Tag Archives: cancer

Circle of Sisters


Photo courtesy of Morguefile

I look beyond the horizon of my soul, searching
for connection in the vast wasteland of my being.
Restlessness, agitation rule my waking time.
Dreams, insomnia tick away the hours until dawn.
The tears come suddenly, frequently.
They anger me, these unbidden rivulets
of misery and weakness.
I have no right to wallow and complain.
I did not lose my hair.
I did not lose my breast.
I have a scar – not enough to bear the title
of “Survivor.”

I bottle up inside the negativity,
watching helplessly as it seeps across the barriers
I carefully construct. These promises of safety failing
miserably, leaving me exposed.
A year has passed.
Get over it you drama queen!
Are you simply vying for attention
with your sudden outbursts of rage and anguish?
You don’t need anyone. You have the tools to rise
above this. You studied this, this disease.
You know it well,
all its intricate, poisonous traps and evil intentions.
I spin my wheels helplessly, hopelessly unsure of myself.

The Noble Circle
The what?
A cancer support group. Just try them.
I think you’ll be a fit.
I agree with hesitation, convinced that it won’t work.
I don’t need anyone. I have the tools to rise above this.
I have studied this, this disease.
I know it well, all its finest details.

The time has come to meet them, this group of survivors.
A weekend retreat- but I decline…knowing I’ll be fine.
A season passes.
Desperation and despair permeate my being.
My spirit leaves and watches from the distance.
I fear it’s lost for good and spend the days disheartened.

Another call. We have a spot, a September retreat.
I cry and grasp the opportunity but worry I won’t fit. They’ll have more in common
with each other than with me.
They’ll have lost their hair, their breasts, I think, but
feel relief to see they don’t look any different than me.

I feel guarded this first day and hide behind a collage of images, creating who I am, or who I think I have been.
Stupid! Stupid! Stupid! I lose control and cry.
Angry at my weakness, internal punishment and promises of control rein emotion in.
Benevolent gazes cause discomfort,
unfit for the attention.

A day of meditation, of food and interaction.
My essence hums with energy and excitement,
embraced with positive acceptance, fortified with
vows to dominate emotion.
A sharing circle brings epiphany.
I chew my tongue to focus on the physical,
refusing to break and bow to humiliation.
A woman speaks my heart,
and restraint buckles beneath a wave of hot tears
filling my soul with shame.
Soft touches and kind words of consolation
caress the pain away.
Sisters, they say. I squirm, unfit for the attention.

Drums pounding catch me in their beat, beat beat.
l play and dance in rhythm, two steps away from freedom,
not quite leaving memory and pain.

A final meditation,
the sharing of a story in poetry and art.
I look at those who came before me
and wonder who has passed and who I’ll meet.
A final day begins my transition to a sisterhood
and long-deserved attention.
Sister.
I practice the word, testing its boundaries
and fine lines, embracing long-awaited peace.

 

©2010 frayedges and http://www.frayedges.wordpress.com.

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The Bottom Line


Photo courtesy of Morguefiles

Last night I read an article online about the 10 best tasting hot dogs in America.  My favorite brand, Coleman hot dogs (no added hormones or antibiotics-ever), was on the list. Number one was Hebrew National Franks.

Now I am always looking for a good new hot dog, but because of my recent bout with breast cancer, I like to make sure they only contain beef that has never had added hormones or antibiotics.

I checked out the Hebrew National site. If they’re Kosher, does that mean no added hormones or antibiotics? No information was on the site, so I wrote to the company, Conagra, that makes the Hebrew National line.

“Are your beef products made using beef that does not contain any added hormones or antibiotics?” I asked.

Here is the company’s response:

“Thank you for your email concerning our Hebrew National Franks.

The animals are tested to assure there is no presence of antibiotics. This is a requirement of the USDA that livestock and poultry flocks be tested for residual antibiotic after the specified withdrawal time.

It is prudent to assume that if a beef product is not marketed as “contains no growth hormones”, that it may contain growth hormones.

There are no regulations that require the disclosure of any use of growth hormones to be indicated by a beef supplier.

The USDA is a great resource as well for this information:
www.fsis.usda.gov/food_safety_education/USDA_Meat_&_Poultry_Hotline/index.asp

Your comments are extremely valuable, and they help us make the food you love even better.

Thanks again for your feedback. We’re listening!”

It’s a very pleasant email. It’s polite and addresses my concerns. So why the hell did it piss me off so much?

It’s a bit like coating poison in honey. Someone who wasn’t paying attention, who didn’t notice an off taste or smell, might ingest the full dose and drop dead.

Take a look at the first sentence, addressing my question as to whether the beef contained antibiotics. Notice how they reassure me that there is no presence of antibiotics in the beef and then end the sentence with “after the specified withdrawal time.” In other words, yes, the cattle WERE fed antibiotics and the beef did (and possibly still does since every steer and every ounce of beef cannot be tested) contain antibiotics, but that information is downplayed by the very positive, “The animals are tested to assure there is no presence of antibiotics.”

Note their response to my question as to whether the beef contains added hormones. They don’t deny that it does, but then they brush over that fact by reassuring me that there are no “regulations that require the disclosure of any use of growth hormones to be indicated by a beef supplier.”

Well, I feel better now because we all know that the regulators, the FDA and USDA, would regulate something that was dangerous to humans right? They wouldn’t allow a substance in the food supply that was suspected of increasing the insulin growth factor-1 (IGF-1), which in turn is suspected of increasing the rates of colon, breast and other cancers, would they (Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR), Oregon Chapter)?

So why have almost all industrialized countries, except the U.S., banned the use of recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH) in beef and dairy (Dairies Nix Artificial Hormone)?

Could it be that other industrialized nations care more about the welfare of their people and the quality of their food production than the bottom line?

No, it couldn’t be, right? The FDA is on our side. After all they didn’t let red dye 2, which caused cancer (REGULATION: Death of a Dye), into consumer products, did they?

So it must be ok to eat Hebrew National franks.

Thanks, FDA and Conagra, for caring.

For those of you who are concerned about consuming beef and dairy that contain rBGH, here is a resource for finding rBGH-free products:

rBGH (rBST) Free Dairy Processors: Top 100 List (as of 9/15/10)


Easier Navigation


There has been increasing interest in my cancer posts from several folks. To make navigation easier, I have subcategorized the archives of these posts in the order in which I originally posted them. They can be found under the categories to the right.


One Year Cancer Free


Today is my anniversary. One year ago, they cut out a 1.7 cm malignant tumor. I have been cancer free since then.

I feel good overall. I am physically able to do normal stuff. My mental state, though, has been a bit more affected. I wonder how long it will take me to stop freaking out when the doctor wants to run tests. I still haven’t found my new “normal” state, but I think I am getting there.

At least I know I am not alone with that. I was talking with a co-worker who survived cancer and he tells me it’s always there, flitting around in the back of your mind. My doctor saw me last week, and she told me it takes about two years for her patients to finally move the fear of cancer from the foreground to the background.

So I have two goals this year. One, I want to start trying to push thoughts of cancer from my every waking moment to occasional musing. Two, I am not going to beat myself up if I can’t do that. I will remember it’s a process that every survivor goes through.

I have my one year. That’s really cool.

©2010 Copyright frayedges and http://www.frayedges.wordpress.com.


My year in pictures


January/February 2010:

March/April 2010:

May 2010:

June/July 2010:

August 2010:

September/October 2010:

November 2010:

December 2010:

All of the photos above are courtesy of morguefile.com

Blog post ©2010 frayedges and http://www.frayedges.wordpress.com.


Drumroll, Please


The verdict is in.
I listened with no reaction as the nurse said,
“It’s benign.”
I hung up the phone and nonchalantly told my family and friends,
“I don’t have cancer.”
No emotion, little reaction, apart from a texted “Yea!”
But there are not enough smiles to express how I feel inside.


Trepidation


Photo courtesy of morgueFile

December 9, 2010
“This is not normal. I’ll need to do a biopsy.”
A fear washes over me. Is it more cancer?

The doctor makes no promises.

I make my next appointment and leave the doctor’s office numb. The biopsy is Monday. The weekend looms before me.

On Friday the numbness gradually turns to fury. I try to contain it, but it slips out occasionally. I look for a distraction, but everyone is busy.  I take a sleeping pill and go to bed early. I just want the days to pass quickly. I need to know.

On Saturday I work. Depression sets in. I don’t call anyone. I don’t want to see anyone or talk to anyone. I stare at Netflix all night, then go to bed.

Today is Sunday. The rage returns. I want to throw something, hit something, break something, whip my body around in a frenzy until I drop exhausted. I want to roar my pain.

Instead I stare mutely, looking for distraction.

Tomorrow is the biopsy.

 

 

©2010 frayedges and http://www.frayedges.wordpress.com


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