Schedule: Week of October 22-26, 2012


7:00am-8:00am Drive from Home to ROnc
8:20am-9:10am CT Simulation for Radiation Therapy, including getting tattoos
9:10am-915am Drive from ROnc to Starbucks to get coffee
9:25am-9:40am Drive from Starbucks to Work
9:40am-1:30pm Work
1:30pm-2:00pm Lunch [Short – to make up work time stolen by medical appointments]
2:00pm-5:30pm Work
5:30pm-6:30pm Drive from Work to Home


8:05am-9:15am Drive from Home to Work [With 1 stop to get gas for the car]
9:15am-1:00pm Work
1:00pm-2:00pm Lunch [Shopping at H&M – got a few good lightweight t-shirts for winter layering & 1 scarf] [Oh, and the first time I’ve taken an hour for lunch maybe since I came back to work after my surgeries on September 10, 2012.]
2:00pm-5:30pm Work
5:30pm-6:50pm Drive from Work to Support Group [Jack in the Box dinner & Starbucks coffee in the car on the way]
7:00pm-8:30pm Attend Support Group
8:30pm-9:10pm Drive from Support Group to Home


8:25am-9:25am Drive from Home to Work [I actually made a conscious decision this morning to accept being late to work so I could clean up my bedroom (clothes needed putting away, my bag needed to be fully unpacked from my overnight stay at Mom’s last week) – to take some time all for myself to do something I wanted to do, even if I could only steal a few minutes.]
9:00am-1:30pm Work
1:30pm-2:00pm Lunch [Short – to make up work time stolen by a few minutes of ‘me time’ this morning]
2:00pm-5:30pm Work
5:30pm-6:30pm Drive from Work to Home


7:10am-8:20am Drive from Home to Physical Therapy [Why can I not get my ass out of the house on time to make it to physical therapy on time?]
8:20am-9:00am Physical Therapy
9:00am-9:20am Drive from Physical Therapy to Work [Driving through Jack in the Box on the way to pick up a Platter for breakfast – OK, I’m aware I’ve now gotten fast food twice already this week, and it’s only midday Thursday.  Apparently, I’m wearing down a bit this week (well, no wonder, see “Dr. Rex Hoffman – Office Visit – October 22, 2012“) and putting healthy food in my face is something that is suffering for it.  Hopefully, I can find some energy somewhere to fix that.]
9:20am-1:30pm Work
1:30pm-2:00pm Lunch [Short – to make up work time stolen by medical appointments]
2:00pm-5:30pm Work
5:30pm-6:30pm Drive from Work to Home


8:10am-9:15am Drive from Work to Home [With 1 stop @ Starbucks for the weekly coffee treat – don’t tell anybody it’s my third Starbucks this week!]
9:15am-1:30pm Work
1:30pm-2:00pm Lunch [Short – to make up work time stolen by medical appointments]
2:00pm-5:30pm Work
5:30pm-6:30pm Drive from Work to Costco
6:30pm-7:15pm Shopping at Costco [Including a 2nd phone call from Dr. Rex Hoffman which, after starting to feel better after posting last night and therefore looking forward to an actually relaxing weekend unlike the last one, ruined this one too, See “Dr. Rex Hoffman – Phone Call – October 26, 2012”]
7:15pm-7:30pm Drive from Costco to Home

Additional Tasks Accomplished This Week:

– walked at least 20 minutes each day
– blogged
– managed to carve out a whole hour for lunch at least one day
– used my hasn’t-happened-in-several-months one-hour lunch to practice some minor retail therapy
– cleaned up the bedroom
– wrote a scathingly honest email to Dr. Raul Mena, Medical Director of Cancer Services at Disney Family Cancer Center at Providence St. Joseph Hospital in Burbank [Hm, after going anonymously under the radar and promising pseudonyms, I’m blatantly and completely naming names all of a sudden – Please See Rule -1 and Rule 0 and “Dr. Rex Hoffman – Office Visit – October 22, 2012“]
– remembered to write & leave a check for our every-other-week housecleaners


My New Ink – The Tattoo I Never Wanted

Tomorrow I’m getting at least six tattoos.  I’ve never wanted even one.

This has been all I could think about since Friday night when I got home from work and my mind shifted gears from workweek to weekend.

I have numerous piercings – multiples on each ear, and one in my navel.  I’ve always been okay with piercings because I figured if I ever got tired of them, I could take them out and they’d close up and disappear.  Realistically, I’ve had some of mine for so long now, I could take my jewelry out today and they’d never close up as long as I live.

Still, I could see where a small hole (or even more than one) could easily be overlooked by a casual glance.

Tattoos are something else entirely.  For all intents and purposes, permanent – forever – no changing your mind down the road.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I am not globally anti-tattoo.  In fact, I find some tattoos, in some places on the body, on some people, very sexy.  I’m talking drop trou in the middle of a busy street at high noon sexy.

So if you’re getting an anti-tattoo vibe here, it is solely about Tattoos and Me, nobody else.  My generally applicable and very strong pro-choice stance extends to tattoos as well.

But I got breast cancer.  And the size and type of my cancer allowed me to choose lumpectomy with radiation therapy instead of forcing me into losing my entire breast (or both of them) by mastectomy.  So next up in my treatment program is radiation therapy, which requires tattoos.

The tattoos are there for a couple of very important reasons.

During therapy, mainly to make sure the therapy is delivered as close to identically each day (five days a week for 6-1/2 weeks, mind you), to simultaneously kill any remaining cancer cells in the area of the former tumor, and to spare as much healthy tissue as possible.

After therapy, they serve both as a roadmap to your prior treatment (should recurrence occur, or you change doctors, for example), and to mark off what I’m calling a future “no-fly zone.”  After some casual internet surfing it seems to me that tissue is really only supposed to undergo radiation therapy once, so even if recurrence happens in the same area, the tattoos mark out the ‘no more radiation here please’ territory.

I have been repeatedly assured that these tattoos will be small –  more (if applied by a women) or less (if applied by a man) the size of the head of a pin, or about 1mm (or so I’ve heard from a casual survey of the unbelievable number of women in my extended sphere of friends and acquaintances who have already fought the fight I’m in now – I Never knew how many people in my life had been through this deal until I entered it myself).

Still – permanent, never wanted one.  Fucking Cancer!

Since they are (theoretically and ideally) very small, I suppose I could actually have them removed, or skin-color tattooed over when my radiation therapy is done.  But anytime I’ve seen this on the net (on reliable websites), it comes with a clear warning to carefully discuss this your MOnc before having them disappeared, for the “after therapy” reasons spelled out above, of course.

So, as of today (Please See Rule # -1), I plan to keep my radiation therapy tattoos.  Goddamn Big Girl Panties!

Having resigned myself to getting and keeping tattoos I’ve never wanted wasn’t doing the trick.  I was still feeling pissed off and unable to wipe this tattoo thing from front and center in my mind.

So, what is a girl to do?  Go get a tattoo.

Wait, what?  Sounds crazy, right?

Well, not in the world according to me.  Here’s how things stand from my POV.  Never wanted a tattoo.  Got cancer.  Cancer treatments require tattoos.  Technically, I have a choice about doing treatment (getting tattoos) or not, I suppose.  Realistically, I don’t have a choice (See “I’ll Take Red Please“).

I do, however, have an actual choice about whether to get a non-cancer-related tattoo or not.  For all intents and purposes, there are really no consequences if I do or don’t (as long as I choose type, size and location wisely).

I could not let go of being pissed fucking off about cancer forcing me to get my first tattoo.  When I “acted as if” the cancer tattoos were Not actually my first one, my mind and heart calmed.

So today I went and got my first tattoo.  Here’s my new ink:

Um, yeah, that’s right.  There’s no picture to show.  I went to a tattoo shop in town that was recommended to me by someone I trust.  I was told to see the owner – Dave.  Unfortunately it appears Dave is on a tattoo hiatus.  I asked my friend if he would trust my body to Molly and he said yes.

It just so happens that on this particular day, there was a once-a-year festival being held on the street directly in front of the tattoo shop.  We made it in there, but the festival crowd was generally not the same demographic as the folks who get tattoos.

Maybe that’s why Molly seemed entirely uninterested in getting me what I wanted, or in the reasons I was doing this.  Maybe she just didn’t care, period.  In any case, I Do realize this is a permanent deal and chose not to do it somewhere and with someone I am not comfortable.

My first thought about this not working out as I had planned was – well, please see Rule # 0.  So I just figured when I got the “on purpose” tattoo (vs. the “they’re required for treatment” tattoos), I’d just warp time and Decide it was my first tattoo.  Hubby said, yeah, I could do that.  I can construct this blog/site world anyway I want to.  It’s all mine.  He also said I could just have the “on purpose” one be the one I wanted, as opposed to the ones I don’t.

We’ll see what I decide to do (or not do).  As of this moment, I have five new tattoos (it just so happens I have a freckle/mole just where one of my tattoos was going to be, so I didn’t have to get that one – who knew?), and this morning was just as hard as I was afraid it was going to be.  Since then, I’ve cycled back to crying about every 20 minutes or so.  And even finding a private corner to let the bawl out isn’t materially helping.

Remember that roller coaster analogy?  Seems to me like today is one of those down days.

SNL (1975-1980, 1985-Present): October 20-21, 2012

Who gets the reference?

This has been a rough one.  As soon as I got home from work on Friday, and mentally left this past workweek behind me, there was only one thing I could see ahead – Monday and the tattoos I’d have to get for my radiation therapy.  I’ve never wanted a tattoo.  Please see “My New Ink – The Tattoo I Never Wanted.”


– coffee
– was interviewed by S (with interview trainee L observing) as part of the Mya Research Project being conducted by UCLA to help tailor future resources to better meet women’s emotional needs in the first year after diagnosis – for those who come after me.
– blogging
– reading
– watching TV


– coffee
– blogging
– thinking about tattoos
– brunch @ Thelma’s Morning Cafe
– errands [vape store, tattoo shop]
– coffee from Starbucks
– dinner & Sepang, Malaysia Moto2 on tv

Schedule: Week of October 15-19, 2012


7:10am-8:15am Drive from Home to Physical Therapy
8:15am-9:05am Physical Therapy
9:10am-9:25am Drive from Physical Therapy to Work
9:25am-1:30pm Work
1:30pm-2:00pm Lunch [Put gas in the car – bought lottery tickets]
2:00pm-5:30pm Work
5:30pm-5:45pm Drive from Work to Acupuncture
5:45pm-6:45pm Acupuncture
6:45pm-7:45pm Drive from Acupuncture to Home


8:00am-9:00am Drive from Home to Work
9:00am-1:30pm Work
1:30pm-2:00pm Lunch
2:00pm-5:30pm Work
5:30pm-6:30pm Drive from Work to Home [While listening to pre-debate show and debate]


Woke up at 4:30am – Could not get back to sleep before 6:00am alarm.

8:00am-9:00am Drive from Home to Work
9:00am-1:30pm Work
1:30pm-2:00pm Lunch
2:00pm-5:30pm Work
5:30pm-6:30pm Drive from Work to Home


8:00am-9:25am Drive from Home to Work
9:25am-1:30pm Work
1:30pm-2:00pm Lunch
2:00pm-5:30pm Work
5:30pm-6:40pm Drive from Work to Mom’s

[Slept at Mom’s to save 1-1/2 hrs driving time Friday morning – not my house, not my bed, couldn’t fall asleep ’til almost 11pm (way past my bedtime)]


8:35am-8:55am Drive from Mom’s to RSurg
9:00am-9:45am Appt with RSurg who released me to begin radiation treatments on October 29, 2012 [which means I get my very first tattoos (that I never wanted) next Monday October 22, 2012]
9:50am-10:40am Drive from RSurg to Work [with 1 stop for my usual Friday Starbucks treat]
10:40am-2:05pm Work
2:05pm – 2:35pm Lunch
2:35pm-5:30pm Work
5:30pm-6:25pm Drive from Work to Home

Additional Tasks Accomplished This Week:

– walked at least 20 minutes each day
– blogged
– paid bills
– did laundry
– completed AFLAC claim forms

Upcoming Appts – as of October 11, 2012 (and Probable Holiday Impact)

This morning when my physical therapy was done, my PTher and I reconfigured my upcoming physical therapy appointments to coincide timewise and medical-needwise with my upcoming radiation therapy (which, conveniently, I have chosen to have at the same facility).  When we had rescheduled my upcoming appointments, she printed out a schedule for me so I could be sure of what was what and when was when.

My first glance at the sheet of paper must have had me looking very confused because I was very confused.  Then my PTher reminded me that it showed not just my physical therapy appointments, but all my upcoming appointments for that facility.  The sheet is attached below:

In case you’re missing the import of that – every single line on that sheet of paper is a separate appointment, all mine, and the last radiation appointment is currently scheduled for Tuesday, December 11, 2012.  This is my upcoming schedule, of course, if and only if my RSurg releases me to begin radiation treatment on Monday, October 29, 2012 (because I have healed from my two surgeries to her satisfaction that the radiation therapy will not seriously damage me), which RSurg appointment is currently scheduled for Friday, October 19, 2012.

If she does Not release me to radiation when I next see her because I have not healed enough for her to do so, then every appointment in the above image starting with the October 22, 2012 appointment to do a CT simulation of the radiation therapy and get my tattoos (see upcoming post “My Boob Is Not the Mona Lisa!”) and continuing to the bottom of the page will be pushed however many weeks she decides I still need to heal before starting this next phase of treatment.

And now we get to the second part of this post’s title – Holiday Impact.  Please take notice that while I will (hopefully) be aware of Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas as they come and go this year, I likely will be spending the majority of the next three months or so attending doctors appointments and treatments, working, and sleeping.  I therefore will likely not be:

– giving candy to the kiddies on Halloween (OK, because of where I live I really don’t ever do this anyway)
– giving any thought whatsoever to a Halloween costume this year
– participating in any Halloween parties at work or elsewhere
– cooking a full Thanksgiving dinner (OK, another thing I don’t really ever do anyway)
– cooking anything at all to take to any Thanksgiving dinner I may manage to attend
– bringing a Hostess Gift to any social occasion at all I manage to attend
– buying, writing, stamping and/or mailing holiday cards
– OR
– choosing, shopping for, buying, wrapping and/or delivering holiday gifts – for anybody at all in my life

In other words, I’m giving myself this Holiday Season off – I simply don’t have the time or energy.

And for anyone who is hurt and/or offended by the above comments, or thinks it’s not a big deal and I’m being a wuss – you’re welcome to come keep me company at all thirty-two (32) of those consecutive 8:00am weekday appointments (not including physical therapy and other doctors’ appointments during that same 6-1/2 week period), and then we can both go do a full day’s work after that.  Comment and leave me your email, I’ll share the location with you privately.  🙂