Saturday, November 1, 2014

high-low, high-low, doo-doo-da-doo-doo-doo

This week my bandages came off for the last time. I hope that some of the weight from the last 19 months go away with them. I know I have ??? years of hormone therapy and check ups ahead, but the surgery I had in September was the last part of my in hospital treatment plan that was created over a year an a half ago. It's finally time to experience life after treatment. Swallowing a pill is all that hormone therapy asks of me and thousands of people do the exact same action daily with vitamins or tylenol. I only have to do something lots of people do. I believe that means I'm only required to do something completely normal.  A life without looming surgeries or daily trips to the hospital. THAT SOUNDS TOO DAMN GOOD.
So I reflect. To look at where I was and where I am. As a reminder of why every day I wake up healthy and happy is a day to give thanks. And to keep a little fear in me so I do everything in my power to prevent reoccurrence.

Cancer lows and cancer highs through a little chatting and a lot of selfies.

May 2013
Low: Diagnosis, fondling by dozens of strangers, 
chemo begins. 
High: NT girls hike the Grand Canyon rim to rim and rep "Love Conquers All" as they do it.

June 2013
Low: Signature mane falls out. Nothing is private about my body anymore/detachment to cope.
High: I make bald work for me.

July 2013
Low: Emotions are officially out of control/hormones, hormones everywhere .
High: Round 1 of chemo ends and we celebrate Christmas in July. 

August 2013
Low: Unable to name reasons to keep fighting, Anna leaves.
High: Shipped off to NYC and CA in hopes of refueling/Cymbalta'd up as an attempt to balance out.

September 2013
Low: All 20 nails are officially gone and replaced with numb toes and useless fingers. Mastectomy talk begins.
High: Theme-o is born & life does a 180.

October 2013
Low: Physically/mentally at weakest, on bedrest, quit my job.
High: FINISHED CHEMO, Colin Meyer enters life.

November 2013
Low: Double mastectomy + axillary dissection, body is unrecognizable.
High: Clear post-op path report!!!

December 2013
Low: How is this feminine? Human? Recovery is hell.
High: Healthy enough for Christmas in Cali

January 2014
 Low: Radiation drama, begging hospitals all over the country to treat me before CDH agrees. Scans/appointments/all hands and eyes on my body resume.
High: 20 doctor less days.

February 2014
Low: Living at CDH

High: Weekend in Massachusettes + a comical symptom. Lymphedema/baby hand brings joy to all who see it and Anna is a stud at her first NESCACs.

March 2014
 Low: Radiation/spending every day at the hospital drains spirit and body, once again struggling to find the desire to live.
High: Finally a hospital gown I can work with

April 2014
Low: Liquids only, gooey/fried skin. 
High: Healing begins.

May 2014
Low: Starting hormone therapy makes me nauseous and emo, "was fighting to stay alive worth it?"

High: Post radiation party.

June 2014
Low: Goodbye to the 19 biggest reasons that made hanging on worth it

High: Justin Timberlake circa 1999 is alive and well.

July 2014
Low: Test results concern my doctor and heart/mind decide they want to start processing the past year while I'm trying to Hakuna Matata around paradise.

 High: Central America because I earned it.

August 2014
Low: Leaving everyone who took care of me and constantly provided love to process and start over on my own.
High: Put my time with cancer to use with Reimagine, finally thankful to be alive, fresh start.

September 2014
Low: More surgery/resume patient life.

High: Work with cancer patients/survivors/caregivers to improve the cancer experience. 

October 2014
 Low: A month of gauze and nipple guards. Leg incision reopens. My body once again is more science experiment than human. 

High: Active treatment ends and it's all preventative treatment from here out!!!

November 2014
Low: What to vegans eat on Thanksgiving?

High: Final bandages are removed and I can claim MY new and HEALED body. I want to be more modest again and private with it, treating my body as the sacred masterpiece that it is. I'm proud of what it carried me through and am enjoying the chance to get to know it and celebrate it.  

"...and the scars that mark my body, they're silver and gold."


  1. I was diagnosed last year with Breast Cancer and it was such a shock. I appreciated all the support I received throughtout my treatment and it continues to this day. I did not break down when I was diagnosed but when I found out my sister had brain I was undone. The one thing that I held on to was my faith in God. Every day God encouraged me with someone or something that made everything worthwhile. I pray for the day when cancer will be a thing of the past. Thank you for your story in Women's World.

  2. Kayla, you're amazing. Uh may zing.