When I started this blog site years ago, the original site was entitled “Breast Cancer and Me”. It was my journal that I shared to let others who were going through breast cancer (or other forms of cancer) find a common bond in a fellow cancer survivor. Someone to relate and share or feel some sort of support. I have found in my years of dealing with this certainly private yet public issue of cancer that not everyone feels comfortable being so public. My mother has let me know on more than one occasion how she feels about my musings and posts on social media sites like Facebook. She and I tend to conflict over my public airing of my cancer, my body image issues, my struggles, my transparency of my life. With all due respect to my mother and others who disagree with my public comments, blog, website, I want to take you back to the foundation of “NiqueWear”.
I always promised that I would keep this page “real.” Good, bad and indifferent. So, today I feel it is important to share where my journey is going. You see, over the past few months I have started to develop these lumps on my arm(s). The first one did not bother me. But then that one turned into three and I now have one on my right forearm as well. I have a habit of holding back information to my doctors about my various ailments. As a nurse, I would frown upon a patient with this attitude but when it comes to me, let’s just say I don’t always practice what I preach. During my last hospitalization in August for an exacerbation of my COPD, I shared my lumps with the attending doctors. I was told by the staff “can’t do anything about it here, you are being treated for asthma during this visit not anything else.” Oh, okay, as a two time breast cancer survivor, what was I thinking. “This is nothing, just old age spots.” Hardly.
At a follow up appointment with my PCP following my hospitalization, I decided to bring up these “lumps” again. So I proceeded to do so, and also asked if I could transfer my oncologist to a local physician. Those drives to Boston are just getting old, and at the end of the day, treatment is treatment. It is your insurance that determines your care, not your illness. So yesterday was my first appointment with my new oncologist.
After my history and exam, I was scheduled for bloodwork, PET Scan, MRI, and punch biopsy. You see, there is a chance that my cancer might have returned. As a cancer patient, I so want to believe in that word “cured.” I feel that we are lucky enough to be put into remission for a period of time, and then we are faced again with searching for purpose and your place in this worldly existence. It might just be nothing, but the side effects of treatments are taking their course on this aging body. And the pure day-to-day activities and thought process change with the first day that you are diagnosed.
I have started to live in a world of stressful events once again, living on minimal amounts of sleep, chasing that “American Dream”, and maybe this is my opportunity to once again refocus, sit back, and sit with “me” for a moment. This week, my sister Marie Hendrickson would have celebrated her birthday. She lost her fight a few months back when her breast cancer came back twelve years later with a vengeance. It is a reminder to myself to stay in the now, stay positive, and remember the simple things in life that bring happiness. I think I need to break out my camera again and start my photo journal by capturing one image daily that makes me realize what is important in this thing we call life.
“On the path to wellness one must learn to recognize fear. Particularly within ourselves. Anger is fear, jealousy is fear, even some ignorance. Health, however, is born from love.” ~ unknown
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