Posts from July, 2011

Ann’s Diary: TGTO

The other day I was talking to someone and he referenced the term MILF.  I had no idea what he was talking about.  He had to explain what MILF is–and if you don’t know either I really don’t want to be the one to tell you.  It’s gross.  Let’s just say it’s text shorthand for someone’s mother that you find very attractive and you’d like to…take out to dinner.  At least.

I was just texting today with this same friend and he’s been on the road for a long week of work.  I wrote TGIF and then wanted to add how happy I was that this whole obnoxious week for him has come to a screeching halt and he braved it. As I knew he could.  So I added TGTO–which I just made up.  It means “thank God that’s over.”

He texted me right back and said I had a texting hit on my hands–that I should get it out there to the masses so we can all TGTO.  So here I am with a new term to trend on Twitter and on phones from here to everywhere.  Go ahead and ask your 486 friends: How many things are you TGTO today?

Personally I can name about 20, starting with the laundry, the exercise in the blazing heat and the stepping in throw-up (I am NOT kidding you) as I was talking my walk.  I know, talk  about MILF being disgusting…how’d you like SITU? (stepped in throw-up.)

So–here’s to TGTO, yours, mine and ours.  I wish things like breast cancer could be on the TGTO list, but we’ve got a long way to go on that one.  For now I say just enjoy getting through whatever you’ve gotten through this Friday and give yourself a high-five.  It’s over. You did it.

As I knew you could.

Ann’s books ‘pink tips’ and ‘Words To Live By’ now available in the SHOP section of this website.

Posted July 29th, 2011 by
Ann's Diary: TGTO
Posted in: Ann's Diary

Ann’s Diary: Living With Breast Cancer

When I was on vacation I talked with someone who loves me and she asked me how I was doing.  I told her really well–I have two books out,  I’m writing my memoir, my husband’s job is fine, our kids are well, and at that moment I was surrounded by family and friends.  What could be better?

When she looked at me long I realized she was asking about my health.  I laughed and said, “oh, that.  Good, good.  It’s all good.  My tumor markers are stable, my new diet is going well, my exercise routine is strong–it’s all good.”  Then she looked at me funny and said, “but you’re fine, right?  I mean, the cancer has gone.” It was my turn to look at her funny.  The cancer gone?  I only wish…

It’s hard to explain to anybody how this second cancer works.  It’s not like the first one that got cut out and blasted with chemotherapy, radiation and Tamoxifen for five years.  After that whole hell was over, the words “it’s gone” are spoken hopefully but not accurately–because cancer can come back.  At any time, in any year.

Which nobody who gets cancer can focus on or else they’ll drive themselves crazy.  So we “survivors” call ourselves survivors and move on to our next phases of life.  But if and when the cancer comes back–as it has with me–then the new phase of life is now the next phase of life–as in forever.  And it’s called “living with cancer.”

So I hugged my pal and explained all that to her–briefly and with lots of smiles and hugs.  I didn’t want her to get depressed about it for me–but I think she did anyway. And she’s allowed–hell, living with cancer sounds like a drag, I know.  But–I smiled to her–never fear.  I am going to live long and strong with this stupid cancer, don’t you worry.

And after that we went on and talked about other things of summer, like the beach and the cocktail hour and who was taking the kids to the Candy Man store–and through it all I whispered my metastatic breast cancer patient’s mantra: I’m living with breast cancer, I’m living with breast cancer.

Which is a whole lot better than the alternative
Ann’s books ‘pink tips’ and ‘Words To Live By’ now available in the SHOP section of this website.

Posted July 27th, 2011
Posted in: Ann's Diary

Ann’s Diary: I’m Back

I’ve been on vacation recently and just find myself coming up for air today.

I love vacation because it is a time for me to put away the stresses of life with metastatic breast cancer and just laugh, lay in the sun, and relax with the rest of the healthy world for a while.

But I found leaving breast cancer behind harder than I thought.  It kind of crept in anywhere I was–

like the harder-than-usual hugs I got from family and friends who haven’t seen much of me since my surprise re-diagnosis last fall.  Or the worried look on my mother’s face when she saw me playing with my daughter’s hair; and the phantom pains I got in my chest around where my original tumors were located 8 years ago, which turned out to be non-disease stress but sure felt like more cancer clumping up inside me–all of that and more moved like an ugly shadow behind me as I spent time on vacation with the people I love.

I suppose it was dumb of me to expect a full break from my medical situation, to truly live care free and above it all, ‘it’ being the fear that maybe I’ll die sooner than you will. But with me, hope springs eternal.  I figure why not look for the best of things and then if disappointed, well, at least I know I tried.

And the hope that I’m beating this breast cancer will never be far from me, I’ll tell you that.  Whether I’m in Boston or Baton Rouge, Maui or Maine, sitting at a Starbucks with an old pal or laying on a sandy beach on the east coast, I may take a vacation from my troubles now and then but you can be sure of one thing:

I’ll never take a break from beating the breast cancer beast.

Ann’s books ‘pink tips’ and ‘Words To Live By’ now available in the SHOP section of this website.

Posted July 25th, 2011
Posted in: Ann's Diary

Ann’s Diary: Puma, Project Pink and Me

I remember how hard it was to come up with the name for this non-profit. We thought about Pink Diary, Pink Diaries, Second Base and others–and then we came upon Project Pink.

The irony is that prior to that moment I disliked the branding of the color pink with breast cancer–it made me feel marked.  I felt like it defined me as a victim of cancer.

And it also made me feel like I was just another color in the cancer wheel–awash me in the hue of pretty roses and throw me in the cancer garden with the rest of the poor saps fighting pink cancer. I abhorred the thought.

Then I lived a little, and then I lived some more–and then I got to a new place in my cancer journey where I not only accepted the pinkness of breast cancer but I was grateful for it.  Because mention pink and cancer in the same sentence and nobody thinks you’re talking lung, colon, brain or bladder–they know you’re talking breast.  And that means they’re aware of your problem, alert to its awfulness, and maybe (hopefully) doing something about it.  When Linda Pattillo, Project Pink’s co-founder, suggested the new name three years ago, I went for it quickly.  Let’s embrace the pink, I remember saying–let’s be Project Pink.  And so we are.

But apparently we are not alone.  Puma, it seems, has decided to devote a new project to breast cancer awareness and it turns out they’re using our name.  Actually I’m not quite sure what Puma’s Project Pink is all about but I’m clear on one thing–it’s trying to broaden the scope of breast cancer awareness.  And for that reason alone, I—now a metastatic breast cancer fighter–am grateful.

You might think I’d be angry and want them to get their own name–but I’m not.  I’m actually quite honored.  We chose a name so well that now a multi-million dollar sports brand is tagging along in title.  I think that’s a big compliment and I hope they kick their effort–to win against the pink beast–through the net and out of the breast cancer field forever.

So here’s to Puma, its division of Project Pink and my own, and anyone else who wants to take on breast cancer and beat it to a pulp. I for one am–you guessed it–tickled PINK that you care about this awful disease and want to do something about it.  Whatever you call your effort is immaterial to me.

Just succeed.
Ann’s books ‘pink tips’ and ‘Words To Live By’ now available in the SHOP section of this website.

Posted July 13th, 2011
Posted in: Ann's Diary

Ann’s Diary: Why The Internet Rocks

There are a lot of things I don’t like about Facebook, Twitter and the Internet.

I don’t like how the Internet splits up our information source–so instead of everyone reading a headline and then forming opinions on it, we get news from so many separate and sometimes unequal places of knowledge (Huffington Post, the Drudge Report, CNN) that the credibility of the facts we get are oftentimes up for grabs.

I don’t like that search engines–like Google for example–apparently track the kind of links we click on, keep score, and then “feed” us what they think we want to read when we next search a topic. The engines filter our information based on our past choices, which is okay if there’s a disclaimer on top of the screen that says “Hey, I’m giving you this because you last clicked “Paris Hilton” when you were eating that gallon of ice cream and having a down day about your break up when you last searched Paris. Do you really want me to send you to a similar kind of meaningless, airy website about an heiress who does mindless things with her millions with today’s new search for “Paris” or do you want to learn about the real city, its history and culture?”

All of this means you and I may not get the same knowledge about politics or food or what’s going on in Afghanistan–and that leads to a much grander worry that the world will become more separate than equal. And now that I’ve scared you, let me tell you what I love about Facebook, Twitter and the Internet. I love–and I mean LOVE–that I can reach out to people all over the world in a moment of fear and doubt and get help when I need it. Like this week for example–

when I got an email about a doctor in Texas who allegedly has the “cure” for cancer, but–and this is where it gets scary for me–has been allegedly “suppressed” by the FDA and the government. Talk about hitting me in my sweet spot–I got so worried and upset I spent three hours googling, searching and otherwise trying to find out who this doctor is and what his treatments are–and worse, if I’ve been sold a bill of goods by the entire medical establishment over these last 7 years as I try to (now) beat back metastatic breast cancer at age 45.

I’m still working on that last part–I have no idea what to say about Dr. Burzynski and his antineoplastons. I’ll keep googling–and asking questions, and using the Internet to help me separate fact from fiction. And for that I am FOREVER grateful for cyberspace and all of our choices out there–whether I’ve been handed them on a silver search platter or not.

But I absolutely LOVE Facebook, Twitter and the Internet for this one reason–my friends out there who are helping me weigh in on this huge, important, life-in-the-balance matter by reading what I post, doing their own research and then commenting and helping me figure this mess out. I know our IT World is a crazy one–full of potential misrepresentations, mistakes and misnomers–

but knowing I have people from San Francisco to an island 20 miles off the coast of Maine helping me figure out my scared-out-of-my-wits fears-for-my-life makes me feel like I am not alone–that I can do this, I will figure it out.

And if that’s the price I pay for spliced up news and misdirected cyber information, I’ll pay that bill– all day long.

Posted July 1st, 2011 by
Ann's Diary: Why The Internet Rocks
Posted in: Ann's Diary