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Dondi and The Gift That Keeps Giving

I get the biopsy and the markers implanted the next day I don’t remember who was with me but I have RARELY been allowed to any doctor since the diagnosis by myself.
The I had my first PET scan. I have laid in that machine so many times since then.
Two days later I am at the breast cancer doctor. Now, think about just how fucked up that is that they actually have people that is their fulltime f’ing jobs with complete offices and staff that support it. Let that sink in.
Steve, Davina and me and some M&Ms and Twizzlers plus a box of tissues. I cried and Davina cried and ate and Steve ate and ATE. 😊 Now, that I reflect on it did he gain the weight by watching me go thru this or he is just a pig? That was a joke.
Anyway, they give you this binder and tell you a bunch of crap that is way over your head but you try to comprehend. I am told that I have the good breast cancer if there is one. I am like whatever lady. I remember her name was Mona. Very pretty Persian lady. Beautiful hair.
Oh yeah, she says that I have 7 tumors in my right breast, in the lymph nodes under my right arm, right side of my neck and my center chest. The cancer is HER2+ and ductal and intraductal. If I am going to something I do it all out.
I never smoked, only occasional drinker like a couple of times a year, decent diet, not overweight therefore I am like how in the hell. Oh yeah, no family history of this BS.
Mona tells me that I need to make some decisions regarding the course of treatment. She suggested the following:
6 sessions of chemo
12 sessions for Herceptin
Mastectomy of one or both breast
Radiation
Reconstructive surgery
Then she says I am telling you to go see this oncologist because if it were my mom, I would send her to him. Naveed Aslam
A couple of days later I am at the office of Dr Aslam and he is assuring me and my sister, my mom, Steve….i think, that I am going to be fine and that I will never puke from the chemo. I never did either.
The port was implanted the next couple of days and the chemo started the following day.
Aslam took my case before this medical board of his colleagues  and he later told me that he didn’t want to extend my life but to cure it. This meant strong dosages of TCHP every 3 weeks for 8 hours.  
I was told about cold caps by Dr. Mona. Cold caps freeze the scalp during chemo to prevent hair loss. Yes, I am little vain. Yes, they are expensive and yes, my family was wonderful. My family changed the cold caps every 20 minutes for 12 hours during the chemo treatments each and every time.
My dad and Ms. Yvonne would bring dinner and we would try to be as normal as possible watching television and talking plenty of BS. Lots of laughs. Still makes me smile.
Chemo is chemo. Was it bad? Yes, did I survive? Yes.
The cancer journey is a mind game. People continue to ask me how I did it. What choice did I have? My family needed me and I wanted to be here.
There is all kinds of trains of thought on vanity and the cancer process. I did the cold cap, continued with my manicures and pedicures.
Chemo ruins your skin and your nails are skin. Mine were dark and lifting but no one knew.
Then I fell out from dehydration and screwed up my ankle and I was on a scooter for 6 weeks. Yes, I refused to lay down and tried to get some silly grapes myself and passed out in the kitchen. Steve heard me and found me in the floor. Then I was banded to the sofa.  
I continued to work and this was MY choice. More on that later.
Here is a video of me on the scooter at the office. I was flying around. It was actually kind of fun.
My sons, Justin and Spencer would drop me off at work just like I did for so many years like I was going to school. HINT***treat your kids well.
I had 3 surgeries because I did do the double mastectomy because I didn’t to EVER worry about a mammogram in my life. Some women make other decisions and there is no right  or wrong answer it is an individual choice. I decided to have implants that were placed under the muscle. I can flex better than a lot of men. 😊 The new implants last a lot longer now. Some women decide to go flat. Personal choice again.
My sister was/is a wound care nurse and she  made sure that the mastectomy was well taken care of. I needed help with the basics like a shower. Let that sink in. I had been showering myself since I was at least 8 and now I can’t shower. I couldn’t wash my hair without help. This is all very humbling to say the least.
But I could knit. 😊
Yes, I do make jokes about my fobs regularly. I say stuff like when I am dead, they will sit up straighter and save the mortician some time. I give aggressive hugs and attempt to hurt you.  Laugh about how they get cold because they are water base.
This is my choice to laugh about it because I CHOOSE to not be so serious all of the time.
I had 40 sessions of radiation in total-under the right arm, center chest, right breast, right side of my neck and the 5th and 10th vertebrae.
Once the chemo was over the Herceptin continued every 3 weeks. The staff at the Beaumont Royal Oak infusion center knew me well. And knew that my knitting was always somewhere close by.
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4 comments

  • I applaud you. The story of your journey to health is inspiring and though I do not “ know” you personally, I feel like I do. You are a take charge, decisive person who stands behind her convictions in illness and health. You made tough tough decisions. You are brave. Thank you for sharing your story, your humanity, your support system, and yes, your love for knitting.

    Jane Frahm
  • Thank you for sharing your story, Dondi and for being so courageous and pragmatic! There are so many lessons in your experience and how you have chosen to deal with it. I see you in perfect health and celebrate your divinity!!! I will also be stopping in soon for a HUG!! xotracy

    Tracy L Reese
  • You made my day! A human spirit encompassed and nurtured by LOVE is a marvelous sight to behold. I thank you for sharing that love with us. Goodness abounds in the midst of ordeal.

    Wanda Moon
  • God Bless you for posting this and being real about it! I’m sure it was hell but I love your attitude! I lost my best friend to breast cancer, she had the most aggressive kind. Like you, she did everything right for her health before she was diagnosed. I said a prayer for you

    Pat Long

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