Friday, March 11, 2011

One Year Out

Wednesday was one year from when I got diagnosed with breast cancer.  I noted it, and I'm glad to have put it a whole year behind me, but I don't really want to see that date etched in marble.  It's funny, I can think about and remember my surgery, which was March 30, or the weeks and months of chemo, or having 28 days of radiation treatments, without any pain.  By the time we were doing those things, we were in a state of purposeful action. I don't feel bad thinking of those times. I even feel proud. After all, everything went well, and a lot of good things happened too. Like, I don't think about chemo without remembering what a great summer we had--so many fun mountain weekends and so many tubing trips down the river--but when I think about the shock and newness of that diagnosis, and the time leading up to my surgery, where every day lasted a week, I shrink up a little inside.

To celebrate (?) I had to go down to the surgeon's office yesterday for a mammogram. I knew she wanted to see me in March, so like a good girl, I scheduled the appointment. As soon as I'd done it, I felt fear. I knew everything would be fine, but I just didn't want to go.  That night I had this conversation with Matt.  I paraphrase:

Me: Why does everything suck so much?

Matt: Um, which things honey? Because actually everything is awesome.

Me: I don't know. Things.

Matt:  This is about having to go get a mammogram.

Me: Yes. I guess that's what is sucking. I'm cool with everything else.

So it had me in a funk. But guess what? I went and it was fine.  When you're having a mammogram of only one side, it doesn't take as long. Bonus.  And the radiologist read it right there and then the nurse came and told me it was all clear.  Then she said the radiologist wanted to meet me.  I was like, "Of course he does! Having seen that, come on!"  But it was a chick and she was very sweet. Then I was on my way, relieved.

I'm not really worried about the other breast anyway.  I'm worried about having a metastatic recurrence somewhere else in my body.  I say I'm "worried," but it's not that I'm losing sleep. More that this possibility, sometimes a dread, is now part of my new normal mental landscape.

I have several magical beliefs, though, about keeping the cancer from coming back that I'm acting on:

1) I feel that if I exercise regularly, the cancer won't come back.
2) I feel that if I eat good whole foods, the cancer won't come back.

Those are the two main ones.  Then we get into a still more magical realm.  I have lots of beliefs about things like green tea, a robust social network, cabbage, and having a grateful heart that I will not inflict upon you right now, but we can talk about it if you want to.

One that might interest you is my now almost paranoid avoidance of BPA.  You know, the stuff that is everywhere in plastics and can linings? Okay, avoiding it in cans is not paranoid, it's just good sense.  We don't eat anything out of cans anymore unless I know the canning process to be BPA-free (very few of them are). But lately I've been reading about how BPA is present in much greater amounts on cash register receipts.  The thermal printing process that a lot of stores use has a powdered form of BPA coating the paper, activating the ink.  Have we gone crazy that we are putting this stuff everywhere?

Anyway, so when the cashier says, "Would you like your receipt?" I say no thanks. And if they automatically hand it to me with my change or whatever?

I drop it on the floor.  Yes.

I just haven't figured out a way to say, "You know, no thanks, that is covered with a toxic endocrine disruptor and I don't want to touch it, but you hang on to it."  So I just let it flutter to the floor.

Now you know everything, reader.  At the beginning of this post you were probably all on my side and now you think I'm a litterbug.  I have some good qualities though. I hope you'll stick around for another year at least.


Ginny Marie said...

ONE YEAR! Congratulations, Becky!

I worry about BPA. too, and also soy. Soy is in everything, so I just do the best I can. :)

Keely said...

I love that you listed cabbage and having a grateful heart in the same sentence.

I had no idea about the till tape. I'm paranoid about BPA and soy too. And other things like microwave popcorn.

(Seriously, though, what ABOUT cabbage?)

Keely said...

Oh, and congratulations, of course! It doesn't seem like a year (it probably seems like much longer to you).

Michele said...

Green tea and cabbage are wonder foods.

Jenni said...

I got a little sick thinking it about it too.

BPA in the receipts?! I will not be handling those ever again.

Jenni said...

And also, three cheers for your cancer free boob, and your healthy, cancer free body. xo.

Amy said...

One year! Wow. God is so good, you know? I'm proud of you and inspired, too! You have weathered this so well. And I for one, think there's something to that magical thinking. Cabbage forever!

Please email me what I should know about BPA. I avoid it in plastics mostly, but I'm pretty clueless.


delaine said...

I celebrate with you having that entire year behind you! It was scary at times and tedious and a bit overwhelming. But here you(and we) are. It is a blessing that we will never take for granted. I prayed all thru the year that you would be well , healthy, and happy. I still pray for your ongoing good health. I think many people would gain from reading about your year and getting thru it with grace and humor. When we see you next, we will raise a toast to celebrate. Love you!

Life on The Rowland Ranch said...

Wow. Wow. Wow. Can't believe it's been a year. You are an amazing woman, in case you ever forget. Dread..hate that. Even the sound of the word is well..dreadful. Makes me think of a scripture that says.."They were overwhelmed with dread, when there was nothing to dread." Praying that will always be the case with you, well, minus the overwhelmed with dread part. :) Nothing to dread..

Cassie said...

You are great. =)

My Kids' Mom said...

I must enjoy your blog- here I am on a Friday night-- reading.

I started reading here just a few days before you told about your diagnosis. I guess it hooked me in- I have boys the age of your's, I live in Atl too... and I'd just discovered a lump and was ignoring it, hoping it would go away. It turned out to be nothing, but it brought me to an awareness that things aren't always good. As you went through your treatments and came out, whole, on the other side, I've been impressed.

So, long story short... thanks for a year of sharing. I hope you continue for many more.

Elizabeth said...

Congrats on your year done and gone! And may there be one million more! As for the "magical thinking," you should hang out with we parents of children with disabilities -- yours will seem quite sane and minor!

Kelly said...

One Year! Wow!! You go lady ;)

Have fun this weekend. Sorry we couldn't come oxoxox

Veronica said...

Congratulations on kicking cancer's a$$ this year. You rock!

Suburban Correspondent said...

Congratulations on the one-year mark!

jo said...

Good for you, quite a milestone! Our haem/onc advises keeping your weight in the healthy range, something else to think know, to keep your mind off every other thing that could be bad for you

Dave said...

Wow, I can't believe it's been a year. As for your magical beliefs, I think they're actually scientific and demonstrably true. Kate and I have become evangelists for that book, "Anticancer," since you introduced us to it.

M said...

I indulge and heartily support the philosophy of magical thinking. And BPA is a toxin we KNOW of; I worry about others.

FYI: I think receipts might be going away entirely---Nordstroms offered to email me one last week That would take care of the bagfuls I accumulate each year (most of which are NOT from Nordstroms!)and which are probably showering me with BPA as I write. I'm definitely attending shred day at my bank today.

Cheers to your year of magical thinking and telling your tale so adroitly!


For what it's worth, my verification word is "bardo." Makes me laugh; surely you'll one day be known as the bard of the suburbs!

Sjn said...

Such good news!You looked great at Carter's b'day party.

My mantra: Live healthy and stay strong. Live every day to the fullest... life is a blessing and our time here with the ones we love is precious.

Michele R said...

A year--wow! Cheers to your good health. Thanks for the BPA receipt info.

Elizabeth-Flourish in Progress said...

Congrats! Congrats! Congrats!

My mom, my grandma, and my grandma's sister have all had cancer. I find myself being extra careful sometimes. The magical thinking keeps me sane. Adding receipts to my list of Don'ts.

Anonymous said...

Are you sure it's a year? I'm pretty sure it might be ten years and two minutes, simultaneously.

Congratulations, and YAY for the cancer getting the hell out of town.

Amy said...

I think your magical thinking is right on the money. Every bit of it.

And thanks for bringing us along for all of it. You are inspiration.


Megan said...

Congratulations and crossing the bridge past the one year mark. Magical thinking rules. Life would be much grayer and more wobbly without it.

Much love to you and yours.

Star said...

Your posts help me...a lot...thank you, and congrats for the first of a VERY long series of cancer-free anniversaries.

Beth said...

Woot to one year out. Those years "out" are going to start flying by.

I agree with Dave; everything you said was not, in fact, magic, but real reality. Like, science and crap. Don't you watch Dr. Oz? :-) (Speaking of which, he had John Edward on the other day, so, like, what up, Dr. Oz?)

But I fear the chemicals, too, among them BPA. I know Eden Foods doesn't use BPA in the can linings, but I don't know any others. I've been using "bar shampoo"--like a bar of soap that is shampoo-- on my boys since they were little since there are literally no liquid shampoos in this country without phlalates or some other chemical. Check out what Dr. Sanjay Gupta on CNN has to say about it all:

Messy Mom said...

YES! That is awesome. I remember crying when I read your diagnosis online. I am so glad to have that as a memory instead of something that we have to wonder about. You are a hero.

Lina said...

Hi Becky,

I've come over from Amy's blog so I hope it's okay to post.. I'm a long time lurker - Really enjoy reading your posts.

Just wanted to mention Vitamin D. There is lots of literature about it's anticancer prevention.. A good book I'm reading right now is 'The Vitamin D solution' by Dr M. F. Holick. The website is also a good place to start.

Congrats on making it through the first year!

P.S I had no idea about the receipts.. Thanks for the tip!

Jen said...

So glad all is clear and I know what you mean about the BPA. I worry everything to death now...well, did before anyway, but now I really do.

So happy for you!