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At my most recent Healthy Living class, the facilitator asked me what kept me motivated to meet my weekly goals as well as I have. I smiled, looked her in the eye, and said, "Anger."

She said, "That was not the answer I was expecting."

I assured her that this was anger in a good sense. I am angry at cancer. I am angry at the side effects I'm dealing with. My anger drives me to fight against both, determined that I will not let them get to me.

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Leaps of Faith

I posted this on Facebook last week:

Broke in my new weighted vest by adding 5 lbs. and walking for 30 minutes on my manual treadmill set at a 10-degree incline. That was one good schvitz. :-) Adding the vest was my only treadmill change. Need to do one more week of the Better Bones and Balance program before I add it there. Osteopenia picked the wrong dude* to mess with.

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Survival Weekend

I was not aware until recently that the first Sunday in June has been designated National Cancer Survivors Day. While I appreciate the sentiment and am grateful for each day that I'm on this side of the grass, I can't help but feel that this kind of attention adds up to, "Congratulations for being lucky." So far.

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I am standing as I type this. My laptop sits atop a footstool about 9 inches high; my mouse and mouse pad top a mini-drawer assembly about 6.5 inches high. I’ve had to move various files to rearrange my work table and will take a photo once I finish putting everything back in order. It takes me less than a minute to convert to this makeshift “standing desk” from my regular sitting position and vice-versa.

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There's Waldo

Next month will mark my first follow-up mammogram since I had completed active treatment for breast cancer. In the case of lumpectomy, mammograms are recommended about six months after finishing radiation: "Radiation can cause some changes in the breast tissue and skin. This 6-month mammogram will become the new 'standard' against which future mammograms of the remaining breast tissue are compared."

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Back in the Saddle

I had my three-month checkup with my oncologist on May 5. All of my blood work results were normal -- for the first time since April 7, 2014. *fist pump*

I felt good stepping back in there. It feels like a reunion now -- catching up with the front desk staff and phlebotomists. I popped into the chemo bay to say hello and hoped that my brief presence could serve as encouragement to people in the same position as I had been in a year ago. (Today marks one year and two days since my first infusion.)

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Days of Future Passed

Recently I enjoyed time on my front porch -- listening to a virtuoso mockingbird, watching a young anole (lizard) in my hedge, and reading.

I am thrilled to be reading books again. Chemo had curtailed that activity; I simply did not have the concentration for it. Neither did I have the energy to invest in the drama and emotion of fiction in particular.

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An Extra Pair of Eyes

Disclaimer: I wrote most of this entry before I spoke with Dr. W on April 16, 2015. I have left it as-is because I wanted to show my raw reaction to what I had seen. The Update section reports on our conversation.

Currently making the rounds is the finding that among women ages 40-59, overdiagnosis of breast cancer from screening mammograms costs $4 billion annually -- much higher than previously documented. This discovery further fuels the debate over the value of mammograms.

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The bank teller asked me, "Where's your camera?" Thus began my most recent cancer spiel.

For almost a decade I wore my camera everywhere, ready for a photo op. It could be the female cattle egret in breeding coloration, moseying around my supermarket's parking lot:

It could be a pair of ibises nonchalantly crossing the street:

Or a Southern Emerald Moth relaxing on the post office window:

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I took my partner to the podiatrist on Friday. As we waited in the examination room for the doctor, she asked me to read to her from the "blue foot" poster, a drawing of a foot with markings in blue where the bones are labeled.

I stood up and craned my neck to read the label she wanted.



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