Author Archives: leftbreast

About leftbreast

I have had breast cancer. I was diagnosed at 47, and am now 49. I have finished "active treatment," two surgeries, chemo, radiation, monoclonal antibodies. These days, I only take a drug to suppress my uptake of estrogen, since my tumor was highly reactive to that hormone. I have been married to my husband Pete for 21 years. I have a stepdaughter, Maureen, 30, and a daughter, Erin, 10. I've been a freelance magazine journalist for 20-plus years, covering everything from Chinese foreign policy to Catholic nuns to endangered species. I have had a great life. I have lived in Asia and all over the United States. I have spent nights with tree-sitters in Oregon and with astronomers at the Mauna Kea observatory in Hawaii. I've been to a cocktail party on the poopdeck of a British destroyer docked in Shanghai. I've taken the bus to Tibet, and tramped through the cloud forests of Panama with biologists. A magazine sent me on a raft trip down the Colorado through the Grand Canyon; another sent me to cooking school for a week. I have spent time with celebrities, presidents and heroin dealers. I love my work. I have a loving, supportive family and more friends than I probably deserve. I have had the space and time to camp, ski, cycle, garden, cook and spoil my pets (an Australian shepherd, a German shepherd and a tabby cat). If it all ended tomorrow, I would have to say that it has been a really, really good ride. When I was in thick of treatment, I was simply fighting for more time. Now, I'm trying to connect the experience of cancer with the rest of my life, with the time that's been won. I hope the cancer never comes back, but if it does, I'll be ready. That's what this blog is about.

So Alone.

Our block in San Francisco could start its own cancer support group! Within 100 yards of sidewalk, we’ve got two breast cancer survivors, one lung cancer patient and one bile duct cancer patient. A couple days ago, I noticed all … Continue reading

Posted in We Gotta Talk | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

The Hardest Idea: Less is More

When I was first diagnosed, my response—other than to turn the whole cancer nightmare into a research project—was to cry, “Nuke it! Nuke it! Nuke It!” I had the Valkyrie response: “Kill the wabbit! Destroy that cancer! Do everything!” I … Continue reading

Posted in Cancer Research | Tagged , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Eat Junk as a Kid? That might increase your breast cancer risk

Every time I turn around, there seems to be another study showing that diet and lifestyle influence your risk of dread diseases. We have known that about heart disease for a while, and to that we can now add: diabetes, … Continue reading

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Pretty Bras After Surgery? Wish I’d Known…

File this under the “wish I’d known” category: Hy husband Pete has a colleague whose wife has just been diagnosed with breast cancer. She sent me an email yesterday, or rather, her husband forwarded an email to me. She’s not … Continue reading

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Not so Fast

You’d have had to be mostly asleep during the last couple days to miss the news that a big breast cancer study has come out of the National Institutes of Health’s Cancer Genome Atlas Project, a government effort that has … Continue reading

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Help Wanted: Medical Planning Project

The days and weeks just after diagnosis can be some of the most confusing and terrifying. There’s so much to learn, so many feelings, so many reactions, so many appointments! You don’t have to spend much time on cancer websites … Continue reading

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Freckles are awesome

Today, I go to the UCSF dermatology department to check out this itchy spot on my left breast, the one that’s been there for more than two months, the one the oncology NP wants me to check out, just to … Continue reading

Posted in Day By Day | Tagged , , | 5 Comments