Once upon a pre-breast cancer time, a physician paid me a high compliment. “You do better breast exams than most doctors,” he said. And I think he was right. Every month I performed the same ritual: a thorough breast self-exam, including the look-at-your-breasts-in-the-mirror test. Although I always dreaded the idea of something possibly being wrong, I examined my breasts thoroughly and regularly. Until a breast self exam … Continue reading the story "Re-Acquainting Myself With the Breast Self Exam"
Post Archives tagged ‘chemotherapy’
Pre-cancer, I was sturdy, strong, resilient. I reached far into the sky, living the myth that mortality was far, far away, especially since I took excellent care of my body. Like many young people, I believed I wouldn’t have to confront death for a long time. I had incredible amounts of energy and an amazing memory, and I was in excellent physical shape, being an avid … Continue reading the story "Aging Ungracefully"
“I’m quitting chemo,” I said, halfway through my treatments. “Are you looking for someone to tell you not to quit?” “No, I’m done.” “Well, I’m telling you that you are not quitting chemo.” *** This phone conversation took place between me and my oncology nurse Ann a day after I returned from the hospital. I had been rushed to the emergency room because of a high fever and constant … Continue reading the story "My Oncology Nurse"
Chemobrain is real. Ask any patient receiving or who has received chemotherapy. Some of us recover fully from the cognitive dysfunction resulting from toxic chemicals dripped into our bodies. Others do not. And some, like me, recover a bit after treatment but never seem to quite regain their mental sharpness and stamina and focus. For me, chemobrain has been a sad, frustrating reminder of cancer. … Continue reading the story "Chemobrain: War, Then Peace"
Before undergoing chemotherapy, I was understandably terrified. The nurse gave me some written materials on chemotherapy in advance of the first treatment. But these readings only provided facts; they didn’t prepare me emotionally for what was to come, nor did they address my fears or calm me down. This is the case for many, … Continue reading the story "Book Review: Getting Past the Fear"
I wrote this poem when I found out I was infertile from chemotherapy treatments. It was also time when many people I knew were pregnant and went on to give birth. “Infertile Crescent” The moon’s always full, but I’m a gaping crater, mother of all craters, where crates of eggs used to be. Grief grates on me. I won’t feel an unborn child’s kick. Instead I’ve been kicked in the face. And my chemo-atrophied … Continue reading the story "A Poem to Celebrate National Poetry Month"
Validation This is what many cancer patients and survivors will feel while reading the excellent book Your Brain After Chemo: A Practical Guide to Lifting the Fog and Getting Back Your Focus. Written by Dan Silverman, MD, PhD, and award-winning journalist and breast cancer survivor Idelle Davidson, this book validates what cancer patients and survivors have … Continue reading the story "Book Review: Your Brain After Chemo"