Cancer Survivors

You’re a cancer survivor until you’re not. Once you’re declared to be in remission, or the scans show you’re cancer free, you’re known as a cancer survivor. I’ve been a cancer survivor since last year, showing no signs of the disease anywhere in my body. But it doesn’t mean that I don’t think about it….

Hope & Radiation

Today I begin radiation. While they tell me it’s the easiest part of the cancer treatment, for some reason it’s made me feel more vulnerable than anything else I’ve been through. Last week I had to go in twice to let them take x-rays and mark me up so they’ll know the exact spot to…

The Lonely Eyelash

The other day I took a long look in the mirror and realized I only have one eyelash on my left eye. Like a horn protruding out of the middle of my eyelid, lone and unapologetic, proud to have survived six rounds of chemotherapy intact. I have six or seven eyelashes on my right eye….

Keep Going

This past Sunday morning I drove to church and parked in my usual spot. I walked down the grassy slope, entered the building through the east door and walked around to the elevator. After stopping to talk to a friend – standing during the whole conversation, I’ll have you know – I got on the…

Angels in Scrubs

In a few hours I’m scheduled for surgery, an operation I’ve known was coming since last April. Compared to many procedures to remove cancerous tumors, mine will be relatively simple. Over the last few months I’ve had a lot of time to ponder the types of cancer I could’ve been diagnosed with – cancers that…

“Swelled Up Like A Toad”

When I was first diagnosed with breast cancer and learned I would go through chemotherapy, I had a certain set of expectations. After all, I had seen movies like 50/50 and The Bucket List. I had friends who had gone through chemo treatments who told me about the side effects they experienced, like Nausea and…

Making My Bed

I haven’t always been good about making my bed in the morning. In fact, for much of my life I thought it was a complete waste of time, since I was just going to get right back in it that night. No one was likely to see it, I thought, so why go to the…

“A Capitol Fourth”

Tonight I’ll be watching “A Capitol Fourth” on PBS. It’s what I’ve done every year that I didn’t care to fight the crowds and the heat and the mosquitos to watch a local fireworks display. The year I got to see it in person will always be special, but maybe even more so this year….

Answer the Question They Forget to Ask

“So how did you discover your cancer?” That’s a question I’ve been asked lately. When you tell people you have breast cancer, most people assume it showed up on a mammogram. Mine didn’t. And neither did many of the tumors in other breast cancer survivors I’ve been talking to. I found mine by scratching. Thank…

“Keep Those Cards & Letters Coming!”

Nearly every day after school my mom had errands to run. In addition to the usual runs to the grocery store, the pharmacy, the dry cleaners, any number of bakeries, and of course, Gibson’s Discount Center, we also made regular visits to two different card shops in town. Depending on where our other errands took…

Clinging To What I Know

From the first two rounds of chemotherapy I’ve been through, I’ve learned that what everyone says about it is true. For starters, it’s unpredictable. I can’t stand that. Just no predicting how it’s going to affect you, my doctor said. No predicting when the side effects will begin or subside. Everyone’s reaction is different. And…

More Than My Hair

It’s been nearly a month ago since I got my hair cut. A short haircut, for the first time in seven years. Shorter than I’ve ever worn it. Even shorter than the pixie cut my mother thought would look cute on me in first grade. Shorter than when I cut my hair to look like…