Monday, August 21, 2006
Trying to Get my Fix
I’ve had a hard time posting lately. Sometimes I feel the need to get away from all things cancer. Of course this usually happens around check-up time, which, as I mentioned, had postponed (don’t worry, I had my labs done and face the music tomorrow). Sometimes I feel submersed in the cancer world, gasping for air. This has been one of those times.

The truth is that my diagnosis took me from being a casual supporter to being a passionate advocate for all things cancer-related. So when a friend is diagnosed with cancer, I’m there. When a co-worker finds a lump, she calls me for advice. I know how much that support means. I consider it an honor. But what happens when the friend has a terrible reaction to the chemo? Or that lump is diagnosed as cancer? Or when one of my friends in the Internet faces year three of chemo? Or year seven of chemo? Or worse yet. . .

If I haven’t introduced myself before, let me make this clear. My name is Jeannette and I am a fixer. (This is where you all shout in unison, Hi Jeannette! Welcome!) The fixer in me gets taken to task with cancer. I have never felt so powerless in any other aspect of my life. I can’t take away the nausea, the fear, or the stubborn metastasized cells that survive no matter the flood of chemotherapy. I can’t fix cancer. As hard as I try, I can only share my chemo secrets, I can only research new treatments, I can only offer my shoulder. I simply can’t fix cancer or my friends. It’s a bitch, isn’t it?

It’s one thing to offer the high five to a survivor and build uplifting Relay for Life-type events. I feel strong and it even almost makes me feel a little bit victorious. When I come face to face with reality of cancer, such as the struggle of chemo, the fatal side effects of treatment, the recurrences . . . I am reminded in a very real and tangible way of the stark and dark reality that exists.

So while I search for my “fix,” what else can I do but take the occasional break, postpone the quarterly re-check, and find as many victorious moments as possible to fill the days.
Written by Jeannette Vagnozzi
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Name: Jeannette
Location: Southern California, USA

This is my story about being diagnosed with breast cancer at age 39. I thought I was out of the woods, but four years late it came back. This is my quest to be a two-time survivor.

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    "Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer." Romans 12:12