Category Archives: Cancer Blogs

Just What The Doctor (didn’t) Ordered

It’s official. Chemo is OVER! And I must admit, it was very anti-climactic. While something as momentous as this period in my life feels like it should be heralded as a rebirth, a moment to exhale, to celebrate the spirit of the fight, it was just another day in the chair hooked up to the whir of the IV poison going in my port. Oh well. That’s why I planned this huge family trip to Tuscany. I needed something to look forward to the past 5 months of feeling like crap. I need to hear that trumpet in my own heart, if not that of my family. So against the wishes of my oncologist, and after having to push it back a week to allow of my unexpected expander replacement and lavage, we were off!

I’m normally the kind of traveler that can’t sit still. I don’t really care for the beach, and the idea of vacation where you sit on the beach all day sounds like a form of torture to me. But this vacation I planned with a somewhat-out-of-the-way historic farmhouse in the somewhat-out-of-the-way historic Garfagnana region on Tuscany. Surrounded by panoramic views of the foothills of the Alps with an infinity pool and a home that dates back to the 18th century (but foundation much older), we didn’t leave the property for the first 3 days. I cooked. We picked and ate cherries straight off the tree. It was glorious. And peaceful. And calm…. And for the first time since November 15, 2013, after hearing the words “we found a mass, and it’s going to be cancer”, I remember who I used to be.

This is what relaxation looks like.

This is what relaxation looks like.

Staying shady

Great trips start with London


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Filed under breast cancer, Cancer Blogs, chemo, life, travel

Good Old Post…Er, Mail

The last week has brought me many surprises in the mail. I recently find myself often calling it “post” by habit of hanging out with Brits all the time, not to mention the fact that “post” works in a handful of European languages, which makes for a really handy shortcut when living in a country with three offical languages (not including English, spoken at least as often as the others). I try not to use it back in the US, as it inevitably sounds snooty. (I slip from time to time and use one of these “continental English” words, giving my family much ammunition for teasing!) But today it is appropriate because calling it something a little different makes it sound special – which is just what I want to say.

First came the little “giveaway prize” from Sherry over at abreastintheworld. A baggie full off goodies to cheer my day, for no reason but to be thoughtful. Sometimes I forget how nice it is to get real mail! Then today Del and I got the nicest surprise package from my soon-to-be sister and brother-in-law: a wedding planning guide! It’s a super book great for those just starting on the whole process and we were both touched at the gesture!

But most of all, last week the post brought the surprise of the perhaps nicest letter I have ever received. There was no name on the envelope. We’d just come in from a long day of ring shopping (whopee!) and I ripped it open sure to find some medical form letter or perhaps a nice card that I could read while I took my winter gear off. But tucked inside was a 5 page letter! And I began to read…

At the end of the first lovely page, about the time I was thinking, “Who in the world is this?” she said, “I bet you’re wondering just who the heck this is!” It was from a woman who reads the blog. We do have some connection to each other, a “friend of a friend” so to speak. First she said lovely things about reading Killer Boob everyday and then went on to explain that because she reads here she knows so much about me, and she thought she would share some in return.

I finished the letter cozied up on the sofa with a cup of tea. I cannot say how much her letter touched me. This woman shared some very personal experiences and thoughts and I was very deeply moved by her own fascinating story and I am so honored at her decision to share it with me. Del came back in the room to find me sniffling heavily.

Most of the loyal readers are a mystery to me. I see the numbers but I have no idea who most of you are. You log in day after day, quietly reading, supporting and caring. Every once in a while someone I know will shyly say in a moment off to the side, “you know…I read your blog.” And I am always surprised and sincerely touched. This letter somehow gave body to that feeling for me. It made tangible the conversation that I never get to have with most of you, the one in which I get to receive the gift of your story too. The one in which I get to support you back.

There are so many interesting lives reading here today that I don’t know about in return. Many lives much more interesting than my own. Yet for some reason you give of your time and your caring to come here and follow mine. It’s hard to give back to you all what you give to me in this gesture, but I want to say thank you, a really…real…thank you.

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Filed under breast cancer, Cancer Blogs, in praise of true friends, life

Good Reading

Today a weekend pop-in here just to suggest some really good reading. WhyMommy has been doing a series of posts about how to help a friend with cancer. It’s not your average vague suggestion to “make yourself available”; she’s done several posts now, all full of concrete and detailed advice and suggestions from someone who knows. I couldn’t have said any of it better (or perhaps even nearly as well) myself. If you now someone with any kind of cancer, give it a read. If not, bookmark it for later. (I don’t mean at all to sound morbid, but chances are good you’ll want to know it someday – because surely you’re the type of friend who would want to help!). Well done, WhyMommy!

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Filed under breast cancer, Cancer Blogs, in praise of true friends