Posts Tagged ‘breast cancer


i ran, but i couldn’t hide

Yesterday, as usual, I stayed home while the college I work at held their annual “Pink Out”. As you can probably guess, this involves everyone’s wearing pink to support breast cancer awareness. I don’t work on this day because I cannot handle this; it gives me panic attacks. So, I stay home and do things I would do if I were on vacation.

This year however, I had panic attacks anyway. This stemmed from an innocent conversation with a co-worker. Let me say up front that I know this person meant well and is just concerned for me. When I said that I would not be in on Wednesday, s/he asked why. I explained that it was too painful for me and that it caused panic attacks. S/he asked, “Have you sought professional help for this?”. I felt as if someone had slapped me across the face. The “correct” way of dealing with breast cancer has so worked itself into the collective consciousness that my reaction to it is seen as a “problem”. If I had announced that I could not attend a meeting about SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) because I had lost a child in that manner (I did not, but I feel great sorrow for those who have), no one would have said a word. But, because I don’t want to be pink and cheerful over having my quality of life permanently damaged; I need help.

I do NOT need help. I need people to get that there is something wrong with this entire process. In the 1960’s, when I was born, the main treatment for this cancer was removal of breasts. It is completely ridiculous that, almost 50 years later, that is still the standard! Seriously!? FIX THIS! We are not impressed.

If I were to start a charity, I would call it FixThisNow. There would be no t-shirts, mugs or other merchandise. Every penny not needed to keep things running would go straight to independent research not funded by anything but those monies. No corporations, no hospitals, no drug companies. Then, maybe we could get somewhere because no one would have a stake in keeping this disease around.

Women who have had breast cancer are not the problem, regardless of how they chose to cope. Cancer IS the problem and we need unbiased people trying to solve it.–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


No, Thank You

This blog is meant to be an honest record of what I think and feel as well as about what is going on in my life. With that in mind, I feel very cranky and unhappy today. For those who want to comfort and/or chide me about this, I am not interested. I want to be this way for awhile. So, I will be ignoring all comments of the above nature.

I am hot. The whole world is hot and I am not sure it is ever going to be cool again.

The house is a wreck. It has always been a wreck and always will be. My children make messes and don’t clean them up. Then, they act like I am killing them when I suggest they do so. They certainly could not make any more noise if I actually were.

I am bored. Nothing interesting has happened in some time and may never again.

I am never going to finish writing my book. I spend too much time working for that. And, when I do have time off, I have to work on the house.

I don’t fit in most of my vintage clothes right now. This makes me very unhappy. I like them and think I may never get to wear them again. There are very few vintage clothes available in my current size.

I am most angry about the years wasted by the cancer and its side effects. Some two and a half years of my life were spent dealing with this. Years I could have spent doing things that would have moved our family forward. Things that might have left us in a better position. I don’t even remember most of those years. Yes, they are almost totally a blank in my mind! Only small scenes peek through. What could I have done if this had not been so? In addition, these were the years in which medicinal side effects put on the current weight that I cannot seem to lose. I would be much healthier and more active if this had not happened. (No, I am not interested in reflecting on the fact that God spared my life–please see the first paragraph). I want those years back. I want to feel the ages I should have felt during those years and do the things I should have been able to do. I want revenge.

This is ridiculous! The cancer was ten years ago and it is still wrecking my life. I cannot get back what I lost and I cannot retrieve what I would have had. I am mad, mad, mad! And there are those who think “Save the Tatas!” is a light-hearted way to show support. Why don’t you have both your breasts removed and reconstructed (no, I will never feel anything there again!) before you are forty and then tell me how “cute” that is. I am quite sure that we will not see “light-hearted” support for testicular cancer patients reading, “Save the Family Jewels”. Men’s testicles are too “important” to be made fun of in that way. Women’s breasts are not, though. We are tired of this. Find a solution to the problem and quit running around “showing support”. I don’t want support, I want to be sure that this will not happen to someone else.

I really want my breasts back. I want to feel something there. I want to know when I am about to hug an acquaintance too closely before they pull back in alarm. I want to feel it when FMP casually walks by and gropes me. I even want to feel it if I accidentally hit myself there while trying to catch something. Surely, our neuroscience has advanced to such a state that I need not have totally lost feeling. This is the very worst part for me.

I am cranky and unhappy today and I intend to run with it. I may run with it tomorrow, too. I may run with it until someone does something about it. Do something, people! Stop just saying, “we are sorry”, “we support you”, “you are so brave” and other junk. Give me back my life! And don’t let breast cancer take anyone else’s! Get to it! NOW!