Boundaries exist for a reason (aka – what not to say to a co-worker)

I was able to work throughout my cancer treatment – chemo, surgery, radiation.  The first month was terribly rough, for sure, learning about the fatigue, the dreaded day three, the aches and pains, did I mention the soul-crushing fatigue?  But I was fortunate in not getting too many of the really horrible side effects.  Once I was able to come to terms with my ‘new normal,’ I was able to pretty much work through it.  (many kudos to my boss, and co-workers for all their support through that time, I am forever grateful.)

However…

(and yes I expect that you in your mind saw that and said to yourselves dot-dot-dot)

I have endured more insensitive, rude, invasive comments than I care to share, from people who should just keep their mouths shut.  I mean, what does a person gain, from learning about why that other person is wearing a wig, wearing a cap, suddenly lost all of their eyelashes and eyebrows?  Why do you – that other person, feel you have a right to know what is going on with the suddenly hairless person you see?

My friends – you know who you are – this post is not about you.  You were there for me, and I love you for it.  You were, and are, welcome in my life, and you know you have a place there.  The people who reached out to me because they have a cancer connection, and would like to talk to someone else in the ring, step on up, I am here for you.  The rest…you who I have no relationship with at all and are just thrill seekers?  F-off.  Seriously, F-the-F off.  I owe you nothing.  NOTHING!  Please and thank you.

So, TODAY!  Slightly over three years past my last chemo.  Slightly over three years since my hair started growing back.  A co-worker – one who has made comments to me in the past about ‘how pretty’ my hair is, and has asked ‘what do you put on your hair’ …

… super fast shuffle stepped over to me today, hand outstretched, “Can I touch your hair.”

WHO DOES THAT?!!  OMG, seriously!?!?  Seriously.

I have very expressive reactions to many things, and occasionally (ahem, Mike – occasionally – xoxo) I don’t hide my feelings well.  I shied back, said “NO!!!!” more loudly than maybe even I expected, I am positive my face contorted into very unattractive-forehead furrowing disgust – then followed up with “that is just weird!!,” and as she looked confused at me, added, “I don’t want anyone to touch me!”

Thankfully, at that point, the elevator doors shut, and I was removed from her presence.  I was angry, furious for a while after this encounter.  My personal space was nearly invaded, and I was very angry by the lack of social decency, WHO DOES THAT, is all I could wonder.  I did briefly consider filing an HR complaint, seriously I did, only because this person had made SO many unwelcome comments in the past, and this was just so far over the line…

People.  Don’t touch your co-workers.  Just don’t.  And if they lost their hair, and it came back..NO you cannot touch it.  Keep your meat-hooks to yourself.

Please and thank you.

 

 

Post breast cancer deodorant dilemma

This page contains links (affiliate links).  If you want to know more about it, please click here.  These links are for US based folks.


This once is difficult for everyone, isn’t it?  Deciding on what deodorant to use during treatment, after treatment, for all time – which one is safe?

We’ve all heard the stories, haven’t we?  Wondered if they’re true.  Does aluminum in deodorant have the potential to cause or contribute to breast cancer?  Some stories are scary, and when you read them you wonder why on earth would anyone ever use THAT product?

Then you look at people you know, that use those products every single day, and nary a worry in the world.

I used to do it sometimes.  Super hot day out, when I knew I would probably sweat a lot, I’d use my husband’s aluminum-laden man deodorant so I wouldn’t be a giant stinky mess.  Most of the time I was fine with my fairly sensible, all natural products, which occasionally would allow a sweat break-through, but overall worked pretty good.

Then, I finished chemo…and maybe it was during the radiation phase, while the chemo was still (I guess) working its way out of my system, when I noticed that ewe, gross, I was sweaty with an odorous scent.  I decided to consult the expert.  “Dr. Google, please tell me what could possibly work!”

I looked for natural deodorants.  I looked for lots of stars.  I read the reviews.  I found a local store that sold it.  I figured, here goes anything let’s see what happens.  I bought it, tried it out for a couple weeks, and…it worked!  I was very impressed.  It was much cheaper than most of the natural deodorants I had been using, and it really worked.

Sure, I may sweat a little when I’m really working out, but hey, sweating while exercising is a good thing.  Not stinking is even better, and this keeps the stink away.  And the rest of the time?  I don’t get any break through sweating, so I’m a huge fan.

Aluminum free deodorant which actually works:

Arm & Hammer Natural (affiliate link)

 

One other thing about this, the rosemary and lavender is the scent that I have right now. I don’t notice any discernible scent to it, it is just kindof, fresh smelling if you will.  So, you shouldn’t have any concerns about walking around smelling like garden…or Sunday dinner.  🙂

Hair products

I created a page to link all the hair products I used when my hair was growing out.

As I was creating it, I surprised myself with remembering how much effort I had to put into my locks those days.  Not like I was living in the ’80s type of effort, but for what I was used to before, it was quite a bit.

Now, I’m back to my pre-chemo routine, where I wash, condition, comb and go.  That’s it. But I’m glad to finally go back and consolidate all I did in one link.

Check it out here!

Enjoy!

Jan 24, 2020

January 24th would not be complete without an annual anniversary photo.  Here I am, exactly three years after my last chemo treatment.  How perfect was it that right after I took this selfie, I got in the car, and heard these wonderful lyrics from Incubus,

“Whatever tomorrow brings
I’ll be there with open arms and open eyes
Whatever tomorrow brings
I’ll be there, I’ll be there”
Yes, yes.  I will be there.

Jan24-2020

And a look back at the past year’s anniversary photos….

 

Happy anniversary to me!

Fcancer!!

Wrangles & Tangles

As a kid, I remember sitting, wincing in pain as my mom tried to rip the hair straight out of my scalp. “OW!!! STOP! THAT HURTS!”  Every.  Single. Day.  She said she was brushing the tangles out of my hair.  Brushing tangles, medieval torture, let’s not debate the semantics.  It was life as I knew it.

As an adult, I’ve sat and watched my sister-in-law work out the ‘wrangles’ on both her daughters.  They never complain as loudly as I used to, but the wince is there.  I can see it.

I always figured those wrangles and tangles came from doing what kids do, playing hard, having fun, not really worrying about life.

Now, here I am, 2 1/2 years after my hair started growing back, it’s gotten fairly long again, and I’m plagued by the Wrangle-Tangle Monster!  And I have no fun what-so-ever to blame it on.  I sit at my desk at work, and the wrangle-tangles just happen.  It doesn’t matter what type of shirt I wear, hoodie, not hoodie, collar, not collar, cotton, poly-blend, they happen every single day.

I got home the other day, and went to brush the underside of my hair, “OW” I hollered to no one in particular.  That hurt.  Stupid wrangle-tangles.  I again wondered what causes them.  I did not have to deal with them at all my entire adult life, and even though I can’t really recall, I do feel like the teenage years were also wrangle-tangle free.

Does hair need to get to a certain age for the wrangle-tangles to be worked out?  Perhaps it’s age, not length, that does it?  Did chemo take away some sort of protective barrier that my hair had produced to save me from scalp-ripping pain at every brushing event?  If that is the case, how long will it take for that protective barrier to come back and rid me of the Wrangle-Tangle Monster?

Check back in a couple years, I’ll let you know if I have the answer.  😉

 

Do you ever think about your hairbrush-hair?

Not a typical topic of conversation, right?!

It may have been the first time since losing my hair, I’m pretty sure it was, the other day, I had to clean the hair from my hairbrush.

I’ve never really given the act much thought before, just grabbed hold of whatever the brush had collected over time, yanked it out and tossed it into the trash can.  Not this time though.

I remembered when I stopped using the cold caps, and the hair came out in massive clumps.  I remember that I had wondered then if I could donate those clumps like that.  I remembered balling it up, using both hands, and putting all that hair into the trashcan.

I looked at what I had now, a small clump of brown hair that easily fit in the palm of my hand, the individual strands swirled around each other.  I wondered what someone would discover, if they took some old strands and did a side-by-side analysis against the new strands, would they find any changes?  Would someone be able to identify pre-chemo and post-chemo strands?  The thought intrigues me, not enough to research it, not enough to take it any further than this post, but, it does spark my curiosity.

I did the same thing with this small clump of hair that I had one with that massive one…only this time it didn’t fill my trashcan.  This time, I don’t think anyone even noticed.  This time, I didn’t have to dump the trashcan to make room for something else.  I’m pretty sure that the next day, I didn’t even notice it being there.

 

 

 

 

 

What do you write?

What do you write?

It’s a common question, a simple question, but one I’m not yet accustomed to answering.

“I have a couple of blogs, on one I write about my experience with breast cancer.”

Sitting in a room with other published writers, it seems to be a bit insignificant.  “I’m working on a book, but I’m not there yet,” I say..wondering if I’ll ever finish it.

Then she told me about how many people she knew had been affected by breast cancer, and asked me for my website.

It reminded me why I put myself out there, and share my story.  For others.  To help.

#FCancer