Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Top 10 Things I Have Learned Since Being Diagnosed with Breast Cancer!

**** I am stealing a big part of this list from Ann, the wonderful writer behind the breast cancer blog, "Breast Cancer? But Doctor I Hate Pink." Click here to go directly to her fabulous blog!

1. You will no longer by shy about exposing your chest. If a doctor asks you to undress, you will, right in front of him/ her, no gown necessary.

2. Chemo-brain is real. You will start boiling water for dinner, go to the pantry to get a package of pasta, forget what you wanted to get, think of something to look up and only when water boils over the pot will you remember what you were originally doing. This behavior is not confined to the home. My office is a mess, with handwritten notes everywhere, saying things like "office hours on Wed" and "pizza on Friday" and "call doctor." If I don't write something down immediately, it's gone forever.

3. Your body loses all its ability to control temperature. You learn to dress in layers and are chronically taking off sweaters and putting them back on. You'll have a heater and a fan on your desk and alternate using them all day long (esp. when you work in my building which has fluctuating AC and heat to start with).

4. You will think everybody who is bald or has very short hair just finished chemo.

5. At some point, you'll get a headache, or sleep wrong and get a stiff neck, or feel a strange ache. You no longer will ignore it, thinking it's one of those things. Your first thought will be "has cancer spread to my brain? is it in my bones?" This will even happen if you skin your shin or stub your toe or get the flu. All pains lead to cancer.

6. You will understand the concept of "tired" in a way you never thought possible. I never thought that going to bed at 8 PM would feel so normal.

7. You will think about your health (i.e. cancer) a lot. And I mean a lot. Combine every thought I ever had about my life pre-diagnosis and it's still not even close.

8. You will no longer worry about getting old.

9. Even though you might be against taking drugs, you will learn to appreciate the power behind an anti-nausea pill. And you will even start carrying them with you all the time.

10. You will take the month of October personally.

Of course, this list doesn't stay the one big thing I have learned -- I have fabulous friends and co-workers and a breast cancer diagnosis is a sucky way of really, truly understanding that. :D

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