Boy do I owe y’all an update! Let me start by saying that I have struggled emensly with sharing my story. In fact, I just wanted to forget it ever happened – much like the time I found myself dancing on stage in my chones in Tijuana. Although that is a way better story. But cancer did happen. And I beat its ass. So BOOM, read on homechickens!
As I told you here, I was diagnosed with breast cancer in December 2011. After opting for a lumpectomy, I was ordered to do 16 treatments of chemotherapy and 6 1/2 weeks of radiation. My first cycle of chemotherapy consisted of Cyclophosphamide and Doxorubicin – aka “the Red Devil[s].” That shit made me want to throw up poltergeist style. In fact, I yearned to levitate (minus the demon possession) just to get up off the floor. I was straight laid out like Charlie Sheen after a winning spree.
Nothing would help my sickness but time – not anti-nausea medications, Imodium, broth, saltines or 7-up with sippy straws. In fact bananas were the only thing halting the disappearance of my already marginally phat ass. I was in need of an antidote, a cure, a voodoo spell. I was down for anything.
So I decided it was time to take a cue from reggae great Pato Banton and smoke some sensimilla. I passed the dutchie on the left hand side yo. Actually I never passed it. But I did regain some of my appetite which was critical for my recovery. I was also thrust into a fabulous mood and everything was super chill, man.
I also indulged in the edible variety. Once. I got so twisted I had to talk myself off the ledge of my own bed.
It was similar to this:
Besides trashing my prescription drugs, smokin the doobage and eating a whole box of double stuffed Oreos, I also had the pleasure of shaving my head after obtaining permission from my pubes who had suddenly jumped ship. A wonderful group of close friends and family – and my awesome hair stylist – gathered to celebrate in this rite of cancer fighting passage. It was an emotional day – one of which I will never forget. Mostly because I wasn’t drunk.
Of course, I also lost my eyelashes which forced me to watch reruns of Jersey Shore just to ascertain how to attach the synthetic versions. Who knew Snooki’s life lessons would be anything other than a cautionary tale. And, with regard to my eyebrows – at the end there were just three strong soldiers hanging on each brow. I refused to pluck those bitches. We were homies for life.
In addition to the physical changes, I was also suffering internally. I required two blood transfusions due to low red blood cell counts. It was a bit odd having someone else’s blood circulating through me – saving my life. I can only hope they were super smart or really hot and that that somehow transcended to me.
I also developed an undiagnosed fever after my third chemo treatment which lasted for fucking ever! It left me bedridden and very, very depressed. So depressed, I found comfort in all eight seasons of Dog the Bounty Hunter. I started calling my kid “Young Blood,” and contemplating a mullet for when my hair grew out. I even took on a Hawaiian accent and ended every sentence with “ma brotha.”
In all seriousness though, I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t get out of bed, play with my kid, cook or write or do Tamilee’s “Abs and Buns of Steel.” Life was sucking and I was beginning to question my decision to do chemotherapy, ma brotha – sorry.
I frequented emergency rooms; had every freakish scan, test and anal probing in the book. Okay, maybe not the anal probing. Then eventually I was hospitalized. There I encountered a creepy male night nurse who liked to drain my blood and give me candy, infectious disease and nuclear medicine doctors, French baths and contraband KFC. Still, no diagnosis. I’m telling you, House needed to make an appearance up in that bitch.
Then finally after 47 days my port was removed and my fever quickly subsided. Apparently my body rejected that wannabe cyborg-part and ruined my dreams of becoming a vampire beverage vending machine. Unfortunately, I will be forever reminded of that muther fucker as I was left with an ugly scar on my upper chest to commemorate its existence. On the flip side, it has inspired some tremendous stories of getting shanked while in prison and for that I am incredibly thankful.
Once the fever issue was resolved, I began my new treatment of 12 cycles of Paxitaxol (“Taxol”) and my study drug, Herceptin. I was informed of a long list of side effects including loss of hair, tales from the crypt fingernails, numbness in the fingers and toes unrelated to frostbite, rashes, bloody, scabby nostrils, early menopause and a reduction of heart function. Nothing major.
Disclosure: I was fucked up in this picture.
Thank you, Ativan.
To reduce some of these side effects I received two pre-meds before each treatment: 1) Benadryl, and 2) Steroids. It was like waking up from a Propofol overdose as a crackhead with the munchies. That shit ain’t right. Luckily though, after a few treatments, my doc cancelled my steriod pre-med . . . just before my balls dropped. So that was good.
It was also during this time that I began to really embrace my hippie nature. I needed to create a peaceful tranquility within my mind, body and spirit. Sadly, I was still unable to grow out my armpit hair so I resorted to drenching myself in patchouli oil and hitting up the yoga studio. Until then, my yoga practice had always been a bit fleeting but this time it stuck and I quickly began reaping the benefits of the practice as I only wanted to slap a ho about ¼ of the time that I used to. Plus I enjoy the challenge of containing my laughter when somebody farts.
Speaking of farts . . .
I also became a struggling vegan. And by struggling I mean I still enjoy a good free roaming, non-GMO grass-fed steak named Nilly. However, for humane and health reasons I decided that eating a plant-strong diet rich in cancer-fighting properties was most certainly in my best interest. Not surprisingly, the transition from meat to beans caused some significant atmospheric disruption. I can only hope my carbon offsets have countered the massive amounts of methane released from my ass. Also, praise Beano. And, you’re welcome.
It was during this transition to healthier living that I completed chemo and began my 6 ½ weeks of radiation. All in all I have to say radiation treatment was a huge disappointment. First off, I was under the impression that I would be entertained by a Red Light District-esque laser show on my boob. Unfortunately, that is just a myth. That said, cueing up Pink Floyd and dropping acid in anticipation was overkill.
In addition, the monogamy of rolling in day in and day out for treatment was a complete bore. Many days I wished the green drank I brought with me daily was spiked with vodka instead of wheatgrass to make things more interesting. Occasionally though, to spice things up, I would wear my hospital gown with the ties in the front because: 1) that seemed more logical, and 2) it cheered up the old guys in the waiting room when my titty popped out. I just love seeing old people smile.
After my brief strip tease in the waiting room, I would be called back to the radiation bunker for treatment. There I would hop on the table where I would contort my upper body and arms to fit securely in the upper body cast made specifically for moi. This would ensure the radiation was distributed precisely during each treatment and that if a sneeze suddenly overtook me, the radiation beams wouldn’t penetrate say . . . my heart.
It was a bit stifling but was short lived as my attention would quickly divert to the reflection of my fly ass boob in the red eye of HAL (Space Odessy) aka the radiation thingy. I would stare at my boob’s reflection lovingly, thankful that it was still there and hopeful that it wouldn’t turn into a dried up shrivelly ass raisin. Luckily, I had a plethora of holistic remedies that saved my titty from aging prematurely. Thus, my dream of jumping on the pole still lives strong.
When my radiation treatment came to an end I was extremely upset. I had grown attached to my radiation crew. They laughed at all my jokes, complimented my shoes, and ignored my garlic breath every single day. We all joked that we hoped to never see each other again unless we were at the grocery store or the strip club. Even if I embraced a stage name and changed my hair color, they’d recognized my goods anywhere they said.
I continued to receive my study drug, Herceptin, every three weeks until March 2013. Being that it is now July, I am officially done with treatment; however, the mental backlash has been a bit of a struggle. That said, I have found comfort and strength in my spirituality and the love and support of my family, friends, co-workers, and drug dealers. You can expect another post on this specific topic . . . in another year or two. In the meantime, live life to the fullest, peeps! Love you all! xoxo