ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Breast Cancer Information Page I Wished I Could Have Found

Updated on March 2, 2015

Breast Cancer Hits Me Without Warning

Not one who jumped to conclusions regarding illnesses (I scarcely had any, other than the yearly bout with bronchitis), I did trust my intuition, and a few weeks later the suspicion was confirmed. How's that - using a positive to declare a negative! It was confirmed that I had a frightening disease, and I hadn't wanted to alarm family or friends.

I had told no one but an acquaintance, a lovely woman who did meal preparation, shopping, laundry, driving, and provided socialization for my aging mom and step-dad, who lives 100 miles away, about my fears-in-cement! My mother (whose second husband (he became my step-father when he married my mom after I turned 18 and graduated from high school, had just died) had a lovely woman helper who I knew had conquered a few types of cancer, and as an aside and in private I told her what I knew.

Just confiding in an acquaintance helped relieve the strain, and it wasn't long before I got the results from all the tests, and soon everyone knew because by then I wanted caring responses from the people I loved; I had waited until the second, spot mammogram (which I experienced alone), and the ultrasound to give them the verdict in medical language. It was very obvious to the Radiologist that the irregular edges meant breast cancer.

I am an artist. I was working an office day-job, but I lacked health and illness insurance. The medical center pointed me towards a social worker who linked me to the medicaid system by generously taking down my words on the lengthy form. She even mailed it into the office. Soon after it was clear that my expenses would be covered and I could concentrate on surviving the illness, on hacking away at those irregular edges that signified the type of Breast Cancer that was an unwelcome guest in one breast.

In my artwork of that period I visualized the cancer cells in a variety of forms and used a mental vision of the gold picks my late father used in his work as a mining engineer. I called them "Pickflowers". I closed my eyes and "saw" the Pickflowers chipping away at the growth in those irregular edges. As I drew the little flower tools I also envisioned the desiccated edges, falling limply away from healthy cells. Cancer no more, I thought, oh God, cancer no more.

The image above is one of my Chemo Journal Drawings. See that tiny green pot at the bottom! A Pickflower with a very long stem is growing out of that pot. The flower head is attacking prickly irregular edges off the blue flowers. Another Pickflower is hanging out taking a break up at the top in front of the lattice. The lattice acts as a barrier to new cancer growth. Those are loving buds all along the bottom edge. The content of this drawing revolves around relationships, personal and those of four generations.

My step-father had died at diagnosis time. My mother's grieving challenged me when I was already overloaded with my BC diagnosis and treatment, a drawn-out divorce, lack of more than one dear friend in an area where I'd not lived long and where all my spare time was spent making art, trying not to burden my daughter whose work-day coincided with my nighttime, a love interest who was skittish of BC, yet I was deaf to his fears, and the impending move thousands of miles away of my son's family at a time when I needed them.

My Pickflower Drawings text is purposely difficult to decipher, because it was meant to be personal, for me, and I used it as a graphic element, sometimes written first, and sometimes added as the ink drawing proceeded to fill the page. This drawing is from 9/4/99, mid-course for chemo and radiation - I had them together!

My medical oncologist had rushed into my appointment. Although all texts had shown that I did NOT need chemo, and he had told me he would NOT give me chem - things had suddenly changed! That appointment was scheduled for him to explain Tamoxifen to me, how much he would give me, how often, that sort of thing. But he breathlessly told me there were new results to some "Fish Test" he had sent to California! It showed I was "Her2neu High Overexpressive! That indicated a very aggressive form of cancer.

I was scheduled to begin Radiation Therapy the next week. He said I needed to begin Chemo immediately, or a few days from then. I was shocked and worried and scared. Here you'll find information as armament that can transform the patient into a Breast Cancer Warrior. Click the links below for empowering information resources

Emergency Return for Inpatient Hospitalization Stay - I'd just arrived home from Radiation Treatment and check-up

No sooner had I closed the door than the phone rang. The oncologist's nurse told me to call a cab and beat it back to the hospital - pronto! I didn't have enough Neutrophils to fight off any, repeat, any bacteria or infection entering my body. That was shocking!

I had thought that the all-clear the hospital had given me that day meant I was good to go back home, to make some art, and to sleep. But here I was all riled up about whether or not I could safely make it back there fast enough. You can see all this reflected in the drawing.

A Book to Help Her Manage her Treatment - gift a friend

Find my special designs on tote bags, mugs, t-shirts and journals, plus a lot lot more. During Breast Cancer I drew all the designs on gift items from this shop WhipCancer.

Just Get Me Through This!: A Practical Guide to Coping with Breast Cancer
Just Get Me Through This!: A Practical Guide to Coping with Breast Cancer

It's hard to believe that a breast cancer guide can be fun, but breast cancer survivor Cohen and oncologist Gelfand have produced a book that combines medical information with the kind of warm, funny, rueful sharing a woman gets from a good talk with her girlfriends.

 

A Friend Suggested her Antidepressant - Big Mistake!

After Taxol and Radiation and a move, and all the other big stressors that coincided with my Breast Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment, it was thought that I was depressed so I was given some new drug that works for people who also smoke and are depressed ---- but I have never smoked! Still, I accepted my non-cancer patient friend's recommendation and the oncologist was willing to prescribe.

It wasn't for me. The drug excited me so much I felt like my scalp was lifting off my head. Caffein was out for me, from the first sip of coffee as a teen. It caused the jitters in hot pursuit, so I drank tea. Once I entered art school I tried coffee again, but didn't need to be revved up so decaf became my drink of choice. Now I had unknowingly fallen into the stimulant trap. Who would have thought that an antidepressant would be a stimulant. Well, not me, anyway. I thought it would simply build me up again, like feeling good when someone gives you an unexpected gift of flowers.

Chemo was hard to take, just the thought of it, and all the family consequences from that period of time stacked up to one block too many for my good spirits. That antidepressant removed from my regimen, I went on an old fashioned drug which filled the bill for a few months and then was tapered off, and resumed work on larger paintings. The Chemo Journal 10/15/99 is the last of the series.

My Mother's Breast - daughters face their mothers' breast cancer

My Mother's Breast: Daughters Face Their Mothers' Cancer
My Mother's Breast: Daughters Face Their Mothers' Cancer

Runs the gamut from supportive/supported daughters to those who struggle with emotional issues of an inability to discuss the cancer with their mothers. Full of cancer expert information, also risk and genetic testing information - with Glossary

 

Support and Information Organizations - Men and Women Both get Breast Cancer

Resources for support, services and programs for breast cancer patients. Receive support and share ideas with other patients and survivors and Breast Cancer Warriors - those who fight their ways along the path from diagnosis to treatments, management and surviving, living, and thriving.

Information Transport Flash Drive for Us - tuck this into a gift bag

The internet was still an ethereal phenomenon to me, when Breast Cancer struck. Instead of gluing myself to the computer I drew and walked and slept. If it happened again I would want to place important information I'd downloaded onto one of these Flash Drives. How cute and caring to give a pink drive to a friend or family member patient. The plus is that a portion of the price goes to breast cancer research.

“Hope Love Strength” Pink Ribbon 4 GB USB Flash Drive 2.0 with Gift Box and Lanyard - Breast Cancer Research Donation with Purchase
“Hope Love Strength” Pink Ribbon 4 GB USB Flash Drive 2.0 with Gift Box and Lanyard - Breast Cancer Research Donation with Purchase

$2.00 from every purchase is donated to benefit breast cancer research

Includes clear plastic magnetic snap gift box and white lanyard

Pink flash drive with pink ribbon design on front and "hope love strength" design on back

Convenient swivel design with no cap to lose

High speed USB 2.0 flash drive compatible with most PC/MAC laptop and desktop computers

 

Inflammatory Breast Cancer Research

Information from and about research programs helped me to objectify my experience. I drew daily about my breast cancer, about my treatment, about my private life and my living situation, including my financial matters and family concerns. Getting new information, as a newbie on the Internet, was a surreal experience because it came at the same time that I was learning the how to navigate the web. Today many of us are as familiar with the Internet as we are of how to navigate our home floor plan in the dark, removing one layer of confusion from our health concerns.

Inflammatory Breast Cancer is in a category of its own, regarding this challenge disease of breast cancer. Investigate claims, explore the powerful websites, and you may find that you can contribute something from your own story, to help others. Take heart, your spirit can grow as you strengthen yourself with information.

Turn it into Humor! You Deserve It!

Breast Cancer in all its forms is a challenge no one wants. The authors of these five books waged their own struggles in the dark land of Breast Cancer and opened many doors to discovering humor and bringing the light in, popping the top on their cans of misery, letting the pain out. Laughter lets us pull out heads out of the pressurized cans Breast Cancer diagnosis can seal over our thoughts and feelings, and pops open new perspectives.

Even if you cry sometimes, quiet or raucous humor mellows the days with the right kind of seasoning. Gift the patient and gift yourselves.

It's Not About the Boobs!: Finding Humor in Healing
It's Not About the Boobs!: Finding Humor in Healing

Advanced Breast Cancer provoked Michele Lloyd to write an inspirational book that will prod you into opening your own can of inner glee! Let her show you how she wrung the funnies from the way she fought the disease - how you can do so also.

 

Become a Vocal Advocate

Get the training and information you need to promote breast cancer screening and prevention

Making the Breast of It

Making the Breast of It
Making the Breast of It

Lea sat on a lounge chair on the top of a mountain, experiencing life as a spiritual being . . . Little did she know that this split second of spiritual enlightenment would change her life forever. She shares her experience with breast cancer and mastectomy. She demonstrate how she overcame the fear of intimacy with men after mastectomy and gently guides you, empower you, encourage you how you can do it too! It is a story of how you can become a stronger human being because of your experience and how it can help you to enjoy an intimate life after breast cancer.

 

Spinning Straw Into Gold: - Your Emotional Recovery From Breast Cancer

Spinning Straw Into Gold: Your Emotional Recovery. Focus on supportive attitudes to turn the breast cancer experience from a downslide into markers of learning and motivation

Disclaimer

This material is provided for informational purposes only

As a Breast Cancer Warrior I am aware of the value of information and the need for each of us to process that information in regards to our own case. This information is provided as a resource only, not as an endorsement, as I am not a medical professional.

Tell me what you think - Do you find this information helpful?

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • BritFlorida profile image

      Jackie Jackson 4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      Wonderful, brilliant information. Thank you so much.

    • irminia profile image

      irminia 5 years ago

      I know a woman who uplifts many breast cancer survivors - she had mastectomy, but she still goes to the FKK beach and sunbathes without any bra or prosthetics. I think she says it all and I think she is very brave.

    • profile image

      japay_jay 5 years ago

      Wow! two thumbs up with you guys. This is the most informative article I have read about breast cancer.Keep it up! You can also visit our website and see some informative articles about breast cancer and win free breast cancer bracelets.

    • profile image

      Tilly_the_Health_Coach 10 years ago

      Great Lens, wonderful to see that others are also fighting to get breast cancer information in the hands of everybody

    • profile image

      anonymous 10 years ago

      This is a fantastic lens - I am new to this and I am surfing the lenses to find out how they work and what people write and link to. I am about to launch a journal for women diagnosed with breast cancer to write their experience throughout their journey back to good health. www.yourjourney.com.au

    • profile image

      wenfri 10 years ago

      Great lense I am also working on one as well. I am a 10 year Survivor of Breast Cancer You have loads of great information here Still browsing through it all