Life in the Slow Lane

Life in the Slow Lane

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Moving Slow

Thanks for all your well wishes. The surgery went on as planned and I have been sleeping and taking pain killers since I got home yesterday. Owie. Hurts a lot more than I thought it would. I have to take those awful antibiotics that make me barf too. *snivel*

But no more complaints from me. I have new hooties. The smaller set. I'll type more when I am up and about. Back to bed for me.

Thursday, September 28, 2006


Flippin’ hell.

You are not going to believe this.

I got a call from my plastic surgeon’s office about my surgery tomorrow. Apparently there is a little problem. I may not have my surgery tomorrow after all. I won’t know until the very last minute so I have to go to the hospital, get admitted, wait a couple hours and only after my doctor feels up my chest will we know if the surgery will go ahead or not.

Guess what happened. One of my implants was damaged in shipping. It was poked. My surgeon ordered 2 sizes of these super duper hella expensive state of the art fake hoots and one of the larger size was damaged. They thought they found a replacement through another clinic but it turned out to be the wrong kind so they just found out today that we are one tit sack short of a full stack. It might work out that the smaller pair will work fine and in that case things will go forward as planned. If I need the porn star size then I am outta luck. They have to order a new one from Ireland. Who knew you bought boobs from there? I wonder if they are green…

What next?

Monday, September 25, 2006


Well holy crap.

I got a call today from my plastic surgeon’s office about scheduling my surgery to get my implants installed. “How about Friday?” they asked.


Yep. Surgery on Friday.

New hooties!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

TMI or The Post That Makes You Want To Run Screaming From Your Computer

I mentioned genetic testing in my last post and, silly me, didn’t think that some of you might be wondering what that is all about and what it means for me and my health in the future. Let me ‘splain it to you so you know what I am talking about.

Quick Science Lesson

Everybody is born with 46 chromosomes, a full set of 23 from the momma egg and full set of 23 from the papa sperm. That means we have 2 of every chromosome. Each chromosome is made up of units called genes. We also have a pair of each gene – one from each parent. These genes control all aspects of our body from eye colour to cell division. Sometimes a gene will mutate and not work properly. This can happen from exposure to chemicals or other environmental factors, aging or is inherited from a parent. All cancer is a result of gene mutations.

Now if you do have a gene mutation that does not necessarily mean you will get cancer because you have the other gene in the pair that works properly and does the job that it is supposed to. Only if BOTH genes in the pair are mutated does cancer occur. When both genes in the pair mutate then they divide like that on a cellular level and that is cancer. Most cancers happen later in life when both genes in a particular pair are mutated due to the various factors over time. Some people get cancer earlier in life because one gene was mutated from birth due to it being inherited that way and then the other one mutated from those other factors.

How This Relates To Me

There have been two genes identified that contribute to the formation of breast cancer. They are BRCA1 and BRCA2 and seem to usually come from the mother’s side of the family. To have either one of these genetic mutations increases a woman’s lifetime likelihood of getting cancer by 50% - 85%. However, this mutation only accounts for about 10% of breast cancer so most breast cancer is not from this inherited gene mutation. It is from other causes we really don’t understand yet.

Because I was 35 years old when my cancer was diagnosed and I do not have any family history as I am adopted I am eligible for testing to see if I have either of these gene mutations.

So why bother, you may ask? You have had both your breasts removed so who cares if you know if you have the mutations now.

Good question.

It also turns out that having the BRCA1 mutation increases my chances of getting ovarian cancer 20%-45%. Having the BRCA2 gene means an increase in ovarian cancer risk up to 20%. The general female public only have a 2% chance. Testing positive for either of these genes may mean it might be a good idea for me to get my ovaries removed since there are really no early detection methods for ovarian cancer. This might be a good option for me as my cancer is also estrogen receptor positive which means my own estrogen makes my cancer grow. Knowing my genetic status will help me make this decision.

Now there is more. Very new information that is relevant to me. There is yet another gene mutation I might have. It is the CDH1 or E-calherin mutation. This gene mutation is found in one third of people who have diffuse gastric cancer.

So what does this have to do with me and my breast cancer?

Well, they are starting to realize that this gene is also associated with lobular breast cancer. That is the kind I have and it only accounts for about 10-15% of breast cancers so it is somewhat uncommon. Most breast cancer is ductal breast cancer. The difference is that lobular cancer is in the lobes (milk production areas) of the breast while ductal cancer is located in the ducts (how the milk gets from the lobes to the nipples) of the breast.

They have discovered that women who have the CDH1 mutation have about a 39% lifetime chance of getting lobular breast cancer. In addition to that women have an 83% chance of getting stomach cancer.

Holy shit!

If you have the CDH1 mutation medical professionals STRONGLY suggest you have your stomach removed.

Double holy shit!

So I am being tested for the BRCA1 and 2 mutations as well as the CDH1 mutation because of my young age when diagnosed and the type of breast cancer I had.

It will take 6-12 months for these tests to be done as there are very few labs that do this kind of testing in Canada and the backlog is huge. Our healthcare is paid for by the government so it is not a big commercial enterprise.

The chances of my having any of these mutations are very small but since the potential future health issues are serious I want to know so I can be pro-active with my care. The downside to getting this information is that if I ever had to get private healthcare in the future I would be legally required to disclose my genetic testing results and that would affect my coverage.

What do you think you would do?

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Snippets of Meaningless Drivel

-I had a moment of fear and self loathing today when reading Scotty Gee’s blog. He was saying that it was a dating deal breaker if she didn’t know what caribou was. I had this moment of panic thinking, “Surely he can’t mean that migrating animal from the northern tundra that is hunted by wolves. Surely this is some new hip code word for something like nookie and I KNOW NOTHING ABOUT IT! I am a loser. An old fart looooooooossser.” In shame I emailed him asking for enlightenment but it turns out he did mean that four legged animal and I felt instantly better. My impending decrepitude is held in abeyance for a little while longer.

-Apartment Update-I have been moved from my parking spot so they can fix the leak that has plagued my car for months. I am now parking with the common folks and not in my specially gated super secure enclave that I get to use the coolio fob to enter. If anybody nicks my car there will be hell to pay. HELL I tell you!

-Is it wrong and pathetic that I am totally excited that the new fall line up on TV has started? Is it lame and pitiful that I have butterflies over the new America’s Next Top Model and ER season? Yeah, I thought so…

-I have no idea how to pronounce Duquesne.

-I have officially lost 35 lbs from when I completed chemo last September. I am now wearing clothes sized in the single digits. This is freaky and a long time coming for me. Every time I put on my jeans I don’t expect them fit over my butt yet they do. They do!

-Yoshi did such a stinky poo today I considered evacuating the building.

-Today I found out I am eligible for genetic testing so I will find out whether my cancer was caused by a gene defect. This is good as then I will know if I am at risk for other cancers and can be pro-active for that. The results take 6-12 months so I can revel in my ignorant bliss until then.

-I was going to get a Wendy’s Frostie today but managed to talk myself out of it. *See single digit jean news above. I know I will cave next week as I have to go right by a drive-thru after a cancer clinic appointment. Damn Wendy and her yummy conniving ways.

-As of yesterday I wore socks for the first time in months. I was sad about this but had to admit the warm and toasty sensations were welcome.

-I am going to go make a cup of tea and listen to my boyfriend, Henry Rollins’ radio show now.

Bye bye!

**Happy Birthday Amanda B!**

Friday, September 15, 2006

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Cranky McGrumperson

Ok, I know I have been really shit about updating my blog but the fact is that this week I have been very grumpy. I didn’t want to bum y’all out by bitching on my blog. Then I started to think that maybe it might help to vent on the internet. Kranki is my name so…here goes.

I really thought that when I moved into this brand new pad of mine in a real building with real apartments and real property managers I would be leaving behind all the issues of the old caretaker, The Reign of Terry.

Well, not so much. I am finding myself in the predicament where the building property manager is basically blowing me off over some problems I am having with my suite. I HATE having to be the problem tenant who is FORCED into emailing strongly worded reminders every few weeks just to get basic stuff done. I hate having to be the grumpy ass. Why can’t stuff just get done?

You may remember that I was without a phone for two weeks when I first moved in. I notified the property manager that the phone company could not get my line to connect properly and would have to come to see if it was a building problem or a phone company problem. At that time I was told, “We will reimburse you for that as you should have a working phone line upon move-in.” Well, $80 later when I hand in my receipt for reimbursements I get told, “Good luck getting that paid for.” Seriously. That is what the property manager said to my face. I have yet to see my money.

In addition to that there is a leak from the cement ceiling directly over my car when I park in my underground spot. I have asked to either have the leak fixed or assigned a new spot as the water dripping is staining my windshield and paint job. I guess it is filled with lime and is making a huge mess. Now I have to drape a tarp over my car and carefully take it off when I drive off as it is all covered in this murky liquid. The water gets all over me and I have to cart around this drippy filthy tarp so I can put it on again when I get home. I have been completely ignored about this problem and I am shelling out $80 over and above my rent for the privilege to park under that fucking drip. It is not rocket science PEOPLE!!!! Just fix it or move me.

The latest incident that is really starting to make me feel picked on is that there was a pipe burst in the basement and all my belongings in my storage locker got soaked with water. Fortunately I have most of my stuff is in plastic bins but a couple very sentimental things were destroyed. One thing that I am very upset about is that I had my father’s old vintage leather suitcase (the one he immigrated to Canada with) filled with my art work and photographs from art school. Lots of portfolio work and such. Well, that is all wrecked now. Even the suitcase. In addition to that I had a framed limited edition print that was a gift from my aunt who died of breast cancer and who I was very close to that was destroyed. I have tried to find the replacement value online with no luck. It is out of print now. It was probably worth a few hundred dollars. That was just all I could see offhand. I still have to pull out everything and check it all out. More work for me!

I am really pissed off about this. It just seems never ending. I am out some money I can ill afford to lose, my car is getting shat on by the ceiling and I am paying for that as well and then my stuff gets pissed on and ruined. Then to add insult to injury I am getting ignored on top of it all.

See!? I am one grumpy ass. Beware my wrath.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Check This Out

I few weeks ago I was contacted by The Sarcastic Journalist for an interview about my breast cancer experience. I was seriously honoured to be asked. The article just came out and is really good. Go check it out.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Delusion in Lit

I have had a lot of strange and, well, crappy teachers in my school career but one stands out for me as the most deluded. Mrs. Case was my grade 12 English and English Lit teacher. We called her Mrs. Space Case because she was so ditzy. Not stupid but just elderly and a little out of it. English has always been one of my favourite subjects but classes with her were different from anything I had experienced before. I went to three different high schools and the one I went to in my last year contained mostly English As Second Language students from various parts of Asia. This made any English class interesting as 90% of your classmates could barely speak the language.

I thought this might actually work to my advantage as I would look extra smart in class. Also it turned out that at this school part of the grade 12 English Lit curriculum was Shakespeare’s ‘Macbeth.’ Well it just so happened that I had, by changing schools, studied 'Macbeth' two other times. I knew it backwards and forwards. Inside and out. Three times was going to be a charm and I was going to kick ASS in Mrs. Space Case’s class.

So I turned into that obnoxious type of student whose hand shoots up with alarming speed and regularity followed by a smug synopsis including far more info than requested and required. I was positively revolting to be around. But, DAMMIT, I knew 'Macbeth' and everybody was going to know just HOW MUCH I knew about it.

Now in the story Lady Macbeth goes a little batshit one night and wrings her hands hallucinating wildly that they are covered in blood that she can't wash off. She has a bad case of the guilts as she and the hubs have murdered a huge shwack of people. It is all pretty cool and dramatic a la Shakespeare and I always identify with the crazy woman in any story.

So in class Mrs. Space Case reads that part of the play and then asks the class what they think is happening in the scene. Of course my hand shoots up reaching warp speed because I know I can spew for days all about her guilt and the witches’ prophecies and how crazy the lady really was. I could and would convey the scope of her insanity to my classmates (who hardly understood me) with dramatic voice and hand motions. I give my spiel and sit back in my chair waiting for my deserved praise.

“Wrong,” Mrs. Case said. “That is not right at all.”

Well, I was stunned but it only got worse. She asked me, “What happens to ladies once a month that involves blood?”

What? Um….*BLUSH*….”Your period?!?” I choke out, totally embarrassed as the whole class is looking at me in mortification.

Mrs. Case went on, “That is right class. Lady Macbeth got her period in the middle of the night and had to get up to wash her panties.” “Out, out, damned spot!”


She was serious. I could only wonder how many DECADES she had been teaching this lovely little tidbit to her students. I wonder how many university English professors had that special piece of knowledge added to various term papers or classroom discussion over the years.

I pretty much entirely shut up in her class after that.