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