Back Story


Finding out any bad news can be difficult. Finding out that you have cancer just sucks!  But life is funny – or so they say, so I have tried to treat each event with humor.  It is unfortunate that this is my second relationship with Cancer.  I was 20 when I was diagnosed with Hodgkins disease.  I was a Senior at Boston University, and for whatever reason I decided to finish out my Senior year, and be treated in Boston (away from family).  In those days Tufts treatment plan was Radiation (Liniac and Cobalt) and the removal of my spleen.  No Biggy – and for those on diets I lost 15 pounds.  I digress though.  About 20 years ago I became more familiar with the side affects of Cobalt Radiation (A type that is not used anymore).  Mitro Valve prolapse is one, colitis is two, under active thyroid is three, hair loss four, and…. wait for it….BREAST CANCER – I am 5 for 5.  And yet still find lots of many things to laugh about…so it is not all bad.  I have an absolutely fabulous husband (though I try to tell him that as little as possible — keeps him on his toes more!) and two fabulous kids that really make me laugh more than I make them laugh – though the competitive person that I am is always trying to one up them in that department!

So in October of 2010 my mom had found out that she had Mouth Cancer.  It was a 4 month blur between her surgery, her therapy and taking care of her and my dad (who has advanced Parkinson’s).  I know it sounds like such a sad sack life — but you misread this.  Would I wish that they were not sick — of course, but it has really brought my family together.  I am thrilled to have 2 brothers that really helped out.  Most siblings don’t have it where everyone does their par; but I was lucky, whether it was helping out with my Dad or just being there at the hospital with me and my mom.  They were great and I love them even more for it.

During her treatment I went in for my regular (though admittedly a few months late)  Mammogram and Sonogram/ultra-sound.  I get them at the same time (per Dr.’s since I was radiated to the chest area).  My appointment was at 9 a.m. and I went on with my day.  Oddly I checked my home answering machine, and heard the message from the Dr.’s office to call immediately.  This was February 14th – Valentine’s day 2011.  From that point my head once again began to spin Telling everyone first was more like ripping a band aid off a wound.  One mass email, quick and to the point.   This was the email I sent on March 14, 2011.   After this email, I allowed the fun to begin.

Hi:

Sometimes in life I feel a little like Debbie Downer, and I don’t mean to.  When we last spoke I was updating you about my Mom’s difficult bout with cancer and her surgery.  Miraculously she has rebounded in a magnificent way and that is so great.  She has been going through radiation treatment and only has 7 left.  Unfortunately with only 7 left I had to finally tell her news that I have been holding for the last 4 weeks.  On March 17th I will being having a Bi-lateral Mastectomy to combat Breast Cancer.  There is still hope that I will not need Chemo but probably will – which will start mid April.  
I remain positive and upbeat, and truly believe my outcome will be good.  Humor still remains my best defense…..I have been through this before (while younger and less savvy as I am now).  I know what I need to do, and I am willing to do it.  
I found it difficult calling you with this news because I really felt like lately I only deliver bad stuff.  But truly I am very positive about my prognosis. And I promise the next news I deliver will only be good. :-)
Love
Carol
Surgery went smoothly and without a hitch (well more on that later).  So I decided to send out another email.  This time I had to add my humorous take on the situation.  So on March 29th I wrote.
Well sometimes emails are bad news, but sometimes they are to update bad news to Good News, which is the goal of this email.  Before that I just want to again thank you for your caring thoughts and wishes.

I have begun to get some results back, and I am positive that the disease has not reached any lymph nodes.  Awesome!  Also we are pretty positive that the size of the tumor that had disease (not the size of the whole mass) was very small.  It is possible that the Mass size was larger do to biopsy swelling or other conditions.  
All great news.  My next step is to meet with medical oncologist’s to discuss the course of treatment (or not to treatment – as they said in the classics).  I still await the disease “personality”.  a set of tests that describe whether the disease is at a high risk or low risk to spread — as this info also ways in on the treatment type. 
But all in all good news, so today I celebrate…because I am drains free (or utters free as I call it)!  I will make my first attempt at driving — this is just fair warning for all to stay off the roads (well only if you are local because I can’t go far they say).  But once again I getting closer to again being the loving “wisecracking – yet oh so adorable’ friend’ I have always been – JUST PERKIER if you get my drift!.  And we can all go back to laughing it up…..
I love you all, and I am thrilled that you are a part of my life  — and that will continue for many, many, many, many, many………….!!!!!!!!
Love 
Carol
The the road was not as smooth as I had originally hoped, Some nodes no as clear as they should have been, it seemed where once chemo was out, it was now back on the table.  I didn’t want to tell everyone until I was definite.  On Monday May 2 I was definite, and asked to if they could also do another surgery on my Lymph Nodes.  I declined the surgery but agreed to start chemo quicker than I had hoped…so I wrote this email…
Hi:

I thought I would send out 1 email so everyone is up to date at the same time.
I start chemo therapy on Wednesday, May 4 at 9 a.m.  Yeah!!!!.  I am going to  try and go every three weeks (except when the kids are gone at camp — then to expedite the length of time, I will go every 2 weeks). If this works out I will be finished right around (or a little after) my Bday.They say the side affects are minimal.  Only a little nausea and vomiting, fatigue, hot flashes, and low immunities — so anyone with even the slightest cold, please stay away.:-) 
 Also I am not allowed to sit in the sun, so I will remain the whitest white person all summer long — yuck!!!!  Oh and another lucky thing, most people on this course of treatment gain 10 to 15 lbs — Yeah, how lucky am I.  So soon I will be moonlighting as the Goodyear Blimp.  I am told that working out, walking, being on the move is very important so you will all have to motivate me to keep moving…And I must, Must, MUST, drink a minimum of 2 liters of water a day — Double Yuck….
The saddest part of this all is NO ALCOHOL>>>>I think this may be my hardest task….No Wine, no nothin’ oy what am I going to do….
Love you all,
Signing off the Large, White, Sober, Whale
(formerly known as Ceeerol)

Today is my first treatment….Wish me luck!!!

13 Comments

Filed under breast cancer, Cancer, Chemo Therapy, Facing Cancer with Humor, Health, Humor, motherhood, Positive Outlook Stories, support, Uncategorized

13 responses to “Back Story

  1. Annie Spector

    Sending you every ounce of the best energy!! All this going on with you and you asked about my Kris? You are so deserving of all things wonderful!! I am here for you and your family, anything you need,they need , anything at all….Anne

    • True, but of course I meant Brian, sorry about that. I am doing okay and hope to remain that way. Thank you and I appreciate it!. I hope to be out and about for as long as I can. Someone needs to run the Ridgeway Watch Group. Oh, wait we don’t have one or need one. Shoot, another job I am out of….

  2. Rachel Edery Chalchinsky

    Dear Carol,
    What a way to suck the air out of my lungs. Sitting, scrolling through FB and reading your post then your blog.
    I’m as speechless now as when you first told me when you were 20.
    I’m sorry to hear about your mom. I had no idea. She is a strong tenacious woman. That’s were you must get it. I’m saddened to hear that you had to have the mastectomies and that it involves your nodes as well. I am so happy that you have a great support in your husband, children, mom and brothers. Carol, clearly you are not having a pitty party. From what you wrote I’m inspired that you are meeting this scourge head on and planning on kicking its ass. You are the 3rd friend in the past 2 years to have breast cancer. My other friends are fully recovered . I would like to say a mishhaberach for you. Can you send me your Hebrew name?
    I don’t know if any of my words are comforting,but they do come from my heart. Sadly you are needing to write about this, but I think it may be cathartic. I pray for your healing and yes peace of mind soon. Love and blessings, Rachel

    • Rachel:

      Thank you so much for you lovely response. I do find your words comforting, and thank you any mishaberach list helps. Also one of my favorite songs at temple. You are one of the few who remembers my first trip down cancer lane…and I had all but put it behind me…all but the side affects it left me. But none the less I remain ever hopeful, always positive, and undeniably sarcastic about my chemical undertaking. I was hoping the could put 2 ports in me…1 for the drupgs and the other for the cocktails, but alas the feel that would be counter productive….go figure….I do find writing cathartic…also easier on the ear, frankly repeating my events on the phone, by email or text got me alittle blearry eyed. This way I have a win win….I get to laugh and poke fun at myself while entertaining and helping others…I hope. That must be the untapped guidance counselor in me. Oh did I say untapped, I meant unemployed…Love and send my best to your family.

      Carol

  3. YOUR MOM

    If I haven’t told you in the last hour let me say it once more….you’re the best and always have been….keep up the good work………and kjeep writing….

  4. Tanya Hunt

    Dear Carol,
    You are brave and beautiful and no doubt will come out even stronger than you did after your first illness! I meant what I said @baseball last night–I am here for you and but a phone call away if there’s anything at all I can do to help you.:-)
    xoxo
    Tanya

  5. Lisa Schwartz Golodner

    When I came home from kindergarten, I announced to my Mom that I have a new best friend — she was the funniest and “funnest” kid to be around (and coincidentally her Mom happened to be one of the most fun in my Mom’s sorority). Little did we know that strength was another characteristic that you and Bunny possess.

    Today I read your blog and so admire the woman you are today. Just as your positive attitude and humor always made you such a great friend, helped you years ago with your recovery and other curveballs you’ve been thrown, I see that it will again carry you through your current challenges.

    I hope that yesterday went well and I’ll be sure to follow your blog. Not to sound like 100 years old (well, okay, maybe, I dare say, 1/2 of that), but isn’t this technology something?

    Lots of love and good vibes,
    Lisa

  6. Sheryl Frishman

    Dear Carol,
    You are a remarkable woman with an awe inspiring strength. I am honored to know you. Please do not hesitate to call on me if I can help in any way.
    Love,
    Sheryl

  7. Cindy Spencer

    Carol,
    I just came across your blog….have to tell you I had no idea! When I saw you at the orthodontist, you were sunny and carefree, who could guess you were going through all this?! With all of your good humor and positive energy, you will get through this for sure!! I will keep you in my prayers and please keep writing updates!

    Love Hugs and Godspeed,
    Cindy

    P.S. You are so tall and slender you could NEVER look like the Goodyear Blimp!

  8. Merf

    Carol
    I am sending you my love – Merf

  9. Sunnie Jacobs

    Way to Go, Carol!!
    You are terrific…love the way you write and more so your upbeat attitude. You are truly an inspiration.
    Sunnie (friend of your Mom and Dad)
    I met you and your adorable children at the diner…don’t know if you remember..but I do.
    Wshing you the best,

  10. pattaksen

    I hope I made it to the site

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