Cancer Hunger Games

The big question has become– so now what? I don’t have an answer. In fact, I feel like I don’t have a clue whats going on. My head is sometimes spinning. I feel more lost now than I have through this entire process. Its a very isolated feeling, lonely. The loss of control is so uneasy and the uncertainty ahead is just down right scary.  It feels like now I’m on some kind of survivor TV show, or better yet a ‘tribute’ from the Hunger Games. This must be how Katnis Everdeen felt when she was dropped into the middle of the area– a game of survival. Gotta figure out how to stay alive, to strategize every move, execute it perfectly– cause if I don’t, it will cost lives, my life. 

Many of you ask me “If I am excited its over”. Am I happy my treatment has ended? Yes, I’m happy. But over? Oh no, this will never be over. The victors return to their district, alone– the last survivors– but they have to live everyday with what happened in the arena. This is still the beginning– the beginning of ‘after’, fraught with all the aftereffects. I still have to go through surgical breast reconstruction, 5 -10 years of taking a pill everyday and a monthly injection that will decrease my chances of the cancer coming back– in essence shutting down my ovaries (putting them in pharmacological menopause). I’m now faced with having to deal with the effects of menopause. Even though he was a dude, I could see being a bit like Haymitch Abernathy, the victor turned mentor. Except instead of medicating with alcohol, my new pills will cause mood swings (like I am not already a bit nutz) hot flashes, sore bones and joint and worst of all– I could end up with a dry vagina! 

Yes I said it- cause I am just being real here. Beyond the fear of cancer returning (being sent back to the arena), what could be worse than a dry whoha?! I know you’ve seen those commercials about woman who have this problem. Its real and its now on my radar. A dry vagina is a very unhappy vagina. Nobody likes a sad vagina. Not to mention I am still recovering from 6 surgeries and what pregnancy and chemo did to my body. It may seem over to some but everyday I am reminded of my breast cancer and the impact it left on my life. Its almost as if, now I am realizing what I have gone through the past year, its all catching up to me. It shocks me to think about what happened. I am no longer in fight mode (I’m out of the arena) and realizing, shit, I had cancer. I had cancer and I pray to God that President Snow doesn’t leave me roses in my victor mansion, in the form of a dry vagina. Somehow, ‘shell-shocked’ isn’t quite the right word, nor PTSD. Its something else, something I’d imagine only the other victors feel, and I’ll wrestle it (but hopefully not with a dry vagina- because honestly, who likes to wrestle with a dry vagina?)!    

3 thoughts on “Cancer Hunger Games

  1. You totally crack me up. Whatever is going on down there, you gotta laugh too. Or I’ll come over and have to tickle you without mercy.

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  2. Hi Jodi,

    I work at the Jimmy Fund and Dana-Farber, and I first heard your story on our Radio-Telethon last year, where your infectious smile and optimism truly inspired me. I found your blog and have been following along with your journey every since. Your honesty and openness has been so refreshing to read, and has continued to motivate what I do here at work.
    To make a long story short, this blog entry particularly resonated with me, because at one of our employee division meetings recently, weheard from Dr. Ann Partridge about the Adult Survivorship Program that she has pioneered at Dana-Farber. She is a colleague of your doctor – Dr. Ligabel I believe?- a breast oncologist, who asked the exact same questions and shared the same fears that you do … what the heck do you do after you’ve had to fight for your life? How does your life ever go back to normal? (I also am loving the Hunger Games analogy here!)
    Anyways, the Adult Survivorship Program has resources to help cancer survivors rebuild their lives after cancer – with resources from exercise consults and therapy to sexual health programs and support groups. I’m sure that Dr. Ligabel has much more information, if she hasn’t mentioned this program to you already, but here is the link on our website just in case: http://www.dana-farber.org/Adult-Care/Treatment-and-Support/Treatment-Centers-and-Clinical-Services/Adult-Survivorship-Program.aspx#About
    Jodi, thank you for sharing your story – if Katniss can have a life after the Hunger Games, then I’m confident that your life will soon resume its sweet and sour combination (cancer not included) 🙂
    Victoria

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    • Hi Victoria! Thank you so much for writing me and following my story. It makes so happy that I am able to use my story to encourage all sorts of woman with and even with out cancer.
      I will def look into the program you mentioned. I am also part of Facing Forward which is another (maybe the same) program to help survivors get back to normal life or at least a new normal.
      I am participating in this years telethon (so excited) and hopefully will get to meet you. I met Jacqulyn and Kristen last week. I also can’t wait to introduce everyone to Cora, you all will love her.
      Thanks again for reaching back to me 💗 and have a great weekend.

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