Archive | September, 2011

Bon Voyage

30 Sep

Maybe it’s just me, but ever since I got diagnosed with breast cancer, I have experienced a much higher occurrence than normal of downright awkward and embarrassing moments. I try my best to find humor in them when I can.  Sometimes it’s harder than others…

Awhile back, my husband Dan & I, along with our 3 children, went on a once-in-a-life-time family vacation to the east coast. We had been planning this trip for over a year. Finally the day of departure arrived. Early in the morning, we showed up at the airport with our luggage, eager to begin our long-anticipated trip.

But first we had to go through security.

Dan and our 3 kids walked right through security with no problem. Not me. I got sent into one of TSA’s fancy new full body scanners where they can see everything. Apparently they did not like what they saw.

They made me remove my sweatshirt, and so all I was wearing was this tiny little camisole that I never wear in public without something over it.

As I continued to stand there in the scanner, arms raised, I wondered if I had forgotten to remove something else – earrings maybe?

Then, all of a sudden, I found myself surrounded by guards. Big guards. They escorted me– barefoot and in my tiny camisole– to secondary.

It began to dawn on me that this was not about earrings. I wondered if maybe my breast reconstruction is what looked suspicious on their scanner.

I wanted to explain to them how ridiculous this was. I was a breast cancer survivor! And hadn’t they ever heard of reconstruction?

But how in the world do you strike up a conversation about your breasts with a couple of very serious tough guys? I had no clue.

In secondary, I was informed that I would have to undergo a frontal exam. A female officer was brought in. And I was not released until she was absolutely certain that I did not, in fact, have a bomb in my bra.

I was hard pressed to find any humor in all this. But my kids? They thought this was one of the most exciting parts of our whole trip — and we hadn’t even left Idaho yet! Not many kids can say that their mom almost got arrested during a family vacation… But now mine sure can.


A Pigeon Named Galileo

14 Sep

Just because I write a blog about life after breast cancer, doesn’t mean that I enjoy writing about breast cancer. Truth is, I don’t enjoy it at all. But I’ve found that once you’ve been diagnosed with cancer, it is really hard to go a day or even an hour or two without being aware of that fact. As much as I wish it would go away, it’s a part of who I am now, and it always seems to be hovering somewhere over my head, even when I try to pretend it’s not.

So sometimes I have to make a conscious effort to think about other things. Like pigeons, for example. That’s right. Sometimes I think about pigeons. And sometimes I even write about pigeons. Like in this article I wrote for an awesome new children’s e-zine (you know, an on-line magazine) called Imagination Café. The article’s title is “A Pigeon Named Galileo.”

It’s a true story about my friend Dan (who works at Northwest Nazarene University with my husband Dan) and his friend Galileo who is of course a pigeon and doesn’t work at all. And okay, so maybe Galileo is not my friend Dan’s best friend, but…  Are you following all this? Maybe it would be easier if you just check out the story for yourself. Here’s the link –

Oh, and be sure to bring some birdseed.

The Spider Smasher

2 Sep

Before cancer, I was afraid of spiders. Not to the point of being terrified. I just thought they were much too creepy-crawlyish for my comfort — and if they insisted on being inside my house, I preferred them to be dead.

And so whenever I encountered a spider in the house, I would immediately disable it with a blast of sticky hair spray (so it couldn’t escape). Then I would grab something big and heavy with which to clobber that fearsome spider until it was nothing more than spider-mush.

Not anymore.

There’s just something about cancer that gives everything a new perspective. Pathology reports, for instance. Now those are scary. Biopsy results? Absolutely terrifying. But spiders? Not so much.

Now when I see a spider, I don’t hesitate to smash it with my bare hands. My kids are very impressed by this. They think I’m awfully brave.

So last week, as I stepped into the shower, there, right at eye level, was a spider. But this wasn’t one of those little house spiders that I’ve become accustomed to smashing. This was actually a pretty big spider. Yet, I didn’t even consider grabbing a tissue or a shampoo bottle or something big and heavy. I just squashed it with my bare hand.

I felt a sickening crunch as its body was crushed beneath my fingertips.  Spider guts, as well as a few loose legs, were stuck to my hand. That’s pretty disgusting, isn’t it? I decided that maybe I’m not that brave after all.

Next week I’m scheduled to have a cancer check up. Now that’s something to get scared about. I am hopeful that all will go well. But maybe it wouldn’t hurt if I stopped wasting my bravery on things like spiders and saved up some of that courage for my oncology appointment.

Perhaps I’ll just keep that can of hair spray nearby. And something big and heavy. You know, just in case…