Archive for the ‘cancer sucks’ Category

Boob pancake.

Posted 11 Mar 2011 — by Mrs. Jenna
Category cancer sucks

Sounds…delish.

This afternoon, I have an appointment for my first mammogram. Yes, I am young (30, if you must know), but I have good reason to be starting so soon. Breast cancer surrounds me. My dad’s mom & sister both had it (and both are in remission), two of my mom’s sisters had it (one is in remission, one sadly passed away almost 3 years ago).  My grandmother passed away due to a 5 year battle with ovarian cancer, which is closely linked to breast cancer. I’ve posted about these things many times.  (For all the posts, click here.)

So, when I reached the ripe old age of 30, it was decided that I should begin annual mammograms. Did you know you’re not supposed to wear deodorant (for me, Dove Clinical) or lotion (Philosophy’s Pure Grace) when you have a mammogram? My appointment is at three-something today. Do you get where I’m going with this?

I am sweaty. My arms are dry. And I smell.

I LOADED the perfume on when I left the house for work today. It has been no match. Luckily (for everyone else) I don’t have any meetings today, so no one should be subjected to the horror that is my armpits.

My mom (who thankfully has been cancer free, and also doesn’t carry the breast cancer gene) ensured me that they would have like, baby wipes there to get the deoderant off, and that I should just wear it. Ma, I know you’re probably right, but this deod is FOR REAL. It doesn’t come off easily. And I don’t want any false alarms when it comes to smooshing my dirty pillows in highly technological machine.

So, I shall stink. And hopefully have an “all clear” after today.

The never ending battle.

Posted 04 Aug 2010 — by Mrs. Jenna
Category cancer sucks

Today I decided to participate in a #CancerSucks bloghop hosted by straighttalkjess.com. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’ll remember how much cancer has affected my family. If you’re a new reader, this may shed some light into why every penny I can spare will always go towards cancer research.

This all started a long time ago, in 2003, back when the hubs and I had only been together for like, 8 months. My mom’s brother got married to his wife in a huge to-do in San Francisco and had a luxurious wedding at the courthouse. Our whole family was there from the midwest. It was awesome.

About a week after the trip, I got a call from my mom. She said “I have something to tell you. It’s about Gabba.” (Gabba was my grandmother’s “grandma name.” I couldn’t say “grandma” as a kid, and that’s what came out. It stuck, I guess, because everyone in the family called her that.) I had no idea what to expect from my mom, but it didn’t sound good. She explained to me that before my uncle’s wedding, Gabba had found out she had ovarian cancer. They gave her 3 years, max. She told my mother, and together they decided not to tell anyone until after the wedding so that my uncle could have his day, and that the focus wouldn’t be on her. Because for now, she was okay. I cried when she told me, but I had no idea what that really meant. Looking back on it now, I’m so glad I didn’t know what kind of sorrow it could bring.

After my grandma’s diagnosis, it seemed like a whirlwind of more diagnoses. I know I have my dates screwed up here with who was diagnosed when, but next came my mom’s sister Mitzi being diagnosed with breast cancer, then I think my dad’s mother (breast cancer), then his sister (breast cancer), and then my mom’s sister Julie (breast cancer again) over the course of a few years.

My dad’s mom & sister went into remission with chemo & radiation treatments. Mitzi struggled to get it under control for a while, ultimately deciding on a double mastectomy to remove a cancerous breast and preemptively strike against the other. It may have saved her life, as she’s been in remission for a number of years now as well. Julie used a combination of chemotherapy and alternative therapies and also went into remission for a while, but eventually it came back. Gabba, though…never really went into remission. It was always there. But she was always still herself. Wearing wigs and sometimes being ill, but still Gabba.

Then Julie got sick. Really sick. The cancer had metastasized. It was all over her body. She was in and out of the ICU and hospital for months battling pneumonia and just dealing with being sick. Finally  early in the morning on April 28th 2008, she passed away. I was home visiting my parents because we knew it was any day. I will never forget the phone ringing around 4am…it was my Auntie Mitzi calling from the hospital. It was unbelievable. So young, and because of what? A disease? It blew my mind, and really messed with me. Prior to her death, I had committed myself to doing the 3-Day Breast Cancer Walk. And later that year, I walked all 60 miles in memory of my Auntie Julie, and my other family members who had been affected by breast cancer.

In the early spring of 2009, Gabba got sick. Which for her, was odd. She had been living with her ovarian cancer for over five years, well past the three they’d given her. Then she ended up in the hospital. I was pretty newly pregnant at the time and let my mom tell her I was expecting, even though I was trying to keep it under wraps until 12 weeks. It was so hard to see her ill, knowing that this was finally it. It was different this time, with Gabba. With Julie, it was so upsetting and horrible, but with Gabba…it seemed so deep down. She was my rock, our family’s rock. I was so close to her. We had gone home before she died. I refused to say goodbye, but made sure she knew how much I loved her. Eventually I wrote her a letter that my mom read to her telling her everything I couldn’t say to her face. (I didn’t want her to see my cry.) And then on April 7th, she passed away.

Dealing with Gabba’s death was the hardest. Picking up the phone to call her forgetting she wasn’t there, seeing my mom fall apart, remembering she wasn’t going to be there for the birth of our baby…it was almost too much to handle.

However, on Gabba’s birthday last year, she gave me a gift that I will forever know was not just chance. Just after midnight on her birthday, Abigail Rita was born. (Rita was Gabba’s real name.)

This story of my family’s history with cancer wasn’t just to bring tears to my eyes while writing it, because lord knows it has. I’m telling it because all of this has done nothing but make me stronger…more vigilant in the fight against it. It does scare me knowing the chances I have of being stricken with this disease, but I’m more pro-active than ever and always doing what I can to help the fight against it. And my story is only one of THOUSANDS, likely MILLIONS of people affected by it every day.

So, yeah. Cancer does suck. And that’s putting it mildly.

Twitter Tat Tour.

Posted 14 May 2010 — by Mrs. Jenna
Category blog bidnass, cancer sucks, RAD

I enjoyed looking at fellow twatter’s tattoos, so I thought I’d share mine too! Exciting, yes?

SO.

The first tattoo I ever got was three stars on my lower back. Yep. Tramp stamp. I haz one. Anyway, I was 19  and star tattoos were all the rage. And I really like stars. Don’t ask why. I shit you not, I went on my PC, opened up Publisher, used the “star” tool, made three stars and printed it. I then brought it to a tattoo place not far from my apartment (Ink Lab on Lake Street)  and said “I want this.”  The guy (who’s name I don’t recall because I didn’t care) honestly said “Stars are hard to do because they’re so precise.” Did this make me stray? NO. I was like, “Oh, well…do the best you can!” an hour (and $150!!) later, I had three stars on my back. One of them is wonky. But I had a tattoo. I hid it for a while from my parents until I hugged someone in front of them, up came the shirt, and there it was for all to see. Whatevs.

My second tattoo was the cherry blossom branches surrounding my lame stars, which I had done in the summer of 2006.  I was lucky enough to have Jon at Uptown Tattoo do it for me (his waiting list is almost a year now). I love my branches.  (The picture above was taken shortly after I had it done, complete with tape marks on my back.) I’m obsessed with Japanese art, and cherry blossoms rank pretty high on that list. This tattoo took three hours. THREE HOURS. I did pretty well though, until the last 30 minutes. I could barely tolerate the pain anymore. But I love them. The edges of the tattoo wrap onto my hips a bit and have not been saved from  pregnancy stretch marks, but they’re still pretty.

The last tattoo I got was on my foot in October of 2008. I got it for two reasons; one was for my aunt Julie, who had passed away earlier in the year after a battle with breast cancer, and the other was because a month earlier I had walked over 60 miles in the Breast Cancer 3-Day. I had initially planned on a 1/4 – 1/2 sleeve of a geisha (she loved Japanese art too), but I freaked out. It was going to be $800 (which I didn’t have) and take 8 hours. A huge commitment, both time AND skin-wise, and I wasn’t ready yet. So I used my appointment with Zack at Uptown Tattoo to have this done instead. It’s a pink ribbon in the shape of a J (for Julie) “pinned” to my foot, for the 3-day.

I love this tattoo a lot. It only took about 40 minutes but OH MY GOD do foot tattoos hurt. See the ribbon curling up on the right side of my foot? I almost cried.  That part of your foot has NO FAT and is like, straight bone. And apparently eleventy BILLION nerve endings. But so worth it.

So, those are my tattoos! I’m still wanting about a billion more, so when I do – of COURSE I’ll let you know. I have a few in mind I would like to have done soon. That geisha 1/2 sleeve is still calling to me.

Gone too soon.

Posted 07 Apr 2009 — by Mrs. Jenna
Category cancer sucks, not so much, other people are awesome

I’ll miss you more than you’ll ever know, my dear Gabba.

.

Maybe a little early, but a letter.

Posted 07 Apr 2009 — by Mrs. Jenna
Category baby business, cancer sucks, not so much, other people are awesome

My dearest babybee,

Today, you have been in my tummy for 9 weeks. In those 9 weeks, many things (not all of the exciting nature) have happened. I’ve been to Mexico, you’ve grown a liver and other vital organs, I’ve slept and complained a lot, and we both ventured to the Twins home opener last night. I’m sorry to report that they lost, but this shall not shape the season to come. I’ve gotten off track.

The reason for this letter is to tell you that something sad happened last night. Your Great Grandmother passed away. It saddens me to no end that she never got to meet you. More importantly, that you never got to met her. She was a hell of a woman (pardon my french, dear babybee, but she must be described in this manner) and made me who I am today because of it. She toughed through 5 years of ovarian cancer when they only gave her 2. And she smoked and drank her way through it! She was not about to let anyone or anything tell her what to do. She lived her life the way she wanted to, and for that I have the utmost respect for her.

Even though you’re not aware of her existence right now, she knew about you. Just a couple weeks ago, she saw your very first picture, and she was so excited for you to be here. I know that she would have spoiled you rotten the way she spoiled me. And she would have loved you very very much.

Alright, momma has to stop right this now, since she is at work, at her desk, in a room full of people, and is about to cry.

Your daddy and I love you very much. Thank you for being with me, with us, to be the light in our lives in this dark time.

Momma

PS – Thank you for helping my body feel good for the second day in a week. I don’t know how you knew I needed it today, but I did. Thank you, thank you, thank you.