new tattoo

I’m going to be a real tease here by not having a picture ready to post as well, but I can’t contain myself and need to tell you that I have a new tattoo.

A very VISIBLE tattoo – on my right forearm.

It’s the Chinese character for “to live, to be alive, to survive.” The outline is black and I have breast cancer pink to fill it in.

I’m so proud of this tattoo for so many reasons.

I got it today on my lunch hour.

Pic soon. I promise.


naturopath ~ yes

I saw the naturopath today. I truly hate how conventional medicine and alternative medicine are at odds, when they could be complimentary and integrative.

My oncologist was lukewarm to me visiting the naturopath. He said he has three things for me to keep in mind:

1) There’s nothing to prove that it works and nothing that disproves it either; he doesn’t want me to think this way is a cure or a guarantee.

2) To have everything recommended checked and cross-referenced with the Cancer Clinic pharmacists to ensure no loss of effectiveness of the conventional medications prescribed.

3) If I’m spending hundreds to thousands a month, is it really worth it?

I questioned the naturopath on the first two points. The naturopath I saw really believes in what he’s doing, he’s got research in radiation oncology behind him and more.

So, I’ve decided to augment my conventional medicine – the integrative approach. The course of action we are currently taking is to take herbs and supplements that support and work with the two main medications I am on: tamoxifen and herceptin. The cost is not cheap, but it’s not prohibitive either.

On a personal level, I’m about to go more organic – from meats to veggies to dairy. Meat and dairy specifically come from animals that are fed hormones and antibiotics. I’m going to be cautious on the milk part though, but willing to see what the options are locally.

I believe in being proactive. It’s the open mind approach - I don’t know what will or will not help, but it doesn’t hurt to try. And I guess I believe in it all or I wouldn’t bother.


herceptin #12

Herceptin #12 was postponed for two weeks thanks to that cold and I finally went into the Clinic on Monday to have it.

In what is obviously the norm for me, it was a two poke effort to get a viable vein. I am truly the proverbial pin cushion!

Side effects are just starting to hit now.

I’m in a funk this week and the only thought I had on Monday was how much I want all this to be over.  What’s frustrating is that my battle is never going to be over, I may just have fewer medical appointments and tests.

I made my appointment with the naturopathic doctor for next week….wonder what my oncologist will say to that.



For some time now I have been having the debate of “should I or shouldn’t I?” regarding seeing a naturopathic doctor.

There is a local naturopath who specializes in cancer patients. While not every testimonial is a rosy story, everyone is pleased with him.

I’ve always been a believer in alternative therapies – I’ve used acupuncture to treat tension headaches with much success – and yet there’s a part of me that thinks “it’s alright if it’s for the other guy”.

But, and only to reinforce the inconsistency within me, I’m worried that I’m not doing enough to protect my health and reinforce remission.

So what’s holding me back? Damn good question. One thought is a fear that perhaps alternative therapies will conflict with conventional.

I suppose now is not the time to hesitate, but instead be very proactive.

I just don’t know.

[13 Oct – Vince is all for it. As I value the input of my friends and family, please don’t be shy. Food for thought: I think I’m going for it.]



Today was a bit of a weird day for me. I didn’t know whether to feel dirty or feel brazen, but in the end, since I felt so riske, I decided it was brazen.

For, what?, 25 to 30 years I’ve had a bra of some sort. After surgery, I had a post-surgical camisole. For the most part I’ve worn camisoles, bra-tanks and generally something more form fitting underneath any and all tops I’ve worn out in public.

Today I chose NOTHING – because I CAN.

It was enlightening, to say the least. I was as self-conscious as if I had gotten my first bra.

While I’m definitely firm in the statement that I don’t miss the girls, I can honestly say that today that statement took on a whole new meaning for me.

Vince and I briefly touched on cosmetic surgery (which I’m allowed one year after mastectomy) and I told him I didn’t want a re-build. I’d rather purchase prosthesis so that I can have ready-wear boobs – on only when I want them and off for the rest. With a re-build I’d be forced to wear a bra again.

I’d say this is a different form of liberation.


mixed blessing??

I came down with the cold of all colds for me this year. It started last Monday with a sore throat that felt like razor blades. When the worst of that pain subsided, I was left with a voice that’s barely heard, a cough and stuffed-solid sinuses (oh to breathe!).

Yesterday I pretty much didn’t have a voice at all. Today I squeak a little.

If Vince would just stop laughing…He says when I speak the birds are answering me. (Men!)

I know I can talk a lot (hence the sometimes knickname of Gabby-Gayle), but geesh, I’d like to just be able to say anything at this point.

Work should be interesting on Tuesday if I don’t regain the voice!!



Today a person I care very much about is marrying a wonderful man.

Congratulations to KTB and AS.

I wish you happiness, laughter and love…now and forever.


There are two things true about all weddings: family and love. Surprisingly, they don’t always exist well together.

I’ve learned that family is defined not by blood relations, but instead by the people we hold dear in our heart.

May everyone be surrounded by loving “families”.