A Breast Cancer Year

In February 2016 I was diagnosed with locally advanced stage II breast cancer. As we gathered ourselves to meet that challenge, my spouse fell on an icy driveway, shattering her shoulder. She required major surgery on the same day as I began chemotherapy. Together - two abreast - we navigated a year of treatment and recovery. This blog collects my writing through our experience. As of June 2020, we are both recovered and thriving - grateful for each new day and the people and resources in our lives.  

Over the months of treatment, I have been writing regular emails to our extended community of friends, family and colleagues. These are collected in The Letters. I have also been writing about meeting and managing various breast cancer treatments. These reflections on treatment and my tactics/tips are gathered in On Treatment. In the Sustenance section, I share ideas for care of the self and soul, and give examples of how our community of friends, family and colleagues surrounded us in their care. I also include some Resources. The Index page lists all of the blog postings and provides an additional way of navigating the blog. To learn more about who we are, go to About Us.

"What a staggering tangle of self and mutual care the two of you have been through and come through."

"What a wonderful writer you are - sassy, funny, pragmatic, indomitable, ‎and wise."

"You are a most faithful and a most informative correspondent."

April 15, 2018

You've received a diagnosis of breast cancer (or a friend has): now what? Some information to help you navigate the early days.

January 30, 2018

Still (just) in time to wish you a Happy New Year!

May 2018 be filled with love, good health, ample laughter and abundant happiness – and also all the resilience, patience, and kindness you need as the year unfolds with its unknown share of surprises and challenges. Win...

February 26, 2017

A weekend of rain one day and cold, brilliant sun the next; of snow washing away one day and glistening the next. Heralding the (soon to be) end of winter. [1] Symbolic of our good, forward-looking week.

On Thursday, I saw my radio-oncologist for my post-radiation check...

February 21, 2017

The Decision

My treatment plan always anticipated radiation. The established threshold for radiation is “if there were four or more lymph nodes positive for cancer” on post-surgical pathology. A bright line. I knew from my initial ultrasound and biopsies that I had at l...

January 31, 2017

[Guest post] We received the following note from a dear friend when I finished radiation. She sums up the dual nature of our year.

Dear Angie and Brettel,

Each one of you, individually and together, have completed a journey that, at the beginning a year ago, especially a...

January 29, 2017

Radiation treatments have come (December 15th) and gone (January 23rd). At the outset of each of my 25 sessions, I’d spoken a mantra welcoming the beams into my body and inviting them to clean up any lingering or potentially persnickety cells. On the final day of radia...

January 25, 2017

When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I had to do a crash course in getting comfortable with the fact of cancer in my life and figuring out how to be in relation to our friends, family and colleagues. I had always been deeply uncomfortable about cancer - and have al...

January 24, 2017

[Guest Post] As I move myself to the other side of cancer treatments, I find the following post on the theme of "do you always have cancer", both timely and relevant. Kerri Morris has kindly allowed me to include her reflection.

"Do you believe that once you have c...

January 24, 2017

Cancer treatment (and rehabilitation for a serious shoulder injury) are gruelling. They require personal determination and grit.  It can be a real trudge at times as the novelty wears off and the long winter (or humid summer) continues. But, along the wa...

January 22, 2017

The title is daunting, but the zest to live fully and with wonder is inspiring:

Poem: When Death Comes, by Mary Oliver

Read at http://amity.nfshost.com/files/deathcomes.pdf 

Hear Mary Oliver read at: http://www.ttbook.org/series/death/when-death-comes-mary-oliver

Source: M...

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About Us

On January 22, 2016 I went for a mammogram, to confirm that a lump in my right breast was a cyst. It was. And it saved my life. Because I was overdue for my breast screening, imaging was also done on my left breast  The mammogram and ultrasound came back “highly suspicious” for breast cancer...

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