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  • Radical Rituals at B ...
    This year I’m
    doing something
    different than my
    usual tradition of
    pithy punch list of
    lessons learned to
    wrap this series of
    entries up.
    I’m writing
    this last entry
    exactly two weeks
    after we got home
    from the burn, b ...
  • Radical Rituals at B ...
    Monday morning I
    woke up early and
    decided that I
    wanted to do one
    more personal ritual
    before we had to
    break down and pack
    up our yurt and load
    the truck and leave.
    So I took my handpan
    and one of our
    little chairs and
    walked ou ...
  • Radical Rituals at B ...
    Sunday is always a
    tough day at the
    burn because we have
    to strike
    tough physically of
    course but
    it’s also
    tough emotionally
    because it feels
    like the setting and
    the vibe we worked
    so hard to put toge ...
  • Radical Rituals at B ...
    Saturday was my only
    day with nothing
    pre-planned and
    nothing I had
    committed to do. The
    burn was almost over
    and I was starting
    to feel nibbles of
    FOMO (Fear Of
    Missing Out) so I
    was determined to go
    see some more art
    (especially ...
  • Radical Rituals at B ...
    Because I had
    actually gotten
    enough sleep, I woke
    up reasonably early
    on Friday morning.
    Josh was still
    asleep, but I wanted
    to take advantage of
    the relative
    coolness of the
    morning and go do
    something. So I
    decided to take my h ...


A blog in which Our Heroine records, reflects and wrestles with meaning. With lots of asides.

Good News on Thanksgiving Eve

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Tagged in: wrestle , solipsistic , reflect , record , memory , life , cancer

Looks like from now on I will have a special reason to celebrate Thanksgiving “eve” as well as Thanksgiving itself...just got a call from UCSF with the results of my pathology report, and it’s great news: all clear! I repeat, Houston, we are clear. Clear margins on the tumor (and on the extra bit of DCIS found nearby), and clear lymph nodes. They are going to re-run the estrogen receptor test just to doublecheck the original biopsy results (which said the tumor was estrogen-positive, which is a good thing), but it would be unlikely to find it different this time through. UCSF just likes to have their own labs do the checking, I suspect (like when they made me do another ultrasound there when I’d already had one in Marin).

Wheeeeeew. The journey’s not over yet, of course, but this is absolutely the news I wanted to hear and I am super thankful. :)

More Recovery Updates

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Tagged in: wrestle , solipsistic , reflect , record , memory , life , cancer

I have been distracted and fatigued with visitors and even a couple of outings, so it’s taken me a while to put together another update post. I’m happy to report that I’m still healing really well. I have been managing pain with just ibuprofen and haven’t had to use any of the “serious” pain meds they gave me. I’ve been sleeping fine and napping whenever I feel like it (and since I’m a fan of naps anyway, that’s at least once or twice a day). I’ve been able to go for at least a short walk almost every day (and it felt great to be outside). Most of the issues I’ve had have been on the level of “irritating” rather than “awful”: itchy tape, prickly glue bits, sore jaw and arm, bruised hand, inflamed drain insertion sites, general fatigue. Overall though I’m doing way better than I expected and I attribute that to four things: 1) top-notch medical care; 2) the incredibly humbling and powerful outpouring of love, good vibes and care from all you beautiful people both pre- and post-surgery; 3) being from strong Russian peasant genetic stock; and 4) an optimistic attitude of gratitude (you get what you focus on).

Speaking of gratitude, the unarguable silver lining of this whole experience has been the people. My close friends and family, who have been nothing short of amazing angels of compassion and love (with a special shout out to my mom, who has been there for just about every doctor appointment and even slept over in my hospital room with me). The beautifully heart-filled folks from my various communities: my synagogue friends, my burner buddies, my writer peeps, my faire family, my parent pals. The consistently kind and caring staff and doctors at UCSF. People have reached out with all kinds of support: messages, visits, flowers, meals, cards, smiles, books, jokes, music. Especially now, in these often dark days when the rest of America and the world seems at times to be struggling with their collective humanity and compassion, the people around me have shown that goodness and love are alive and well, and I am incredibly grateful. It’s so important (for both me and the world) to keep hope and optimism going, and all these people have helped me (and the world) do so. I have a huge amount to be thankful for this Thanksgiving, for sure.

A few last notes: I had a post-op appointment at UCSF yesterday where the nurses finally took off my ratty, irritating bandages (yay) and examined all the incisions, and I’m also happy to report that they agreed that everything looked pretty good. They took out my two drains, which was a brief hurt, over quickly, but most of all was a tremendous relief. I finally got to see what had been under the bandages, which was pretty trippy. I’m still all puffy and frankensteined (and glued up), but wow is it weird to have such relatively small, taut, perky-nippled boobs so high up on my chest. I thought they’d be lighter too, because they’re smaller, but they’re not really...just a lot less saggy and long. It’s like someone pulled a string on my back and they just shrank up into me (but unfortunately with a lot more stitching). They look okay, but definitely different, and it’s still throwing me. I want to be more excited about the transformation but I think that will take some time. For the moment I’m still mostly struggling with loss and change. I can’t really get attached to this iteration anyway because it’ll change yet again after the double mastectomy in a couple of months.

Recovery and Attention

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Tagged in: wrestle , solipsistic , reflect , record , memory , life , cancer

And then...there was recovery. It’s been about a week. Today I’m feeling pretty great, actually, but let me go back and talk about earlier in the week.

The last week has been full of visits and flowers and food and calls and cards and loving gestures of all kinds. (I have discovered that some people are flower people, some are food people, some are card writers, and some are bakers. All of them are awesome.) So many people are so eager to do something to show me that they care. This is certainly the moment when I feel all my communities holding and supporting me, and that’s a beautiful thing. I’ve certainly spent years and years involved with various communities, putting in my time and energy, and this is the reward. 

I am mostly very pleased at all the attention. (Who wouldn’t be? Flowers and food and loving words are something it’s practically impossible to have too much of.) I think that in many ways I have been healing as well as I have because of all the outpouring of love and attention that has been showered on me. (I’m not just being woo-woo; this is totally a thing. Go look it up.)

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