Ann Marie Giannino-Otis
Fighter: Breast Cancer
I am a Fighter
I'm in a mood so I hope you can stay with me. There are so many stages of cancer, degrees, different types, and treatments all that making everyone's journey different than the last. Now add the personality of the person in and BAM different again. Doesn't make it the right or wrong way, just makes it their way. When I was told I had cancer and my options were a lumpectomy with radiation or a mastectomy I choose the mastectomy, my choice! I don't ask for a mastectomy cause I was bored, I had friggin cancer. Does that make my cancer less, no it makes it different. Can I relate to every cancer badass out there, no I can not but I sure as hell can try to find someone who can. Shit I don't even like everyone cancer or not some people are just mean.
The reason I am saying this is because there is sometimes this fucked up competition with cancer. WHAT?! Yup you heard me right, people actually compete, compare and judge someone by their cancer. I want to say its the cancer doing it not them but shit I think it's the person really. You can't judge someone's journey unless you walk in it. You can't compare how they are dealing by how you did you are different people. Not to mention how does any of it effect you? It doesn't effect you at all. It effects them and they are doing the best they can just like you.
Some people thought I was nuts because I wore stilettos into my surgery, while I am nuts but I had my reasons. Don't worry I'm gonna tell them to you. First, I love shoes! Second, my sweet BFF's daughter bought the for me to make me happy and they did so I wanted something happy the day of surgery. Third, it gave everyone something to talk about besides what was about to happen, mastectomy from cancer unless you forgot. Last, those shoes made me feel strong, empowered, and brave. I needed to feel those things for me cause I was scared as hell. You can't judge my shoes unless you walk in them, they are 6 inch heels go ahead and try!
People actually judged Deborah from shaking her thang before surgery, why?? What does anyone care if that helped her get through like my shoes helped me? What if that video helped someone down in the dumps, what if that lifted their spirits? My friend Tessa cried, as she puts it "like a big
ass fool" as the wheeled her away because that's what she needed to do. What if her crying showed someone they were not alone? Why do we look to the negative so fast instead of embracing the positivity in these situations? After the surgeries and treatments (if you have treatments which some people do not but which are so different) you do whatever you need to get by. I choose blogging and reaching out, seems to work for me. I met an amazing warrior today at my support group that was like "I do what I do and get by. When it's done it's done I will move on". She is awesomely awesome and her positive energy is infectious and I want her to come back. My breastie Kim walked in crying this week, last week it was Rebecca both for different reasons but they needed that. Guess what, they ware just was awesomely awesome as the next one because they are doing what they need to get by!
Cancer is a stupid dumb ass that messes with you on so many levels, yes I know I've said that before but for some reason no one is listening to me. It's stupid because it can sometimes bring out the worse in people when they are going through enough as it is. Respect for those battling their own battle is so vital not just cancer battle but life! You don't know what someone's life it like when they shut that door, so why would you judge how they handle their life. I may seem like I'm Miss Positivity but crap I'm in physical pain from cancer, emotional pain from cancer but am choosing to smile to show cancer I'm stronger than it. You can't judge me unless you have held my hand, wiped my tears, laughed your ass off when I trip or shinned my tiara.
I didn't choose a mastectomy because it was in InStyle magazine and trendy, I choose it because I had cancer. So I will deal with it like I know how, in stilettos and a tiara because I'm me regardless of cancer.
I'm in a mood so I hope you can stay with me. There are so many stages of cancer, degrees, different types, and treatments all that making everyone's journey different than the last. Now add the personality of the person in and BAM different again. Doesn't make it the right or... [Read More]
Stage of Treatment
Finished treatment less than 5 years ago
Lymph Node Biopsy
Unilateral (Single) Mastectomy
IHC Blog Posts (7)
Dear CancerJanuary 15th, 2016
When you came rushing into my life I had no idea how long you would be here, I thought you were a one and done thing. I remember saying “I just want to cut it out and be done”. Well, the joke was on me, you played that well. Three years later I am still dealing with your dumb ass. Tomorrow I will have surgery to remove the painful, last 4 inches in scar you left behind that keep setting off the MRI, then off to radiation. You really enjoy making life hell. I wish I could say I am so done with you but I have realized something over these years, it is a lifelong thing this relationship.
Here is the kicker though-you still do not win. Yes, you stole my friends from this earth and I am disgusted by that for sure, it makes me want revenge and that is a big mistake on your part. What you do to those with metastatic cancer is inexcusable and the fear you set in for us that are now at 30% risk of it spreading is warped! But every time we live our life in spite of the pain we win, not you. When we go to the doctors and hear NED it is us that is victorious. I hear our metster friends with stable scans and see the winning in them not you not even for a moment. Every time we bond as friends because you came crashing in we are the winners not you. That is the biggest victory and one you can not ever take from us.
See you may think you are doing such a great job by giving us all the after effects but we overcome them by living our life anyway. Depression, weight gain, lymphedema, pain, neuropathy we get but we take it create a new normal just to stick it to you. I see my Stage 4 extended family going on trips and I laugh in your face. I see my friends at chemo smiling and singing and crack up at how you are trying to take them down but you can not. And when my friends are tired and crying we as a cancer family are there to hold them I think screw you cancer you can not win because we are united. Brave has many faces and it breathes in everyone of us in death, you are not brave but a coward with nothing to back you up.
No there is not a cure for you yet or a way to prevent your stupid ass from entering our body but we are making strides in banning together to get the word out that research not ribbons is the key. Now more than ever we have options at our disposal, like clinical trials, that help make treatment advancements possible. We are determined to show the world that cancer is not pretty all tied in a bow that you are an ugly beast with death in your path. Once they see that you are over! You did what you could but I see your fear almost as clear as our anxiety that you are coming. Cancer, understand this you can take all this from us and think you are winning but every time we laugh, smile, hold each other up, live our life and even cry through all this we WIN not you.
Sincerely and exhausted but living through every step
Stupid dumb breast cancerNovember 13th, 2012
Every journey is different but the mission is the same, survival! This is my journey http://stupiddumbbreastcancer.blogspot.com/ Please check it out and follow me as I change the face of breast cancer! Here is small piece of the blog...
We must we must we must increase our bust....
I have been dying to use that and today seems perfect. I feel the fill doing it's magic, I guess it's magical. The expanders are meant to stretch and pull the muscles to make a nice spot for the implants. It is working trust me because my chest is friggin' killing me. It really puts a new twist on the old "we must increase our bust" boob exercises of my prepubescent youth. I think Tracy and I did these so much our arms would hurt! What a waste of time, all that work just to have them chopped off.
As my chest changes not just in growth but scars, shape, contour, sensation and squishiness (I can totally use that words so shut it!) I want to see every step. I mean see it and be able to remember the feeling. I want to remember with a photo what the hell happened. The hardest picture was the one Genevieve took 1 week after the lumpectomy. It was healing but still looked so destroyed. The second was my pictures with the girls when they signed my chest. Those boobs seem so strange to me now I can't believe those were my boobs! Stupid dumb breast cancer will never be forgotten but having an image is so theraputic to me. I think the people around me will find a new hatred for it. The hatred will stem from the crazy breast cancer fighter it has unleashed. They thought I was off the charts before! I am on a mission to spread the awareness of early detection. To take the unknown out of breast cancer. To make it a little less frightening to my fighting friends. Ok, yes the pictures may still be scary and raw but at least you get a sense of what the hell is happening!I want woman to stop being ashamed of what stupid dumb breast cancer does to their bodies and say fuck it this me and I am strong and beautiful. I know that I'm struggling to do that.....
before the first fill