Tagged mastectomy

Bookends

Ford Warrior in Pink
Me at the Ford Warriors in Pink booth at Cincy’s Race for the Cure a couple weeks ago. Super freaking humbled and honored that they’ve included SHAKEN NOT STIRRED…A CHEMO COCKTAIL on their list of recommend reads! Click HERE to check it out!

Today I’m 5 weeks out from my golfballectomy/hysterectomy/oopherectomy basically the wholefreakingshebangectomy. Thought I’d give a little update. First of all, I have been humbled and lifted up by all the small and big kindnesses to me while I’ve been temporarily sidelined (but on the edge of my seat here on the bench) during my #recovery. Thank you, thank you, a hundred million thank yous! As if I didn’t already feel like the #luckiestduck that I get to…

  • still. be. here.
  • and STILL be celebrating my #lucky7 year cancerversary. I’m not done being happy about it.
  • be working on my #comeback after my oncological gynecologist’s uber fab golf game in re: “Operation out Damn Golf Ball” #FORE!
  • be giving the highest high-five that there’s 5 weeks in the rear-view mirror since surgery, and only T-7 more daze till I can #runhappy #runfree again! #handsintheair
  • be packing up for another adventure…with the Grace project…another #graceprojectontheroad-trip! Connecticut (my birthplace), Philly, Richmond, VA, Coastal NC, Raleigh, NC, Atlanta, GA, Charleston, SC…ready or not, here we come! Click HERE for more info.
  • turn the Big 5-0 in T-W-E-N-T-Y daze and then zoom zoom she’s offfffff…on another road-trip around the sun! #cowabunga
  • be working on my next project, which I’m so uber ridiculous freaking STOKED about and can’t. freaking. WAIT! to tell you guys more about!

besides all that THERE’S YOU CRAZY BEAUTIFUL PEEPS! In my life. My tribe. I mean, sinceriously, you guys are icing on the cake. Thank you for that. #nomnom

Tomorrow, I have a special gift for you guys on the blog. I threw down a little 7-year retrospective #spokenword #becausetheworldneedsmorepoetry in my open letter to #fuckcancer last week. Here’s a pic of them flipping off cancer 7 years ago that I put in my book in the chapter they wrote for me.

redheads flipping off cancer

7 years ago, this month, this week, at the Cincy Race for the Cure 2008. Two weeks after my mastectomy. Amanda had just slammed her middle finger in the car on the way to the race. That’s why she was flying that bird in the first place. Then we all decided that was exactly how we were feeling about cancer right then right there. So M&M joined the party. My sweet Redheads. My 3 reasons.

They went through cancer as much as I went through cancer. And in some ways, that seems so much more unfair to me, what they had to go through, watching their mum suffer like that. Having the roles reversed in their supposed to be wonder years and becoming their mother’s keepers/caretakers. Still bursts my heart wide open. Humbles me. Makes me proud at the amazing human beings those 3 sweethearts of my heart they are to me.

I get lots of sweet messages from peeps who are so freaking touched by the chapter my kids wrote for my book, asking how they are doing these days? So I asked the Redheads for a little something special for me, to share with y’all, for my lucky 7 year cancerversary present. So they’ve each thrown down their own 7 year retrospective, which I will be featuring on the blog over the next 3 days.

Meanwhile…I already threw down some words slamming cancer with my poetry, but since they say a picture is sometimes worth more than a 1000 words, here’s a couple of me, then and now, to wrap this post UP. 

Then. September 12, 2008 The hubcap & me crushing the finish line. 2 weeks post mastectomy. It took me so long to finish, they had already deflated the finish line by the time I crossed it. So I did, literally, crush it! My first race...my first bling! It's where I got bit with the bug!
Then.
September 12, 2008
The hubcap & me crushing the finish line. 2 weeks post mastectomy. It took me so long to finish, they had already deflated the finish line by the time I crossed it. So I did, literally, crush it! My first race…my first bling! It’s where I got bit with the bug!
Now. August 28, 2015 #lucky7 years later another tasty finish #morebling! Ford Warrior in Pink.
Now.
August 28, 2015
#lucky7 years later
Another tasty finish. Yay for #morebling!
Underneath the finish line, but still crushing it! #nomnom 

Dear Cancer (A Spoken Word Retrospective Upon The Occasion Of My #Lucky7-Year Cancerversary)

[An Open Vein I Mean Letter To #fuckcancer]

Dear Cancer,

I am still here.

#lucky7 years out from that day

(the mother of bad daze)

when my doctor called and said that damn c-word

(the mother of curse words)

to me

(the mother of my sweet Redheads)

My. 3. Reasons.

Who fell into 3 separate heaps on the floor

At the sound of that word.

Sticks and stones…

—My ass.

Words don’t hurt…

—Bullshit.

I call bullshit on that.

That one word hurt like hell.

It shook the ground beneath us.

I stood my ground though

A little #shakennotstirred

—but only because I am mommy hear me fucking ROAR if you hurt my kids

And that damn word

Knocked all 3 of my babies—

Amanda 17.

Matt 15.

Mikeyy 13.

—it knocked all 3 of them

Down

To the ground

In one fell swoop.

3 separate, sobbing heaps.

3 puddles.

And there I was

One very sick and mortal, broken mama

2 heaving, soon-to-be-leaving, breasts

3 broken hearts to hold

But only 2 arms

And 1 lap.

THE hardest mommy moment EVER.

But something kicked into gear for me—

Some superpower mommy gear I didn’t even know I had

Somehow I managed to gather them up

With these two hands.

We held on tight.

Literally, for dear life.

My life.

It’s been 2,565 tomorrows

That I didn’t know I would get to see

Since that damn day.

2,565 gifts

I’ve gotten to open.

2,565 days I’ve gotten to seize

Days I’ve wrung both the sunshine

And the daylight out of

—before the sun set on me.

2,565 chances to make sure my 3 reasons knew

Out loud and clear and proud

That my one thing

Was to cash in all my chips on loving them

And playing my cards in such a way

That they would miss the crap out of me—

If, by chance, the odds were not in my favor

(But, they were. Thank God. And may they ever be.)

2,565 days to spend myself making sure they remember me loving them HARD.

P.S. I think they do.

So take THAT cancer.

Or should I say, CANTcer?

Anyway, 7 years in a nutshell?

It’s been the ride of my life.

And what.

A ride.

It’s been.

Even the hard parts

Cuz even they meant I’m still here

And my hands are in the air:

Yes…and…

NOW.

Cuz it’s where I’m at.

And what a gift the present IS.

Raise your hand if you’re present…

*raises hand

HERE!

(I don’t see your hand CANTcer.)

Now, in case you’re wondering

This is NOT where I say thank you, cancer

And bust out singing how you made me into this fighter.

Hell no.

The truth is—

My 3 Reasons,

And loving THEM. (Not fighting you.)

That’s what made me stronger.

I thank THEM.

I thank my sweet Amanda.

I thank my sweet Matteo.

I thank my sweet Mikeyy.

But you?

No thank YOU. Very much.

Then why am I even bothering to tell you all this?

You’d think I’d be over you by now.

You’d think I’d have gotten everything “off my chest”

#breastcancerhumor

But I haven’t.

You may be done with me

And God-willing, this is my case

Closed.

Period.

End of THAT story.

But, it’s not your will.

It’s God’s

And I’m cool with that

Come what may.

And may his will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.

And in me, too.

Amen.

But…

Regardless of all that

You oughta know [cue: Alanis Morissette]

I’m not done with you yet, damn cancer

Not as long as this ticker

—That you tried to seek and destroy

With the Red Devil

And the mustard gas

And even the good Herceptinis

Aka my chemo cocktail.

Not as long as this ticker keeps ticking.

Not as long as you keep picking on my friends

—Especially, when you go picking on kids.

That’s the lowest blow of them all, you motherfucker.

So, let me repeat…

Not as long as this ticker keeps going and going…

Like that pink bunny

—I don’t know what keeps him going.

Or my heart, for that matter

Except this is what I do know:

It beats for my friends

And especially, the kids.

And you, cancer, have ticked. ME. Off.

 

 

See Her Again

It was a long day, the day I sat with my girl Char’s son David during her breast amputation from her war with cancer. I know the pink, fluffy, more euphemistic term is mastectomy but when your friends keep dying from this bitch of a disease, or if you’re like me, flat as a walking billboard for breast cancer…well, euphemisms just don’t…”cut it”.

It is what it is, and I just feel like calling it like I see it when I look in the mirror and honor my own battle scars. Or when I try to buy a bathing suit. I mean, I’m a glass half full kinda girl, but even all my optimism isn’t gonna fill two empty cups, if ya know what I mean;) But I digress. It’s been a long day, trying to get myself to sit down and write this post about the celebration of life services for my friend Char, which will be on Saturday, July 11, from 2pm-3ish, at Cincinnati Vineyard’s chapel.

I was introduced to Char at my old church, and entered her story at that holy inciting moment right after her diagnosis, right before the amputation. This is how I meet more people than you can imagine. Unless you’ve had breast cancer too. Which I hope you haven’t and never will. #iamthe1in8 #youbeoneoftheother7

Anyway, Char and I were fast friends. #chemoisthickerthanwaterandblood So obvi, I connected her to the rest of our “cancer club” at church aka The Fellowship of the Bread, Wine, and Chemo, and to The Pink Ribbon Girls, the local breast cancer support group whose mission/motto is: No one travels this road alone, and to my oncologist, and to the Grace project, a  photographic project dealing with body image after breast cancer, which was pretty much ended up being Char’s last word to cancer.

Her battle against breast cancer was a long damn day. But it was also too damn short.

I miss her.

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She loved me fierce and I will miss her something fierce. I imagine my girl Char tackled Jesus with a big fat sloppy wet kiss just like this, cuz O how she loves. She is the true BIG C; cancer ‘aint got nothing on my girl CHAR! But it sure makes my shoes feel so freaking heavy on my soggy feet.

I was on my way to visit her in the hospital when her daughter Ashley called me from Char’s side. The doctors had just told her that Char’s body was shutting down and the ventilator was the only thing keeping her here. Char was in unbearable, unspeakable pain. She was ready to go home, and definitely deserved the rest she had fought so hard to win.

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Talk about “Just do it.” Char did. She kept the faith. She finished the fight. AND SHE WON NOT LOST. She is finished with cancer. #peaceout Char. I’m doing a victory dance for ya, sister…but I’m not gonna lie, there are tears.

Like I said, I was on my way to the hospital when Ashely called me. I was on my way out of town, to go run an all-night-long 10-hour endurance run, when when Char was admitted to the hospital a few days before, with what they thought was probs pneumonia cuz she had just done the #hungerwalk in Cincinnati a few days before. Only 3 days after chemo. And in the rain. I didn’t go visit her before the race, on my way out of town, because I was on an antibiotic and I was afraid to bring my germs with me. The hubcap went in my stead, and told her I was off to run a race, that I needed her to be on the job praying for me while she was resting in that chemo, and that I’d come visit her as soon as I got back. I also asked him rub her adorbs bald head for me, for good luck, which he did. And he and a friend from our “cancer club” prayed over her. On race day, another friend of ours, from The Pink Ribbon Girls, also checked in with her for me (Thank you, Kim) and reiterated my “charge” to Char, and also petted her sweet head for me.

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This selfie was taken at Char‘s Grace project photo shoot a few weeks before Char’s passing. Char’s shoot was in the midst of a weekend of events that I was producing so I couldn’t be at Char’s shoot…which freaking split me in two…but Char knew that and so she asked for one more pic…of everybody rubbing her cute bald head for me since i couldn’t be there. #thatsamore

I’d written Char’s name by my heart on my race shirt, and was so freaking excited to show her that, and my medal, and to give her the pink sock monkey I’d run with in a backpack on my back, to give to her. When I left the house that morning to come visit her, all anybody knew was that they were going to take her out of the coma. So I packed a bottle of my famous “Cancer is a” Bitch wine to come break bread with her in #fuckcancer style. And of course my medal to show off! It had been a long day, without my friend. And I was so. looking. forward. to telling her all about it when I saw her again.

I came. I saw my friend Char take her last breath. I was conquered.

This is the last I saw of Char. One week before she passed. This pic our “cancer club” brother Arch Cunningham posted from the Hunger Walk just a week before Char passed. This is the Char I knew and loved. The Char who loved me FIERCE.

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This was my crazy cancer ass kicking sister Char Scott.

This was her doing the #HungerWalk in #Cincy last week (Memorial Day).

This was 3 daze after chemo, which as everybody who has been there done that knows…is NOT one of the good daze.

This was one week before she was to shed that gorgeous shell, kicking cancer’s ass once and for all.

This was/is/will always will be her victory lap and this her victory cry that will always make me smile.

Even if today it makes me cry a little cuz I will miss her as fiercely as she loved me.

This was my friend who loved me fierce,

out-loud, proud

like somebody who would walk/run/crawl 5K

in the rain

3 daze after chemo

to fight hunger in her world.

This was my friend Char.

She did love.

And she did it fierce and with reckless abandon.

And that is how I will remember her.

And this is how Char wanted to be remembered. Shortly before her passing, Char was so super freaking excited to participate in The Grace Project. Grace is a series of portraits of women who have battled breast cancer and suffered amputation in the waging of that brutal war. It’s a beautiful, powerful exhibit dealing with body image after breast cancer. Grace photographer Isis Charise finds inspiration for the project in Greek Sculpture #keepcalmandlovegreece so she frames the women in the context of Greek goddesses. Isis is in process of photographing 800 women across the country. The eventual Grace exhibit will demonstrate a day in the life of breast cancer. 800 women are diagnosed every day in our country. This has to stop. This is how Char wanted to be remembered. Beautiful. Empowered. Having kicked cancer’s ass. It was her last word.

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Immortal. The lovely Char‘s stunning gorgeous IMMORTAL Grace project portrait, taken by Grace photographer Isis Charise. Char was so. freaking. excited! and proud out loud to do her photo shoot, to become a Grace goddess, and especially, to be part of something so beautiful and meaningful and superpowerful for good. Grace is a series of portraits of women kicking cancer in the balls, and #shaken up the conversation on what is beauty? by empowering women who have suffered breast cancer and #amputation #MastectomyisaEuphemism of the parts society erroneously and cruelly deems as the critical lady parts…to battle through that shit as well, and embrace their body image and their own undeniable breathtaking beauty. #transcendencemuch? (Cuz what woman in America DOESN”T deal with body image issues?) This beautiful portrait of beautiful Char, taken on April 11, THE DAY AFTER CHEMO and 6 weeks before she shed that gorgeous shell, will hang with 800 others in an eventual complete exhibit…a beautiful breathtaking demonstration of ONE DAY IN THE LIFE OF BREAST CANCER IN AMERICA. (Yep, that’s what those 1/8 numbers mean. And that’s why we have to find a cure ALL THE CURES for cancer ALL THE CANCERS. #fuckcancer)