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.  🙂

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.  😉

 

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

 

Is clumsy a post-chemo/cancer thing?

Cause seriously?  Post chemo, I’ve fallen down the steps twice.  Twice.  Read that again.  Twice.

Went through 43 years of life without ever falling down the stairs.  But come year 44/45.  Twice.  Maybe it’s aging?  No.  I really don’t think so.  I’ve known lots of people who have aged.  They can still navigate steps.

First time, well, both times actually, it was stupid.  Dumb little mis-step.

First time, I was walking down the carpeted steps to the basement.  Guess I placed my foot, as I was stepping down, too far past the edge of the step.  My foot goes out from under me, my bottom hits hard on the step, I proceed to thump my way into the basement, howling, and terrifying my husband as he is trying to peacefully play a game of pool.  That butt-cheek bruise lasted for weeks.

Second time?  This one takes the cake.  You all have read about my inability to get back into a good exercise routine right?  Well, once again, trying to get myself back into shape.  I worked myself out good.  Lots of squats, some kettlebell exercises, great workout.  My thighs were burning, I felt awesome!!  Was a bit stiff the next day though.  Went upstairs to make sure the boy was in the shower.  The legs were a bit gimpy as I came back down the stairs.  Stiff and sore.  Once again, I guess, I placed my foot too far past the edge of the step.  I thumped again on that same butt-cheek, this time on the wooden stairs.  The ones that curved around.  Ug, that curve.  It somehow managed to shift my momentum forward as I rounded it, propelling me from butt-cheek, to sideways, to head-first – left cheek, left arm, both arms forward into the most graceless of lack-of-water dives down to the main level of the house.  If anyone would have seen me, I would have been quite the site.  My thumping down the wooden staircase brought Mike running in from the kitchen, Nick running down from the shower (leaving puddles of water everywhere), both asking me if I was all right.  So mad at myself, and knowing they were worried, and needing me to make noise as I laid there angry at my clumsiness, self-assessing my damage, I yelled, ARRRR I’m fine!!!  Super mad though that I had once again, fallen victim to the stupid stairs.

After determining that I was fine, they both laughed a bit at me.  As they should.  I was glad for their concern, and glad they could amuse themselves at my benefit once they made sure I wasn’t hurt.

Later, Mike said, “That sounded like you were falling down the stairs in slow-motion!”  I looked at him, “That is exactly what happened!!”

I hope I have learned my lesson.  Every time I walk down the steps now, I do it with caution, I think about what I am doing.  Every once in a while, I think back to when I used to bound quickly and noisily down the steps (sorry, Mom) and marvel at the fact that I could do that with no incident.

Yep, the chemo/cancer caused the clumsy.  The recovery made me wise and careful.

Navigate the stairs with caution my friends.  Especially my clumsy ones!  😉

I will soar on wings like eagles

Tonight, I used the very last bit of my lavender hand & body lotion that was given to me as a gift.

It had been given in a care basket from a friend of mine, very shortly after learning I had been diagnosed with breast cancer.  It was a care basket full of pampering.  Lotion, tea, coconut water, trail mix, a lovely container of pirouline.  A care basket full of thoughtful offerings.

I thanked my friend for this basket, but I don’t think I ever fully thanked her for what she put into it.  A wonderful variety of offerings that I enjoyed, and with each bag of tea felt peace, and strength from her prayers.  With each serving of trail mix, I appreciated the  bits of nourishment that helped my body through its trials.

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There was also a heartfelt note, and a bit of scripture.

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I love this bit of scripture.  I love every bit of it.