On 01.02.02, I was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer. Too late for surgery, I had chemotherapy, which failed. In May the chemotherapy was changed and I was soon in remission which was celebrated and welcome and lasted nine years - until October 2011. There was progression in 2011 so more treatment was indicated and I am now back in partial remission. But I'm not only a cancer patient - I also enjoy my family, walk my dogs and am learning to draw and paint. Life is good!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013


I am home now. Right arm for IVs, left arm for a very heavy cast. I got 3 more units of blood to add to the 5 since Christmas.  It's getting harder to match my blood because of all the donors swimming through my veins, but I am truly grateful that folks are making it possible to stay alive a bit longer.

Yesterday's MRI proved that I have a brain and there isn't a single spot on it. Yay!

Late last night I was chatting with a nurse and ended up sobbing through my life story.  In one of his books, Patrick Carnes, who runs an addiction clinic in Southern California, comments that there is more cancer among survivors of sexual abuse. That makes sense to me because it would mean there's a lifetime of stress hormones.  I would add to the statistics thanks to an incestuous uncle and the clergy I went to for help. I'm surprised that my life has been as joyful as it has. My parents loathed me.

Steve said that when he returned home last night Brix was totally bereft because I wasn't with him. He slept on my side of the bed instead of curling up against me the way he usually does. This is Demi - she wears a service cape. Parisse can never go anywhere because she seems autistic to me - no eye contact, afraid of everything, can't play, isolates several rooms away. Five veterinarians have tried to help her, but we never got very far. We love her.

Steve gave me a sponge bath this morning before we left the hospital - new levels of intimacy when you're lugging around a cast with strict orders not to get it wet. I love him so much! I came home to a clean house and everyone was cared for - three dogs, four chickens, Youngest Daughter. He got all the refills for my meds - 10 prescriptions these days. We're all exhausted and fell asleep at 7:00 for two-hour naps.

Oldest daughter is helping me use my juicer so I can follow a food-as-medicine regimen.

I have to stay alive.


  1. This is a great amount of sadness for you to contend with Barbara but don't give up. Things may take a turn . It's happened before. I have witnessed it in my own family

  2. "My parents loathed me" has got to be the saddest thing I've heard in a while. I am glad you have Steve as he seems to make up for a lot of the bad part of your life. What a joy to come home to order instead of chaos! So your oldest daughter lives near you. That's good. I had in my head the rest of your family lived in Hawaii.

    I am sure the nurse is used to people telling things they usually keep more private. I bet they even encourage it a bit as unburdened oneself helps us to lose the stress and perhaps helps the healing start. I wouldn't doubt that stress causes a lot of damage. I read that modern stresses aren't like the stress of early man. Our fight or flight reflexes get stymied (as in going to the clergy for help with your uncle) and all the chemicals have to reroute through our bodies rather than do what they were intended to do.

    Rest and let your family take care of you. They need to so they can deal with their own stress. Hope the smoothies or whatever it is you are making in that juicer taste good.


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