So today I’m 31.
A few years ago I would have thought 31 looked much differently than it does today. A few years ago, if somebody had told me that by the age of 31 I would have cancer, be divorced, live in Florida, have a DOG (as a former crazy cat-lady), and be as hairless as a dolphin…. I would have said, Hey FUCK YOU, that sounds really awful! But honestly, it’s the best time I’ve ever had in my life and I don’t regret anything that has happened. The past few years have seemingly been laced with unfortunate events that have created my most fortunate, grateful self yet.
So I’ll share with you a few pieces of advice that I have learned along the way. I’m OLD and WISE now, right?!
Live your life for you, and nobody else.
Just a few years ago, I was a very different person in a very different point in my life. I was married to a man who I, unfortunately, lived my life for. Everything in my life; from my hair color to my job, revolved around him and making decisions that were best for “us.” It was just what I thought you were supposed to do when you’re married. And when the marriage went to shit, I felt as though I was stranded. I was on an island alone by myself because I had built my life around another person.
No, my advice is not to “never get married” because, whatever, you can do what you want. My advice is to live your life for YOU and nobody else. Don’t loose sight of your own goals and your own happiness. Don’t become that “we” couple. Be independent, travel alone, make weird friends, quit your job, start your own business, dye your hair green, and please never ever once think about what your husband or boyfriend might think. If they are the right person for you, then they will will allow you to be yourself completely.
I cringe at today’s obsession over marriage now. I’m jaded. I know. But ladies let’s stop being so thirsty for that perfect fucking wedding that we’re willing to shrug off the fact that that the groom may actually suck at life.
Truthfully, I’ve learned that when I look like shit, I feel like shit. Some days I need to remind myself that just a few short months ago after my double mastectomy, I couldn’t even get out of bed without assistance. I couldn’t lift my arms up to wash my face. I had an excuse to look like crap. Today, I don’t have an excuse. So I wake up, shower, and put on makeup, clothes and a wig or scarf, even if I know I’m not leaving the house. Why? Because it makes me feel good. Also, what if the house started on fire and I had to run outside with a robe and a bald head? (HELL NO)
Health is wealth.
There are some days when I am literally stopped in my tracks by this sudden realization: Nothing hurts… no stomach ache, headache, bone pain, fever, infection, or bandages! Savor your good days and your good health. Take care of yourself and listen to your body. Exercise, eat healthy, drink lots of water.
Toughen the fuck up.
Expect the best but prepare for the worst. Toughen up. Be brave because shit is inevitably going to go wrong somewhere in your life. I used to be very emotional; like if I burnt toast, I might cry. Crying and worrying are as beneficial as a white crayon.
Comparison robs us of joy.
I used to compare myself to everyone. Ok I still do a little (don’t we all?), but it’s not nearly as bad! My clothes, my jewelry, my handbags, my car. I sized myself up to other people. I looked at other women and their fabulous handbags, manicured lawns and personal trainers and I wanted that. Then one day a few years ago I asked myself “Why do I want that?” and I didn’t have a real answer. I actually decided to cleanse my life of the material possessions I owned. I sold all my expensive jewelry like David Yurman and Tiffany’s. Then I just started just giving my shit away. I gave away stuff like Gucci handbags, designer sunglasses, expensive dresses and nice shoes to friends and family because I really just didn’t want it. IT FELT SO GOOD. I still love all those fancy, sparkly, designer extravagances, but now I have less of it and I appreciate it more. Less is more 🙂
So goodbye 30. You were a really fun but fucked-up year. Cheers to 31, and I’m looking forward to a year that is hopefully drama free!
Chemo for Christmas
So I haven’t wrote on my blog in a while, since my last chemo. I had my 2nd to last chemo on Monday (yesterday) and I have to say I’m feeling it pretty hard today. My doctor warned me that the last two chemo treatments will be the worst. My last one is on December 21, so I can expect to have a not-so-jolly Christmas. YAY. But I’m not delaying anything, To quote Clark Griswold (he gets me) from the movie Christmas Vacation:
“Where do you think you’re going? Nobody’s leaving. Nobody’s walking out on this fun, old-fashioned family Christmas. No, no. We’re all in this together. This is a full-blown, four-alarm holiday emergency here. We’re gonna press on, and we’re gonna have the hap, hap, happiest Christmas since Bing Crosby tap-danced with Danny fucking Kaye. And when Santa squeezes his fat white ass down that chimney tonight, he’s gonna find the jolliest bunch of assholes this side of the nuthouse.”
Also, my parents are coming here on the 22nd so there’s no way I’m backing out of Christmas shenanigans! With only ONE MORE CHEMO LEFT, I have to say; the hot flashes are epic, my anxiety is erratic, my stomach, appetite, and emotions are all unpredictable, and the headaches are the worst I’ve ever had, but I DON’T CARE I’M ALMOST DONE!
It’s like they say, every cloud has it’s silver lining; or always look on the bright side. No, it’s like sorting through 100 pounds of hand-me-down-clothes because you know there’s a perfect vintage Chanel bag in there somewhere. Basically, what I’m saying is that I endured these past 6 months with a positive mindset because I know it will all be worth it when it’s all over. So for now I’ll keep my head held high and say “Fuck you chemo, Fuck you cancer, you’re not ruining my Christmas spirit!”
So I have cancer. Now what?
Once you’re diagnosed with cancer, you probably have the insatiable urge to Google everything about your new condition. That’s fine, I did it too. I mean, I even DEEP Googled like 13 pages into my search, scouring obscure blogs from 2007 with any insights. For me, it was a coping mechanism and something that sort of calmed me down. I wanted to know all the horrific details that may or may not happen to me. That brings me to why I created this blog… there’s a lot of bullshit out there. If you’re looking for trustworthy facts, stick with the websites that end in .gov and .org.
There is not a lot out there on the Internet that prepared me for this. Cancer is a disease that typically affects an older generation, and those people also not the type to blog about it. My grandfather is a cancer survivor (colon) and I am pretty sure he doesn’t know the first thing about creating a blog. He might not even know what a blog is, actually.
Ha-ha, little did I know eating would be the last thing on my mind when I woke up from surgery. The only thing I can think of is the pain. In the recovery area the nurse asks me what my pain level is on a 1-10 scale. I can barely speak, talking actually hurts. Breathing hurts. I mumble that it’s a 12 and she immediately gives me some sort of injection in my IV to help me out.
The first night in the hospital, my boyfriend Jeff stayed with me in my room. I vaguely remember watching “Minions” on his laptop. I was on a lot of drugs. The first time I had to get up to go to the bathroom I threw up in my little puke bucket. Fun times!
But, it does get better. It always does. By the second day I was feeling much better. My parents and Jeff alternated keeping me company in my room, and I was feeling good enough to eat some Chick Fil-a! Yaaassss!
Six days after surgery I was up walking around and I even went to the beach with my sister (for about 15 minutes because it was hot as Satan’s balls out). Don’t push your recovery though and expect to be Superwoman. You still can’t drive, shower, or cook for yourself, so sit your ass down on the couch and enjoy this time. You’re also going to still have drains, which severely limit your life. I mean, you have open holes in the side of your chest with tubes sewn into them and they’re extremely susceptible to infection.
The mastectomy was definitely the hardest part of this whole process so far. If you can make it through that–and trust me you’ll make it–you can make it through anything. Plus you’re on your way to some new boobies! For more info on having a mastectomy see my Mastectomy Survival Guide.
How it all started.
We will start in April 2015. So I have a lump in my right boob. It’s small; it feels about the size of a grape. The thing is, that I’ve HAD this lump for a while, about a year and a half. I first noticed it in the summer of 2013 and back then it was the size of a pea. My gynecologist said to not worry about it, I was 28 and had no family history of cancer but nonetheless she referred me to have a sonogram of the little pea in my boob. The sonogram couldn’t even detect the lump so they said “See ya in a year!” and I was off. During that year and a half time, I had a pretty rough personal journey starting with me leaving my husband of 5 years who was having an affair, then moving, and getting divorced. More on that later (maybe) but even though it sucked at first, it really was a great time of personal rediscovery and new found freedom. During that time I probably partied a little bit too much, worked a little bit too much, and cared a little bit LESS about everything. I noticed the lump was growing, but I thought “I’m too young to get cancer and I’m too overwhelmed to deal with it right now.” It wasn’t until the encouragement of my boyfriend Jeff that I went to a breast surgeon to get the lump removed. The doctor felt the lump, looked at my sonograms, and said he was about 98% sure it was a fibroadenoma but because it was growing, it should probably come out. So I scheduled surgery — it was considered an incisional biopsy, not a lumpectomy — for May 7. A few days later, on May 11, 2015, sometime in the afternoon the doctor called me with carefully chosen words. He was hesitant, “I don’t know how else to tell you this. The pathology report showed that the mass we removed was… Cancer… I’m so sorry”
Complete shock/horror/self pity.
“[Crying] Oh my God, what am I going to tell my parents? Why me? CANCER, SERIOUSLY GOD? Am I going to die? How sad is my life! Divorce followed by cancer, people are not going to fucking believe this and how tragic my life has become. My life is pitiful.”
“Ok it’s not that bad. It’s just stage one. I barely have cancer. I basically don’t have cancer. I mean, they got it all out in the surgery right. I’m FINE and nobody will even know.”
“Seriously. Why the fuck is this happening to me. I just went through a Hellish divorce, and now I have fucking cancer. What did I do to deserve this shitty of a life. I’m a good fucking person, I even donate monthly to the Humane Society for God’s sake! FUCK FUCK FUCK.”
“I am a strong woman, I can do this. Anything God puts in front of me I’m going to overcome it like the bad-ass BETCH I am. Lance Armstrong won 5 Tour de France titles with one ball, I can beat cancer with no boobs! Cancer you’ve met your match! Let the battle begin!”