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Some Thoughts on Traveling with the Cancer Cross on my Back

Just some random things I thought I’d mention. First, the not lifting things is frustrating, not just for me but for Chris. While I skipped bringing the laptop because of it, I think Chris didn’t re-adjust what he brought and has therefore really carried the burden of things.

Most days, I’m just fine but at night, it gets worse. Let’s face it, even though I’m in Italy, it’s always there – waiting. It’s hard to keep those thoughts compartmentalized. I’m reading a book about dealing with Cancer (description and title to follow later – it’s actually pretty good – something like the 5 Lessons I Didn’t Learn from Breast Cancer). She talks about denial being your friend but I’m finding something else helps, forgetfulness, or at least imagination/pretending in that pretending your healthy and aren’t facing months of chemo and a new definition of normal (because, let’s face it, life will never be “normal” again). Anyway though, as much as I am enjoying the book, not a good read right before bedtime.

My boob is healing nicely though, if anyone is interested. The pain has mitigated in both the boob and the arm (didn’t expect as much pain in my arm as I am having), and for the last two nights, I haven’t had to sleep in a bra (did I mention that before?). Also, Chris and I have switched sides of the bed which also helps.

Don’t worry folks, I’m getting plenty of anti-oxidants in my wine ;D.

I’m not sleeping as soundly/deeply as I would like.

I’m not eating as much but I’m not sure if that’s a result of the cancer cross or my changed dietary habits. I’ve been sticking pretty much to one course at our meals with either a shared antipasti, salad or some sort of veggie. Alternating having pasta at one course, and protein at the other has kept me from feeling deprived.

I don’t care that I’ve been walking around in my hiking boots and may be striking a “bruta figura.” I have fucking cancer, so I could give a flip what anyone thinks about me; I want to be comfortable.

I didn’t get to prepare for this trip as much as I would have liked as the three weeks pre-trip were consumed with something else. So my Italian sucks as I never had the chance (or took the chance) to refresh it, I forgot all my jewelry, I forgot some directions, I have no perfume, I have no watch, I never cleaned my fountain pen, I forgot to call the Lepinsky’s to arrange carpool next Sunday (which of course, now I need to do from here), well you get the idea. Complete loss of focus.

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Other Thinks (8)


Well at least I can take care of one of the things you forgot, and will contact the Lepinsky's.

Barb Cabot:

Kim, it's as good for me to hear your words as I'm sure it is for you to vent them.
I can easily imagine that
it is the nighttime just before sleep comes that the reminders of cancer come to your mind. I don't know if it will be much consolation but you are often and daily on my mind. I like to think of you in that photo on your blog. The one with the blue tshirt smiling in such a brilliant way. I know you must have many such smiles on your trip in Italy. Keep smiling Kim, it's the best way on all your journeys. My prayers and thoughts are constantly with you. Thanks for blogging. Buon Viaggio!

Laura (Chachalaca @ Slowtrav):

Grazie for posting, especially since it's not just a "typical" trip this time. You are right to forget when you can, and enjoy these special moments in Italy with your husband. You know that you would be the packer and hauler if the roles were reversed. Buy him an extra gelato or special treat! I am glad you are wearing your hiking boots!!

Terry (teaberry):

Kim, it's nice to read about your trip, and thanks for the update. I think you should wear whatever you please and do whatever you want; that's what's really important. It's your (& Chris') vacation. We plan our trips, but no one plans for or prepares for cancer.

Glad you're healing. Does Italy sell any good trashy novels?


Hey, Miss Kim...
I've been wondering (but not asking, you'll notice!) how you are and what's going around in circles in your mind. So, thanks for your total honesty.

Having been there, I can tell you that my life today is totally different from it was before I had cancer. I've been a long time cancer free so that's a hugely good thing...the main difference in my life is that I don't EVER take anyone or anything for granted, and I do my best to live my life every single day without any regret.

Oh, yeah...one more thing? I don't tolerate negative people and situations anymore! That's a great change for me! A friend called it 'culling the herd!'
Woo-hoo...that alone made me feel soooo good!!!


Kim, you're carrying a heavy load and I've really admired how strong you are. But nights are tough, things that disappear in the light of day creep back when it gets dark.

And I seriously doubt you're striking a "bruta figura." Try tucking the hem of your skirt into your underwear (it would have to be granny panties, of course) parade across a busy piazza and THEN we'll talk about bruta figuras.


Ah, who needs jewelry, perfume or a fountain pen? - just enjoy where you are, in the moment, drink the wine, inhale la cucina, you know what I mean. Sounds like you are doing well, and having a good trip - thinking of you and Chris, so glad you are there.

Wendy Ashworth:

I have sent this message in an email to you Kim as I am not sure this way will work for me.Apologies therefore if you get it twice.
Firstly you are doing really well,I am full of admiration. Secondly in time you will learn to not let cancer take from you what you know you have now: TODAY!!!

It takes a long time for some people and I frequently fall off the mountain but you will eventually find some peace from the torture of being a breast cancer survivor.
It will be impossible to reach this plateau until you have finished your treatments though I feel.
Continue to take care of your arm. I have lymphoedema and it is important to take as many takes steps to prevent it as you can. Tell people why you aren't lifting. From my observations though slim people rarely get this complication.

I hope you can manage to enjoy most of the rest of your trip.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on November 10, 2008 4:24 AM.

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