Archive for September, 2013


starting in early this year

For many of us who have dealt with breast cancer, October is a month of pure torment. We steel ourselves to deal with an onslaught of light pink (side note: Why is this the only cancer/condition with a pastel color? We are not weaklings or children who must be carried!) and pressure to “contribute” to ending this scourge. Believe me, I have contributed. I signed over all the tissue taken from me (otherwise known as my breasts and some lymph nodes) for testing. The results of only using surgery with no follow-up Tamoxifen were also shown when I could not tolerate the drug without losing my sanity.

I do not want to be rude, but I have the right to deal with this in my own way. That way is to avoid it as much as possible. I do NOT want to buy or wear things in that detested color. I am NOT being selfish when I say “No, thank you”. I am trying, as best I can, to maintain my composure and dignity. Do people think I have forgotten what happened? To them, I say, “I remember it every morning when I look in the mirror. It comes back to me when I come across evidence of an event that occurred which I do not remember.”. I will never forget and I will never be the same. But, I will not let this become me. I will not center my life around this single event.

So, what brought on this semi-rant? This morning, when the alarm went off, there was a program interviewing a rather perky woman about her experience. There is much pressure on “survivors/victims” to play nice and be permanently cheerful when discussing this topic.

I will NOT play nice. This is not a nice topic. This is a war. I took heavy casualties in the battle. I will not forget, I will not forgive, I will not surrender. Please, can we keep the organized reminders confined to October?? Remember, you are wearing our pain.–TSG


at the starting gate

As of Friday, I was at 244. I am trying to lose the weight slowly, so my goal is a pound a week. And, I’m off!


it’s on….and i want it off

Yesterday, I went out to get some new work clothes. I have long hated trying things on because I carry my weight in my hips whereas many women carry theirs at the waist. So, pants that I know will fit me in the waist often do not make it up that far. A case in point is the beautiful cobalt blue leather pair I tried on yesterday. I am in deep mourning over this because I love leather.

In my closet there hangs a lovely black leather a-line skirt that FMP bought me the Christmas RTA was one. It is a size eight and fit me like a glove at one time. Not only that, it looks classy and wears like iron. I am not going to set a goal to get back into it right now because I am in at least a 16 now. Instead, I am going to aim for the purple skirt I wore one Easter. It, too, is a classic a-line, but almost hits the floor while the other is knee-length. The size has long worn off the label and I can’t remember what it was. It is such an outstanding color!

So, here’s the plan: One regular soda in the morning because I don’t drink coffee. After that, water or iced tea. Walk around the campus every day at about 4:00pm. Take fruit to eat instead of something from the machines. Try to get a bit more movement in by walking over to ask people questions or relay information when possible and practical.

Why have I suddenly made this resolve? Well, “critical mass” has been reached; my upper story bounces when I walk. Although I have no feeling in the breasts themselves due to the reconstruction, I can feel the up and down motion pulling on other parts of my chest. This annoys me no end. I remember the sensation from when I nursed the children. I love them dearly, but it was always something of a relief to go back to my normal size when they were weaned. I don’t know what other women use a gauge of when they really need to lose weight. This is mine.

Those of you who pray are invited to join me in asking God to help me not crave sweets as I normally do. Thanks!–TSG


rta and avb update

Well, those who think there is no God or, if there is, He doesn’t care about us, should not read further. It would just make them angry. Today, RTA was announced as the winner in a contest for gear. He had been entering once a day forever. The prize is enough clothing, eyewear, and other gear to get his and AVB’s new company off to a great start. As you may remember, I have been praying that they would have the will, means and help to do what they have planned. Last month, AVB met with a gentleman who is going to supply the means. Today, they got the help. All that is left is the will and they are both full of that. Thank you, Father, we truly are grateful!-TSG


if i had been left alone

Sometimes, I wonder what my body would have aged like if it had been left to its own devices. In 2003, both of my breasts were removed and reconstructed with tissue from my abdomen. The medicine I was given to help prevent a recurrence of the cancer left me with (briefly) OCD and (more lingeringly) panic attacks. The psychoactive medicines I was given to help with this were known to cause weight gain, so my traumatic-illness-induced hypothyroidism went undiagnosed until I had gained some 90 pounds. Finally, I was thrown into menopause suddenly in 2011 when a fibroid tumor almost led to my bleeding to death. The doctors felt that, given my history of breast cancer, it would be best to take my ovaries along with my uterus. I am still dealing with the hot flashes from that experience.

I have two sisters. I sometimes look at them and wonder whether I would have aged as they did or some totally different way. I am glad that I got to age at all, but that doesn’t mean I don’t wish I’d been left to age normally. Could we PLEASE find a way to stop this disease so that women can age as they should. The mastectomy got rid of the cancer by removing anyplace it could go. I don’t consider that a cure. I know this can be done; many other cancers have a successful treatment. I wonder if all the hype is slowing up the research. There is a lot of money in “support” for breast cancer “survivors”. That money would go away if a cure were found. Do our “supporters” really want a cure or is the money just too good to let go? By the way, I am neither a “survivor” nor a “victim”. I was sick and now I am well. That is all! Now, let’s find a way to achieve that without maiming women for life.–TSG