Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Things I've learned

You know how when you buy a white car you suddenly notice how many people have white cars? Breast cancer is the same way. Geez, does everybody have breast cancer or know someone who does? Yes. The answer is yes.

And apparently there's a lot a person needs to know to deal with this all (sadly, get the #@%& out of town for treatment was one of the things I learned--note the lag time between "feel a lump" and "Yep, that's cancer"; 25 days.)

So here's my thoughts with this blog... 1) it's my therapy. Yes, it's incredibly self-absorbed but hey it's better than bombarding people with emails about my "right breast 10 o'clock." And it's a better way to update those who might actually care (occasionally, no one is going to care daily!) and aren't squeamish; 2) if anyone else has been through the experience and is willing to share advice, stories, encouragement this is as good a place as any, I imagine (the waiting room at UCLA Medical Center seems a little tense!) so please pass this along to anyone who might be willing to share/ add comments and keep me informed; 3) good lord there is a lot of misinformation out there on mammograms, self-exams and breast cancer in general. If folks only knew the difference between catching it early and not (it's the difference between lumpectomy and masectomy and "chemo-lite" and well, not so light; and that's just for starters!), I assume that those of you who have said to me "I guess I should schedule that mammogram I've been putting off" (you know who you are) might actually do it. So I'll share what I learn and what women should know about this. I caught mine by self-exam (although, truly, Chris deserves and wants some of the credit for the ahem, "exam"). Show the girls some love, ladies.

I'm super early in this whole process. And so far I've only bought two books (and read half of each; Love "Cancer Vixen" by Marisa Acocella Marchetto...who I think is Italian...) and talked to 2 surgeons, 4 radiologoists, a hospital administrator, several cancer survivors, and a whole host of "I had friend who..." folks. I'll sift through and share the good stuff. You do the same.


  1. Hey, did you by chance see that movie on Lifetime with Sarah Chalk called "Why I wore Lipstick to my Mastectomy"? That was a really good movie. Not all depressing, and kinda came to mind when you got all of us up to speed the rules and regulations of being "in the loop'. Check it out!

  2. I saw the book as I was planted in the "health" section of Border's (and hey, was it me or were people really looking at me like they might catch something??). The book seemed a little more whiney than I wanted. Of course she was 27--so totally entitled to whine!!

  3. The movie was really good, though. I've not read the book, and if I saw there was one, I'm the one to watch the movie instead. Very funny at times. Sad when it needed to be (I mean,'s cancer) But, yeah, she's young...but the movie was great. They totally used "humor" to get the story across. She's the one narrating the story, so you know her thoughts on all the nonsense and epiphanies. So much like your situation as I see it. Professional woman, found a lump in the shower, went through the whole "treatment plan" with her husband and family. Saw several doctors who kept telling her "It's really your choice what you want to do...". It was so informative, but not in a serious "you might not blink" sort of way. I think you should see it. I think you'll be able to relate to an extent. Anyway, just a suggestion.

  4. I will check it out. I may have a little time to watch movies sometime in the near future!


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