Monday, October 4, 2010

Breast Cancer Awareness Month - And I Have a Rant...

Why does everyone think that just because I survived breast cancer, I can do just about anything? “My goodness, you have overcome so many other challenges – this should be a piece of cake for you” is what I hear. All. The. Time. Just because I was unlucky enough to have breast cancer and have to go through the treatment to get rid of it does not mean that I’m strong, or that I have will-power, or that I can do anything that needs to be done. Seriously?!

Sure, I do consider myself to be a strong person – cancer has nothing to do with that. Some days I still have a hard time comprehending the fact that I had breast cancer. Don’t get me wrong, it was devastating news to hear at thirty seven years old, but it almost didn’t seem real. I did a lot of crying and I did a lot of suffering, but in hindsight it seems like it was just a really bad cold or flu. I didn’t ask for it, but I got it. All I could do was fight it and wait and eventually it went away. Chemotherapy drugs are a bit stronger than most cold medicines and the many surgeries I had were quite extreme; radiation therapy was like several long days at the beach that left me burned, tired and with a permanent mystery rash called “radiation recall” which, it seems, may just want to stick around for the rest of my life! It was all part of the treatment plan to get rid of the cancer, not really a choice I actively made.

When I was diagnosed, my daughters were 18 months- and 3 years-old. The way I saw it, I had no choice but to go through whatever I needed to go through in order to beat it and be able to watch my daughters grow up. I. Had. No. Choice.

So when I’m trying to “accomplish” something like losing weight, which is a choice that takes a lot of work and a lot of commitment and a lot of patience, don’t tell me that it should be a piece of cake after everything I’ve accomplished! It’s not! I survived cancer. It was hard and life sucked really badly for over a year. I did it because I had to. I didn’t have a choice except to live or die and that’s not the same. In some ways, the battle to lose weight is - and may continue to be – harder than cancer! Cancer was in a way easy to fight because I did not have a choice if I wanted to live. It was hard, but it wasn’t a lot of work (like trying to lose weight is.) I’m tired of people thinking that I can accomplish anything because of what I’ve accomplished by battling cancer.


  1. I just found your blog. As a fellow cancer survivor, my thoughts and prayers are with you.
    Also...Great Blog! You are a credit to the cancer blogging community. I have added you to my blogroll, “Cancer Blogs Lists” with over 1200 other personal cancer blogs at, a cancer networking site featuring a cancer book club, guest blogs, cancer resources, reviews and more.
    If you have not visited before or recently, please stop by. If you agree that the site is a worthwhile resource for those affected by cancer, please consider adding Being Cancer Network to your own blogroll.
    Now that you are listed, you can expect to gain a wider audience for your thoughts and experiences. Being Cancer Network is a place to share and communicate.

    Take care, Dennis (

  2. Lily, I could not agree more!! I think it's almost demeaning when someone tells me everything now must be so easy because I've survived cancer. Not only are they discounting my experience, but they are discounting my right to failure and struggle. Thank you for speaking out! Another great site, if your interested, is - it talks a lot about the emotional ramifications from dealing with cancer. Anyway, hope to read more from you soon! I'm loving your honesty.

  3. I can remember my old boss saying to me "that we weren't allowed to talk about it around you- now that its over i guess its okay". It hurt me so much and I told her that Cancer isn't who I was- it happened to me and my way out was to fight it- like anyone would do. It wasn't that they weren't allowed to talk about it- it was the side tilt of the heads- the are you okay- the "you poor thing". That's not what I wanted from anyone.
    But I healed and grew strong in my own way- check out my website "" and see what I did with it!
    Merry Christmas everyone and my best wishes for a healthy and happy New year!

  4. Maria - thanks so much for your comment. It's so unfortunate that people just become ignorant (and sometimes downright stupid!) in uncomfortable or unknown circumstances. Your site and your product are wonderful - congratulations on your turning of lemons into lemonade" venture! Best wishes and Happy New Year!

  5. I understand where you’re coming from. I think that because there’s a negative mysticism of sorts about cancer as a major life-threatening disease, people tend to think that other hurdles like losing weight or getting a promotion are petty compared to surviving cancer. We do tend to forget sometimes that everything we do is a battle, no matter what the end goal is. However, I still think you’re strong for having gone through that stage of your life, and I want to offer my encouragement in everything else that you do.

  6. Thank you, Linda, for your comment and support. I'm always happy to hear from someone who understands where I'm coming from!!

  7. I'm so proud of you. look forward to reading more of your blog. I'm not in remission yet as I'm having my last herceptin treatment May, 2013. keep fighting. and have chocolate when YOU feel like it.

  8. just went to your site. Wish I had that wrap when i was going through radiation. I ended my 5 week radiation 1 month ago. I'm looking to get one for my BF as she starts her 6 week treatment next week.
    have a great day

  9. Our life is in God's hand. I'm glad that i read this blog. You are strong woman Lily.