Boob Report – Anxiety and the Fantastic Five-Year Finish Line

When scheduling my six-month cancer checkup, I made the mistake of booking a flight to California right afterward. Talk about anxiety. Nothing like racing against the ticking clock before a blood pressure test. These appointments are stressful enough! I planned to talk to my oncologist about the exact date when I could stop taking the cancer drug, Anastrozole when I hit my five-year finish line. Six more months…

I can see the light fantastic at the end of a long five-year road.

End of the tunnel

As I dressed in a fun traveling outfit, I got the dog ready for the kennel with my fingers crossed. Little did I know how frantic the day would become.  Continue reading

The Boob Report – Three Years Cancer-Free

The first Sunday in June is National Cancer Survivor Day. I first heard about it through Facebook when Lynn Kelley posted a photo from a get-together in California. August McLaughlin “embellished” this photo when I had a double boobectomy (mastectomies) in 2013.

Breast cancer boob support friends

Lynn Kelley, me, Debra Eve, August McLaughlin, and Debra Kristi.

Four thoughts hit me in this order:
1. Hello fabulous California friends! I hope to see you soon.

This photo was taken when I met up with these amazing writers and blogger friends on a California trip back in 2012. It brought back very fond memories. They, along with many others, gave me tremendous boob support while going through my surgeries. My son, Kelly, is moving out to attend music production school, so I ‘ll be spending a lot more time in Los Angeles. Sorry Kelly, but Dad and I plan to couch surf at your place. Kidding! I’m looking forward all kinds of adventures this year.

2. I’ve been cancer-free for three years. Wow.

Every six months I check in with the nicest oncologist for blood tests. He puts me at ease, but it’s still nerve-wracking. He reads one of the results while I’m in the office. The second batch of tests take a few days. I would only be notified if those come back positive. For five days afterward, I freak out every time the phone rings. I only have four more blood draws, the next one in August. I’m counting down.

3. I don’t think about cancer very often these days. The first two years, I thought about it A LOT.

It really bothered me that I had lived a really healthy, green, organic life and still got the stinkin’ disease. That was so not fair. I was angry. But sometime during the last two years, I stopped obsessing. I let it go. Now I live my life, make plans for the future, and rarely look back.

Part of that transformation occurred because of even more healthy choices. I gave up alcohol linked to breast cancer and osteoporosis, even though I only drank a few glasses of wine per week. I try to avoid eating food that could increase estrogen since that’s what my cancer ate. It must have raised my metabolism with all that munching. I was so thin!

These lifestyle changes have given me confidence in my health, so I don’t worry about recurrence.

Instead of thinking about cancer crapola, I’m focused on writing books, screenplays and getting back into shape after knee surgery and a broken wrist. Yep. Normal stuff. I’m looking ahead, way ahead.

4. Being called a survivor is not an accurate portrayal of my cancer journey.

Sure I survived cancer, but haven’t a lot of us survived something? I never told you about the time U-Haul saved my life or when my family was stuck in snowstorm and divine intervention came knocking. I’ll have to post those stories sometime. Okay, so those stories are close calls not stories of survival. But many have survived other horrific diseases or catastrophic events.

So what makes me different than a lot of other people?

It’s not that I’m a cancer survivor,
I’m a thriver.

I will continue to step onto the ledge and jump. I plan to live large, and will enjoy my Wild Life.

What have you survived? Are you a thriver? What are you doing today?

Follow @susielindau on Twitter and Susie Lindau’s Wild Ride on Facebook.

The Boob Report – The Dirty Little Secret about Alcohol

Don’t shoot! I am about to deliver a dirty little secret kept by doctors. Why? I don’t think anyone wants to know. I’ve held this post for a year while waiting to get up the nerve. My hand shook while pressing publish.

I had only heard rumblings about it and that was long ago, after Paul McCartney’s wife, Linda, died of breast cancer. I quickly forgot, until last summer.

The bar

The bomb was dropped into the conversation while enjoying lunch al fresco with a friend who had just finished radiation treatment for stage I breast cancer. Continue reading

Show Me Your ‘Stache!


My son Kelly and his girlfriend Leksy sporting their ‘staches.

It’s No Shave November or Movember, a month of growing facial hair to bring awareness to prostate cancer. Want to join me in donning a ‘stache and doing a little blog hop? While having some fun, we can get the word out about a disease that can be hard for a lot of men to talk about.

This cancer is very common among men and very treatable. According to the American Cancer Society, there are over 2 million survivors. I have a couple of friends that are being treated for it right now. Like breast cancer, it is all about early detection.

Rockin the staches for Movember

Post a picture rockin’ your No Shave November mustache, beard, or full-on facial fur on your blog and paste the link back here in this comment section. I will add it to the bottom of this post.

I will keep a photo on the side of my blog to click on. You can check back and click to see who’s added their ‘staches to the list!

Remember to include a link to a donation site.

Donations can be made to No Shave November at

I can’t wait to see your photos!

Spread the word on Facebook and Twitter. The more facial hair photos, the better. It will be a WILD month!

Have you noticed that men are getting harrier this month?

Here are some fabulous ‘stache posts to check out!

We need some women to balance the list out!

JWo from Life of JWo

John Howell from Fiction Favorites

Waldo “Wally” Tomosky from As I wandered

Andy from Our Life in 3D

Charles Williams at Fingerprints

Maria at Swimming to My 50’s

Kassandra Lamb from Mysterio Press

Ginger Fight Back

Prostate Cancer

American Cancer Society – Prostate Cancer

Movember – Wikipedia

The Boob Report – A Sticky Situation

I bet the photograph of me with the tubes coming out of my body is forever etched in your memory. Sorry about that. I had hoped to get the drains out on Friday, but I had to go into the doctor three more times before they were removed a full week later. It was hard for me to slow down. Imagine!

Talk about shivering before an appointment. I was so afraid yanking the tubes out would hurt like hell since they were so sensitive early in my recovery. They slipped right out and I didn’t feel a thing!

Looking forward to a shower took on a whole new meaning. With no belt, tubes or hand grenade containers to mess with, I was finally free and ready to jump in to really suds up. Then I realized another problem had arisen.

1942 Girl Scout First Aid Kit

Girl Scout First Aid Kit from 1942 – I don’t think Danny broke into this antique.

We had run out of bandages and my husband Danny had placed four old and deteriorating ones over my entry tube holes the night before. They left nasty glue everywhere. Gahhhhhh! I had looked forward to the relief of being drain-free, but now my arms stuck to my sides under my armpits. When I say stuck, I mean my skin stuck together like fly paper!

I took a shower, but nothing would remove the sticky glue.

ME: Oh, my God! I can’t believe it! How am I going to get rid of this stupid glue? I waited all this time for some relief and now I have to deal with this shit!

DANNY: What about turpentine?

ME: Are you kidding me? The holes in my body from the tubes are right in the middle of the sticky mess. I can’t put turpentine on my wounds!

Tears welled up in my eyes. 

DANNY: What about fingernail polish remover?

ME: God, Danny. Are you serious?

1942 Girl Scout First Aid Kit 2

Or did he???

It was quiet for a while as I moved my arm up and down and watched the skin stick together and then pull apart.

DANNY: What about a Stayfree Mini Pad?

ME: A Stayfree Mini Pad?

After I stopped laughing, I thought about it.

ME: I guess it’s worth a try.

I grabbed a pad from under the sink and folded it in half. Then I stuck it under my armpit.

DANNY: Well? Is it working?

I put my arm down at my side and lifted it up. The skin didn’t adhere!

ME: It worked! A Stayfree Mini Pad? How did you think of that brand?”

DANNY: Their advertising must be working.

Who knew I would be freed by a mini pad?


They’re nipple-less and bionic. I love them! I can throw on a tank top and run (Okay, so I can’t run yet), outside without a bra and I won’t nip out.

There have been four fills so far. I told my reconstructive doctor, “You should post a sign in the waiting room that says, We will pump you up!

I would name my new boobs, Hans and Franz, but come on, they’re girls.


The Fill = Youch!

First the nurse uses a magnet to find the half-dollar size fill area under the skin of my breast and pectoral muscles. I wonder if they will set off alarms while going through airport security… Then she inserts a needle and “pumps me up,” with saline. 50 cc’s hurts like hell, but no pain, no gain. My boobs are stretching out to their original size and my dinky right boob is no longer dinky!

They are not like the soft silicone implants which will replace the expanders in September. These freaks are like headlights, halogen high beams, or Barbie boobs. They stick straight out and are as hard as rock. I smacked one while pulling the clean clothes out of the washer today. Ho! It smarted!

“My new girls could take a bullet for me,” I said to my mom.

My poor mother has never gotten used to my crazy sense of humor.


I wondered if Danny could use my new boobs as a flotation device in the untimely event that our plane plunges into the Atlantic while traveling to Europe.

“I could save two people,” I told the nurse while she filled them up.

“They would be easy to grip,” Danny added.

“No. They are filled with saline so you won’t float,” said the straight-faced nurse.



If I am ever high on the general anesthetic and Oxycontin again, try to remember the drug will obliterate my filters for a whole month. I over-shared my boobectomy with the landscape guys who stopped by to give me an estimate. I told them since I no longer have nipples, I can run around bra-less. “How cool is that?” I asked.

Then I proceeded to tell them my WHOLE double mastectomy story, for FIFTEEN MINUTES.

Next time, pay attention to the color of people’s faces, if their jaws drop and if they start to back away towards their vehicle.

Hey! At least I didn’t flash them…

Can you think out of the box?

Other Boob Reports – 

The Boob Report I – Roadblocks and U-Turns

The Boob Report II – Laughter is the Best Medicine

The Boob Report III – Post-op

The Boob Report IV – Coming Out of the Haze

The Boob Report V – Bosom Boosting Buddies

The Boob Report – Bosom Boosting Buddies

Bosoms. My sister Patty and I broke out in fits of laughter after one of us said that word. We shared a bed when we were little girls and were supposed to go to sleep after the lights went out.

It referred to our private parts; our undeveloped breasts modestly covered up at all times even though we only had flat nipples like little boys. We thought the word was naughty. My mom would hush us and again we would whisper, “Bosoms!” until tears ran down our cheeks and we couldn’t breathe.

There is something very antiquated about the word bosoms these days, but there is nothing antique about the feeling of having close friends or bosom buddies.

A few days before my surgery, a couple of my girlfriends threw a Boob Party Send Off for me. These were uncharted waters, but they responded to my sense of humor.

sweet boobies

Karin, the hostess, went all out and bought everything to make cupcakes. She sent the project to another friend of mine whose daughter bakes. Ale said, “I’ve decorated a lot of cupcakes, but these are my first nipples.” Continue reading

The Boob Report IV – Coming Out of the Haze

after surgeryWell that was a huge load off my chest. Sorry. I’ve been dying to tell that joke. I have to make up for lost time. Life has been a little on the wild side since my bilateral mastectomy.

I will be posting a huge thank you to everyone, but I want the fog to lift a little more.  You are all the very best!  Here’s my update:

I have been in a Jimi Hendrix Purple Haze since the surgery. Dreamless sleep took up most of the first few days. In a slow motion ADD-like state, I would wake up and notice a cloud outside my window. With a growling stomach, I would start to roll out of bed, (the most painful movement of all), then I would give up and lay back down, check my email on my phone, notice a cloud outside my window, hit a few likes on Facebook, realize I was still hungry and force myself out of bed. I would eat something, take my pills, notice another cloud forming in the distance and go back to sleep for a few hours. Then I would wake up and start all over again.

Managing my pain and staying on a pill schedule was and still is the main focus. Thank you Danny!

I lie on my back at a 45 degree angle for proper healing, drainage, and since it’s the only painless position. After sleeping like an Egyptian mummy for a week, I am used to it. Since I am using my ears for ballast, I  shouldn’t get any wrinkles. Bonus!

Four tubes ran from my body into clear hand grenade-like plastic bottles. They collect the fluids. It is very sensitive where the tubes enter my body. I held the bottles while taking my first shower then handed them to Danny and said, “Don’t drop them. This like handing you my heart.”

Drains are used for many kinds of elective surgery as well. Two are at the base of my armpit while the other two collect from my chest. The nurse removed two of them today and the uncomfortable armpit drains will come out on Monday. Yes!

I came up with an idea for my second shower – a belt! I pinned them on then realized the tabs are loops. My doctor wasn’t aware of that either until I showed him my fancy belt yesterday.

The drains look pretty cool actually. I had Danny take a picture after my shower. 

locked and loaded2

Locked and loaded.

My husband Danny has been “stripping the tubes” and measuring the fluids since I got home on Sunday.  Yep. I had to stay an extra night in the hospital. I always have the opposite reaction to drugs. Why is that? I was still cracking jokes and yammering on about my Boob Report while they carted me into surgery. They must have given me a little extra sedative. It took me a whole week to get it out of my system and I am still not close to being clear-headed. This is the first day I have been able to focus and type.

Believe it or not, the most painful part of the surgery was my LEFT EYE! Do you remember my post about how I sleep with my eyes open? Well, the drugs were so dehydrating, my left eye felt like a hot poker had branded it during the 4 hour surgery. The general anesthetic must only work on boobs or the removal of them.

My first bedside doctor was an ophthalmologist!

Dehydration made it hard to talk, but of course, I talked anyway. Danny spoon fed me ice chips for hours to keep my lips from sticking to my teeth.

I couldn’t pee or get out of bed without nausea on Saturday, hence the extra night in the hospital.

They gave me an IV of anti-nausea medicine and I slept for three hours. When I woke up, I ate everything in sight and raved about the hospital food. I savored the Jell-O like an exquisite dessert! Okay. I must have been really out of it.

Danny drove me home on Sunday.  I had to learn how to get in and out of bed without the use of my arms. Man. I use them for everything, but my feet are becoming pretty dang dexterous. I learned that if I lie on my left side and hook my right foot on the outside of the mattress, I can pull myself upright. Ingenious. I know.

The doctors wanted me walking right away to increase my blood flow and rid the drugs from my system. It really does help!

The pathology results concluded I am in the thirteen percentile for recurrence of any kind of cancer. Low numbers are good. The way I look at it, I have an 87% chance for never getting cancer again! That means, …drum roll please…NO CHEMO!!!

Chemotherapy reduces the chances for recurrence by 25%. Since my Oncotype percentile is 13%, chemo would only reduce my stats by 3%. It wouldn’t be worth the side effects. Yay!!!

I will take the pill, Tamoxifen, (a pretty cool drug), for at least the next five years. You see, every cancer thrives on something. My rare lobular cancer thrives on estrogen. This pill mimics estrogen and if any cancer cells start showing up in my body, POW! The Tamoxifin blows them up!

Radiation was never in the cards since my lymph nodes are clear (so is the left breast), and there is nothing left to radiate. No boobs = No radiation.

I would like to nominate myself as the poster child for EARLY DETECTION.  Yeah. I got lucky. I listened to the news about how women don’t need mammograms every year, so I skipped 2012. The cancer would not have shown up on a mammogram last year because lobular cancer is fingerlike. If I had skipped this year, I would be screwed and not in that low percentile.  Scary!

Schedule a mammogram every year during the same month. Some cancers grow very fast compared to mine.  

You don’t want this kind of ride. It was NOT fun.

I had four tumors. They were 1 mm, 2 mm, 5 mm, and the largest was 16 mm. That stinkin’ thing had been growing in me for five to seven years!

Everyone’s cancer is unique. Who knew? There are many different combinations which require different treatment. Remember, I am that 1 out of 5000 healthy women who had (nice to put that in the past tense!), lobular cancer. It has an estrogen receptor, but it could have a progesterone or a non-hormonal receptor. There are 21 genes in the breast cancer’s DNA and all of those are studied along with many other factors to come up with each individual’s Oncotype score. You can’t compare cancer or treatments.

Some cancers are very fast growing and feel like a pea or piece of hard bubble gum. Mine grew at a moderate pace and mimicked the surrounding tissue.

Estrogen is my enemy. I will be avoiding all forms of soy and flaxseed since they raise estrogen levels in pre-menopausal women. I tried to figure out why I got this hideous and dreaded disease. I am suspicious of the soy craze that hit several years ago. Being somewhat lactose intolerant, I loved the taste of soy milk. I drank it until my periods got wonky and my breasts became tender all the time. I began avoiding products with soy and found it was even in our vitamins! It continues to be in many foods including organic bread. My children’s pediatrician recommended never giving any soy products to my daughter and that was many years ago.

Scientists are beginning to study the link between soy and certain types of breast cancer in women who are pre-menopausal. It takes years to get results. We’ll see.

In the meantime, I’m working on healing up and feeling normal again. My normal means kidding around and making dumb jokes. I asked Danny if he liked the “quiet me” this past week. He replied that he loves my crazy off-the-wall way of thinking about things and he missed me. What a guy!

Thank you so much for all the amazing support. I truly believe that the reason I have an amazing prognosis is because of  YOU!

I will be writing a proper thank you when the fog completely clears. The purple haze still lingers, but at least I can see the door. The floor, not so much…

Related articles:

The Boob Report I – Roadblocks and U-Turns

The Boob Report II – Laughter is the Best Medicine

The Boob Report III – Post-op

Breast Cancer


P.S. Typing hurts, so I am reading, but not commenting very much at this time. Thanks again for everything!