ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Kicking Cancer's Butt

Updated on November 5, 2012

Recently, a friend of mine was diagnosed with breast cancer. I am writing this for her to let her know that she has to have hope that it will turn out OK.

A few years back, before I opened the B&B, I took a sabbatical from my high school teaching job in Chicago to work on a graduate degree st the University of Illinois.. No sooner had I started the program in September then something suspicious showed up on my mammogram. On October 9th (my birthday). I ended up writing this experience into my first memoir. Heres an excerpt from that chapter:

Operatic Divas and Naked Irishmen, chapter One ( an excerpt from Chapter 2)

...My one year Sabbatical began in September almost three years before. I registered at the University to work on an advanced degree. Since the Board of Education required a complete physical every few years, I made an appointment at my clinic to do it before classes started. A couple of days after my appointment, the clinic called saying they found something suspicious on my mammogram. They suggested a biopsy. I put it off until October and finally went in as an outpatient on my birthday. The results were not good and I was told I needed a lumpectomy and probably radiation and/or chemo. I had stage one breast cancer

I did not quit school and go into cancer treatment hibernation. I continued as planned. Every day, for eight weeks, I went to the Michael Reese Cancer Center for radiation in the early morning, took classes at the university in the afternoon, and worked as a teaching assistant, in the evenings. The radiation was scary to me, so to help myself through the fear and anger, I drew pictures of "The Radiation Team from Hell" on motor cycles, wearing helmets and goggles, looking fierce and coming after me. I pasted them on the wall over my dissertation desk. I would talk to them disparagingly every day. It had the effect of diffusing their power over me, a technique used by psycho-therapists with patients who have panic attacks.

My cancer was only stage 1, so fortunately they got it all with the lumpectomy and I hadn‘t needed chemo. After that year of school and radiation, I treated myself to the summer in Africa. It was very expensive, but I never regretted it.

Africa did it for me. It took me away from the angst of a year of learning, teaching, and cancer. It also helped with the depression that came once that year of stress ended.
When it was over, my mental state had plunged.

Africa was hauntingly beautiful, inspiring, and fascinating. I went on Safari, a gorilla trek, and sight seeing tours…from Kenya to Tanzania. to Lake Kivu, Zaire, and Rwanda. Over that summer, my state of mind gradually stabilized. When I returned to Chicago, I was ready for another year of teaching high school...

*Note: The following poem is about the anger I felt being violated by a huge x-ray machine.

cold, hard
amazing brainchild

devouring them
one by

seeking out
the great mitosis
to stop it
in its

on a bed of plaster
arm raised high
as others
from the room

they peer
through the glass
like children
enamored with chocolate
in a candy shop.

this is not
a candy shop I shout
as rays invade
my body

this is not a candy shop
stop staring

a hissing pierces
the silent
a constant

ridding my body of
this thing
threatens to

my aching arm
to be
to fall swinging
at my side.

a minute longer
and the throbbing
will subside
at least

seek me out
in dark of night
while I lay sleeping
in my bed

saving lives
and yet instilling


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)