Apparently my first words before the anesthesia wore off were, “Now I can walk the Appalachian Trail topless!”
Apparently my first words before the anesthesia wore off were, “Now I can walk the Appalachian Trail topless!”

saving my life and securing my future

Thank you so much for the incredible outpouring of care from all of you during this recent ordeal. I have felt lovingly held in your arms as I met the scariest moment of my life.

I want to share the great news we received that there is no cancer in my lymph nodes, so I will not need chemotherapy or radiation, though I will be on an aromatase inhibitor for at least five years.

We also learned that pre-cancer was brewing throughout (“extensive carcinoma in situ”) and I made the right – even if difficult – decision to have everything removed.

I’m pretty beaten up right now, so moving very slowly but I see improvement every day, including walking mini ‘laps’ with trekking poles from room to room, approximately 25 feet!

Recovery takes time, but I’m progressing.

step by step

Like yesterday, when I ventured downstairs for the first time and 24 hours later, bumped things up to slow laps on the stairs. I likely pushed a bit too hard since that much movement knocked me right out. I still feel way too wobbly for the sidewalk.

I was warned I wouldn’t be able to use my arms much but I’m getting them (very carefully) above my head already and even combed my hair this morning. Before this nightmare I was kinda known for holding two-minute planks. Core strength has helped me now in the very simple act of sitting up.

I do look mighty sassy in a tube top of Ace bandage. For my first shower, I let warm water pull off the old dressings, then caught a brief look at my Ken doll chest in the mirror before Richard taped me back up.

Twice a day, he empties the two drains sewn into my skin for catching creepy and ghoulish bloody ooze. The plastic bottles rest in pockets of a cute little apron, kinda like a miniskirt covered in cartoon octopi. The apron and matching pillows were made by hand and donated by the “Bag and Boob Babes.”

So much was donated by women who went before me, including an assortment of wedge and half-moon shaped pillows that cradle my bruised body in a cocoon of healing. I’d describe the pain as tight and itchy requiring no more than a few pills to take off the edge. Mostly, I’m just dead tired.

gratitude and compassion

But don’t think for a second I could manage this recovery on my own! I need physical and emotional help. I need to know I’m not alone.

Maybe there’s a lesson in all of this about vulnerability and what I can and can’t control. In facing an uninvited ordeal head on, so much gets tested, like acceptance, discernment and being brave when being brave is required.

Laying here with only enough energy to focus on movies and a few crossword puzzles, I wonder how this ordeal will color the rest of my life.

Will I become more compassionate? Will I choose my battles more carefully? Will I be filled with more gratitude for each day?

Yes. I will.

I feel incredibly lucky and all of you have been the wind beneath my wings.


  1. Margot Arnold

    Your strength and positivity are great examples for us all. Blessings on you!

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