Monday, March 31, 2014

MOVING ON AFTER CANCER: SUE (SECOND IN A SERIES)

The Rubies are back! Diagnosed with breast cancer within weeks of each other, we were a string of strangers that met via breastcancer.org. We jelled like a good marmalade, forming a cohesive support system for each other that saved our collective sanity. We grew close, as real besties do, and I have since dubbed them The Rubies (read more about them here). 

As you can imagine, each Ruby has her own unique breast cancer story to tell, and I want to give each Ruby space to share her story on my blog. My first guest blogger was the marvelous Melanie, our youngest Ruby. (You can read Melanie's story here.)

Today I am introducing you to my second guest blogger, SueYou'll soon see why Sue wears the "inspiring" crown in our group for making the most changes since her diagnosis. Sue is a military spouse who took stock of her personal circumstances, pushed through her limitations and pursued her dreams in the face of breast cancer. I'll let her tell you how she did it. So without further ado, here's Sue!

"One thing that being a military spouse has taught me is to take control when I can, and give up the desire to control when I have no other choice. We learn to just deal with it, uncomplaining, silently carrying on. When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I sucked it up and decided to just deal with it like I did everything else. No one told me that was impossible. You don’t just deal with cancer...

Monday, March 24, 2014

TOP 10 TIPS FOR A HAPPY LIFE

OOPS! GRAY ORB ALERT!
In an attempt to "clean up" my photos in Google Plus, I mistakenly deleted a bunch of images that were attached to my blog. (Duh.) So if you're reading posts of mine and you come across an image that looks like a gray oval orb (like the one at right), forgive me. I know not what I do.

Anyway, as I was attempting to fix my image problem (insert laugher here), I came across a blog post that feels worthy of a repost. Originally written as a letter to my 16-year-old self, these tips apply to folks of all ages — not just to teens. After all, we're never as young as we are right now, right?


RENN'S TOP 10 TIPS FOR A HAPPY LIFE...

Friday, February 28, 2014

CYBER SUPPORT

My first blog logo, circa April 2011
It's been nearly three years since my first blog post hit cyberspace. It was April 2011, and I was in the thick of my frustration, anger and sadness following a breast cancer diagnosis. If I didn't write down what I was feeling, I thought my head would explode. Blogging became a natural way for me to process my cancer "situation."

I wasn't always aware of what I was dealing with; enlightenment often came after I hit the "publish" button. Writing is weird that way...

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

A BLESSING AND A BLUNDER

© Emma Keller
Once there was a writer named Emma Keller who posted a very disruptive article last week on The Guardian  website about a highly regarded breast cancer blogger named Lisa Bonchek Adams. (I have written about Lisa many times on this blog.)

The article in question has since been retracted by The Guardian "pending investigation" — but you can find it here! (Oh, the wonders of the internet, where nothing ever really disappears…)

Continuing on...

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

2013 REVIEW

2013? That was so yesterday

It was a year in which I wrote 30 fewer blog posts than I did in 2012. The year I forgot my diagnosis anniversary. The year I started focusing on other stuff. Stuff I haven't felt a need to write about. And that, my peeps, is progress. (For me.) 

I did review the 50 posts I managed to pen in 2013, and found a few snippets to highlight here...

Monday, December 2, 2013

REAR-VIEW MIRRORING

Lately I've noticed friends on Facebook participating in a sharing game about their lives. Maybe you've seen it: You leave a message on a pal's wall who has already shared details about themselves; your friend then emails you a number — that's how many tidbits you're supposed to reveal about yourself. 

I never found that game enticing...

Monday, November 4, 2013

KVETCHING CORRECTLY

Who among us hasn't experienced the awkward moment when a well-meaning person utters something inane (or insane) in response to our discussing our cancer treatment or diagnosis (and/or our mental, physical or emotional processing of the two)? You know, the verbiage that doesn't stay inside their head but is inappropriately spilled out onto yours. And you, as the cancer patient, are left feeling unheard, misunderstood, and thinking, Did he/she really just say that? 

Sunday, October 27, 2013

METAPHOR FOR CANCER

I was going through my archives when I found this 2011 blog post entitled "Land of Confusion" — very popular among readers. So I dusted it off and am rerunning it. Let me know if it strikes an emotional chord with you...

Friday, October 11, 2013

JEN "JELEBELLE" VENNES


(Copyright ©2013 Jennifer Ledda Vennes/Keep the Calm)
The breast cancer blogging community has lost another wonderful woman, wife, mother, blogger to the scourge that is breast cancer — Jen "jelebelle" Vennes. She was 39.

Jen penned the supremely well-written, super honest, often raw and always inspiring blog, KeepTheCalmI'd been following her story since Spring 2012, when she first wrote about the chemo drug Navelbine (something her nurses jokingly referred to as "navy bean"), which was part of the trifecta of chemo drugs she was desperate to have work...

Sunday, September 15, 2013

MOVING ON AFTER CANCER: MELANIE (FIRST IN A SERIES)

Many positives come out of cancer, and I admit I don't always write about them. But today I'm going to. The biggest ones involve the many new friends I've made since my December 2010 breast cancer diagnosis. I often refer to these friends as  The Rubies, and I'm fortunate to have several sets of such wonderful gems. 

Long before I was on Twitter, and about four months before I started this little blog...

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

PINKTOBER PREPAREDNESS

With "Pinktober" right around the corner, I received this morning from Dr. Susan Love's "Act With Love" Research Foundation. Dr. Love understands the challenges, the politics and the need for greater research (vs. "awareness") with regard to breast cancer and is busy putting programs in place to not just raise research dollars, but to actually tap the people of the world so we can assist in the research itself. It's pretty impressive...

Friday, September 6, 2013

3 REASONS FRIENDSHIPS FADE POST-CANCER

(Copyright © 2013 The Big C and Me)
I wrote a blog post back in January 2013 about how our relationships change at various points during our cancer treatment, how the demands on our time changes, and how this can leave us feeling invisible. It struck a chord with many, so I thought it might be important to post again. Maybe you (or someone you know) can relate...

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

6-WORD MEMOIR WEDNESDAY

Happy Wednesday! If you haven't visited the Smith Magazine website lately, I encourage you to do so. It's a fun, eye-opening exercise in storytelling brevity. Since it's only fair I write one myself, here goes: I am feeling anything but resilient. I've plucked a dozen six-word memoirs ...

Monday, August 12, 2013

ON THE FLY & OFF THE CUFF

A few days ago, I read an article on the front page of the Los Angeles Times about a woman named Jacqueline Suskin who sits at a tiny table at fairs and farmers markets up and down the West Coast. She types on-the-spot, improvisational poetry (on her vintage green typewriter, no less!) while you wait. Oh, and you get to name the price you pay her.

I find that fascinating...

Saturday, August 3, 2013

WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A CANCER SURVIVOR

© Gayle Sulik PhD Pink Ribbon Blues
I've just read a brilliant and profound article on what it means to be a cancer survivor. I wanted to Tweet about it, but there's so much more to say than can fit in 140 characters. 

The article I'm referring to was written by the indomitable Gayle A. Sulik, PhD (author of Pink Ribbon Blues: How Breast Cancer Culture Undermines Women's Health and founder of the Breast Cancer Consortium)...

Monday, July 29, 2013

METS MONDAY: ACTIVISTS & MAVENS

On Saturday, July 27th, 2013, AnneMarie of Chemo-Brain fame celebrated seven years of living with NED (No Evidence of Disease) post-breast cancer. Of this milestone, AnneMarie reflects...

Monday, July 22, 2013

RENN'S TOP 20 BLOGGY IDEAS

(Copyright © 2013 The Big C and Me)  
While I've been busy not blogging, I've been amassing a large number of potential blog posts. Some are half written; others are merely a headline. Some describe experiences I've had yesterday; others occurred long ago. All include insight gleaned from my breast cancer experience. 

This bulging list of ideas overwhelms me...

Friday, July 12, 2013

THE ROAD FROM ANXIETY TO RESILIENCY

© theBigCandMe.blogspot.com
Lately, every click I make leads me to more bad news. Storm clouds seem to be everywhere I turn. I need a buffer between me and life. 

I need to become more resilient. 

By definition, resiliency is being able to withstand or recover quickly from difficult conditionsUm, that would be my life this week. A tale of too much. Allow me to explain...

Thursday, June 13, 2013

WRITER'S BLOG BLUES

In case you haven't noticed, I've hit a wall with my blog posts. I've placed my hands on this keyboard more times than I can count, trying to find a way back into blogging about TheBigCandMe. 

After my dreaded rash finally receded (turns out I developed an allergy to laundry detergent and soap), my scars healed, and my doctor was no longer on speed dial, my writing mojo took a sharp turn down the road of recovery — and has all but evaporated.

I've got the writer's blog blues. But I'm in good company. Many of my bloggy friends (The Accidental Amazon, Bringing Up Goliath, Breast Cancer Sisterhood, to name but a few) decided to suspend their blog writing so they can focus their energies on living life post-cancer. 

Other blogs come to a screeching halt because the writer died from cancer...

Sunday, May 26, 2013

WRECKED TALE

I have been rather remiss in my blog posting. I was out of town, I got busy, I took a nap, I went out of town again, I got busy, I took another nap, yadda yadda.

So tonight I sat down at the computer with a few minutes to spare before bed, with the
© Green Monkey Tales

intent of catching up on a few pals in the blogosphere. I got excited to see that my friend Shannon, who blogs over at Green Monkey Tales, had written a new blog post. Shannon is a sporadic poster; her prose, some of it fiction, is truly brilliant. I eagerly clicked her link.  

I had no idea what her blog title "Wrecked Tail" was supposed to mean, but figured it would be funny; Shannon is hilarious, and often sprinkles a little monkey humor into her writing. 

It wasn't long before I realized what she was sharing wasn't funny at all...

Saturday, May 11, 2013

KAREN, TC: AN UPDATE

The blogosphere is a pretty amazing place, filled with some pretty amazing people.

Some are bloggers. Some are readers. Some are commenters. Some are all three; some are two; others, one.

In our burgeoning breast cancer blogging community, we have a special woman who is a faithful reader and commenter on so many of our blogs. She always signs her name "Karen, TC." I never knew what the "TC" stood for; I never asked. 

Turns out it means "The Commenter." How perfect. How clever.

I always looked forward to Karen, TC's comments...

Sunday, April 28, 2013

9 METASTATIC BREAST CANCER MAVENS

DAY 25's challenge: Share something from another health activist that everyone should know. (Only something? I've too many 'somethings' to share.) 
Last week, Jody Schoger  beloved co-founder and member of the Breast Cancer Social Media group #BCSM — revealed she has metastatic breast cancer (MBC) after having no evidence of disease (NED) for 15 years. Yes you heard that right: 15 years later she became metastatic.
The blogosphere was abuzz with shock and love and support for Jody. Unfortunately Jody is far from alone; 155,000 Americans are living with MBC right now. Since Day 28's challenge is to create a must-follow list on a single social network, I'm focusing on bloggers with metastatic breast cancerI know there are many MBC bloggers out there; iyou have an MBC blog and aren't listed below, please leave a comment in the section for a future post. :-)

Here are 9 of my favorite MBC bloggersTo read more of their work, just click on their blog links and SHOW THEM SOME LOVE! 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

CELL DETECTORS and SOCIAL MEDIA, DAY 23

DAY 23 of #HAWMC, PART 1: Write about a device I wish existed to help me track my health. I'd invent a portable meter-like device (like the one diabetics use) ...

AN ORDINARY SUNSET, DAY 22

DAY 22 of the #HAWMC challenge: Write about something ordinary that’s inspiring; something simple, perhaps overlooked.
 
© 2013 theBigCandMe.blogspot.com
Time to confess: I am a cloud chaser. I make it a point to look out the window every night to: A) see if there are any clouds in the sky; if so, then I: B) go outdoors and look up to determine whether what I see is sunset worthy. If yes, then I: C) grab my camera and head to the hiking trail. If no, then I: D) stay home and finish the dishes. 

There is an odd cloud phenomenon that I've noticed; maybe you have too...