven Bernstein’s feature film deftly balances the seriousness of the situation with an all-too-human response – unpredictable demonstrations of grace and unexpected expressions of humor and wit even during the darkest of experiences. Featuring stellar performances by Morton, Hunt, and an outstanding supporting cast (Aaron Paul, Rashida Jones, Richard Schriff, Bradley Whitford, and Maggie Grace), Decoding Annie Parker pays tribute to one of the most important scientific discoveries of the 20th century and the people forever changed in its wake.
I’m officially a Pink Ribbon Cowgirl (http://pinkribboncowgirls.ning.com/ – a network for younger women who are survivors of breast cancer). Yeehaw! Time to cowgirl up!
Last night my girlfriends of 20+ years, Jenni, Beth and Kim (who I’ve known since high school), and I “partied like rock stars” at the New Order show. Afterward we met up with other friends and bar hopped until close. Didn’t get home until 4:00am. So glad to be feeling good! Danced, sweated and laughed our asses off! I think any residule chemo from this round got sweated out of me. It’s been a while since we did that. Was starting to feel like an old fart! Had a blast! Love you girls!!!
TGIF, and a better day at that. I’m feeling physically, mentally and emotionally better than the past few days. Any sick feeling has subsided. Just as with the actual storms we’ve had this week, the clouds have lifted. Looking forward to a night out with some of my girlfriends. We’re going to see New Order tonight at the Austin Music Hall (yes, we’re kickin’ it old school).
And in other news, sometime last week on a sleepless night around 3:00 am I decided to drive to Marble Falls to venture around the local Wal-mart (which is virtually the only thing open at the time of morning). Yeah, never got there. I’m driving down a dark stretch of Hwy 71 toward the Hwy 281 turn when I spot a small, orange kitten bouncing between the grass and weeds at the edge of the road. So, me being the good samaritan I am, I turned around and stopped to rescue the little guy (appeared to be around 6-9 weeks old, starved, thirsty and had obviously been dumped). At first, the little thing darts out at me so happy to see someone to help. But she was quickly scared by a passing car and jumped into some brush behind barbwired fencing. Mind you it’s pitch black on this rural, Texas highway. Nothing around but ranch land. It took me a good 30 mins to an hour to coax the scared, little thing out. Each time I got close to it another car would pass and scare her back into the brush. Eventually, after much meowing by the both of us, I captured her. It took another 30 mins just to coax her out of the car with some canned tuna.
Anyway, for days now I’ve had this damned kitten running around my house wreaking havoc. I swore to myself no more cats after my beloved Picasso died last year. I am perfectly happy with my two pups, Mo and Greta. Last night it came to a head when she broke a very nice vase of mine while she was running and jumping and playing. That was the last straw. So out she went. I put food and water out for her. Aside from my neighbor’s dog running her up a tree last night (and that is where she spent the entire night), I think she likes it outside. I was compassionate enough to check on her throughout the night. She was playing around on my front porch this morning except for the time she spent under my car, making me late to work. Hope she is still around when I get home tonight.
I did try several rescue groups but all are full up on cats and kittens. Unless anyone out there wants a cat–??? And maybe I’ve grown a little fond of the tiny, orange tabby, but I’m not willing to give up my home to a cat again. This is a sink or swim world! If she sticks around and doesn’t get eaten by a snake or something, she’ll have to be an outside cat! I’ve named her “Highway.” Seemed appropriate.