Thursday, June 24, 2010


I just want to clear something up:
Fat is not a disability. And alcoholism is not a disease. These two things fall under the category of choice. You can choose to eat carrot sticks for a snack or you can choose to eat a box of donuts for a snack. You can choose to drink orange juice or you can choose to pour a bottle of gin into your orange juice. That is your choice. Your choice may lead to a disease like a failing liver or diabetes, or it may lead to a disability like jacked-up knees from carrying too much weight or a dislocated hip from stumbling down some stairs while drunk.

Cancer is a disease. Cancer is not a choice. If you smoke for 35 years and get lung cancer then I would venture to say you should not be surprised and that in a way your choice led to your disease and therefore you are just a moron. If you are fat you chose to eat too much. If you are an alcoholic you chose to drink too much. If you get lung cancer and you never smoked= not because of a poor choice. If you get skin cancer and you spent 40 years laying on beaches with no sun protection on= bad choice. If you get breast cancer at 33 and you were relatively healthy and active= not your fault, it’s a disease it strikes at random.

Obviously there are ways in which to avoid getting cancer. Some cancers are easier to avoid than others. Lung cancer can be avoided by not smoking and not being stuck in crowded bars with smokers. Skin cancer can be avoided by wearing sun screen and hats and not baking yourself under the sun or in tanning beds for superficial reasons. There are theories on how to avoid this or that form of cancer but in all honesty heredity and environment and personal outlook can be huge factors that you may or may not be able to control or even be aware of.

My point? Personal responsibility. As I embark on my journey of directing an existential play written by the beloved fellow existentialist and atheist, Jean-Paul Sartre, I am considering more and more how being aware that we possess free will and the ability to be whomever we choose, ultimately life comes down to personal responsibility. Religious people may not have explored this idea nearly as in depth as me or perhaps most atheistic types so I will offer examples of my point. During the award shows on TV I always wonder why it is that so many of the award recipients thank their god but never thank themselves. Is it not they who won the award? It has their name on it not gods’. If I ever win an award it’s safe to say I’ll be thanking myself for doing such a fantastic job. If you work hard at something you deserve the praise and awards and should thank you for your hard work. You can thank your deity of choice as well if you wish; for that is where so many people claim to find strength, but you did the work so thank yourself. I’ve also noticed that the same people, when times are tough, don’t often hold their middle finger to the sky and tell god to suck it. I think in times of trouble they tend to ask god for help. I see that as a form of talking to yourself. If you really need help wouldn’t it make more sense to go to a person who can really help? I mean someone it is proven exists and can truly assist you. For example, if you are in a car accident and get injured would a doctor or a lawyer be a better option than simply lying on the ground bleeding and asking god to help you? Or, say you are being abused by a lover and you want out. Could it be a better option to, let’s say, leave that person, call the cops, get a therapist, talk to friends, rather than hoping that your god will soon whisper in the ear of your abusive lover that maybe he should stop beating the crap out of you and be nicer? I mean, which one will actually result in your being better off and which one will probably result in your being bludgeoned to death? This is, of course, why believing in any form of god makes no sense to me. I simply don’t understand handing the responsibility over to an imaginary friend in hopes that he might exist and magically do something to improve my life. It seems faster, easier, more logical and less crazy to take the responsibility and go fix my life myself.

How do you fix your life by yourself? Simple: by taking responsibility for your actions and your choices. If you are fat and you don’t want to be fat stop asking god to make you not eat another donut and instead join a gym, do some yoga, eat the carrot sticks and maybe your knees won’t hurt and you will live longer and feel better. If you drink too much liquor stop begging the sky to heal you, put the bottle down, drink the juice plain and maybe your liver will stand a chance. I envy those who have that choice. My cancer came with no choice; I had cancer and that was that. But, how I reacted to having cancer did come with a choice. I could have jumped off my roof or hid under my bed or gotten super depressed and gave up on life, or I could have said “fuck you cancer!” and made the choice to fight it, cut off my boob and do chemo no matter how much I want to quit because chemo sucks. If you have the choice to not beat your wife or to not drive drunk (and here’s a hint: you do), then I suggest taking the responsibility to make a good choice instead of a bad one. This works in every avenue of life. When someone pisses you off you can choose to yell at them or you can smile and walk away. When the guy at Starbucks gets your order wrong you can choose to punch him in the face or you can simply ask for it to be made again. It’s shocking how kindness is often more contagious than a cold.

So, to clarify again:
Fat is not a disability. That means get the hell out of my disabled seating, put down the greasy bucket of friend chicken and stand your fat ass up on the train so you can burn few fucking calories.
Alcoholism is not a disease. If you are an alcoholic try not drinking alcohol, dry yourself out, get a job, take a bath and stop begging for quarters in the subway station. At least the sober homeless people perform shows on the trains to entertain people; they are earning that quarter.
Beating your lover is a choice. Stop doing it you stupid fucking dick! You are an adult and can control your shit so grow the hell up and use your words.
Cancer is not a choice, although bad choices can lead to cancer.
How you react to cancer (and anything else) is a choice. Choose wisely.
Believing in god is like having an imaginary friend that sort of hates you. Get real friends- Ones that like you and want to help you when you’re down. You can thank them when you win an award.
If you are in a car accident, stop praying and get yourself to a doctor. Your imaginary friend is not a real doctor (even if he keeps telling you he is).

Take responsibility for your actions. If you did something well then pat yourself on the back because you deserve it (wait, did god do it for you? Then maybe you don’t deserve it.). If you yelled at your kids because you were mad at yourself go apologize to your kids. If you smoke don’t act surprised when you end up with lung cancer. And (just to add a little politics at the last minute) if you think you deserve the rights you have under the government then stop trying to take rights away from others because one day you might be on the other side and I bet you’ll be pissed off that someone’s trying to rob you of your rights.

Life is filled with choices. This is why I am both pro-life and pro-choice. Choose well, my friends.

Monday, June 21, 2010

My Old Life or The Gold at the End of July

I have been missing being myself a lot lately; I miss feeling normal. I guess I can ask what really is normal? I think I simply miss not being sick and not feeling awful. I miss not having cancer. I want this to be over; I want the chemo to end and to get my surgery and 2010 to go away so I can have my life back. But I’m starting to see that no matter how far away I get from this year I will never return to the life that I had before cancer. It makes me look at that life differently. I mean I got cancer just as my life was getting better. I was going through a transition into living in New York City and striving to become the actor I’ve always wanted to be and then, BAM, I got cancer! So how can I really miss my old life? I was rather miserable in California. What I think I really miss is the new life I was creating here in New York last fall. I was finding things and people that made me happier than I’ve ever been and I was accepting that I could be whomever I chose to be. I was comfortable in my own skin and confident that I had the talent to succeed in theatre. So now I wonder if I would have learned what I’ve learned since had I not gotten cancer. Had that lump not formed in my breast would I have excelled as much as I have? I mean, before I found it I was working harder than I ever had before. I put my all into acting and I never missed a class, but was I a better person? Was it school, acting or cancer that has made me see things differently; made me less judgmental and more understanding? Is it New York, the people I know here, acting or cancer that made me happier to be alive?

I can’t say that I am a better person now, although that is what I strive for. I mean I feel like I am learning from this cancer experience that I am worthy of being loved; something I have always feared. The friends I made during the first semester at my school, and even last summer, that have stood by me and been there for me during this are so young yet so amazing and I think it is from them that I am learning the most. It’s actually been the older people I know here that seem more reluctant to stand by me and be supportive. Not the teachers, but the people my age that maybe are more afraid because they see that my getting cancer means they might be at risk. I try to be patient and keep my distance with everyone I know; I try to ask only what I feel they are okay dealing with. Each friend seems to have different limits. I do miss seeing everyone daily. I so look forward to getting back to classes and the rush of being at school every night. But how different will it be for me now? I’ll be on Herceptin and Tamoxifen and who knows if they will cause more issues I have to deal with each day at school? I’ll be at school more since I’ll be working there and eventually I’ll need to get a regular job as well. Can I keep up energy wise or will I not get back the energy I had last fall? I do fear that and dread that I may be a different person than I was last fall as I was learning to trust and seeing things in new ways. What if I go back to being who was before? What if I revert to being depressed or moody and it sets me back? I feel like I have come so far since losing my mother that I want to keep progressing as a human rather than getting set back. I hate using chemo as an excuse for not being able to take out the trash or the reason why I can’t walk a lot or go out somewhere because I feel too weak or can’t breathe. What if I get to movement class and can’t push myself enough to try after surgery because the side effects of these medications make me feel bad or make me feel less motivated to succeed? What if I forget why I want to be an actor or the medications make me a bad actor?

I have to take Tamoxifen for five years! I’m not even sure where I’ll be in five years, or that my insurance will even continue after this year. I’m looking forward to moving to a new apartment but fear I will get stuck with a bad roommate again and I’m frankly just fucking sick of bad roommates. You don’t have to get me or understand me but at least have the decency to respect me! I could write a book about all the psychos I’ve lived with and how they really don’t get simple concepts--- like cleaning up hair in a bathroom. Come on, I mean it’s your hair not mine so clean it up! This goes specifically for the short and curlies. But I digress…

I think my point is that I want a normal and calm life. I want to be changed by this experience so that I can be calmer and stress free and really let go of any residual anger or fear I may have since getting my diagnosis. I want to truly live and find ways in which to experience life differently than I did before I had cancer. Because who knows how long any of us have? The only guarantee in life is death so why not find joy in every moment we are alive? I think what I dream for the most, besides a successful career in acting, is love. I never had that. Well, I did once but it was flawed and I was young and stupid. I want real love that lasts. I’m not sure how people get that or maintain it but I want it and I’m not thrilled that I’ve spent so long without it. It can’t be that I’m ugly because I’m really not. And if seriously hideous, fat people can find love than certainly so can I. Maybe I’m too sarcastic or maybe I come off as mistrusting but when people get to know me they see I’m not that bad; I’m pretty funny and I’ve definitely learned how to be more trustful this past year. I think I deserve to be loved and to find that special person who can compliment the good things in me. Like I said, who knows how long we have in life so I feel like I don’t want to waste it. But I guess “they” say when you stop looking it shows up, but I feel like as a Pisces and pathetic romantic, I never stop looking. Who are “they” anyhow? Fuck “them”! If I stop looking maybe that special person will too and we’ll never meet. I do feel like cancer will bring me closer to that person and closer to a real acting career. I can’t say how, but I knew last year would end with my discovery of something pretty horrible and death-like, so I feel like my visions are pretty on the ball. As they always have been. It’s just getting through July that I need to do in order to get to the gold at the end of the rainbow. I look forward to a nice large pot of it. I know my life is changed forever and things won’t be exactly what I’d imagined as a kid, but wherever life takes me I want to be having fun and I want to feel love all the time. I’m not sure what I need to do to get that but for now I’m simply riding the wave to my new life.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Death or Am I a Survivour?

I just found out a woman I don’t know died. She’s a friend of someone I kind of know. She’d been a survivor of breast cancer since 2005. I had seen her in a video and I remember that I had thought how much I wanted to meet her. She was so happy and vibrant and positive. Hearing the news of her death made me cry uncontrollably. I am so sad for her family and friends. She seemed like such a great person. She looks so happy in photos I’ve seen of her. I feel so sad. I feel so scared. I don’t want to die.

I know people without cancer do not fully understand cancer. I know that before my mom died cancer was just a word. It was a disease my aunts had gotten or my grandmother had had, but it was far away and wasn’t touching me directly. It was a word that other people dealt with. Then my mom got it and it killed her. That really flew me upside-down. It was now a word with a new meaning. The way people say “it spread like a cancer” suddenly had a very personal connection to my own life and the loss of my mom.

Now I have an even closer connection to that word. Having lost someone so close to me to cancer was very hard and I felt I had been inducted into a club that I never asked to join. With having cancer I see it from the inside. I am in a new club now; the club of cancer survivors. I think I try sometimes to pretend my life will be back to normal after chemo and after surgery, but I know inside me that I will never be the same person I was before this. I am scared. I am fucking terrified. It can spread like wild fire and sometimes there is nothing we can do. No matter how happy or positive we are sometimes it just takes us. I don’t want to be taken. I am too young. This woman who died was too young too.

I know there is no rhyme or reason to things in life. I’ve known since childhood it’s all randomness. I do not believe in religions or gods of any kind; I believe in myself and in the power of positive thinking. I thought so negatively for so many years that sometimes it is hard to avoid. Today I met a woman on chemo as well. She said: “you have to laugh, otherwise you will cry.” No fucking kidding. It gets harder to avoid crying. But I cry alone. I hate people seeing me cry. I laugh alone a lot too. I laugh with other people. I just keep trying to hold onto what is good about life but, man, I’m telling you: it is hard to remember the good when you feel so motherfucking bad!

I see smokers and I want to hit them. I see them and want to take their cigarettes out of their mouths and yell at them: “do you see what I’m going through? Do you have any fucking idea how shit-fuck-awful chemo is?” And lung cancer is bad. Worse probably than this. But I get so frustrated that they smoke. And that they walk by me blowing that shit in my face or standing outside my school cheering me on while they puff away. I can’t trace exactly what caused my cancer--- it’s the randomness of life. I wish I had someone to blame so I knew who to punch in the fucking face, but I don’t. Smokers with cancer can blame themselves. I had two aunts that both died of lung cancer. One kept smoking the whole time she was dying—in front of me and other family too. The other never smoked. That shit is bad and it makes me angry. I hate feeling angry but it does. I don’t want your lung cancer! That’s yours. Go smoke in your car with the windows rolled up! Just get that shit out of my face.

I’m starting to crack a little each day. I starting tearing up on the subway or crying in front of people who don’t know how to respond to my crying. I want my mom so badly sometimes I can feel it inside me like this empty black hole. I need her because she knows me and she knows cancer. I need her because she was the only mom I ever had and I need her because she died from cancer and I need to know that I won’t. Not now. Not soon. Not this young. She told me when she first found the tumor in her armpit that she just wanted another five years. I said to her: “Mom, five years? You should have another ten or twenty! Ask for more!” She was 72 when she died. I’m 34. Asking for twenty more years kills me at 54. That’s way too young still. I thought I’d live to 103! I’d take 72 at this point. Maybe 80? There’s just too many things and too many places I haven’t explored; too many books I still need to read; people I still need to meet; love I have not had; and kids I’ve always wanted. I dream of seeing my nephew graduate from college, my niece get married, my other niece grow up and save the world, and my nephew hit a home run in a professional baseball game… I dream of what they will be and I don’t want to miss that shit. I want to travel to Africa with my nephew and to be at the weddings of all four of them. I want to hug them and tell them stories and give them advice if they need it. I have no kids and have no idea if I ever will so those four kids are the world to me. My mom lost the chance to see them grow up but I refuse to. I really fucking refuse to!

I hear people say I’m a trooper and I inspire them. I hope they mean it. It’s nice to hear but these days having people around with me at chemo and to give me hugs or help me out would be better. I have good days when I feel okay and can breathe and I have bad days when I can hardly walk up my stairs. Things hurt at random and I don’t know why. My period stopped coming last month and I get hot flashes and sweat all night from the back of my head. Lucky I’m bald because this would really mess up my hair. I can’t remember why I love acting. It’s what I was fighting to live for and now I can’t remember. And my favourite teacher has abandoned me and I wish I could ask him to tell me why I need to keep going. I wish he could tell me why I need to keep acting. He called me a professional; said I had “profound talent” but now he won’t even say hi to me. No matter how busy I know he is it’s hard not to be hurt by that. I miss my school and taking classes. I miss the kids I go to school with and the teachers. I miss knowing why I act and that there is a reason. Maybe it’s chemo-brain that’s made me forget. Maybe it’s chemo causing depression and I feel too alone to work it out on my own. I really fucking miss my friends in San Diego. It’s lonely here now and I don’t want to feel lonely. I want to feel happy and loved. I want to be smiling all the time and dancing. I want to get back my intelligence, be reminded I have purpose and work my ass off not only to survive cancer but to survive life and really truly live doing what I love. I’m not reading to die now. I’m not ready to die in five years. It’s about fucking time I got some good shit in my shit-fuck excuse for a life and I demand it NOW! If that means I change into some better person and I advocate for breast cancer and I work my ass off even doing shit I hate, then I will. I hate chemo and I’m fucking doing that! After cancer I’m not sure what else can really scare me. So why do I feel so scared about my future?... maybe because I’m not sure if I have one. Or at least a great one. And if all I get is five more years, or one more, I want what’s left to be fucking amazing!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Something's Missing

I looked in the mirror as I took off my shirt to take a bath. There in the reflection was this bald woman with my eyes staring back. She had one breast and on the other side was a sort of lump of a “breast” with a scar across it and no nipple. I look in the mirror and I know that’s me but sometimes I can’t see myself. I looked at a photo of myself with hair and I cried because that was me and I really liked what I looked like. After years of being ashamed of my body, or at least some part of my body, I finally liked the way I look. Then I lose my hair and my breast. I saw the photo of me with my right breast showing and I remember how I felt back in February when it was taken: scared and facing the unknown. I miss my breast. I really do. I mean. I’m OK with it being gone because I certainly don’t miss the cancer that was inside of it, but I really do miss feeling whole and having that freedom of cleavage and balance on both sides. Having two nipples was rather nice and normal. I feel slightly abnormal sometimes. But then I don’t. I mean, I’m OK with it but I get concerned for other people and don’t want to shock them so I try to hide it. I guess I shouldn’t. I mean, why do I do that?

I am starting to forget what I looked like. I see women with hair and I want to wear a pony tail too or brush my hair, even. I know there are good and bad to each and I know it will grow back and I’ll be a redhead again, but I do miss my hair. Even with my perfect bald head I miss being pretty to other people… or maybe being pretty to myself because I’m not sure anyone else found me pretty with hair or not. I miss seeing me, the redhead, Marie. I miss her. But it’s still me, right? I have a great head! I look good bald. I just miss my hair. And my tit. I miss having it. My left tit misses the right one. I miss being even on each side & having natural breasts that sort of hang there. I miss being whole and I envy the women who have that now and I’m so… I don’t know, cancer-ish? What do I mean by that? I guess I’m so… ug, pity-able. I see people’s looks and they pity me. Don’t do that. I don’t want pity. I want compassion and understanding. I want to get through this and never deal with it again (I know, that is not really ever possible, but I’d like to dream). I want to get my boobs done and heal fast and move on with my acting career and be happy. I want my hair to grow back in redder than before, and better. Redder and better! That’s what I want. Not pity. I can use hugs. I can definitely use a shoulder to cry on since I feel a bit lost on my own cancer island out here, but no pity, please.

I just have to get through this somehow and I still have no idea how I’m doing it or how I have done it thus far, but I assure you that if I get out alive I will totally be taking photos of myself come the new year: new hair and new tits! But no matter how strong I seem to be it does not mean I don’t miss what I looked like. I really liked it. My hair, my tits, my happy smile… I want them all back. I live day by day and moment by moment because thinking too far ahead is scary and often pointless. What I have is now. So I’m ok with my no-boob and my bald head that’s getting freckled every day. I am. It’s ok; I like them. They are saving my life. But I really do miss my hair and my breast. And I can’t wait to be whole again (well, with the aid of implants that is!).

Monday, June 7, 2010

You Don’t Know Tired

I remember being a little kid and passing out in random places because I was so tired but refused to go to bed. Kids can sleep anywhere; they don’t seem to get disturbed by noises and movement like adults do. Even though I had a lot of insomnia as a kid I still managed to conk out when I was really beat. As an adult I have stayed up all night watching movies or having those deep heart to heart conversations with someone special; I’ve stayed out drinking and did my fair share of acid that wore me out for two days after; it’s safe to say that in my life I have been really, fucking exhausted from jobs, school and life in general. I taught preschool for two years and nannied an infant with colic so I definitely know that feeling of not wanting to stand anymore or that thought in your mind in the morning saying: call out tired! So we all feel that and we all know it. We know tired.

I thought I knew tired because of all of that. I thought I knew tired driving from the center of Arizona to the beach in San Diego in one day on the 1st of August in what seemed like thousand degree heat. Twelve hours I drove the shittiest car I ever saw with a panting cat in the back seat and when I got to my brother’s apartment I slept so deeply and for so long it was the most refreshing feeling I had ever felt. We all know tired and then we all know that feeling of comfort when you get to sleep so deeply people might mistake you for dead, but you needed it so badly because your bones were tired and your skin was tired and you couldn’t keep your eyes open another second without totally hallucinating. Hallucinatory exhaustion, that’s what it is.

In Madrid I was so bored and so unimpressed with the city that I decided to sleep. I’d been traveling for six weeks and on the move daily, walking, carrying heavy bags, covered in sweat from the heat wave in Europe. My feet ached so badly I had actually sprained one just from walking so much. I passed out in my hostel bed for seventeen hours. I slept through everyone getting up in the morning; through roommates watching TV, drinking wine, laughing, talking, day and night, I slept. When I woke up my roommates told me they almost thought I was dead. But when I woke up I felt so good! I was energized, refreshed and ready to keep walking around and traveling for two more weeks.

So that’s tired. I always thought that’s tired. Until now. Now I really know what tired is. Tired is deep. Tired is sore. Tired is all that I said above but never being able to fully fall asleep and get the relief. Tired is lying on your bed for an hour short of breath, sick to your stomach, wanting for sleep but not getting it. Tired is taking breaks between putting on articles of clothing. Tired is taking a break when you’ve got your underwear half way up. Tired is begging the neighbours who can’t hear you to stop their crying baby who cries all day. Tired is actually considering wetting the bed just because you want to keep sleeping when your bladder won’t stop waking you up every two hours. Tired is using the toilet paper roll as a pillow when you’re sitting on the toilet shitting out your brains every thirty minutes. Tired is tears coming from your eyes at random and not even realizing you are crying or why. Tired is lonely. Tired is fierce. Tired won’t quit no matter how much you beg. Tired is standing in your kitchen washing three plates and wanting to sit down after one. Tired is considering hailing a cab to go three blocks because your lungs and your legs are about to give up. Tired is forgetting what you were day dreaming about. Tired is forgetting what you were hallucinating about. Tired is forgetting what you were saying while you were talking to yourself out loud. Tired is yelling at the dead who aren’t there and actually expecting a response. Tired is being more entertained by staring at a wall than actually doing anything. Tired is wishing friends would call, text, email, show up at your door so you can be distracted by how tired you are. Tired is checking every five minutes to see if they have. Tired is losing track of conversations and words to the point where you have an odd look on your face and when someone points it out you can’t understand why. Tired is not recognizing people you’ve meet several times. Tired is forgetting what you look like even though you see yourself daily. Tired is walking in circles in your own home. Tired is actually fearing you may fall asleep in the bathtub and no one else is there to stop you. Tired is running out of the energy to complete the sentence you are speaking. Tired is resenting your bed for not helping you sleep. Tired is so hazy and so confusing and so uncomfortable. Tired is like a jump suit you can’t unzip and can’t escape from. Tired is a green monster under the bed laughing at you because you have no control over your own life anymore. Tired taunts. Tired mocks. Tired flips you the finger and throws shoes at you. Tired buzzes in your ear while you lie in the dark. Tired is the car alarm across the street that never stops. Tired is the ice cream truck song circling in your ear drum all day. Tired is that muscle that just can’t be satisfied no matter how much you stretch it. Tired is constant. Tired is stabbing. Tired is chapped lips but being too weak to reach five inches to get lip balm. Tired is being so thirsty but not wanting to make the effort to get a glass of water or take a sip. Tired is being afraid to eat because you know you’ll have to get up and run to the bathroom afterward and you’re tired of how much it hurts to shit. Tired is wishing for a slip and fall that might knock you out long enough to let you sleep a while but won’t kill or permanently cripple you. Tired is avoiding walking too close to the edge of the subway platform because you know you aren’t steady enough to guarantee you won’t fall onto the tracks. Tired is fearing your own pillow. Tired is seeing sorrow in the eyes of your stuffed teddy bear because you know he knows you can’t sleep so neither can he. Tired is feeling more tired just looking at the books on your shelf and wishing you had energy to read them. Tired is not even having the energy to read the titles of the books on your shelf. Tired is trying to catch your breath after typing seven words. Tired is writing at 1am and hoping that even though you haven’t truly slept in months you hope that you’re a good enough writer to have written actual words, but being slightly worried all the letters you are putting together are just random garbage and no one else will understand a damn thing this says. Tired is the Sahara desert in your mouth, in your brain, in your soul. Tired is dry. Tired is hot. Tired is empty. Tired is a runny nose you just can’t lift your hand to wipe. Tired is counting the mold spot on the ceiling and pretending they are a star pattern. Tired is waiting for someone else to help you clean the mold off your ceiling because you know you just can’t do it anymore. Tired is wearing the same clothes for days because it takes up too much energy to chose a new outfit and you just don’t want to have to pull open another drawer. Tired is lying in bed for hours sleeping but always knowing you are lying in bed sleeping because you aren’t ever really sleeping. Tired is repeating tasks over and over and over and expecting a different result… yes, tired is insanity… and I am so fucking tired.

Friday, June 4, 2010


I wrote this letter tonight because this pissed me off & I think they should know.

Hello, this is in regard to this:

I just found your website while sitting in my hospital bed in NYC. I have breast cancer. I found the lump on my own when I touched my breast last December. No it wasn't a monthly exam but it was my discovery & not a doctor's. In school & from my gynos all my life I was told to do breast exams monthly, saw the shower card my mom had & it was in my mind that this can happen & I should be aware. I wasn't paranoid or a hypochondriac about it but I knew it existed & I knew that touching my boobs was important. I never did it routinely because I found I just liked touching my boobs & I ended up touching them more than once a month. Your site says monthly exams aren't proven to help. Well I say fuck that. Maybe they don't prove anything statistically but telling people not to do it is going to cause more problems. If people get anxiety over monthly exams then they are just ignorant. If they get proper education in the purpose of the exams and understand that they should be touching their boobs standing & laying down, and doing this frequently is likely to help them notice differences in their breasts, changes, looking for nipple discharge or discolorations, etc, then more women WILL be educated.
From reading your facts & myths I honestly don't feel like the people who wrote them understand fully what it's like to find an actual lump in your breast at the age of 33. I do. And if I hadn't found it when I did I'd likely be dead soon & not on my way to recovery as I am now. I don't think that spreading the word that self-exams are not helping is going to help at all! It's more likely to hinder the cause. Women, especially young women, NEED to know that breast change and we all need to be aware of our bodies and note any changes so we can address them with our doctors. Your spreading this nonsense is more likely to harm the cause & keep doctors from taking us young breast cancer patients seriously. It's difficult enough for us to be taken seriously--- I BATTLED to get my mammogram-- but I am determined to help educate young women to touch their tits as often as possible. I think it's irresponsible of you to encourage otherwise. So what that statistics show it doesn't help?-- statistics show all sorts of things that aren't always true. Had I not been told about self exams as a kid, had my mom not had that card in the shower, had I been afraid to touch my breasts because I didn't know it could save my life I would most certainly not be surviving this cancer as we speak because I probably wouldn't have caught it as early as I did!
I'm really disappointed in your organization & I think you need to be more of a positive influence than a negative one. ANY touching of your boobs (welcomed that is) is good & we should all be doing it daily!

Marie Farrell
Breast Cancer Survivor!