Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Road Bump Negotiated

It has been months since I've posted here. Months since I've even thought about this blog. For anybody reading this who is facing their own cancer diagnosis, take heart! At least for THIS breast cancer patient, life is back to almost normal. And, in fact, better than it was pre-cancer diagnosis. Really.

I have a new full-time job that I started in April. Yeah. It offers most of what I had hoped for, including a window AND a door. The kids are doing great and seem to have weathered the "sick mom" time without permanent damage. The guitar lessons I gave while on the couch last summer were a huge success and I have quite the budding rock star on my hands. I've been getting out in the yard and tackling projects I could only dream about a year ago. My strength is returning. It isn't what it was but give me a year and it will be.

The hair continues to grow. I've had it cut three times so far - woohoo! I got it colored when I was asked if I qualified for a senior discount. With color it feels more like "me" than when it was grey. My eyelashes and eyebrows continue to fall out at intervals but oh well. My arm still feels funny (and probably will forever) and sometimes swells a bit but so far nothing awful. My biggest complaint is lack of sleep due to hot flashes waking me up every couple of hours and keeping me awake for an hour at a time. Studies show that women who get hot flashes after treatment are less like to have a recurrence so I try and accept the lack of sleep gracefully. And that's really the crux of it all: accepting the changes gracefully and moving into the next phase of life. A good life with my kids, family, friends and FBF in a community that showed me amazing support during a difficult time.

If you've been diagnosed with breast cancer, I highly recommend the supportive online community at And send me a comment. I'd love to send a kind word your way. If I can get through it, so can you.

Road bump having been successfully negotiated I am out of here!

Monday, March 3, 2008

Not what I expected to have happen last week

I am unemployed.

This should NOT have been a shock to me, given the real estate market's downward trend over the last year. But still. I was there for four years and with 2 days notice, boom, I'm done. It makes me sad that it ended. I will miss my co-workers immensely.

Today is my first day at home. My stomach is churning with anxiety (not helped by intense insomnia last night) over the unknown. It's so hard not to know where one's life is going. It's so hard to realize how little control we all really have. What a ride this year has been! I have to remember that I've been here before. I have stood at the edge of what I know and when I step out there is always a path before me. I just can't see it right now.

Here's a partial list of what my next job will offer: creativity, autonomy, hours 9-3, at least $20 hour equivalent, fun atmosphere, variety, flexibility, easy commute, family friendly, can work some from home, I will be appreciated, and I will have windows.

Now I have to go finish cleaning out the linen closet.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

I am overcome

I went to Florida last weekend.

I sat on a beach chair and dozed in the sunshine, listening to the gentle waves and burying my toes in the fine, white sand. I held The FBF's hand. I looked for shells.

I started to cry.

The enormity of the journey I've been on is just starting to hit me. Had I sat down a year ago and imagined where I'd be now I would never in a million years have guessed. What started out as a road bump has been so much more: cancer treatment has left me with an entirely new map filled with roads I'd only dreamed of. And this is the cool part: I love where this journey is taking me. I love my life. I am so overcome with gratitude and happiness lately that sometimes it makes me cry.

Even when I'm sitting on a beach.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007


The day after my birthday I received the following email on my myspace page:

August 1, 2007

Hi LeeAnne,

You don't know me, but I have read your blogs and your story and it has touched my heart immensely. I want you to know that you are in my prayers daily and that I believe you will prevail. The owner of my company battled breast cancer twice and beat it, and I know you will too.

I know that it is one of the most difficult things that you have ever been through and some days you wonder whether it is worth the pain and fatigue and depression. I want you to know that it IS worth it, as you have beautiful children and your art is beautiful. You have much to offer this world and I would be proud to get to know you as a friend.

I really appreciate how candid you have been in your blogs and know how difficult it must be to share your innermost feelings with many people whom you have never met. Your courage and your determination is contagious and I am certain that you have inspired many.

I hope that you will find it in your heart to add me as your friend, and that someday we can meet for a margarita or three and discuss life and humor and everything else that life has to offer because as you know, we all are here for a very short time and we need to make the most of it.

Looking forward to hearing from you, much love and prayers,


The email was accompanied by a profile of a man my age, who lived 3 miles away. I was not overly impressed, but I've always welcomed new penpals and he seemed nice enough for an amusement.

Little did I know what was starting. We traded emails, sometimes writing back and forth 3, 4 even 5 times a day. We shared our stories and discovered a tremendous amount in common. So much in common that sometimes it was eerie. The friendly banter began to take on a flirtatious edge...

After a month of writing, a weekend of constant IMs and several nights of hours-long, laugh-filled phone conversations it was time to meet and see if there was any sort of connection in person. I'd done enough internet dating to know that you can have the greatest online rapport and even hit it off on the telephone, but that doesn't necessarily translate over to real life. I wasn't into wasting time... if there was no chemistry I was going to have to swat this guy. Quickly.

So on the afternoon of August 31, a couple of days after writing this, I called The FBF to tell him that if he wanted to meet me, I'd be laying on a chair at Starbucks while the cleaning ladies were at my house. He said he'd be there. When he walked in and smiled at me that was it. Within 2 seconds of meeting him I knew that we had SERIOUS chemistry. I also knew that we were going to be significant to each other.

I was right. And God? Thanks for the awesome surprise. You rock.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

A Truly Happy Holiday

Here is an attempt at creating a holiday card. The first I've done in quite a few years.

I'm thrilled to be getting ready for Christmas. Happy as anything that I have enough energy to do what I need to do. I've been working about half time; resting when I can, but mostly just conserving energy when possible so that I can keep up with my kids and the extra demands of the holiday season. I feel good. Sometimes fatigued, yes, but able to keep up. Yeah! My daughter had a choir concert last week and my son's band concert was last night. Just attending these events is something I could not have done a few months ago. I've been cooking, too, almost every night, and enjoying that little act of normalcy.

The tree is up and beautiful; full of an intermingling of my ornaments and the FBF's. Presents are (mostly) ready and wrapped and under the tree. I don't feel any of the usual December stress or pressure. I'm just truly happy to be able to partake in it.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Giving Thanks

What I am thankful for on this eve of Thanksgiving 2007:

- My bosses who have been amazingly patient and generous. They will never know how much they have helped me by allowing me to focus on recovery instead of worrying about having to be in the office.

- My parents who came to town every other week for 4 months and not only sat with me during my interminable chemo appointments, but also took care of me while I was recovering from chemo. No matter how old I am, I want my mom when I am sick and I am so glad she could be with me. And my dad was here too. Every time. I had no idea he cared that much. Thank you Mom and Dad!

- My family and friends who have stuck with me, faithfully reading and commenting on my blog, calling me, sending me emails and dinners (SO many dinners! Thank you family, friends, neighbors and co-workers!) and cards and flowers and so much more. All the visits. All the phone calls. All the times you have put aside whatever is going on in your life in order to listen to me rant and rave and cry and whine and freak out. I thank you. I am now officially going on record to say "it isn't all about me anymore! I welcome the opportunity to hear about YOU now!"

I'm also thankful for the grace my children have acquired during this experience. Somehow, somewhere, I know it will serve them well later in life.

And for the FBF. One of the best things, if not THE best thing to come out of having cancer. I am thankful for all you bring to my life. This is only the first of many Thanksgivings to come.

Friday, November 9, 2007


Here's today's hair picture. I'm about 2 1/2 months post-chemo. Slowly but surely it's filling in. I believe a milestone was reached last weekend when I was told I officially woke up with bedhead. Woohoo! Never thought I would be so happy to hear that one. Eyelashes are nearly at full length and eyebrows are well on their way.

A week post-radiation and I'm still dealing with peeling and the occasional stabbing pain but geez louise it is NOTHING in comparison to where I've been. The ever-present fatigue rears its head when I try to do more than a few activities in a day but I will continue to improve.

I met with the doc on Monday to discuss hormone therapy and port removal. The latter is scheduled for November 30, under general anesthesia (yeah!), the former to start December 1. I'll take Tamoxifen for 5 years as a daily pill. I might at some point take some other drugs but not to start with. Main side effect is expected to be MORE HOT FLASHES! Damn.

My anxiety over picking up the pieces of my old life was lifted somewhat when work gave me the official word as to their expectations for my coming back. Helps to have a plan in place. I hope to start back slowly, maybe even next week. For sure the week after. I'm not sure what I can handle, frankly, but I won't know until I try. One step at a time.

And finally, I want to thank the FBF* for being such a rock during my latest round of freak outs. Every time I have a fear, an insecurity, an anxiety attack or am just plain bitchy this man calls me out, addresses it, talks me down off the skinny branch and reminds me that not only does he love me, but he's with me for the long haul. I am so blessed. It continues to astound me that the Universe delivered the man of my dreams during cancer treatment, but It did. Makes me kind of wonder what's next...

*FBF = Fabulous Boy Friend