Monday, July 7, 2014


I hate to admit that cancer has the power to give me my highs and lows, especially when I'm more of an in-the-middle type of girl, but I had a smack and a tickle all in one go today, c/o the administrative side of the disease.

I had my three-month echocardiogram on Friday, with the kids holed up in the waiting room on iPads while I had suctions stuck to my torso and an ultrasound wand slipping around my heart. At last check, in March, my heart showed some deterioration from the Herceptin the last go-round, so Dr. A has been ever-vigilant about ensuring I get no further damage this time.

We started our appointment today with her looking with concern at my test results and telling me there has indeed been degradation. She read out the results word for word, which is very her and was uber helpful, because it contained a lot of cardiologist lingo that made me drift to Tuscan sunsets and the perfect Chianti.

She recommended I see another cardiologist and that we eliminate the Herceptin and Pertuzamab for tomorrow's start of round five while everyone figured out what the fuck to do with my ancient heart and its failure to cooperate. I was focused on the delays all of this would cause and started to sink into the practical, but depressive acceptance I've come to know well.

But because I also take great joy out of annoying my oncologist, I started to ask a bunch of questions until eventually she looked down at my giant cancer binder with confusion and said, "I think I may have the wrong report." Then she leaped out of her chair and stormed out of the room, leaving me to ponder how much shit whoever handed her that report would be in.

Ten minutes later, she returned, red in the face. "I'm so sorry. Someone handed me that report and it was from your last test in March. I'm very very sorry."

"No worries, doc," I said. But I didn't say "doc" because I'm not from the 1950s.

As she promised to call me later with the actual results, the actual results suddenly knocked on the door and handed themselves to her.

She read them quickly and then smiled her little chipmunk smile and exclaimed, "Oh! Your heart has improved! That's very unusual."

Yeah, bitch, cuz I be walkin' 5 km a day since April. That's why your little test was no match for my gigantic heart (actually, I think size and actual hearts are not good bedfellows, but whatevs).

So despite the machine gun blasts of chemo every week, I'm stronger than ever.

I felt like that Wildling giant from GOT. I could pound logs into the frozen ground!

Rather than ask her if I could go away on an international trip in September, I told her the plans were set. She wrote down the dates and she said she'd be close by, in the south of France, at the exact same time. And she said it in such an encouraging way that I got the feeling if I phoned her all panicky because of some cancer question in the middle of my squid ink pasta in Venice, that she'd gladly take my call in her chateau.

We came to a new understanding today, Dr. A and me. She's capable of making mistakes. And I am capable of annihilating this cancer so hard, they'll have to come up with a brand new word for me.


  1. Carissa, Warrior Princess.
    I know it's kinda taken by Lucy Lawless but hey she kicked ass, and so are you.

  2. You ROCK Carissa, this disease has met its match for drive, determination and toughness. You kick this thing to the curb girl!!

  3. OMG, what an amazing post!! (love how you took a photo of the vacant onc's chair while she's out...haha) You ARE #1 and cancer HAS met its match. Good for you for acing the echocardiogram with all that walking.........that's determination with a capital D! LOVE LOVE LOVE XO

  4. I think you are more like Arya, she's tiny but feisty and with needle by her side, she kicks ass just like you. You are an inspiration always to me. love ya E