Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Hanging by my boobs...

First of all this is my one 100th post to this blog. Imagine the confetti and balloons. Now I can go into syndication. Right after Oprah.

I recently had my post treatment follow-up mammogram. I have to say, it was way more traumatic than I thought it would be. And also funny in that "ha, ha let's laugh at another's silly pain." A little back story- I was telling the ya-ya's about my upcoming mammogram and one graciously told us all about her fear that she would pass out. And she would hang there, by her boob, unconscious and trapped in the vice like grip of the Mammomat. Thank you for that image.

Off I go, to the diagnostic mammogram. This is more involved than a standard one. Sitting in my hospital gown, open to the front of course, I looked around the waiting room. I was younger than everyone by easily 25 year. Great. This is what I get to look forward to.

A very nice woman walks me into the room and proceeds to smoosh my tits into a little machine. She tried to be all discreet.. moving my gown, etc. I finally stripped the thing off saying, "Really, are we going to worry about modesty? You just got more action in the last 2 minutes than my husband's gotten in a week."

My first set of films was fine. Sort of. See, I hadn't eaten all day and it was now about 3pm. I was feeling a little hot and a little woozy. But I sucked it up. I then had to sit and wait for someone to read the films. Whammy! I had to do a few more views. Another tech, another room, another wicked boob smasher.

This is where things get a little crazy. And funny, in retrospect. Imagine me, with not a lot of hair, and topless. Well, maybe you don't want to imagine my topless. After all, you could be reading this around lunch. My tech squeezed me in and all of the sudden, I was hot, I had a horrible taste in my mouth. And all I could think was, "Oh, shit, I'm going to pass out and hang by my boob." I tried to hold it together. Finally, I had to tell her to stop. I was a second away from hitting the floor. Only I wouldn't hit the floor, I'd swing like a monkey from a million dollar torture tree. After a break. I thought I would be fine. Not so. We didn't even get to the "okay, I'm just going to add a little pressure" before I had to stop again. By now, my tech, who was so nice, was really worried. I think she believed I was having some sort of anxiety attack. Really, I think I just needed a sandwich. So third time's a charm, right? This time, my tech wouldn't let me leave the chair.

Yes, I completed my mammogram sitting down. And I will ask to do it that way every time forward. It's so much more comfortable. I highly recommend it.

Once she finally got some extra films, she left me in the room to wait while they were read. This is where the comedy of the absurd got a little sad. I sat there, waiting in the little room, waiting for some doctor to come and tell me something. This is my life. My life is waiting in sterile rooms being poked and prodded and waiting for someone else to take the bottom out.

The nurse came back and we had to do some more films. This did not give me confidence. And I saw some of them. There was definitely a spot on the film. Probably scar tissue from surgery and radiation. My internet radiology degree wasn't enough to diagnose this. But it did look awfully suspicious.

Especially when the tech said, "Where's your husband?"
"At work," I replied.
"Is he there right now?"
"Um, yeah."

Huh? Did I need to make a call? Did I need to tell Alan to come right away? That the whole thing was starting all over again? The tech left me alone in the room again and I cried. All of the sudden, I was back in the ultrasound room at Sherman Hospital in Elgin. I was alone. I was scared. I didn't know what was happening. I wanted my husband. And my mommy. Shut up, you would too.

I was the last person to leave the imaging center. They had shut off lights, turned off the waiting room TVs. After all that, they had to wait because they didn't have my old films. At least it wasn't a "hey, sucks to be you. You still have cancer." I take every trip to radiology when I'm NOT told I have cancer to be a small victory.

In the end, everything looks fine. I will get to do it all over again in six months.
Instead of dwelling on what sucked, I prefer to focus on the ludicrous image of passing out, hanging by my boobs. At least it makes for a good cautionary tale. Eat before your mamogram. And do it sitting down.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Lucy, I'm home!

Now say that title again, using your best Ricky Ricardo accent. That's what my new doggie hears when I walk in the door. Yep, new doggie. Bringing the total canine count to 3. And the total poundage to 330. Not a typo. We have 330 pounds on dog in my house. Shedding, drooling, licking, sniffing, jumping, chasing dogs.

See, right around finishing treatment, I clearly had a mid-life crisis. Mid-life you say? Come on, you're 30. Yeah, well when you face the "big C" you have no idea what's mid-life and what's not. Evidence of my midlife crisis- buying my impractical MINI, taking pole dance classes and signing up to rescue a dog. There are other more ridiculous ideas I come up with- that's a story for another day.

One could argue that I was dealing with my inability to have babies by taking on furry creatures that would love me unconditionally. And I wouldn't deny it. I had nested and was ready to nurture. Plus, you can yell, "What the fuck are you doing?" to a dog and not get in trouble. So if nurturing dogs allowed copious amounts of inappropriate behavior, then sign me up.

Goldilocks and the two bears.

Lucy is the one with the white on her chest looking right at the camera.

We had two wonderful dogs already. Two dogs that we paid a lot of money for. Two dogs that get treated better than most people. I felt compelled to bring this life of luxury to a dog who was less fortunate. All the toys you can chew! Left over pieces of steak! Sleep on the bed! Drink out of the toilet! (Yeah, not a fan of this last one, but you gotta pick your battles.)

So off I went to sign us up to rescue a Newfoundland. I informed Alan of this after the fact. Screw it, I'm the one home. I'm the one that will be taking care of it. (I am hoping this logic will apply to child care decisions as well. Don't want my kid running off to play cricket.)

And we heard nothing for months. Until the day before New Year's Eve. There was an emergency rescue needed. A family was moving and they couldn't take the dog. There were "issues." And the dog had to be taken that weekend. Could we help? Of course we could. So off we go, driving 3 hours to pick up Lucy from a trailer park in the middle of Georgia. A 120 pound dog in a trailer. It was very sad. Thankfully, this wasn't a case where Lucy was abused; just the opposite. Her owner was sobbing as we drove away. Lucy, on the other hand, was happy as can be. An adventure!

Dogs are amazing creatures. Their ability to adjust amazes me. Lucy and Harry are best buddies. You would have thought they grew up together. This is awesome until I'm awoken at 3am to the sounds of barking and chasing. Lucy's almost 3 and she still acts like a puppy. She's the most mushy, lovable thing ever. All the cuddles of Kylie with Harry's big ol' Newfie body.

Lucy and Harry taking a break from playing.

What you don't see? Every dog toy we own strewn about the yard.

Unfortunately, Lucy's had some health problems. She had fleas, tapeworm and arthritis that seems to have come from a broken leg that didn't heal properly. And she has heartworm, which we will have to treat with pretty rough treatment. But you'd never know it. Lucy will be a permanent member of the Bugler family for years. Think of the Christmas cards!

The 3 dogs have settled in nicely. Although I think I've hit my puppy limit. Even nuts have limits.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Flashback time...

Some people have asked why I took some time off from my blog. To be perfectly honest, I struggled a bit as I was finishing treatment. I had a ton of side effects, was going through menopause, and wasn't quite sure what to do. Everyone expected me to be happy I was done - I was "cured". In reality, they don't use the word cure when it comes to breast cancer. The fears were still there. And to be perfectly honest, I felt like I had lost something. So I took some time off as I dealt with my issues. And in a series of flashbacks, much like an episode of Cold Case (imagine some summer of 2006 song blaring as you read), I will try to let you all in on what finishing treatment for breast cancer is like. I had a bunch of half written entries, so here's the first one: (clearly written on 9/11)

"Where were you on 9/11?"

If I had a nickel for every time I've heard this in the past couple of days... okay, well, maybe I'd have like... a dollar. It's everywhere- TV, Radio, the Internet- pretty hard to ignore. Don't worry, this isn't a post attention whoring over September 11. I didn't know anyone who died, who saved someone. The closest I got is relatives and friends who are New Yorkers. Where was I? Well, I was working on a cruise ship. I had DJ'ed the night before. (Yep, you could say I was a professional DJ- one of the many funny hats I've worn. Ahh, the era of the "Thong Song" and Shaggy.)

Anyway, I was sleeping in. All of the sudden, my cruise director was banging on my door, telling me I had the keys to the DJ booth. He needed them. As I sleepily handed over the keys, he said, "Oh, and turn on the TV- some crazy shit is happening. Planes flew into the World Trade Center." I woke up and stared at CNN. I then went downstairs for payday, where I proceeded to wake up my friend Dave (not the first of last time I would wake a musician up before noon.). Dave is Canadian. He was appalled but not as affected. After collecting the twelve cents we had earned for a week's work, Dave and I sat in silence in his dark room watching TV.

We were scenic cruising through Glacier Bay, Alaska. My job was to be social and fun on the decks of the ship. I felt neither social nor fun. Neither did anyone else. Our crew was probably 80% Indonesian (home to the largest Muslim population in the world) and there were rumblings of some celebrations and/or smart ass comments. "Why don't you take off your Nike's and stop collecting your American dollars?" I thought to myself.

What I remember most? Alan. We had just started "dating" if you could call it that. For those of you who don't know, we were on a ship together for 6 weeks when we met. Then apart for 4 months. We were about 2 weeks away from finally seeing each other. I called Alan- willing to spare the dollar a minute it cost to call him. Funny how I spent 9/11 closer to "foreigners". Anyway, Alan and I were talking- I noticed it had been much longer than the 20 minutes my phone card would allow. We realized our call was free. In all the craziness, apparently, the satellite phone company was giving free calls so people could contact family, etc. Alan and I spent about 5 hours on the phone that day. Much of it was quiet, as we watched TV. I spent the day blowing off work and watching CNN.

This year, 9/11 is a different anniversary. I finished treatment today. And while I should be happy and excited, all I can feel is... lost. When I walked out of my final radiation treatment, I got in my car and started to cry. And when I say cry, I mean, sobbing, wailing, shaking uncontrollably. I really have no idea why. I should feel great - I'm done, for fuck's sake. This is the day I've waited months and months for. So why did I feel so alone? Why do I feel like I lost my best friend? What do I do now? And I still feel like shit so how's it any different?

After a good few minutes of emotional outburst, I put the keys into my ignition and drove off. I went home. I took a nap. It was like any other day. Except it wasn't. I turned on the TV and 9/11 stuff was everywhere. Great, I will always have a reminder. Every 9/11 I will think to myself, "This was the day I finished treatment." It's like my parents remembering their anniversary because of the Manson Murders.

And every 9/11 I will be reminded of the day when I sobbed in my car. The day that, instead of getting easier, things got more complicated. The day I went from cancer patient to survivor.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

My new favorite website

Calling all online shoppers of all things random! I have to tell you about my new favorite website. It combines two of the biggest parts of my life - breast cancer and shopping.

On the website, you can create your own "gal"- hair and eye color, what she's wearing, her accessories, and things that she carries. Then you can save your gal and use it in e-cards or printed stuff. You can order notecards, stationary, return address labels, invites, anything! It's super cute! Plus, it gives money to its own foundation for Stage IV Breast Cancer programs. With all the talk about prevention and catching things early, I sometimes wonder if these women with very special needs sometimes get lost in the shuffle. Not here!

Here is a gal I did for fun:

First of all, please note her wonder woman outfit. Completely appropriate for a day out. She has short brown hair and big earrings. I'm learning big earrings are the secret to rocking the short hair. She has 3 dogs (I couldn't get dogs that look like bears) in one hand, a martini shaker in the other. Really, what else do you need?

So design something fun, buy a gift, anything... and know you're supporting an awesome cause.

I'd like a pair of stripper shoes, size 8, please

About the time I was finishing chemo, I was struggling with some body image issues. I had lost my mojo, if you will. I searched everywhere for my mojo - I got drunk (always worked for me before), I tried to pour myself into some hot clothes, I wore some make-up. I worked real hard to bring sexy back. Sexy was not listening. So, one of my first "holy-shit, you must be a little bit crazy, but that's totally awesome" moves was signing myself up for pole dancing lessons. Yep, you heard me. As in a big stainless steel pole and 8 inch heels. Lucite heels.

There's a studio in Atlanta that specializes in pole and exotic dancing for fitness and fun. http://www.polelateaz.com/ (yes, POLE- LA- TEES). I enrolled in Level one and off I went. If you go to to the website and sit there while the pictures scroll through, you will see a group photo with me all bald and shit right there in the middle. That was our Level one recital. And no, no one I know does this in real life or is learning for a "job".

My first class was amazing. It was full of these fun, outrageous women of all kinds: a mother of two, a recently divorced woman, a 40 year old trying something new. We introduced ourselves and said why we were there - get in shape, try something new, feel better about ourselves. I told these ladies about my lost mojo. Tears welled up as I described how I hoped to become comfortable in my own skin again.

As the first class progressed, it became obvious to me how self conscious I had become. I never used to give a fuck about anything- what, the blinds aren't closed? Hell, here's a show. You wanna do it with the lights on? Here's my ass.

Not anymore. With just a simple walk around the room, all I could think of was how I couldn't run my fingers through my hair (the hair is still a problem... everyone loves a big ol' hair flip) or that my ass l was umpy or my belly was out of control. I couldn't just relax. I couldn't feel the music. I couldn't enjoy my body. No one was looking, and I was in the most supportive environment ever, but I was unhappy. And it pissed me off. So I struggled through that first class, put on my big girl pants, and sucked it up. I pushed down my desire to burst into tears and I learned how to spin.

At the end of each class, we danced around the pole in a circle, free-styling it, if you will. At the end of that first class, my teacher declared, "I think she found her mojo."

I'm still working on my pole. I have just begun level three and am starting to learn to go upside down. I have learned moves like the fireman spin, the roly poly, the sidewinder. I stir the pot and do the butterfly and play peek-a-boo. I'd like to say it's all sexy and stuff, but much of the time I'm saying, "wheee!" like a little kid. Although I do believe in slapping my ass at the end.

For my thirtieth birthday, my wonderful husband got me my very own stripper pole. It's currently in my living room. Yes, the room right in the front of the house. I have no furniture in the room so it's like my very own strip club. Except I'm usually wearing a t-shirt and yoga pants. I had to talk my husband out of getting me a stage and lights and a smoke machine- you get the idea. I think he just wanted toys.

So every Saturday morning, I go to pole dance class. Sometimes, I take chair dance class. Sometimes, we go on field trips to a martini bar or a strip club or trapeze class. For a short time, I focus on what's good about my body- how I do an awesome merry-go-round or that my arms are getting stronger by the class. I have found new friends, a great hobby and a really fun way to get in shape. Plus I have an amazing story for a bar or cocktail party. And yes, with every spin, every dip, I'm that much closer to getting back to who I was. But better.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

The smell of cancer

Long after my hair grows, the acid reflux goes away, I lose some pounds, parts of cancer will stay with me. For some people, the smell of baking forever reminds them of their grandmother. Lilies remind others of weddings. For me, there will always be the smell of cancer. Certain smells that create such an immediate visceral reaction that can only come from the connection to that crappy part of my life.

I went to the hospital yesterday for bloodwork. The hospital. Man, it gets me every time. I am immediately transported to the chemo room or the radiation bed. It's like walking in a door and walking into 4 months ago.

Alcohol pads. The smell of alcohol swabs makes me almost gag, even now. Alcohol swabs came out before any shot, chemo or port draw. Especially the port. They would crack this wand like thing that dispensed the alcohol. Then they'd essentially shove a pushpin into your artery. The smell of alcohol is so ingrained with cancer in my mind that I react, even when out of the hospital. On my big cancer walk, they had disposable hand wipe things outside of all the port-a-potties. The first morning, I walked out of the toilet and Hope handed me the packet. I opened it and BAM! the smell hits me like a truck. The smell of alcohol swabs. My mouth started to water, I felt woozy. More than anything, I just wanted it away from me. No more potty wipes for me. I'll take my hand sanitizer instead.

When I first began treatment and we realized I would be driving pretty much every week to my parents, Alan decided to be the cutest husband ever. He put together this package of fancy shampoo, lotion, bath gel - all my standard necessities. "To keep at your parents. So you don't have to always be packing stuff." He was the cutest. Now granted, after about a month, I didn't need the shampoo anymore. So in a box of random crap it all went. And somehow it got moved to Hotlanta with us. Fast forward to recently, when we ran out of shampoo. My husband grabs the pretty aromatherapy shampoo he had purchased months earlier. So there I am, in the shower... reach for the fancy shampoo. Open the top and ARGH! The smell knocks me back. The mint is too much. I can't use it. All of the sudden, I'm back in my parent's shower in their basement, trying not to get my surgery site wet. I'm washing the blue stuff off my arm. I'm feeling light-headed from the medication. I shut the bottle and haven't used it since.

I hope, with the passage of time, these memories will fade. Until then, they are reminders of what I've been through. At least now I can throw the bottles away.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Everyone loves house pictures!

I've had some requests for more updated house pictures. Life can't be about cancer 24-7, you know. Very important decorating has to be done. So this was my house at Christmas. Yes, Santa did take a crap all over the joint. Yes, I was way too excited to have a whole house to decorate. Yes, I've been paying too much attention to Pottery Barn catalogs. Yes, my tree was big. About 12 1/2 feet big. Yes, I need another hobby.

Our Dining Room. We finally got some furniture. And finally I could take all those wedding presents out of their boxes.

Our family room plus tree. That molding going up from the fireplace is Alan's latest project. He's really quite handy. I think I'll keep him.

I'd include an outdoor picture, but I don't have one right now. My father-in-law took them. Another installment then.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Finally...the Breast Cancer 3-Day

It's been over 2 months since I walked my 60 miles for the Breast Cancer 3-day. I didn't write about it immediately after it happened- probably because I was exhausted and I was still processing it. Even now, when the sorority rush, cry and hug, estrogen filled camp feeling is gone, I still count it among the things that I am most proud of doing.

I was only about 6 weeks out of treatment, and while I had to take painkillers to get me through, I did it. I still had a fair amount of joint pain left over from Taxol (my chemo) and some fatigue, but nothing a little vicoden couldn't cure. It was life affirming and cathartic. It was hard and sad. It was fun and ridiculous. I saw more boob jokes than I'd ever thought I'd witness.

The first morning of the walk. We look so rested.

Rather than bore you with an hour by hour playback, I thought I'd share a couple of key moments with you.

First of all, I have to say- I wish they didn't talk about cancer so much. Every time they gave some inspirational blah blah blah or gave some statistic, I cried. Couldn't we just talk about the bras hanging from people's tents or the old lady wearing plastic boobs on her head? I was reminded this was a walk FOR cancer, and that cancer-chat would be obvious. I guess in some ways I wasn't ready. I had done so much talking on the phone about cancer, writing about cancer... I did very little talking about cancer in real life. To real people. Who could look into your eyes and get it.

After Day 2. Not as bad as we feared.

But we still had one more day.

At camp boobs, there was a tent dedicated solely to the remembrance of those who had died. I was also not quite prepared for this. See, I don't think until the moment I walked inside that I actually considered I might die from this. Did I think it was crappy? Sure. Was I scared of recurrence? Heck yeah. But it never truly occurred to me I might die. Until I entered this tent. There were pictures of women who had lost the battle- from walks they had done or their wedding or with their little kids. There was a tent you could sign and there were all these messages. After a few minutes, I couldn't breathe. It was like everything I had never thought of hit me all at once. I started to sob. Sob in a way I had not done in a awhile. Standing outside of that tent, crying, two of my closest friends who were walking with me, held me. After a few minutes, I pulled myself together and vowed I would go back in that tent later in the weekend to prove to myself I could do it.

I never went back.

One of the many wonderful signs and cheers
that lined our route.

Stretching.... Ow!

At one of the cheering stations

whre Alan came to clap and yell.

I can't say for certain how my friends processed the weekend, but I'm sure there was a part that was jarring to them. I had the unusual process of going through chemo and radiation rarely seeing a close friend. I had a wonderful dinner the night before I had surgery, but because of where I lived and where I moved, very few people, aside from my husband and my parents, saw me without hair or saw me "sick". The two people who walked with me- my friends Chris and Hope... neither had seen me since I had started chemo. And while I had started to grow a little peach fuzz, I was still pretty damn bald. And 30 pounds heavier. And while I was still pretty damn cute and funny, there were moments where I struggled. Or I almost passed out. I think it scared them to see it actually happening. Like the stuff I had talked about for 6 months was all of the sudden very real. As real as the t-shits we wore covered in pictures of women who had breast cancer under 40.

Finally, a part of the walk that I will never forget was the closing ceremonies. Alan greeted us with a bottle of champagne as we finished. Leave it to Alan to somehow bring liquor to the party. We got our t-shirts... Hope and Chris got blue, I got pink- survivors wore a different color. There were a little over 200 survivors out of about 2000 walkers.

Toasting to our success... Thanks Alan!

People at closing ceremonies

We marched into the ceremonies separated. The crew, the staff, the blue shirts.... and finally all survivors in our pink shirts. I wasn't with the people I had come with, instead I walked hand in hand with a new family I had made that weekend. I was one of the newest out of treatment and one of the youngest... I think there was only one girl younger than me. So I was kind of special even in a group that was already so full of stories. As we walked into the huge park in downtown Atlanta, I cried. Like a freaking baby. Alan said he didn't even take pictures of that part because I didn't "cry pretty." As we walked in, a saw a couple of the Ya-Yas who had come out to support me. One stopped me, a "Courtney" sign in her hand. She was crying as well. She hugged me for as long as the marching allowed.

The most moving part of it all had to be the shoes. As we ended our march in, we walked into the middle of all the walkers. No one said a word. Suddenly, one person held up her shoe. Then another, then one more. Until 2000 people were quiet and holding up the shoes they used to walk those 60 miles in our honor. They did it for us, those shoes said. Chris and Hope told me they had no idea what was going on at first, but they saw a bunch of people take off their shoes and hold them up, so they did too. Then they got it. I suppose it's done at every 3-Day every year, but I'm not sure if I will ever forget that overwhelming show of support- the visual sign of a group of people standing beside you.

When I caught up with Hope and Chris after the closing ceremonies, they both said to me, "Oh, God. No one prepared us for the shoes." "Once, the shoes happened, it was over. Oh, the crying." I'm glad it moved them as well.

"The shoes"

So here I am, 2 months later, still crying when I think of these moments. There were fun times, like the earliest frost on Atlanta's record... yes, I moved to the South and we camped out when it was 30 degrees. Oh, wait, that wasn't so fun. There were funny t-shirts and conversations and costumes. I met new people, shared stories, gossiped. Most importantly, I realized that I had endured something pretty major and come out the other end. The walk AND cancer itself. And it's something to be damned proud of.

I only wish they wouldn't talk about cancer so much.

I raised almost $8000 for breast cancer that weekend. The three of us raised almost $13000.

Alan and I have already signed up for next year. This time, he's walking.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Happy Birthday to me!

I turn 30 today. Holy Shit. I'm thirty. Remember the eighties, when that show "thirtysomething" was on? They were all so fucked up. I remember thinking how old they all looked. Shut up, I was like 12, so cut me some slack. Now I'm that thirtysomething. How am I celebrating, you ask? Nothing too crazy (see previous post on my drunken new years). Plus I have ebola. Now when I say ebola I don't mean the appendage falling off, bleeding out your eyeball ebola. More like a bad cold. Hell, it could be worse. I could be puking in a Mcdonalds parking lot after chemo.

I will celebrate my birthday. When I say celebrate, I don't mean the open lots of presents and eat a shitload of cake (although i do love me some cake) I mean celebrate as in v. To observe (a day or event) with ceremonies of respect, festivity, or rejoicing

I respect life a lot more than I did. I rejoice in every birthday I am blessed to count. I observe where I was and how far I've come.

Enough touchy feely crap. Pass the cake. And the sudafed.

Kissing 2006 Good-bye

Last new year's eve- December 31, 2005, my husband and I were at a bar in our little town in Illinois. I was decidedly underdressed, as I forgot New Year's meant putting your girls out on display and picking yourself up some drunken ass. I'm sorry if I didn't think $3 pitchers were an occasion for sequins and tube tops. As the clock struck midnight, I looked into my husband's eyes and smiled, excited for all our plans for the new year. Alan had received an awesome job offer. We had signed a contract to build our first home. My job was stable and well paying. Alan was graduating this year and we would be moving to start our "real life". (At least to a place where you pay $10 a drink to wear your tube top). We were trying to get pregnant. I kissed my husband, clinked our champagne glasses and toasted to 2006- a year of change and amazing opportunities and hopefully a baby. I had tears in my eyes- tears of joy, anticipation and excitement. We toasted to "the best year of our lives." Yep, we actually said that. Might as well have put a big ol' target on our backs. Or on my tits as the case may be.

See, as I was kissing and clinking and toasting and poking fun, I had cancer. I had already had the lump looked at. Told to keep an eye on it but it wasn't anything serious. We had no idea that this beast of a disease would swoop on in and piss all over our party.

So here I am, one year later. Alan and I went to a big New Year's party. I wore a fancy dress. We were incredibly overserved. I probably drank more vodka in one night than I had had in a year. We danced. And sang along to an eighties band. And danced some more. At one point, my tipsy ass said out loud... "and to think, I had cancer this year. '

And this year, when I clock struck midnight and the balloons fell on our heads, I kissed my husband again. And I cried. We kissed this past year good-bye. A year that in so many ways was the wonderful year it was supposed to be. We were so very lucky in many ways. Except one. I asked what Alan wished for 2007. He just looked at me and said, "a healthy wife." I cried some more - for the plans for a baby that didn't happen, for the cancer that made what should have been the best year the worst, for my husband whom I loved even more than I thought possible.

And you know what. A year later, I'm still here. And that does make 2006 the best year of my life. Doesn't mean I'm not glad to see it gone.

A healthy and happy 2007 to you all.

I'm back!

Happy 2007 everyone.
Yes, I'm back.
Yes, I've had a little hiatus.
No, I didn't get sick.
I was busy having a life.

I have many things to tell you. Thank you for all the comments, emails, etc. asking where I was. It made me feel like people read this thing. Even if it was only by about 6 of you. Apparently, people used this site for some much needed procrastination. I'm sorry I let you down. I will do better in the future. Check back here often as I will be back to writing here almost daily.

Since last I wrote I:

Finished Treatment
Walked 60 miles
Raised over 8k for breast cancer
Went on antidepressants (for hot flashes, not cuz I'm nuts.. at least not medically)
Went into menopause
Came out of menopause
Slept 15 hours a day
Grown some hair back
Realized I'm no longer a blonde
Lost a little weight
Haven't lost enough
Adopted another dog
Spent too much money decorating my house of Christmas
Took pole dancing classes
Have a pole in my living room to practice aforementioned pole dancing
Tried not to think about cancer
Didn't succeed most of the time
Took lessons on the trapeze
Had a post-treatment midlife crisis

Signed up for the biggest clinical trial for young women out there
Turned 30

It's been very busy. And I will tell you all more... especially the pole dancing. I know everyone wants to hear about the pole dancing. And pictures of the dog, and the house... and the hair. Got it.

It's good to be back. I'm feeling much better. And cancer still sucks.