What I Did On My (not-quite-summer) Vacation

I've been gone for a while.

First, I went on what was intended to be a vacation to South Dakota with a dear young friend from the UK.  The first day went very well, but the rest of the week turned a bit darker, as my friend became very ill, indeed.  In fact, she spent the entire time getting a good inside look at the American health care system, spending an entire week in hospital.  Poor Sam!!  Luckily she did eventually recover enough to escape her doctors' clutches, and is now safely home and recuperating.

In the meantime, it turns out that between the tiring expedition and my not-so-great reaction to the Gemzar and the extra steroids it has forced on me, my system has pretty much had it, and has gone on strike.  Fatigue, digestive issues, muscle cramps, joint and bone pain, and much, much more - these things have kept me mostly housebound and computer-unfriendly for a while now.

The good news is that Dr. Bouncy took more tests yesterday to see if we can figure out what is going on... and we are going to try a different chemo treatment, to see if perhaps it might give me a better quality of life.

And in the meantime, I have a day here and there that isn't too awful - and on those days, I try to do something fun.  I had tea with Sam and Gretchen last week, and had a trial 'walk' with my folks yesterday, using the new wheelchair.  It's been more than a year since I really got out and about outside, and it was glorious.

Anyway, that's what's been going on.  I'll report more next week, when I start the new treatment and know more about what's going on.  Until then, get out and enjoy what is left of the lovely autumn weather and foliage - it really is a Good Thing!!


Awareness Worth Having

My friend Donna is posting some really great information about breast cancer in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  All the marketing of Pink glitz and glam, all the Pink pies and ribbons and shirts and motorcycles and cars, all the ballyhoo... it can distract us from some of the more important facts that we really need to get across about breast cancer.  It can lead us to underestimate the seriousness about the disease - it can lead us to even believe that breast cancer is curable.

Unfortunately, breast cancer is not curable.  Not even the most 'mild' case is curable.  The best we have achieved, with all our research and our advances in treatment, is remission.  Remission means that the cancer in your body is not currently detectable by our current technology... but it does not mean the cancer is gone.  Breast cancer tends to recur, and more often than not when it recurs, it does so in its deadly form.
And there is nothing pinkly pretty about metastatic breast cancer.

So let's get ourselves truly educated about breast cancer.  Let's be aware about its realities.

Donna's posts are a good place to start.  Here are links to her most recent Awareness Points:

Breast Cancer Subtypes

10 Truths About Breast Cancer

Breast Cancer Remission

Estrogen As a Risk Factor

* My thanks to Donna, whose blog is a constant source of inspiration and information, and whose person is a blessing, indeed!


Breast Cancer Awareness Month Announcement

Yes, it's that time of year when people suspect us of wearing pink for a purpose.  Don't worry, I'm not going to get into the politics of all that right now.

Right now, in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I'm going to remind you all about Breast Cancer Recovery, a fabulous organization staffed by a group of women to whom I am very proud to be even vaguely connected.  Link on over to their website, and if you have (or have had) breast cancer, do yourself a favor and sign up for one of their incredible spirit-reviving retreats.  And if you don't have BC, link over and donate a little something, and know that you have made the world a better place.

And if you happen to live anywhere near Wisconsin, consider checking out the folks below who are doing some nice things to support Breast Cancer Recovery during the month of October:

Breast Bra Competition 08/31 - 10/15/2011:

Plum Crazy presents their 3rd Annual Breast Bra Competition! Bring in your decorated bra with a $10.00 donation and you can win big!! All proceeds will benefit Breast Cancer Recovery. C'mon, let's decorate the ceiling with bras!!! Are you a survivor? Please join us for a private judging night! Call us at 608-839-5697 if you are interested! Plum Crazy is located in Cottage Grove, WI visit our website at www.shopplumcrazy.com for more store information.

Madison College offers pink hair extensions 10/1- 10/31/2011:

During the month of October, Madison College Salon (formerly MATC) has pink extensions! Proceeds from this will benefit Breast Cancer Recovery.
 Salon Services:
The Madison College Salon is located at 211 N. Carroll Street, just two blocks off of State Street in downtown Madison. Please click here to view our salon services performed by students and supervised by licensed instructors.
 Call today to schedule your appointment and ask about our monthly specials. 608-258-2404

Associated Bank Fundraiser 10/1- 10/31/2011:
During the month of October Associated Bank will be raising awareness about Breast Cancer Recovery by selling 1 dollar donate now cards to their costumers at the Fish Hatchery Road and Chapel Valley branch in Madison, WI.

Drink for Pink at Pasquel's 10/1 - 10/31/2011:
10% of all Pink Margarita and Mejor Pink Luxury Tequila sales will be donated to Breast Cancer Recovery. This promotion will take place at both Pasquel's Restaurants located at 1851 Monroe St and 670 North Midvale Boulevard in Madison, WI.

Verlo Mattress Factory Fundraiser 10/1 - 10/31/2011:
As part of its observance of Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October, Verlo Mattress Factory Stores is highlighting the work of Breast Cancer Recovery, a Madison-based non-profit, and some of the women the agency serves. For every bed sold in the month of October certain Verlo Mattress franchises will donate to Breast Cancer Recovery. Please contact your local Verlo Factory to see if they are participating.

Nicole's Creation Fundraiser 10/01 - 12/31/2011:
$1 of every breacelet and lanyard sold will be donated to Breast Cancer Recovery. Click here to view and order these beautiful creations!

Community Change Double Days 10/09/2011 - 10/15/2011:
Order from Community Change during the week of October 9 and double the proceeds will benefit Breast Cancer Recovery. Please visit http://www.thecommunitychange.com for more information.

Wisconsinmade.com fundraiser 10/11 - 10/31/2011:
Wisconsinmade.com, an online food and gift store, is donating 10 percent of Internet sales from October 11- 31 to support Breast Cancer Recovery and Wisconsin Breast Cancer Coalition.  Please visit wiconsinmade.com to participate.

Bras For a Cause 10/13/2011:
The Women's Council of Realtors puts on a fun filled event, Bras for a Cause at the Edgewater Hotel. This is an evening filled with fun as local men show off their bras in a runway show. Proceeds will benefit Breast Cancer Recovery.  Please click here for more information.