And yet, I have often told myself when people have said “you should write a book”, what would I write about. I am 43 and, when I stop to think about it, there have been a few interesting tidbits here and there. The most common denominator…the ability (for the most part) to keep an optimistic (yet sometimes dark) sense of humor.
So, where do I begin? It this like Star Wars (and my apologies to true fans out there – my knowledge is vague and most definitely dated)? Shall I begin with where I am at – a journey with cancer and then bring in a prequel like the time I worked on a cruise ship, in a 7-Eleven or funeral home, or the current office that I have boomeranged from and to several times since 2000 that has become my second family?
I have been told that I have a high grade (just means cells divide rapidly) serous cancer of Fallopian tubes (distal end near filaments and moved into ovary) with positive pelvic washings (malignant cells floating in my abdominal area). It is at least Stage IC2. In order to fully identify they must do a Staging Surgery. (Chemo to start 4 – 6 weeks after surgery. They will be removing uterus, cervix, omentum, appendix, paraoetic lymph nodes, pelvic lymph nodes. Definitely chemo (18 week protocol over 6 cycles every 3 weeks via intravenous).
My own definition? I have what is similar to an ingrown toenail for a young, resilient, strong and healthy woman – it happens to be cancer, but similar to the ingrown toenail it must first be cut out, then it must be soaked to remove infection (ok…instead of a hot epsom salt bath it is chemotherapy and soaking from the inside out), the wounds need to be dressed appropriately for protection (bandaids vs. wigs, scarves and breast prosthetics), and the time it will take. Either one results in missing some favorite activities like wearing my favorite heels or being completely independent and able to drive, lift over 10lbs and vacuum as I wish (ok….maybe I don’t really miss vacuuming), but other than that I am still me. I am Glenna, I am not the woman with cancer, and I am certainly not the cancer that has the woman. I know that there will be some tough days for sure, but I am surrounded with love and truly caring people, and I am sure that there are prayers keeping me strong in those tougher moments that I know nothing about.
In 2010 I chose to do genetic testing after my maternal cousins began to map my family tree. We always knew there was lots of breast and ovarian cancer there (prostate too) and, long story short, I am BRACA1 positive. What is that? Think Angelina Jolie…..very high risks for breast and ovarian cancer. Now, if only I shared a similar bank account to Ms.Jolie, but I suppose just a shared physical resemblance will have to do….after all I am 5’4″ and likely (just guessing here) currently 40lbs heavier, naturally strawberry blonde with lots of freckles, and love to wear bright and jeweled colours as opposed to black and white. Yep, the genetic/physical resemblance is strong.
So……I will try not to make these entries too long and cumbersome and hopefully, if I write a few bits of a TOC here I will remember what I wanted to say. It will not all be related to cancer as that is not who I am, though it will likely be thick with it at the moment as that is most fresh.
Bond Girl Moment for a Farmgirl on Ships
My BRACA1 Screening
Lessons Learned About Screening
The Prophylactic/Preventative Surgery That Saved My Life
The Betting Pool That May or May Not Have Existed Prior to My Double Prophylactic Mastectomy
How My Posts Will Be Your Own Free Brain Training
My Big Question for the Surgeons & How They Have Made My Day
Hoffman, Estrella, and My Other Surprises of the Year
My Boyz and the Aunts and Uncles That Clearly Don’t Know My Day to Day Life Well
The Winter of -40 in the 5th Wheel
The House That Became A Soundstage
A Few of My A-Ha Moments That May Not Be So Different From Yours
What I Loved About Working in a Funeral Home
Random List of Favorites
The Dearest (Refuse to Use the Term Oldest) Friends Have the Best Blackmail Material
And so, as I continue on this journey I thank you for traveling and sharing with me.