ducky doolittle || seeking joy + wellness while surviving cancer

Recent Posts

I Am Alive

Quick post as I have limited energy. Forgive my typos, I’ll try to clean them up once I have more wits. On surgery day I went from being emotionally distressed to terror as they started popping the IV in my arm, to absolute physical trauma. I came to in […]

Fear & Happiness

Fear & Happiness

This is my last post before surgery. During surgery, they will be able to stage my cancer and tell us if I need more treatment, like radiation or chemo. But finally, on Friday my treatment will begin. My nerves still hum… it’s been like that […]

Perfect Lazy Not-Too-Sweet Holiday Eggnog

Perfect Lazy Not-Too-Sweet Holiday Eggnog

I actually like to make my own almond milk. It’s really easy, it just requires a bit of forethought because you have to soak the almonds a day in advance.

When I don’t have time to make my own, my favorite brand is Califia Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk. Unlike some of the other “almond milk” on the market, it actually has almonds as a top ingredient. The other few ingredients check out as healthy as well.

I have been so limited in what I can drink cuz of the upcoming surgery that it’s hard to find something yummy to have in the morning.

I tried Califia with a little cinnamon. Whatever.

I tried it with a shake of dried ginger. Again, whatever.

Then I found Target has a Califia has a nog this season! (I LOVE the holidays! Any excuse to celebrate… I’ll take it.) It’s a bit sweet for my taste so I use 1/3 nog, 2/3 unsweetened almond milk. Perfection!

Waiting For Cancer Treatment / Part 6

Waiting For Cancer Treatment / Part 6

Surgery happens this Friday. Now there is a low hum of nervousness that constantly resonates out of my chest. It started yesterday and is so real that I can damn near touch it and see it. I wish I could make it stop. The thing that I have been […]

Uterine Cancer: Signs To Look For

Uterine Cancer: Signs To Look For

Uterine cancer is also called endometrial or womb cancer. People don’t talk about it enough… perhaps because it mostly happens to older women? Perhaps because women are not sharing their grief with this diagnosis? But uterine cancer can also happen to younger, body positive, fearless women like me. […]

Waiting For Cancer Treatment / Part 5

Waiting For Cancer Treatment / Part 5

Still managing to keep my head in a good place. I have these passing panicked thoughts about surgery and incisions and losing part of my body to cancer. I am getting pretty good at setting them aside.

The mind is a funny thing, you can play honest games with it and get what you need. It helped to create some happy places in the future rather than looking back at happy times and places. For some reason, I felt more pain looking back– like I was mourning for those good times and places. On the contrary, looking forward gives me joy and energy. Whatever works.

I have also been thinking about how this cancer is hereditary. It’s been existing in my family but no one knew. I have heard of people doing genetic testing but I never understood why. I guess poor people don’t do those things? At least not the poverty-based family I come from. The good thing is that at least my siblings and their children have a chance to test early and be prepared to care for themselves.

When I sent my siblings a document they can take to their doctor my sister asked if I learned any other interesting facts from my pathology, like “if I’m part Neanderthal or anything?”

I told her I was 100% fairy.

My brother then said, “Monkey fairy. You’re a hybrid. Or a mutant.”

I agreed that I am, “I am 100% two things.”

So you can see… they take this whole thing very seriously!

Also, did you know there is a national registry for people with cancer? I only found out when my doctor uploaded a document to my online charts stating that I had been added. They use it to map environmental cancer outbreaks and gain statistical information. It’s kind of awesome and creepy at the same time.

Surgery is scheduled for November 17th but could still happen sooner if there is an opening. I go to the hospital tomorrow for pre-surgical testing. (More needles! Bluck!)

I am trying to take it one day at a time. Now I wait. Then I heal. We will all see what comes after that. In the meantime I am eating well, doing yoga and anything else I can to be as strong as possible when I go under.

Having family here and getting love from friends have been a good distraction. Even if I am a bit of a hermit, y’all still find ways to love me. You are amazing. I am so thankful for the people I have in my life.

(Photo: Words written on a wall saying “Its moving kind of slow.” Lower East Side, NYC. Circa 2010.)

My Epic Wellness Plan (A Work In Progress)

My Epic Wellness Plan (A Work In Progress)

My goal is to heal and regulate my energy with food and behavior as much as possible. Here’s my working plan. I am sure I’ll adjust it along the way. You are welcome to give recommendations for good books or links, but on this topic, […]

Things To Look Forward To

Things To Look Forward To

I’m making a list… My brother’s wedding Getting new tattoos with my husband when we get our no evidence of disease report Going back to martial arts Learning how to do aerial yoga Plotting my spring garden (I’m planting/learning to grow more food next year!) New […]

Waiting For Cancer Treatment / Part 4

Waiting For Cancer Treatment / Part 4

I’m doing a little better. I am finding that more peaceful spot inside me where have given in to the fact that life will never be what it was. Things are different now. If I want all the good things life has to offer I must accept the cost. The cost now is that I invite healing professionals into my life. I allow them to touch me. I trust my body, I trust my mind, and I trust them.

Trusting others and allowing them to touch me is no small thing. I have something of a reactive attachment disorder that stems from the neglect and abuse I endured as a child. I was physically abused, I suffered immense medical trauma, I was not touched in positive ways, and I was passed around to different caregivers.

This means that as I grew up I had to learn how to allow people to touch me.  I had to let go of my impulse to injure people who tried to touch me. There are times when my reactions to touch saved my life and there are times today when I still need to talk myself down from what may look to others like irrational behavior.

I don’t think of my natural reactions as a disorder tho. It may feel that way to others, but that just means they have not taken the time to get to know me. Generally, I sum this up by saying I am both instinctually gifted and a little feral.

So yes, I am now looking at healing professionals as teammates and learning to trust them. (Writing this here with mixed intentions, to share with you but also to remind my inner feral self! Ha!)

It has also taken some time to figure how to address the fight inside my body. I have often in my life used the power of my mind to visualize an illness.  I have used my mind to picture the bacteria or pain and talk my body through how to release it and fight it.

Cancer has not been that easy. The mutated cells are also my cells. They are made of me. There are no external invading properties. The flaw exists in my genes. I was having a hard time hating myself or part of me. (Which is kind of awesome, in its own way.)

Then I got a call from the doctor. The CT scan shows there is something on my liver. They don’t know if it is cancer yet. If it is, that’s devastating. It means cancer breached my uterus. If it’s nothing, then no big deal.

A sign that there may be a breach pissed me off. It’s like the mutated cells are bullies, coming after all the healthy cells and organs. And that made it possible for me to visualize this fight. The mutated cells are bullies.

Couple that with having cleared up the mean UTI I was suffering from and the gloves are on. I am fighting bullies, which a very natural thing to do in real life! I don’t hate bullies, I hate their behavior. I want to isolate and remove them from the situation. That is my attitude toward my bully cells.

Ok, enough of my inner blabber.

In other news, I had an MRI yesterday so they could get a good look at my liver. I learned something interesting… A CT scan with IV contrast takes two minutes and destroys my heart. An MRI with IV contrast where I’m stuck in this tightly enclosed tin can for 30 minutes is 1000 times easier for me. The contrast fluid for an MRI does not trigger me. As a crackpot scientist, I found this to be fascinating!

My mother in law is staying with us. She is taking some of the daily tasks off our hands and enduring the emotional labor with us. What a saint. I love her so much. Yesterday she sat at the kitchen table with me and we went over all of the appointments, paperwork, and bureaucratic bullshit together.

We have my medical appointments, insurance junk, my husband has a bunch of care and benefits stuff we are working through at the VA, and we have to get our car registered in NY since we moved here a few months ago. Couple that with my work schedule and I have been swimming. Thank goodness she arrived.

(Photo: Street art of a cat. San Francisco, circa 2007)

The New Menopause Manifesto

The New Menopause Manifesto

I was never scared of natural menopause. I embraced the idea. I trusted my body would do what it needed to do to care for me. I sought out the nuggets of truth that older women would share with me about the experienced. I dismissed […]