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Posts Tagged ‘breast cancer’

On September 3, 2003, I officially got the news…I had breast cancer. Now, here I am five years later and thinking about what the five year mark means.

Really, it means nothing. Doctors like it as a number goal so they can start to scale back on monitoring and researchers keep track of it as a data point for treatment outcomes. But, of course, it is no guarantee that the same cancer won’t come back or a different one appear or that you won’t get hit by a bus.

Still…it IS a nice goal to reach. I had thought that the whole cancer experience would deeply alter me; I would become like the Dali Lama and have profound insights and always be peaceful. Um…yeah…that didn’t happen. I’m still grumpy and inpatient and kind and funny.

In fact, life has pretty much returned to the old normal. Which, I guess, is a milestone of sorts.

(Here’s me…well, the top half of me…back in December 2003 with nary a hair left from chemo)

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Four Years and Counting!

Today is my four year anniversary of being diagnosed with breast cancer.

The “milestone” number is typically five years, although there is some dispute over this with younger womens’ cancers. Anyway, I say just keep the years a’comin’! (I’m planning a big day for the five year mark, however).

Also, no one has clearly decided on if you count the day you were diagnosed, the day you finished treatment or when exactly to start the count. So, I chose the day I officially found out from my doctor that the lump was, indeed, cancerous. Everything changed from that day forward, so it seems appropriate.

Despite not wanting to let having breast cancer define me, it kind of does as the choices I make now are all based on that diagnosis. And yes, as trite as it sounds, a lot of good HAS come out of the whole experience.

I’d just like to point out a few places that have really helped me:

Young Survival Coalition

Livestrong Foundation

Reach to Recovery

If you are going through breast cancer (or have a loved one who is), please remember you are not alone!

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lymphatic arm with cellulitis

Frick, frick, frick!!! (for you Scrubs fans;-) I have cellulitis, AGAIN!

So, while the rest of the nation is out enjoying Labor Day weekend, I will be elevating my arm and taking heavy duty antibiotics. 😦

This is all traced back to having lymphedema in the arm that got bit by a mosquito. Now, I have been putting on the bug spray and covering that arm, but with all the rain we have had here lately I guess it was a losing battle. There is some odd medical info here about reactions to mosquitos bites:

Clearly there is clinically useful information in the literature on mosquito bite reactions. The reactions are immunologic in nature to polypeptide antigens in the mosquito saliva. There seems to be the full range of immune responses including immediate IgE-mediated whealing, intermediate immune complex arthus reactions and both late phase allergic and delayed cellular reactions. Fortunately anaphylaxis is extremely rare.

Durn, skeeter spit!……

If you have lymphedema, or are at risk for developing it, be aware that cellulitis is serious and dangerous…seek treatment ASAP!

I caught it early, since I had it once before (where I ended up in the hospital for a few days on IV antibiotics…not fun), so the picture of my arm is not nearly as horrible as the ones you can find searching the web (shudders).

OK, off to bed.

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