Posted by: Sarah | April 18, 2008

Positive and Negative

I’d intended to post about my 6-month checkup at the oncologist’s the other day (the first one to date that I didn’t panic about for weeks or months preceding!), but it was going to be pretty boring anyway. Yeah, healthy is boring. Isn’t that nice? 🙂

But instead I’m going to post a bit of a grumble.

As y’all are likely aware, I have one of the breast cancer genetic mutations. Specifically, I have BRCA1. There’s not a lot of non-technical books out there about BRCA gene mutations — mostly just passages in a book about the general topic of breast cancer — so when I caught wind of a memoir by a woman in her 30s who finds out that she is BRCA+, I got all kinds of excited to read it. I even pre-ordered it on amazon.

And it kind of wasn’t great. In fact, it annoyed me quite a lot. Constant name-dropping aside (sorry, but your average breast cancer patient or BRCA+ folk doesn’t get to write a piece for the New York Times OpEd page due to their connections), the DITHERING, oh the dithering. She carried on for most of the book about what a difficult choice it was, having a prophylactic mastectomy.

Look, I know. I get it. Trust me, I wasn’t remotely overjoyed to have to have a bilateral mastectomy (which, actually, was in part a prophylactic one, as the cancer was only in one breast, so I chose to sacrifice my other breast). I had a lot of trouble with the idea and still feel more than the occasional “this really isn’t fair” grumbly feelings about having to have had a mastectomy. But you know what? IT SAVED MY LIFE. So, for me, I don’t understand why someone would have a hard time with making a decision between their life and their stupid breasts.

So, if you’re getting the idea that I kinda didn’t like the book, you’re right.

I went to the book’s page on amazon to get the author’s name for a friend, and while there, noticed that the significant bulk of customer reviews were glowing. I mean absolutely 5-star, glorious, better than the Bible kind of reviews. Naturally, being the punk that I am, I wrote a not glowing review.

And it got deleted. Because I was criticizing the author and not the book itself. But, amazon hastened to tell me in their email responding to my “what the…?” inquiry, they still care about free speech.

Mmm-hmmm. Right.

Anyhow, don’t buy that book, and if you do, certainly don’t buy it from amazon.

p.s. happy sixth anniversary to me and Tom! well, in a few more days.

Posted by: Sarah | March 14, 2008

Diagnosiversary #3

It’s hard for me to believe that it was only three years ago today that I got my breast cancer diagnosis. We didn’t know it at the time, but it turned out that I was already cancer-free at the time of the diagnosis, the lumpectomy having gotten all the nasty cancer bits out of me, even before the bilateral mastectomy and chemo got going. Nonetheless, I’ll continue to mark my Diagnosiversary and celebrate another year as a Survivor. Three years!

On a related note, the results of two separate studies were released on the eve of my Diagnosiversary (here and here), two studies that give me (and many others) hope that the Cure is really, truly, a possibility in the near future. Since we learned that I do have the breast cancer genetic mutation BRCA1 and that I may have passed it on to our sons, I have said to Tom that I feel very strongly that our sons will not have to worry about becoming the fifth generation in our family to have breast cancer, that by the time they are old enough (they must be 18 to decide) to consent to genetic testing there will be some gene therapy available to suppress the mutation from doing unpleasant cancer business. and…well, even for a non-Scientista such as myself, I feel that these new studies show that I really might not be too far off-base. Huzzah!

Posted by: Sarah | March 6, 2008

Leftover Hormones

Editor’s note: THIS IS NOT A CANCER POST.

Seriously, I had such a bad case of The Rage yesterday that I was half-wondering to myself if the surgeons REALLY did take out my ovaries ’cause damn if that wasn’t some bad PMS yesterday.

To begin with, our microwave died yesterday morning. This actually isn’t all that sad because — like most things regarding the kitchen in this house — I’m not a fan of this particular microwave. But when it thumps and makes a horrible grinding noise and starts to smell like an electrical fire AND doesn’t heat the food inside it? I think it’s safe to say it’s time to go replace it.
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Posted by: Sarah | February 29, 2008

Happy Leap Year!

It’s been a chilly February and the boys and I are getting a little stir-crazy. But we still managed to have a handful of noteworthy events as we near the end of First Quarter ’08:

  • the boys started up with swimming lessons at the University (they couldn’t do it for the fall semester because of Alexander’s broken collarbone. Did I mention he broke his collarbone last September? He did. So he’s our first broken bone of the twins; a month later, Thomas fell and cut his scalp open on an exposed door hinge and needed stitches. Urgent Care was plenty tired of seeing us last fall, I tell you). They LOVE “fimmin’ lessons.” I don’t love the fact that the University pool got a leak and has been closed for the past week, though. Grrr.
  • Tom’s Volvo had been starting to get cranky and it was getting increasingly annoying that no mechanics in our small town were willing to try to work on a scary Foreign Car like the Volvo. Long story short (too late!), we found a lovely Toyota Highlander that was previously owned by the matriarch of one of the local grocery stores. The boys keep asking to go for rides in Daddy’s new car.
  • I registered the boys for pre-K starting in the fall. It’s not 100% that they’ll be going yet, but I was 14th in line (and there’s some 90-odd spaces for kids, apparently), so i thiiiink we have a good shot at it. It’s going to be so fantastic: 8:45 ’til just after lunch, Monday through Friday, and they’ll ride the bus! I’m a little worried about how they’ll do on the bus, but the pre-K teachers say that only pre-K kids ride on this bus, and the teachers ride with them, too. Nonetheless, my boys finally getting to ride a school bus? Their heads might just explode from the excitement.
  • my braces came off (on purpose)! Yep, I’m free!!

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Posted by: Sarah | February 3, 2008

Tickled Pink

Last week, we went to the Tickled Pink event on campus. It’s called “a global, unified effort for the WBCA nation of coaches to assist in raising breast cancer awareness on the court, across campuses, in communities and beyond” (WBCA being Women’s Basketball Coaches Association). Anyhow, everyone is supposed to wear pink in support, and here it was co-sponsored by the hospital. They offered me free tickets, and we said, sure, why not?

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Posted by: Sarah | January 20, 2008

Does Contrast Expire?

I got into a major cleaning fit this weekend. I was cleaning out the fridge when, at the back, I found a bottle of the God-Awful contrast you drink before a CAT/CT scan.  Check it out, lurking in the shadows like it’s about to pop out and mug you.

Actually, at my cruel Cancer Diagnostic Center, they make you drink a whole bottle and then a third of a second bottle. And they never ever have the mythical “flavored” contrast, which is rumored to be far more palatable than this junk.No, wait, I did once have some flavored contrast. It was something like Bouncy Bananas and it was still fairly horrific-tasting. The good news there was that, for some reason, the Bouncy Bananas flavor came in one little 6 oz. container (compared to the seemingly enormous VAT of unflavored contrast) and they only make you drink one. Huh.

Returning to the fridge portion of my story, however, I should note that I nearly threw out the contrast in a fit of pie-in-the-sky optimism (both “they’ll surely have flavored contrast in stock the next time I need a CT/CAT scan!” and “that is, IF I ever need a CT/CAT scan again!” [i will, surely, at least to check]). Then I didn’t because I have a hard time parting with the lid to the container of peanuts, let alone a bottle of perfectly-chilled contrast.

Back to the original question.  Apparently, contrast does expire and the one in my fridge will expire in November of this year. But at least the bottle is recyclable, so it’s got that going for it.

Posted by: Sarah | January 7, 2008

Hello 2008

While not entirely unexpected, it still was a disappointment when the Health Insurance Company sent a letter saying that, after all due consideration, they don’t see a need for them to approve a medically-necessary gym membership.  Okay, because there’s not enough proof that regular weight-bearing exercise helps 30(s)-year-old women with osteoporosis.  Whatever.

Posted by: Sarah | November 6, 2007

Dem Bones

I have found a plus to having osteoporosis in your 30s:  your doctor will “prescribe” you to join a gym*!  And maybe even the gym membership will be covered by the flexible medical expenses plan (as it’s a medical necessity).

On the other hand, this means I have no more excuses.  I finally found a gym with a childcare center (why did every other place in town look at me as if I had three heads whenever I asked about childcare? I cannot be the only one in town who needs childcare to go to the stupid gym.  In fact, I know I’m not. But I digress.) and I like the yoga classes and I have a cutie running skirt that is actually pretty awesome to run on the treadmill in, buuuut….getting out the door every other day or so is going to be the rough part.

Please note that the doctor agreed last week to write the note and I still haven’t gone down to the gym to join up.  Hopefully I will manage that before Thanksgiving.

In other news, the Red Sox won the World Series again (!!) and therefore I am pretty insufferable to be around at the moment, what with all the celebratory hollerin’ and cheering and singing I’m doing.

* because weight-bearing exercise helps strengthen bones, which even science-type folks agree on, so quit asking me why it would help, Tom, and just accept it!!

Posted by: Sarah | October 19, 2007

I Have Returned!

As promised, I’m back again…THIS MONTH AND EVERYTHING…to post again.

First, here’s a photo of the current State of the Hair.  We took this, courtesy the super-fabulous camera remote you can see in Thomas’ hand, just this morning.  We are all wearing our Red Sox shirts in celebration of the Sox not getting eliminated from the ALCS last night.  I am a little ‘stitious* and noticed that whenever we wore our Red Sox things the day of a game, Very Bad Things happened to the Sox.  So instead, I held off on any Sox-wear until an off-day.  Tricky, no?

Anyhoodles, you’ll also notice in the photo that I’m sporting that delightful non-smile due to braces.  I’ve had the things on since March and still haven’t worked out how to smile so that I don’t look like a migraine is coming on.  (oh and the latest on the braces is that I’ve got at least another month of them).

In other news, I had a buncha tests (bone scan, bone density scan, fun whatnot like that) done at the end of September, beginning of October and we’re all still NED (No Evidence of Disease), so that’s great, but they’ve also found that the anti-osteoporosis meds that Sally Field shills have not been doing their job.  In other words, my bone density has not improved in the year that I’ve been on the Boniva junk.  So they are switching me to a twice-a-year IV anti-osteo med, starting next week.  I’m pretty happy about it, despite being a Boniva Failure, for two reasons:  1) for one Boniva pill once a month? they get $30. For one pill.  2) the 20 minutes it’ll take for the IV med to be given means I will have enough peace and quiet to finish nearly two Sudoku puzzles.

And, lastly, Mom is coming here for Christmas this year, which we are all very excited about.  My stepdad, Ray (Meg’s father) passed away last month, peacefully.  We didn’t want her being all lonely for Christmas out in Arizona, but due to our strong suspicions that flying with our boys on a commercial aircraft might get us booted off said commercial aircraft, she is coming to us instead of us going to Arizona to be with her.  It’ll be a Nana-tastic Christmas!

* thank you, Michael Scott of Dunder-Mifflin 

Posted by: Sarah | October 7, 2007

Post Pink for the Cure

Hey Flickr Folk….

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Yahoo! is donating $1 to Susan G. Komen for the Cure for each pink photo added to the Flickr Passionately Pink for the Cure pool up to $50,000. Add your photos now!

I owe an update; at the very least to show how much my hair has grown.  I’ll have to come back soon — I promise.

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