Updated: Nov 10, 2019
Guest Blogger, Cora (@boobambassador on
Instagram), weaves a delightful yarn dealing with the myriad issues of Breast Cancer. What follows is a collection of, and/or excerpts of, blogs that may help one navigate the rough waters of that most heinous diagnosis. You can find her blogs and vlogs here:
Scared is what you’re feeling. Brave is what you’re doing.” Emma Donoghue
Scared is what you’re feeling. Brave is what you’re doing.” Emma Donoghue
I’m human. Contrary to beliefs that I’m a Super Warrior chick (which I kind of am), I still struggle with a lot of things these days. Not sure if it’s post cancer angst, old age, menopause, or just the way the fecking stars are aligned. Which ever…..it’s been a funky week for me, and I needed to get that off my “foobs”/chest.
I woke up this morning with the thought that…..holy shite….it’s already half way through the year. Winter is coming!!!!!Reference to Game of Thrones for those of you that don’t watch it. But seriously…..I almost had a panic attack. Like….Christ on a bike…..I’m NOT ready for another Winter ALONE!!! My hopes for even a second date have been dashed….the dude has dropped off the face of the earth. Hopefully he hasn’t dropped off the face of a cliff in the White Mountains (which was the last text I got from him over a week ago as he set off to go hiking ). More likely, he met someone closer to where he lives….which is perfectly fine and TOTALLY understandable. Just wish he had the balls to drop me a text, and not just disappear. So…..back to the drawing board I go. Man, is it EXHAUSTING!! I may have to just throw in the towel, and join the Nunnery, because at this rate, I’m a born again virgin anyway!!! Plus another upside would be that there would be more help with schlepping in the wood!!!! LMArseO!!! Not EVER going to happen.
Now I know what your thinking. Cora…..be positive. Don’t wish or worry your life away. To which I would answer….tell me to be more positive than I already am 98% of the time…..and I will punch you in the head. Not literally. Figuratively….but there may be a wee slap if you were in front of me. Just a gentle one, because I love you.
And I work VERY hard at not worrying too much….but sometimes it gets the better of me. Like when I was in the shower this morning doing my self Breast exam (#Buddy2buddy)….low and fecking behold….Louise had what felt like a lump on the medial aspect of my foob. Can you say PUKE!!! Which I almost did. But after poking and feeling the shite out of her pretty much ALL day (in between patients of course)…..I have come to the conclusion that it is just a wrinkle in my implant that when in a certain position, feels like a small lump.
Menopause Ain’t for Sissies….
Holy crap….it happened again!! Not AS bad as the first time….but still disconcerting none the less. And in the bloody car AGAIN! I just got the heating fixed today. Should have left if stuck on arctic freeze instead!!
Figured this would be an appropriate time to share the FB post I wrote about the first time I experienced one of the joys of being a woman, to the people out in Blog land. Enjoy
So….a funny thing happened to me on me way to work this morning. Not funny “ha ha”, but funny “weird”! There I was, driving along, minding me own business, when all of a sudden…..me ears are on FIRE!! I mean….hot enough to fry a bloody egg..on fire !!! And I’m thinking…WTFeck! Am I having a reaction to my cancer fighting drug Tamoxifen (cause that’s the only medicine I’m taking).?? And that makes me panic slightly because then I’m up Shite creek without a paddle…or a way to fight my cancer. So I get to work, and start to take off me jacket & gloves (‘cause of course it’s cold enough outside to freeze the balls off a brass monkey ), and I recoil in fear and slight disgust at what I’m seeing in front of me!! I have this “rash” spreading up from me hands towards me shoulders . So now I’m thinking….Christ on a bike…..What. The. Feck. Is. Going. On!!!!! I solicit an opinion from my nice coworker….who upon taking one look at me….ever so briefly….steps back away from me. Which I don’t blame her…..because I looked slightly hideous. Or contagious. Or a combo of both . So….I’ll try to cut this ramble short, and say I made an appointment with a wonderful nurse practitioner in the clinic where I was working. But by the time I got in to see her…..my hideous bubonic plague like “rash”, had subsided to a rosy glow. Kind of like when you have something wrong with your car, and you go and tell the mechanic “there’s a clunk & a rattle”, and they look at you like you have ten heads and say “yah….right!” And the car behaves perfectly FINE for him. That’s how it was for me. BUT….we think we figured it out. It was most likely NOT a bad reaction to my cancer fighting drug (thank the Sweet Jesus!!!! ), but more likely a side effect of it…..my first HOT fecking FLASH!!! Welcome to almost 50 Cora!!!! Me Mum never told me about THIS!!! SO….if you are in my company, and all of a sudden me ears are glowing and hot enough to warm your hands on a cold day, and I develop a rash that spreads from my hands up to my shoulders….DO NOT BE ALARMED!!! Do not run in the opposite direction fearing for YOUR skins integrity. I am NOT contagious. I’m just having a fecking HOT FLASH with accompanying HEAT RASH!!
Ps…..not sure this post will help my dating prospects too much….what do you think. LMArseO. Carry on tribe. Hope you are having a lovely evening. I’ll shut up now
Dating at 50…..
With a Breast Cancer Diagnosis and Foobs to Boot……
Dating at any age can be interesting. But dating when you’ve turned 50, is like biking up Cadillac Mountain on a 3 speed. Slow and painful THEN you add the extra layer of breast cancer boob/foob stuff…..well then shit gets real! PLUS….when you live at the end of the universe, chance meetings are, well….few and far between.
So Match, or some such dating site is what we are left with. And let me tell ya…..I would rather be back at the Sisters of No Mercy getting beaten across the back of the head with a bible (true story)……than be on those sites. BUT…spending the rest of my days on this earth without that special man in my life, is NOT an option, so here I am. Cyber dating, and sucking at it.
Not that I haven’t met some VERY nice men on Match. Over the past 5 yrs (with a hiatus of a few years because of the cancer thing), I’ve been on approx 10 dates. First dates mind you. No one was horrible, but they were not “second date worthy” in my mind. That’s sounds pretty harsh once it’s written down…..but what I mean is that as nice as they were, I just didn’t want to waste anyone’s time (including my own) on pretending there was something there. I’ll know it when I see it. And at this time, I haven’t. Seen it.
Yes, There Is Such A Thing
Cancerversary , like a cancer experience, is unique. It is a milestone defined by you. It could be the day that a loved one was diagnosed. It might be your own last day of treatment. Or it might be several important dates that occur throughout someone’s cancer journey.
I’m on the last day of several that have caused me some angst this year. And they probably will for some years to come. April 21st, 22nd, and 23rd will ALWAYS stand out in my mind, as the days leading up to one of the most challenging of my life. Not THE most challenging (because I’ve had worse), but it’s definitely up there in the challenging scale. On a scale of 0 to 10……we are talking about a 7. My family dropping off like flies, that’s a 10. My husband divorcing me (at the same time as my house renovation was going on), that’s a 9. I guess, because of all those other challenges, cancer was a WEE bit easier for me to handle.
April 21st, 2015 I found my lump, or more accurately, my lump found me. Jumped right out at me when I went to free the girls at the end of a trying day. Wasn’t there in the morning when I put me bra on. April 22nd, was the day I got in to see my surgeon. I remember seeing her face when she examined me. I think we both knew it wasn’t just my “usual” cysts, as she performed a biopsy in her office. April 23rd, was the day she called me with the results. It didn’t come as a surprise. I think instinctively my body and mind knew, and were preparing to go in to fight mode. I remember her voice, and how very sad she sounded as she gave me the news. I actually felt worse for her than I did for myself. She had done EVERYTHING possible over the years that she had been monitoring my lumpy, bumpy, cyst filled Boobs, to NOT let me get to this moment. I wanted to reach down the phone, and hold her hand to let her know that this, this devastating news, did not break me. We formulated a plan for me to come in the next morning (even though it was her day off), and we would come up with my plan of care.
I also remember the feeling’s and thoughts that swept over me when I put down the phone and sat in my kitchen, alone. I believe the words “OH fuck” popped in to my mind first. Actually it was more like “FUCK, fuck fuck fuck fuck!” Then, it was like a sucker punch to me guts……how am I going to tell Sean that yet another sibling is so very sick. Now THAT almost broke me. Backstory for those who don’t already know, parents….dead. Brother, Gabriel…..dead of a heart attack at 44. Sister, Stephanie…..dead of a diabetic coma at 53 (after surviving a breast cancer diagnosis at 50). Brother, Stephen…..barely alive after being on life support in January of 2015. You get the picture, right. But the thing was, my brother Sean had JUST left Ireland for a 4 day vacation to France with one of my cousins. And I sure as shite, was NOT going to ruin that for him. My cancer would still be there on Monday when he got home. And I would have a concrete plan of action by then also. So, I waited until then to tell him.
In the meantime, as I sat there with my thoughts and my kitty cat, I knew I needed my friends. I knew I couldn’t bare the burden of this news alone. So my friends Chandra, Stephanie, and Tamara came to my home and “circled the wagons” so to speak. They wrapped me in as much love and comfort as they could. I’m not sure they know how MUCH that meant to me. I needed them SO VERY much that night. And as always. They were there for me. As was my friend Dave and his new girlfriend Jen, who had been diagnosed with breast cancer the year before me. I called Dave to let him know the news, and even though I had not met Jennifer, she wanted to come with me to my Drs appointment the next day, to help me navigate through all the information that would be coming at me. Her act of kindness is what has inspired me to reach out to newly diagnosed women……to be their “Jennifer” at such a devastating time. To pay it forward to the breast cancer community.
I’m writing this blog post at approximately 3am. Sleep has eluded me over the past 3 days, but I know it will get better once Tuesday comes. In the meantime, I will sit with the pain (as the Buddhists teach), because trying to deny its existence will make it come out sideways. I won’t wallow in it. I’ll just let it wash over me, and then continue my journey forward. So if you happen to see me today, and I’m slightly out of sorts, a hug would be appreciated. But just knowing that my tribe has always had my back through this shit storm…….that’s been priceless. And healing. And what’s given me the strength to get through it.
I think I might be able to get some sleep now……maybe.