Thursday, January 10, 2013


The shoe being on the wrong foot seems to be a theme.  There is a blog post from last spring when I wasn't happy about being in street clothes while someone else got the good drugs.  The someone else in that situation happened to be my son. The title of that blog post was "The Shoe Switch AKA Caregiving" and it was posted on April 5th.

What appears below is a reprint of something I called The Big Kiss Off.  It was April 24, 2012.  I was finally released by our oncologist for annual visits.  On April 25th, this is what appeared on this blog.  I talked about hitting that magical five year mark which I always knew I didn't really like and now, I kinda sorta really DISLIKE.  A.Lot.  This post is infused with mentions of recurrence fears and the fact that my mom was approaching her five year kiss off, too.

The post ends with lots of shoes.  I remember the day quite clearly.  I left the building not quite knowing how I should feel. I did what I do best.  Walked into what amounted to several stores in search of the perfect pair of pumps.  Preferably ones with red soles.  It was all about those Loubies.  When that didn't happen, I got home and had to rearrange my closet to accommodate EIGHT, count 'em, yes, EIGHT new pairs of shoes.

Since they are all on the wrong foot these days, I may have to find a better method of retail therapy.  Or better yet, I'll stick to twitter and the blog world.  As I've seen over these past several days, nothing even remotely compares to the support of a strong community.  If there is an upside to any of this, it would be all about YOU... and there are lots and lots of "you's".....  And it's been like that for a very long time...

THIS is from April 2012.  When I kissed the oncologist goodbye.  Hoping only to bump into him in the hallways.  So much for that grand plan.  I'll see him tomorrow.  With that stupid shoe on the other damn foot.  Stay Tuned.....

I don't know even know where to begin.  I'm not one to be at a loss for words but the support I felt yesterday was simply breathtaking.

First, if you aren't a twitter person, I'm FREE!  I am officially on annual follow ups with the oncologist.  Technically, I'm being put in the "survivorship" program.  In other words, once a year and in still other words, I likely won't even see the oncologist.  It will be the nurse practitioner.  Naturally, if something isn't right, he's still my doctor, but for now, I got the big kiss off.

I will be on femara for another five years but I already expected that would be the case.  I got that heads up at one of the seminars I attended.  We discussed the new Choosing Wisely guidelines with the blood tests for the tumor markers.  I love my doc.  He explained, for now, MSKCC is continuing to do the tests but they are reviewing the guidelines and will make a formal decision some time in the near future.  It seems likely they will stop doing this test.

I guess that means I honestly have morphed into A Flying Wallenda.  No Net.  (Did your eyes read that as "not yet" because mine did, every single time I did a read through...just curious??)  Like I said the other day.  It starts on a runaway train and now I simply must take that first step on to the wire.  I just saw a piece about the Wallendas on television and I was struck by that very statement.  Something about the hard part being while they are on the ledge, anticipating the walk to the other side... and once they took that first step, they just had to focus and concentrate on moving forward.  Balance. Reaching the other side.

I have no net.  The safety of the tests and the scans is on the ledge behind me.  Now, I move forward.  If I must stop and recenter, it doesn't mean I'm going to fall.  It simply means I need to use that balance stick (or whatever the hell you call that thing) to get my footing back.  The net makes it too easy to just toss it in when the going gets a little tough.  The safety of the net is really stopping forward progress.  The safety of the net can possibly get me to believe hurling myself off a building might not be such a bad idea---after all, I got that net.  And now, No Net.

I am embracing NED.  I know that recurrence thing will still creep up in some dark moments and I know, too, when that happens, I will be held up by the same group of amazing people who sent me tweets while I was waiting for the doctor yesterday...... and the very same group who were sending me tweets to share my joy hours later as I found myself in a celebratory shoe shopping spree.  I consider myself most fortunate to have found my voice and in doing so, to have found myself surrounded by brilliant, caring and  loving friends.  I don't know how to say thank you for yesterday, except to say that I hope to be in a  position to do for each and every one of you as you did for me.

Now.... a few random thoughts.  Someone who reads this blog and has communicated with me via email needs some extra special thoughts sent his way today.  His wife is likely in surgery as this is on your screen.  Another good friend is getting results from her latest round of treatment.... Someone else has an oncology follow up within the next couple of days.  My new friend DID make her appointment and she will need to know she's not alone, either.

(This part is no longer qualifies as a "random thought" .... for now, it's my ONLY thought....)

And, today.... mom is where I was on Monday.  She goes to see our oncologist for her follow up tomorrow.  There is something so unnatural for a mom and a daughter to "share" the same oncologist.  It's part of what drives me. And it's part of what scares me, too. She was NED for twenty years.  And then, she wasn't.  Hers was a local recurrence. Fortunately, local.  Technically, it wasn't really a recurrence at all, it was an entirely new primary disease.  We are survivors.  Together.  I'm officially at five years now.  She will be there in about four months.

(I've stopped asking questions, I've stopped trying to understand, I've stopped looking at anecdotal nonsense.  Instead, I've begun screaming: WTF????? I believe we call that moving from denial to anger in those grief stages....)

To everyone who is staring into the abyss:  You are not alone.  You are NOT alone.

And, having nothing whatsoever to do with this.....blogger has a new interface.  I have yet to figure it out.  I THINK it's been around for a LONG time but I refused to use it.  Suddenly, I'm seeing a daily tweet about "My thoughts" with a link to this blog.  I'm not big on self promotion so if you found yourself here from the twitter link....... welcome.  Sooner or later, I will find the setting that will disconnect this auto tweet feature......

And SOONER or later, I will remember that the "schedule" calendar is formatted with Monday as the first day, meaning, what looks like it SHOULD be Wednesday on the little box is really Thursday... and this post should have been up already HOURS ago....... Sing it loud, sing it proud.... chemobrain.... attention to those details that in another life was my thing. Poof.  Gone.  It's the minutiae, not the ability.  And yet, even knowing that, I need a mini me minutiae checker.......

One more AND.... and it's a biggee.....  I want to thank Rann Patterson for featuring this blog (and by association, me) on Bella Online.  Rann is the editor of the Cancer section of the magazine.  She wrote a very powerful article and I am honored that she chose to share this blog with her readers.  The article was posted yesterday.  Seeing that was certainly a nice way to start what was, at the time, a scary day.  Ended with lots of new shoes, but at the start......fear.  Followed by celebration, followed by retail therapy gone completely amok.

Three stores, EIGHT pairs of shoes, five pairs already here, two being shipped because they didn't have my size, one has to be picked up on Thursday.  Pre-sale.  What the hell is that all about anyway?  Pre-sale pre-selling.....  If it weren't about a great pair of black pumps that I am getting for a great price, I'm pretty sure I'd be on a rant.  But, there will be no ranting about shoes.  I'm following the wise words of Marilyn Monroe and conquering the world.... "Give a girl the right shoes......." Well, I now have a decent selection of right shoes.  And left ones, too.


  1. dear anne marie,

    i read what rann wrote on bella online - beautiful and so true!

    your metaphor about shoes - wow, that so resonates with hugh and me. just know that we will keep you and your mom close to our hearts and BELIEVING that all the shoes will get sorted out, on the right feet; if anyone can figure out this "so wrong" thing it's you. your insight and sensitivity, the powerful and inspiring love you and your mom share, and dream team of medical care which i am sure will be assembled in a new york minute will help once there is a plan put in place. we will be here, just a click or an e-mail away, cheering you both on. i am so touched that with all you are going through, you still sent reassurance to us all that we are not ALONE. thank you, and right back at you and your mom - YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

    love, XOXOXO,

    hugh and karen, TC (sutherland)

  2. Hi AM!

    Thanks for shout-out. Amazing, I found this in such an odd know how it is...
    I love your shoe stories and Marilyn Monroe is my Alter-Ego (along with The Nanny-Fran Drescher)!
    Now you know my innermost thoughts LOL.
    I know your human but if ANYBODY can make the most of this, it's YOU. Love you woman:) Xoxoxoxo

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