Cancer can be a real pain.
I should know. I’ve been living with breast cancer for the past year.
Was it really last October when I was diagnosed and started treatment? Perhaps many of you might remember because you were part of the truly amazing fundraising effort initiated by Barry’s Bootcamp. Your support and generosity moved me to tears then, and your compassion means so much to me still.
It has been a challenging year marked by five months of chemotherapy, followed by mastectomy and the removal of 10 lymph nodes. Two months after surgery, I had radiation therapy every day for six weeks.
The nausea, the stomachache, the fatigue from chemo were intense. When clumps of hair kept falling out, littering the floor so my apartment resembled a hair salon on a busy day, I shaved bald. I fought the urge to suck on a lollipop like Telly Savalas in Kojak. Also, I never knew it felt so cold once you’re hairless. My teeth chattered!
Mastectomy was no picnic but I bounced back rather quickly. It’s an odd feeling, being lopsided. Even though I’m not particularly sentimental, I was unprepared for the tremendous grief I felt in losing my left breast. Clearly, it was a case of “you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.”
Radiation was fun. They marked me with four tattoo dots so I could be accurately positioned. I had 30 treatments over six weeks, with daily sessions of 15 minutes. Yup. it was a blast. Pardon the expression.
I was told side effects could include redness, permanent skin discoloration, fatigue, lymphedema, possible damage to the lungs and heart (especially because it’s my left side). I’ve given myself a new nickname: Wuang-Ee Two Tone – it’s got a nice mafia ring to it, no?
Right now, I’m still getting treatment every three weeks at Tower Oncology. I am getting physical therapy twice a week because scar tissue threatened to restrict my movement post-surgery. Physical therapy hurts. However, it’s working and I’m gradually overcoming the stiffness. I intend to regain my full range of motion.
I am not a fan of pain. Then again, I guess I should be grateful I can still feel. Every day, I am thankful for the unwavering love and support of friends and family who remind me I’m worth the fight.
Living with cancer – living being the operative word, I suppose.
If you’d like to donate directly to Wuang-Ee, you can write a check to:
Wuang-Ee Blum and mail to:
6543 Franklin Avenue, #301
Los Angeles, CA 90028.