Sunday, August 16, 2009

How I Spent My Summer "Vacation"?


First, I need to come clean. I did not have a summer vacation. And, seeing how the summer played out, I should have. I should have thrown caution and responsibility to the wind and taken myself somewhere fabulous and decadent!

During this summer, I joined the venerable ranks of the 40,000 +/- women who are diagnosed with breast cancer each year in the U.S. A staggering and incomprehensible number. A statistic, it appears, that is indiscriminate in whom it envelopes.

For all intents and purposes I should not be a member of the club. (And believe me, I SCREAM this fact out -- at least inside my head--daily.)

I have no risk factors. I have no family history. I do not, and never have, smoked. I have not taken any synthetic estrogen (e.g. the "pill") since 1985 -- and that was for only 6 years. I am physically active at 47 (young by breast cancer standards). I am fairly fit at 5'1" and 102 lbs (soaking wet), and someone who logs 60+ hours at the office. I run. I weight-lift. I hike. I power walk. I yoga. I Zumba. I maintain my passion for martial arts that I have been working at since 1982. I am the one in the crowd that my junk-food junky BFFs tease in a good-natured way about my "healthy lifestyle."

You've heard a variation on the theme: "it's you fruit & granola types that will be stricken with a horrific disease...just look at Keith Richards and what he has done to his body and he's still rocking!" I always laughed, and still do. Who knew my McD's critics would be prophetic??

Despite the "clean" lifestyle, here I sit. Stage III(+) Invasive Lobular Carcinoma measured at approx. 5.5 cm. looking at a mastectomy in 4 days. The "initiation" into the first stage of this "rite of passage."At this point, you are probably asking why are you telling me this? In short, I don't know.

I will be blunt, however. It is so not about YOU. This blog is my therapy session. And before you click-off, I am not talking about indulging in a maudlin recitation of the "poor meeees." (But do forgive me if I digress once on awhile.)

On the contrary, it is just that I have so many "conversations" going on in my head. So many observations about this path that has been forced upon me. An outlet is needed. The screaming in my head is becoming too loud. And in deference and compassion for those I love and care about, I will not impose these "conversations" upon them. It would not be fair to burden them so.  I would rather foist them upon you, kind stranger.  And, they might add on another diagnosis or two to my list if I did indulge them with my mental musings.

Journaling is good. I have advised many persons on the benefit of doing so. Journaling is a cathartic way of expressing and sorting out our thoughts. But journaling for me at this time is stifling. It keeps the SCREAM isolated inside my own head. And honestly, I am getting a headache!

So, read if you like. Don't if you don't. Add your nuggets of wisdom as you choose. And if you would like to SCREAM along with me, add your voice to the cacophony. After all, if you SCREAM and there is no one to hear you, than how can you be sure that you really made any noise?

Yours truly, TC


  1. Hi Tamera,
    Good therapy session you just had! I can understand how you feel as you know I was in the hospital about 1.5 years ago for a month and still don't remember what happened the first week. Then a few months ago I lost my oldest son so I sit here with tears and think about you and how you can have a great life once you have your surgery. Life does go on. Sometimes we have to loose something along the way and you will survive and go on for yourself and for your family. There are things that happen to us that have no logic nor can be explained. At a later date in the future something will happen that will explain why we were put through these "steps" in our life. Sometimes there is no logic, it just is....

  2. Thank you for those words, Karen. I never knew what to say to you about the loss of your son because it was a loss so unimaginable to me, being a mother. All I could ever think of saying or doing was to interact with you as always. You know, normalcy. As I take this first step into this abyss, the only way I can keep grounded is to cling to my "(ab)normalcy."

  3. I don't think there are any words when you loose a child so yes normalcy is the best you can do. I am not sure when the griefing subsides I can only hope it will be soon.

    I have learned something about you that I didn't know before. I found out that you have a great sense of humor and are very grounded and self healing. I can relate to your hospital stories, if you have never been "in" before it is hard to imagine the very strange things that go on like your radioactive story. Sure does make you wonder why it is ok for you but not those around you, oh yes I forgot, you are the one that gets sick and the delivery person does not. What a drag! I am looking forward to your recovery stories once you are able to sit up and stoke those keys again. Be kind to yourself and let your body heal then jump back into life with a one two punch. Your family is counting on your strength to help you and them get through this process and get through it you will. I admire the way you have taken this process head on and I can only imagine how hard it has been for you to deal with it from the day your found out a few months ago to now having it become a reality and soon you will be recovered and wonder did this really happen to me and why? Life is strange and we are not given anything that we can't handle even though it is hard to believe at the time. Hang in there one day at a time and soon you will be back to your wonderful, caring and hard working self :-)
    Best regards, Karen

  4. My admiration for you only grows each time I hear anything about you or from you.