That's Lisa on the left. Then Shawna, me, Rob, and Ramblin' Dave. I see that I looked as awful as I felt. No, that's not true. I felt even worse that day.
While I've known that Lisa has been going through a particularly rough time, it nonetheless came as a shock and made for an upsetting day to hear on the radio this morning that she left this world yesterday. I'm so sorry. I reflected today on what an incredible and indelible mark she left on our community and on the world since her diagnosis and how she worked tirelessly to raise awareness and help other people with cancer diagnoses.
I met Lisa briefly when I (stupidly) agreed to take part in the C95 Radio Marathon for breast cancer. I say "stupidly" because it was right at the end of my last chemo and I was feeling quite awful and I was all puffed up from the steroids and from edema. Actually, I felt worse than awful. I really felt like shit and had no business leaving the house but I felt it important to do my part. And, to make matters worse, I was very weepy. I cried all the way to the mall where the event was taking place and then I cried when I introduced myself. I mostly managed to hold it together through the interview with Rambling Dave ... he was so great about helping me keep it together.
After the interview I met Lisa and we had a little chat. And after that, from time to time, Lisa and I would exchange emails. She would so kindly inquire as to how I was doing and I would ask the same of her. While we didn't know each other well, I thought it was just generous of her to take that time to care. That was only less than a year and a half ago when I met Lisa and I remember noting that she didn't even look like she'd been through anything awful. In fact, she looked great! I recall hoping hope that soon I would look so well. It's hard to believe that cancer took her. It wasn't without a fight, that's for sure.
Breast cancer motivated me to start a blog, mostly to keep track of everything for myself but also to allow family and friends to keep up to date about my progress. My blog has evolved and so have I.
Now, along with my continuous breast cancer experience, I also blog about my kitchen experiments, my return to quilting as therapy, and my return to full-time work.
I didn't realize when I was diagnosed that breast cancer and the treatments would take so much out of me and that the effects would be so difficult and last so long. That said, I'm glad to be alive and now I need to leave a legacy. Time's a wasting. Must make quilts.
Breast Cancer (booooo) was the opponent. I hope I won. I was diagnosed with breast cancer in March 2009. I had a sentinel node lumpectomy later that month and on June 10, 2009, I started Chemotherapy followed by radiation treatments - the last one being December 20, 2009.
I thought it was all over. The cancer part seems to be over so far but I hadn't anticipated the awful effects of Arimidex (the aromatase inhibitor/estrogen blocker) that I started taking after chemo. The effects were long lasting and really awful. And then both my shoulders became frozen. I see that frozen shoulder is not uncommon for women who have been through breast cancer treatments but nobody seems to know why. And now I'm on Tamoxifen and there are the side effects from that, which are much milder than I had with Arimidex but at this point I don't know what's caused by either of those drugs or what might be the lingering effects of chemo and radiation. It's a much longer haul than I initially understood.
This blog has been my game's colour commentary starting 6 days before the kick-off of my first chemo treatment. I hope I won. That's the funny thing with cancer, though. You don't know for sure. You just have to be cocky enough to act like you've won.
Everyone who visits here has been on my team (because there's no "I" in "TEAM") and this blog was for them to to follow the game plan and the progress. It turned out it's also been therapy for me and a record of so many details I forget because of the also unanticipated "chemo brain". One thing I know for sure is that I wouldn't have made it through this without my team of family and friends. Thank you! Thank you! THANK YOU!! We're here. We Might Have WON!!
To learn the details about my particular discovery of my tumour and my diagnosis and treatment, please read this.
If you're more interested in my new quilting hobby, visit my blog that's supposed to be JUST about quilting at Peace.Love.Quilt.