Bowen Love Fest

The other night my best friend commented that she sometimes forgets I even have late stage breast cancer.  It’s true, life goes on.  Sometimes it’s even possible for me to forget I have cancer.  Especially now that I’m not doing chemo and this über healthy lifestyle I’m trying to live has got me feeling even better than I did before I had cancer.  I’m not 100%.  But I have energy.  I’m not in pain.  My body is back at a healthy weight.  And everyone keeps telling me I look great.

But the little reminders are always there.  My bald head.  My fucked up fingers that make every day tasks like writing a difficult venture.  The port that is still lodged into my chest.

Even though I have my moments of freedom, I can’t get away from the thought of having cancer for too long.

My life is still full of medical appointments, procedures, research, medications, and treatment.  It will be that way for the rest of my life.  I still have to go to the “chemo room” at my oncologist’s office and sit for hours to get my dose of Herceptin.  I’m still taking that damn Tamoxifen (that I would really rather not be taking) and worrying about side effects.

I also have big decisions to make about whether or not to pursue surgery.  Standard treatment for stage 4 breast cancer does not usually involve surgery.  But now that the cancer is contained in my breast, my doctor at Memorial Sloan Kettering in NY is suggesting surgery.  So do I get the mastectomy?  Should I take out my ovaries too since my cancer is estrogen positive?  What about a full-on hysterectomy?  The damn Tamoxifen may cause uterine cancer so why not get the uterus removed while they’re in there as a precautionary measure too?   But if I have no breasts, no uterus, no ovaries, no more female parts – what does that make me?  What the hell would that feel like??  Can my body handle all that?

I say all this the day after one of the most amazing benefits ever.  Thank you Bowen Island!!  As you can see, I still have a long road ahead of me.  And I can use all the help I can get.

The Bowen Island benefit last night was full of so much genuine compassion and positivity.  I am still trying to absorb the pure awesomeness of it all.  The tremendous amount of love and support and good vibes that Bowen Island continues to shower on my family is pure gold.  It restores my faith in humanity.

I have to give special shout-outs to some really cool cats who went above and beyond to pull the event together…

Caroline Goodson-Parker:  The lady with the plan.  The lady who ate, slept, and breathed this benefit for the last 4 months.  My dear, dear friend.  A beautiful soul.

Katherine Wolters & Samantha Knowles:  The queens of the silent auction and organizers extraordinaire (who also ate, slept, and breathed this benefit for the last 4 months).

Auntie Nicole:  My forever best friend and social butterfly who is always there to lend a hand and get the party started.

Isabel Ruediger and her hubby Neil who made sure the booze kept on coming.

Lisa Marie Bhattacharya Whitaker,  nutritionist and chef, who helped provide food to even out the effects of the alcohol.

Tim Hausch:  President of the Legion, Shaw Cable wizard, and as my dad said it, “master of space & time.”  Without his wizardry and the brilliance of good ol’ Skype I would not have been able to join in on the action.

All the talented musicians who lent their beautiful voices, skilled instrumentals, and amazing melodies to entertain everyone for hours and hours on end.

Of course I can’t forget my dad – Spider Robinson – who helped bring all these wonderful people together and continues to support me from afar on this crazy journey of mine.

And all the fabulous folks who donated auction items.  We had some serious goodies to offer up thanks to you guys (including a signed mahogany Martin model guitar from David Crosby).

And everyone else who pitched in to make this event the success that it was – Wendy, Penny, Tanya, Vera…   The entire Bowen community…  All the people that bought tickets…  Donated money…  And sent well wishes and positive energy…  The list goes on and on.  Like I said, I’m still trying to take it all in.

Having the support and love of so many people really does help me feel like I can triumph over cancer.  It makes it easier to face the day.  Easier to heal.  Gives me strength to continue fighting and to live out the essence of my name – Luanna – graceful woman warrior.

Thank you all.  With your help I can do this.

Peace.  – T

10 Responses

  1. So glad you’re bathed in love, which is truly, truly healing. Not to mention making life even more worthwhile! :-)

    About surgeries: its a horrendous assault on your beleagured body, *including your immune system’* which also fights cancer. You don’t remember the days when “they opened her/him up and the air got at it” regarding the quick decline of cancer surgery patients. Of course that wasn’t the cause – but the surgery was. Whether to do it, and how much to do, is a tricky question. I am *not* suggesting you don’t!

    You CAN triumph, and you are definitely a Graceful Woman Warrior. How well your parents named you! <3

  2. Triumphant is a word that truly embodies your essence… Whether one is talking about your battle with cancer or your role as mother, daughter, niece, wife, friend, social worker. You have a capacity for living life that transcends and inspires so many.

    Yes, there are many difficult decisions to make. But your army is here, at the ready to assist you every step of the way.

    So, on this day that marks your most triumphant achievement thus far (Happy 3rd Birthday Miss M.!!!!), embrace all the love and support that surrounds you each and every day my love…

  3. Keep up the good work. It fills me with joy to know that you are doing as well as you are.


  4. I saw a commercial this morning about the Cancer Centers of America. It showed the woman who made the commercial several years ago, and is now a 10 year survivor, riding her beautiful buckskin horse in the hills of Arizona! Do you still plan on checking that place out?

    • I did contact them. They have a Cancer Center just outside of Chicago. And I was planning to go there for my next set of scans in August/September. But now I’m also interested in the Block Center for Integrative Cancer Treatment which is also outside of Chicago. They both seem committed to complementary treatments, alternative medicine, as well as traditional western approaches. Will let you know which one I decide to go with.

  5. I don’t know you Terri…. but I know the women who love you. And the community who came out for you.

    You are very deserving.

    You are inspiring. Suck that all up!
    Patti-Jo 😉

  6. But if I have no breasts, no uterus, no ovaries, no more female parts – what does that make me? What the hell would that feel like?? Can my body handle all that?

    Well… it would make you a woman. If you insisted on an adjective, an “injured woman”.

    And it might be really, really freaky. And it’s okay if it’s really freaky. I mean… hm.

    I had a minor health challenge. I might be diabetic. And that really freaked me out. In fact, it freaked me out so much that I felt a bit of shame about it. Why shame? Well, because 1) diabetes is hardly a death sentence, and lots of people live actual, honest-to-goodness *normal* lives with it, and 2) hey, aren’t I supposed to be able to handle the crap life throws at me? Don’t I like to help others handle their own life’s crap? How can I say that when I’m freaking out over something so small?

    Well, but I *did* handle it. I handled it just fine. I was freaky and emotional and hurt and all kinds of things. It was wildly unpleasant, and I could have handled it *better*, but I did *handle* it. I’m still here; I didn’t go into a dangerous level of denial; I didn’t hurt myself or anyone else.

    That it was freaky and painful was normal… not pleasant, but normal. And in that sense, “it’s okay if it’s freaky”. It didn’t mean I was doing something wrong. It didn’t mean I was weak.

    And that’s what I’m saying. If you have to get that much removed, wow, it would be *really* freaky, I imagine. But that wouldn’t mean you were weak or were doing badly if it was freaky and painful and all that. It would be a huge decision.

  7. If you didn’t have your lady parts you would be just as graceful, every single bit as much a woman, and 5 extra points worth of warrior. For reals. <3

  8. Dearest Terri,
    I have been updated by our dear friend Carol(Bowen) and moments I will see your father and I have just read your blog….
    Terri, you are an inspiration and truly deserving of gracefulwomanwarrior…your journey is a long one, but with the love of your family ,friends and people that read your life….and your amazing positive attitude I believe that you will conquer this cancer. The candles I light daily will be in honour of you and your daily/life time fight to live.
    Your friend

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