Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Is It Weird That...

I'm a 'list' kinda girl. I like writing lists, crossing things off my lists, and completing lists. I like grocery lists, to-do lists, people-to-call lists, and any other kind of lists. This week, I created a list of things that I have felt lately that I wanted to convey but couldn't really expand on any one issue in particular.

Here goes nothing;

1. Is it weird that the word 'cancer' has lost all it's previous meaning and now has the same impact as the word 'toast' or 'shower curtain'?
2. Is it weird that when someone says 'Tell me about yourself' the word 'cancer' is the first that comes to mind?
3. Is it weird that I wonder if I should stop using deodorant, stop using microwaves, become a vegetarian, only drink bottled water, work out 2 hours a day, drink 4L of water a day, never get another X-ray, tell all my girlfriends to get off the pill, stop drinking coffee, drink more coffee, stop using my laptop, get rid of my cell phone, eat only organic foods, stop using household cleaners and substitute them with lemon and hot water, stop wearing make-up, hold my breath around people who smoke, etc. etc. etc.?
4. Is it weird that I think I looked better bald than I do with this Orphan Annie hairstyle?
5. Is it weird that I squeal with excitement when I get my period?
6. Is it weird that I wonder if anyone would ever date me if anything ever happened to Keith?
7. Is it weird that sometimes I wish I had to go back into treatment because then I would be under the constant care of doctors and nurses instead of left to my own devices?
8. Is it weird that I am more scared for someone I love to get cancer than for me to go through it again?
9. Is it weird that I feel like my cancer defines me?
10. Is it weird that I can't remember my life before March 11, 2011?
11. Is it weird that I put pressure on myself to get back to normal even though I don't know what normal means anymore?
12. Is it weird that although I love the camaraderie of connecting with other survivors, I find that most times it's very overwhelming afterwards?
13. Is it weird that I have learned to expect to hear 'Well, we don't really know because we don't have any data on [insert topic here] for women your age' at least once every doctor's appointment?
14. Is it weird that I'm proud to be a cancer survivor but ashamed of what it did to my body?
15. Is it weird that the thought of going back to work brings me so much joy and so much fear at the same time?
16. Is it weird that when someone comments on my hair, I want to tell them that I just finished chemo?
17. Is it weird that sometimes I feel so isolated because 26 is just too f*&%ing young to have cancer?
18. Is it weird that sometimes it feels like the whole world has just caved in on me and it seems that at times I realize that I had cancer when 2 minutes before I felt invincible?
19. Is it weird that nothing could have prepared me for being the reason that my mom is now 'high-risk' in terms of developing breast cancer?
20. Is it weird that I felt like more of a warrior in treatment than I do now?
21. Is it weird that when I don't feel positive, I feel like others see me as really really negative instead of just not-positive?
22. Is it weird that I feel like this happened for a reason or do I just tell myself that because I can't comprehend another explanation?
23. Is it weird that I feel comforted when I'm at the hospital instead of angry or fearful like so many others?
24. Is it weird that when I see someone getting aggravated because they have to wait in line at the grocery store or flip someone off for driving too slow, I want to say 'do you not have enough to worry about?' and then show them my mastectomy scar?
25. Is it weird that every ache or pain that I feel, I wonder if cancer is attempting a sequel?
26. Is it weird that I'm bored telling my own story and I feel like I need a new story to tell?
27. Is it weird that overnight, we are expected to mentally prepare for losing a body part and are given a numb lump in its place?
28. Is it weird that when I look at pictures of the pre-cancer me, I feel sad?
29. Is it weird that I feel guilty for being so tired all the time?
30. Is it weird that although I wish I wasn't on Tamoxifen, some days I wish I had to take it for the rest of my life?
31. Is it weird that my niece and nephew are totally used to relatives going bald due to cancer on both their mom and dad's side?
32. Is it weird that some days I want friends/family members to totally go over the top and tell me how proud they are of me for dealing with all this shit?
33. Is it weird that some days I want friends/family members to not mention the word 'cancer' and especially avoid the fact that I've had it?
34. Is it weird that I get angry when someone says 'you can always adopt' when I say we might not be able to have children?
35. Is it weird that I hold a lot of guilt for being the reason that Keith and I may not be able to have children even though I know I had no control over it?
36. Is it weird that I wish I would have had radiation because I fear that one cell snuck through chemo?
37. Is it weird that I feel like cancer robbed me of many parts of my womanhood?
38. Is it weird that pink ribbons kinda make me angry anymore?
39. Is it weird that when I see someone who is obviously going through treatment, I want to hug them and tell them to call me if they need anything?
40. Is it weird that I'm the reason that my whole family has to tick 'cancer' on the family history questionnaire at the doctor's office?
41. Is it weird that I feel like I'm complaining when I write lists like this?
42. Is it weird that all this time I thought 3 consecutive periods 28 days apart was a fantastic thing when really, according to my oncologist, that may be an indication that my Tamoxifen isn't working as well as it should be?
43. Is it weird that when I sleep for 8 hours straight, I feel like a celebration is in order?
44. Is it weird that I make jokes ALL THE TIME about having cancer or having one breast even though cancer's not funny?
45. Is it weird that I fear lymphedema every time I stir a boiling pot, I stay in the shower for too long, or my shirt is too tight?
46. Is it weird that estrogen has taken over for cellulite as my current enemy?
47. Is it weird that I didn't fight any harder than others who lost their battle with cancer but I'm still alive?
48. Is it weird that I catch myself staring at other women's chests trying to remember what it was like to have 2 breasts?
49. Is it weird that I have a damn anniversary for everything related to cancer (diagnosis, mastectomy, treatment start date, treatment end date, etc.)
50. Is it weird that I worry about all of these things when I should just be so friggin' happy to be alive?


  1. My simple answer to all 50 questions is NO. I don't think there's anything weird about any of it...not like there's a right or wrong way to go through something like this, anyway. I wish you tons of luck when you go back to work - as much as it will come with its own sets of challenges, starting a new phase of your life may help you not get over any of this, but perhaps lessen the amount of time in a day that stupid c word is on your mind. And to think - tomorrow is March - I'm sure that's a bittersweet feeling, but you sure have accomplished a lot over the last year! BTW, what's the deal with Tamoxifen and the 28-day cycle situation?

    Sending hugs to you and Keith xoxoxo

    1. Thanks Michelle,

      As you said, March is going to be interesting. A year ago tomorrow I went in for my biopsy (thinking they were going to tell me it was a waste of time and it was in fact nothing).

      The Tamoxifen/28 thing, so I thought it was a great thing, less chance of uteran cancer, and of endometriosis and let's not forget that it somewhat implies that I'm ovulating. However, according to my oncologist, it could mean that I'm not absorbing as much of the drug as I should. She assured me that if I have a cancer cell in my body that has an estrogen receptor, the Tamoxifen is blocking it but she said I needed to be monitored (what else is new)?

      Sometimes I walk in there feeling great and then leave there feeling a little down. I guess that's what writing is for.

      Hugs back to you, Kevin and the boys,


  2. Nothing weird about this list. In fact, we could all fill a book with these lists. No answers needed, just lists. Hmmmm.... this could work Katie. You are brave, courageous and can teach the world a thing or two about priorities and the real things in life. Keep it coming Katie!

  3. Thanks Dee Anne! I did go to school for education so teaching is right up my alley...

    Thank you for the very kind words. I am so glad to hear that you can relate to some of this list. It makes me feel like alone.

    Hope all is well,


  4. Katie,
    Is it weird that as i read your list, it could have been mine too?
    no, it is not weird because so many of us share similar thoughts, worries and hopes. thanks for putting it all together. You are not alone, even though sometimes it feels that way. There are way too many of us out here. It takes people like you being brave enough to write the truth that will tell the stories and change the tide about cancer related crap. Hugs to you and keep posting. It is good for my soul.

    1. Well thank you for that! I actually find writing quite cathartic, I'm really glad I started.

      I'm starting to learn that if I feel a certain way about cancer, the odds are good most women feel the same way - which is why I appreciate the comments to my blog; they let me know that I'm not alone.

  5. I admit, I thought #5 was weird until I saw your age and desire to have children. ;)
    And #30 seems kinda weird. I guess it's because I don't understand the significance? I totally understood the rest if them and I don't have BC. I have colon cancer.
    Is it weird that I'm comforted by your list?

  6. Hi Glenda,

    So as you said #5 gives me hope that I can have children in the future, and #30 is about taking Tamoxifen which is an 'estrogen-blocking' pill that I need to take for the next five years. My tumour was an estrogen-receptive cancer and Tamoxifen blocks any estrogen from attaching itselt to any estrogen-receptor cancer cells (if any survived treatment) and helping cancer grow. So staying on it gives me a sense of protection but it comes with a mile long list is side effects, puts me into a sort of early menopause of 27 years old, and I can't have any children until I'm off of it.

    Hope this explains it.


  7. no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no

    that's what ****i***** think. You can count em. I think there are 50. But then let's all remember, my "issue" is with numbers......

    Love you, sweetie!

    1. AnneMarie, can you believe it, I actually counted your 'No's' and there were only 49..... just kidding, 50, right on.

      So glad you don't think my thoughts are weird.