Wednesday, October 28, 2009
First, my friend Jim sends me a pack of "Bald Guyz". Who knew there were special wipes to keep your bald pate feeling squeeky clean and fresh and who knew how itchy and sweaty a bald head can get? And now I know why Santa wore a kerchief because it is bloody drafty at night when you don't have any hair! Thanks, Jim, for letting me in on the inside track - now that I am an honorary member. And then there is Mal James - in London - who shaved his head in solidarity - don't know exactly why he had an Iranian barber standing by waiting to do so when he got back from Australia - but that's our Mal. Welcome to the Hair Club for Men! I may never go back. Now that I know the benefits. Wash and go has taken on a whole new meaning. And I must say - it's a bit sexy!
Dear sneaky friends who have overwhelmed me with more love and good food than a girl deserves,
I have tried to sit down a few times tonight to try to sum up in just a teeny way how grateful I am for what I am coming to understand (and I still don’t FULLY understand) is an overwhelming effort to try to get me to stop eating Panda Express and stopping for a latte and an Old Fashioned donut on the way into the Pentagon. The problem is every time I sit down to write my tears fall on the keyboard and I start thinking I am going to start talking in cancer clichés and I think how can I EVER thank all of the wonderful amazing people in my life who have reached out and touched me at this time.
When I was a kid I was sick one Christmas with strep throat or some run of the mill croupy illness and I remember my Dad sitting with me watching “It’s a Wonderful Life,” the Jimmy Stewart movie which at the time had not been turned into a Hallmark card and mass marketed at Christmastime (this was the mid 70’s, mind you). I always loved that movie – and I always welled up with tears in subsequent Christmases when I would watch it – mostly because it reminded me of my Dad and this notion of wanderlust and the question what if you had never been born. When Eve gave me a hint one night about all of you banding together (knowing what a hopeless cook I am) and finding a nutritionist, who won’t look like Edward Munch’s “Scream” when she heard what I liked to eat on a regular basis, I burst into tears on the phone with her – sobbing because I felt like the little kid in Jimmy Stewart’s arms as all the old friends and towns folk came to his aid after he lost all the bank’s money – all the friends who showed up unannounced. I am so overwhelmed by the idea that you would take such steps to help me get back on the road to wellness that I am speechless.
Last night “the nutritionist” came to my house and after perusing my 5 day food log, pronounced that it was a nearly perfect diet – Omega 3’s all over the place – no saturated fat – a bunch of Chia seeds and flax up the wazoo – whole grain, no pesticide, no nonsense. All I could think of was the Virginia Slims commercial: “You’ve come a long way, baby.” In fact I am even eating some concoction of oatmeal that Lila made for me that some Amazon tribe eats every morning before they run 100 miles and tear their toenails off so that they can run further on this stuff.
I am going to be insufferably healthy when this is all done and my gift back to all of you is that I will be preaching back to you what I have learned! And you know me – it’s all or nothing so unfortunately in this case I’m all in. And I am going to be such a BORE to have dinner with! In all truth I am really excited about all of this nutritional nuttiness right now. I have read a lot about how it is the single best way with exercise to prevent a recurrence of Triple Negative breast cancer. And as we all know this sucker doesn’t stand a chance.
Better go – my keyboard is getting wet again.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
WASHINGTON -- (UPI) Navy Seals, mounting a daring raid under sterile cover at Georgetown's Lombardi Cancer Center, attacked and partially destroyed a network of cancer cells inside Jennifer Griffin's body Tuesday.
The swift success of the raid, which followed weeks of indecision by the Obama White House on whether to approve it, could prove decisive in Griffin's broader war on cancer. The cells, which had massed during a spring and summer offensive, appeared disoriented and dispirited after the Seals' covert operation. A spokesman for the cells, who are believed to belong to a local affiliate of the globally active Triple-Negative group, later posted a message on a notorious Evil Cancer Cells website, saying: "This totally sucks. WTF??"
Griffin, a beloved and widely respected Pentagon correspondent who is also hot, was said to have suffered only minor bruising and a small loss of hair in the operation. But top Defense Department officials said later she showed extraordinary bravery throughout.
At the White House, senior officials said the raid would be followed up with weekly missions of a similar nature. To underwrite the effort, an emergency appropriations bill, expected to generate additional love and support, is to be submitted to lawmakers on Capitol Hill.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Just wanted to touch base with everyone. THANK YOU for all of your kind notes - they have given me more strength than you will ever know.
So here I am hooked up to this machine that is humming away pumping the cytoxan into my veins. It's kind of like the white noise machine my mom bought me at Brookstone to sleep, but NOT.
This morning we all jumped up early (actually Luke was our alarm clock) - felt much the same as when I was heading to the hospital to be induced with him - full of energy. Packed a bag with every possible distraction to pass the time - looked like I was heading to the Continental lounge at Newark. The iPod packed with tunes the girls downloaded for Luke's arrival: a little Beyonce, Miley, Fergie (G-L-A-M-O-R-O-U-S) (Big Girls Don't Cry), Pink, and of course Adam Lambert and Danny Gokey. A W magazine. My new iMac (thanks, Barry!). And a chapter from Greg's book that needs editting (he finally has me immobilized - a captive audience with nowhere to run!)
The girls had a busy day ahead of them as we all blew dry our hair side by side (mine already starting to come out so I protected it in a ponytail). Annalise was heading to the White House - one of three 3rd graders chosen from her class to visit Michelle's organic garden. She was more interested in seeing Bo the dog than POTUS but hoped for rain so that they might have to take shelter in the Oval office. They bounced out the door. I hopped on the exercise bike and lifted some weights because exercise helps moves these drugs through your system and endorphins are my new Mojitos.
We arrived at Georgetown (the Lombardi Cancer Center). Greg reminded me of the famous Vince Lombardi quote: "Winning is not the most important thing - it's the only thing.".
I chuckled and told him how when Annalise was heading out the door to soccer on Saturday - I wished her luck and she reminded me: "We don't play for a tie, mom." That's my girl.
Met with Dr. Isaacs - my wonderful Canadian oncologist. And this is where it gets interesting - and yes, James, I buried the lead!
She measured the tumors and after one chemo session: they had shrunk from 9 cm by 8 cm to 6 cm by 5 cm. She was grinning from ear to ear. It shows we chose the right chemo protocal and now it's a matter of pushing through. Incredibly good news so soon. She's a genius. I told her "I'll take it."
So the drugs have entered my veins.
My visualizing the little Navy Seals going through and attacking the Al Qaeda tumor cells seems to be working.
Greg and I are on our way home.
I may go for a run it is so beautiful out.
Written October 9, 2009.
Well, just in case anyone thought I would take this lying down. I am going to be a guest on Greta's show tonight to talk about the Middle East at 10:30 pm Eastern.
I am excited - feel good. Head a little foggy from the drugs. But still feel good and have hair - so onward.
Love you guys.
Everyone says I need to visualize through this - so I am visualizing that my body has been invaded with Al Qaeda cells - I am the commander in chief and I have issued a standing execute order and navy seals are setting up beachheads in my body to kill and capture any of these cells. With a shoot to kill order. I find this more useful than butterflies carrying off the cancer cells.
So sorry I haven't been able to talk. I know you have been in touch with Caitlin. I'm kicking ass and taking names but the late night and the early mornings are the worst - when your mind plays tricks on you. I had an MRI last night at 8:45 pm - after a day of tests let's just say it wasn't the date night I was looking forward to. Greg and I walked back into that empty hospital. I went into that tomblike contraption - the technician asked if I wanted to listen to the radio. I said sure. She says: "do you like Delilah?" Delilah of the cheesy sappy make you want to cry genre. I was trapped. Had no choice. On comes - I kid you not - Dionne Warwick's "That's what friends are for". I am trapped. Must lie still. Can't cry - so I just get angry and try to remember how the kids taught me how to count in Chinese. Then the loud MRI goes through some weird whirring sound patterns and one of them sounds like to me "yada, yada, yada". I think of Seinfeld and the time passes.
No more tests. Likely start chemo on Tuesday. Should be done by Christmas. Will lose my hair in 4 weeks. Ceci contacting Erwin - the wigmaster. Can't decide whether to go back to my original color or try to look like Shakira.
Heading off to gymnastics with Amelia now. Poor Luke had to get sleep trained last night. Poor baby.
I love you all. I am being a bit sentimental right now. But trust me I am in warrior mode.
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
My family is doing great. My girls were not shocked when I told them about the cancer, which we speak about openly and matter of factly. But when I told them I would lose my hair - that is when their jaws dropped. I quickly explained that just like Hannah Montana we would go find some very cool wigs and that they could take them in for show and tell. Soon they were giggling about choosing different colors for different days of the week.
It's actually quite fun - Rhonda is taking me wig shopping to look for what the doctors call a "cranial prosthetic" - perhaps they think I have lost my head and need a replacement. Sometimes it feels that way.
Anyway so far so good on the chemo. In fact I may never have been healthier - I am exercising. Eating like a vegan (which may in fact kill me!)
And everyone says I must learn to visualize during this period. Some say think of Pacmen eating the bad cells. I prefer something a bit more militaristic. I'm the Commander in Chief. Al Qaeda cells have taken over parts of my body and I have signed the Execute Order and sent in the Navy Seals with a shoot to kill order. That works for me better than butterflies carrying off the tumors.
Anyway, my daughter reminds me that I have breast cancer because I have bad "jeans" - that's what she wrote in her school journal.
I just want everyone to know that I am not taking this lying down. Oi just wanted to thank you from the bottom of my heart for all of the heartfelt notes and kindness. I am humbled and honored to know all of you. You really know how to make a girl feel good.
And one last thing, if I may. Please please please go schedule a mammogram now for yourself or your girlfriends or wives if you haven't done so already. They really will save your life one day. My case was a bit different but for 90 percent of breast cancers now they are detecting so early that they are almost nearing a cure.
Livestrong and I hope to see you all very soon.