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Saturday, February 28, 2015

Life, or something like it, post cancer

There’s a phrase that was tossed around a lit class I took once: the long 18th century. It refers to the fact that, in the West, the influence of this century stretches longer than its 100 years. The ideas that defined it were percolating in the 17th century and continued into the 19th.
Though I’m now 30, I am still experiencing what I call my long 28th year.
Twenty-eight was my age when I received a diagnosis of breast cancer. I was 28 when my breasts were removed, 28 when I did chemo, 28 when I finished radiation. That was in 2012. But it is so not over.

Friday, February 27, 2015

5 Myths About Clinical Trials that Just Won't Go Away

In December, I traveled to Washington, D.C., and had a pleasant visit with a friend I hadn’t seen in several months. I drank a lemonade while we filled each other in on the latest news, hair styles, and our holiday festivities. Between sips I gave her my arm. She took my blood, and then injected me with an experimental cancer vaccine. [Record scratch.]
Okay, so the friend was a research nurse, and our meeting place was Sibley Memorial Hospital, where I’m participating in an immunotherapy clinical trial for a vaccine to prevent my breast cancer from recurring.
Read the rest here.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Effexor and YOU

Top three activities to avoid while you're trying to stop an antidepressant (trust me):

- Assemble ikea furniture

- Take a web analytics course, or do anything involved with technolomagy.

- Walk, or attempt any sort of movement


Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

World Cancer Day

It's World Cancer Day, guys.

When you're a patient, it's easy to lose perspective on the fact that cancer is a global issue. Your world becomes so, so tiny. Your life is measured out if not in coffee spoons, then prescription bottles.

During my treatment, when I was inexplicably taking public transit to work every day, I would often be very frustrated by the fact that I almost never got a seat on the subway. Then, toward the end of chemo, I read this article about a Haitian woman who traveled hours and hours by bus just to get to her chemo treatments. Her neighbors scoffed at her: "You're just going to die anyway," they said. 

It can be hard to remember that you are lucky when your hair is falling out, but you are. I was. 

This isn't about "oh, things could be so much worse." Because, obviously. Things can always be worse. They don't have to be the worst to be bad. It is just about remembering, not just where things are harder for you than for other people, but where things are softer, too. 

Always be kind, loves.