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What did you do on your #summer #vacation? #breastcancer #blogging #MotherNature #butterflies #gardening

What Did You Do On Your Summer Vacation?

When you went back to school as a kid, did your teachers sometimes ask you to write an essay about what you did on your summer vacation?

I imagine such was the case for most of us.

The end of August is when I generally take a break from blogging for a couple weeks. I suppose it’s sorta unnecessary that I write a blog post to tell you, My Dear Readers, this. I mean, you guys would figure this out on your own upon seeing no new posts for a couple weeks, right? (Perhaps this means I’ll be missing you more than you’ll be missing me.)

Anyway, before my mini-blogging break, I thought I’d tell you a little about my summer vacation, minus the vacation part, as I’m taking my vacation now.

I hope you’ll tell me something about your summer, too, in the comments section.

I’m not gonna bore you with too many details. I’ll stick with sharing a few cancer-related highlights of my summer.

Late spring brought with it a breast MRI – an experience in misery.

Expecting a person to lie perfectly still with her arms raised over her head while lying on an uncomfortable contraption (with breasts poking through holes, no less) felt like something out of the Middle Ages, cruel even, and somewhat humiliating, I might add. Add to that the humming, the banging, the two-hours it took, the contrast and a couple other not-to-be mentioned things, yeah, not fun.

I mean really, can’t we come up with better tools?

The aforementioned MRI presented the unexpected revelation of an implant rupture. Why I was surprised by this revelation, I do not know. It’s been over eight years since that particular surgery, so it’s sorta par for the course.

Hence, Dear Hubby and I embarked on a trip to Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN to meet with plastic surgeon #4. (I know, I can’t believe I’ve had that many either. Or any, for that matter.) The fun just never ends. More to come on all that at some point. Maybe.

July included a trip to Texas to visit Son #1 and his wife, so that was a lovely distraction from MRIs, thoughts about reconstruction do-overs and another “minor” cancer scare.

What? (I’m fine.)

Once back home and lest cancer allow me to become too lackadaisical, it was determined following a trip to my dentist and subsequent followup to an oral surgeon that a biopsy was called for. A suspicious lesion had been spotted. On my tongue, no less. WTF!

Suffice it to say, that a biopsy on your tongue is quite unpleasant. And said unpleasantness lingers for quite some time.

Dear Hubby tried to lighten things up with some wise-cracking about my potential muteness. (I think I’ve mentioned before our weird sense of humor is likely some sort of coping mechanism.)

Happily, biopsy turned out okay. Whew!

But the unpleasant experiences mentioned above, dredged up quite a lot and reminded me (again) that once a cancer patient, always a cancer patient.

Other than those in the scheme of things, minor glitches, my summer was pretty darn lovely. I hope yours was too.

On my mini vacation, I plan to view plenty of sunsets. Take walks with Sophie (we’ve had to cut way back on distance for the sweet old girl – Sophie, not me). Weed my much-neglected gardens. Complete miscellaneous projects. Visit Dear Daughter and Dear Son-in-law in beautiful Montana. Write blog posts. Plan blog posts. Read. Take in a movie or two where you actually go to a theater. Think about how we can celebrate nine years of blogging. (I know, can you believe it?) And finalize the direction I want to take my next book. And, of course, work on said book. I would also very much like to do a lot of nothing.

And oh yeah, I’ll need to think more about plastic surgery I never wanted to have.

While I’m on break, browse around some older blog posts, check out my blog hop participants’ posts, sign up for my weekly emails, check out my books and/or leave me a comment about your summer or whatever you want.

Happy end of summer!

Thank you for reading about what I did this summer. Now it’s YOUR turn to share. Not summer in your part of the world? Tell me about your winter then.

See you in September. (Isn’t that a song?)

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Tell me something you did, wanted to do or still plan to do this summer with a comment below.

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30 thoughts to “What Did You Do On Your Summer Vacation?”

  1. Well, first of all , I have read and re-read Cancer Was Not a Gift… many times because you have found a way to express what we all want to say. I have recommended it and shared it to so many because it’s wonderful. As for the summer, our youngest, sweet baby girl got married to an awesome guy a few weeks ago. It was hectic, chaotic, expensive, and the most wonderful weekend ever! This summer in Montana has been lovely. Enough rain to prevent nasty fires and kept things nice and green. We’ve acquired 7 calves to keep us busy, and I’ve been helping a friend care for her husband’s 90 yr old grandmother. And I’m actually feeling pretty good with a few minor exceptions. Oncology appt Monday …ugh. I hate to see summer end. It’s my favorite time of yr. Nancy, I hope you enjoy your break, and enjoy Montana!

    1. Donna, Thank you for your kind words about “Cancer Was Not a Gift”. I appreciate that you’ve recommended it to and shared it with others. You are part of my marketing team! Congratulations on your baby girl’s wedding. Sounds like it was a wonderful event. I bet you’ve been relaxing a bit more and enjoying summer since then. Although, maybe not. Sounds like there’s still plenty to keep you busy. How nice that you are helping your friend. Glad to hear you’re feeling good. Hope your oncology appointment went well. Thank you for reading and sharing about your busy summer. I will definitely enjoy my break and visit to your great state.

  2. My summer cancer-wise was about containment. And I’m glad to say that with the new drugs and new docs, it’s behaving. I’m still getting used to the unpredictable side effects, but I can do that as long as the doc keeps saying, “Keep doing what you’re doing” like she did this morning. However, I did go to my dermatologist and found out I have two pre-cancerous things on the tip of my nose and my upper lip. She blasted them with something, told me it might take a few trips (damn). I’ve had these before including one on top of my head which she said, “Oh, we just shave your head a little and cut it off.” (I kinda lost it at those words.) Fortunately, the head thing was just a scare. Good news from OTHER docs: the cardiologist said that I’m a boring patient since all the sensors and scans and tests continue to show no heart problems. I discovered that Anastrozole can cause strokes. She didn’t know it – I didn’t know it! But I’m not on that now. And the new neurologist said, “see you in a year.” Yay!! In non-medical news, my son, his wife, and my granddaughter came for a week and we drove up and down the California coast. Fun! And my husband and I went to see the Sequoias which are beautiful. My last few weeks of August are extremely busy with getting ready for another academic year at the college I work at. . . so onward and upward!

    1. Linda, So glad your cancer is “behaving”. Sorry to hear about those pre-cancerous spots on your nose and tongue. Good that you are a boring cardiologist patient. Yay! Also, good to get the all clear from the neurologist for a year. That is very good news. Glad you had a lovely time with your son and his family. Hard to beat a drive up and down the CA coast. And those Sequoias are spectacular. Visited there as a kid and would to get back someday. Good luck getting ready for another year at school. I’m sure there is lots to do there! Thanks for sharing about your summer.

  3. oh! and I had that breast MRI when I first got cancer. It was THE WORST TEST I’ve had and I hope I don’t have to repeat it – ever! you have my sympathy.

    1. Ji Nancy, i have a question about morning anxiety. I have had ut for 3 years. Drs have tried me in many meds. Currently on esasm lotraim and thryoid. I wake up fine within 5 minutes the anxiety comes on. I take a half of ativan and wait til it works. I had early stage and try not to read mets articles.
      Has anyone experienced the early morning anxiety sn hoe were they ablevto conquer it. I want to stop the meds cause i think that is contributing to it. I am concentrating onthe fact the bc is gone. I dont knowbif that is good or not cause it might be bringing more attention to it. Tried to volunteer bu still have trouble getting out of the house. Ant help or blogscaddressin thisvthis please help. I feel so good in the night time. Ok going to do meditation. Thank you.

  4. How I Spent My Summer Vacation or Why I Love Black Eyed Susans

    Well, I haven’t spent it yet. I save mine and always wait till after Labor Day to go on my vacations.
    Almost every year for the past 12 years I have rented a place on the coast in Maine.
    Except for that one year, the year when I finished up my radiation treatments on September 12th and decided I shouldn’t go that far from home and stayed in Rhode Island near the beach instead.
    It was also when I started taking those darn pills we all hate so much. But that was 3 years ago,
    I am still amazed it has been almost 3 years! And I am amazed that I am still taking those darn pills I hate so much. It has been a struggle to stay the course, but I am still trudging along and still bitching about them and still counting the days when I hopefully won’t have to keep taking them……

    I am not such a lover of summer anymore. Especially since that summer of radiation treatments.
    Being fair haired and light skinned, I have to be very careful in the sun and I hate wearing anything on my face, never did like it, never wore makeup. Yup, I am just weird, never did fit in with the other girls.
    And now that the stupid pill has given me so many gifts, I have a harder time tolerating the heat. Especially because of the latest gift I have received this past year.
    Rosacea and perioral dermatitis.

    Huh? What is perioral dermatitis you ask?
    Well, I had never heard of it and when I scoured Doctor Google for answers as to why my face was peeling off around my mouth and chin for a year or so before this, I didn’t find much of an answer.
    I asked my regular doc,
    I asked my onco doc,
    I asked if it could be related to the pills. I think you all know they did not agree with that suspicion.
    No surprise there.
    So, I finally demanded a consult with a dermatologist. She quickly diagnosed me and gave me cream to put on my face twice a day. And then she informed me that I would be using this cream for the rest of my life. wtf……….heavy sigh………….or, if I preferred, I could try a couple months (or more) of antibiotics………..
    and then the cream…………no, no, no, I told her, let’s try just the cream first.
    So, 6 months later, I am now using 2 different creams and if I skip a dose or go out in the sun, even with sunscreen glopped on, my face feels like it is on fire after and the darn peeling begins again and between my nose and upper lip gets bright red. I just can’t win.
    It is sometimes referred to as muzzle rash. Yah, doesn’t that sound appealing….and attractive….
    So I guess now I should just become a vampire. I do yard work in the evening and I lurk in the shadows during the day.
    The second cream the doc gave me is like axle grease. It is so thick and greasy feeling
    that if the wind blows my hair, it stays stuck to my face.
    If you give me a hug, I stick to your face or shirt.
    Boy, I am living the dream!
    And here is the hilarious thing, my wrist had been in such pain because of de Quervains,
    (because of the stupid pill) but once I started trying to concentrate on fixing my snaky face,
    my wrist has felt a little better. So I put off getting my last shot. I guess I should be grateful for that.
    I am not, but I should be.
    I should henceforth, therefore and hitherto just quit my bitching. But I probably won’t.
    I am eagerly packing and planning my trip to Maine this year. I have rented a totally different place than I usually do and it is even farther north on the coast than where I usually go.
    I am so excited !! It is a quintessential Maine cottage overlooking the open Atlantic ocean and the bold cliffs and coastline. It is on 170 private acres of mossy trails and dramatic overlooks and a couple rocky beaches. I am really, really excited! It will be mine, all mine!
    And I desperately need it……
    It has been a difficult year, even more difficult than the year of breast cancer surgeries and treatment.
    My little brother died from stage 4 bladder cancer the day after I came back from Maine last year.
    I received the call the minute I was leaving the cabin rental and drove 11 hours to get back home so I could go see him in the hospital with all my family. It was a horrible weekend, a horrible drive and a horrible, dreadful end of a vacation and of a precious life. Excuse me while I cry…………again….
    I hope this year is better……….a little bit of my brother travels with me in my truck all the time,
    in his mini urn.
    It is a pretty little thing with silver and aqua blue designs on it.
    I talk to him all the time.
    Yup, that’s me, the girl lurking in the shadows, with the big hat, with her hair stuck to her face,
    afraid of the sun and talking to a pretty little urn.
    Gawd I’m weird………..
    Oh, Oh, Oh, I forgot to tell you!
    It gets weirder!
    About a month and a half ago, I started having this minty fresh sensation come over my whole body
    It was like I rolled around in Icy Hot ointment, BenGay, Tiger Balm, Vicks Vaporub
    with a sprinkling of capsacin cream and Franks Hot Sauce.
    WTF??? Watz that all abowwt???
    Well……doctor google sure scared up a few concerns that weren’t too pretty.
    Like I didn’t have enough to worry about.
    So when I was getting these “episodes”, my greasy face would break out in a sweat at work
    in the nice, cool, air conditioned building……
    I mean a wet, cold sweat,
    big droplets,
    shining like diamonds
    ……..or cheap sequins
    all over my face
    especially my upper lip
    (probably from that nasty cream)

    I know, whats up with that?
    And now, that seems to have passed……..
    it is still hot here in the Northeast, and we are still sweating
    but at least I am not getting those weird sensations like I was.
    I mean, it went on and on for a good month
    I was getting concerned
    Of course I have been working my ass off and under a lot of stress
    hopefully that’s all it is and Maine will be the cure………

    I always pack way too many clothes
    and way too much other stuff
    but I am always prepared for whatever
    I was once a girl scout
    and always a girl scout
    no matter what the weather

    My mysteries are packed
    my jigsaw puzzles are packed
    my paints and pads are packed
    my mini can of Mary Kitchen Hash is packed
    a bunch of clothes are packed
    probably way too many………
    then there is the favorite fuzzy blanket
    and a couple favorite towels, paper towels and toilet paper
    just to name a few more things I packed……………

    So, anyway,
    I have bunches of black eyed susans that grow where they like
    Every year they resow where they want and I try to weed wack around them in the lawn.
    We have this agreement.
    I gave up mowing between them all, they make the rules for the summer maintenance plan.
    I love their happy, bright yellow faces.
    They don’t care if they get watered, they don’t care if the soil is good
    they will grow in a crack in the pavement.
    They last a long time and there are plenty to follow
    And they always make me smile with amazement.

    And sometimes they are great listeners, too!

    Yup, there she goes, the girl in the big hat,
    talking to the flowers
    with little bugs and dirt stuck to her face like it was fly paper 🙂
    (Remember those hideous rolls of fly paper hanging in (a diner?)
    with all the dead flies stuck to it?) yuck……….

    Dear Nancy,
    I hope you have a wonderful and relaxing vacation.
    Try not to think too much about the “elephant”.
    And yah, those MRI’s. I had one too this year, the uncomfortable position and the noise nearly drove me mad.
    I’m getting a pill next time, not doing it without it. Period. Nope, can’t make me..
    And that tongue thing. … sure got weird things too!
    Glad to hear it was nothing, whew…..
    Gotta keep that sense of humor or you might go screaming thru the trees
    ……….is what I always say………………….

    I am very happy to hear about your plans for a new book!
    I look forward to reading more from you.
    Keep on keeping it real!
    (And thank you again for letting me hog your blog for a weeee bit)
    (Hi Donna! 🙂

    1. Tarzangela, I’m actually not a big lover of summer either. Sorry to hear about your skin issues and the need for those creams. I slather on my sunscreen every morning (on my face anyway, cuz I guess I’m vain) and hope for the best. Had a skin cancer diagnosis three years ago, so I try not to forget the darn sunscreen. I know you miss your brother very much, and I’m sure your vacation in Maine will have some sad, reflective moments, but that will be okay. Enjoy yourself. That cottage sounds perfect. You are lucky to live near the coast. Landlocked here. Thanks for the good wishes and kind words about my book. I’ll try not to think too much about that elephant. Thanks for sharing. Enjoy your vacation!

  5. My summer has been tests, surgery and radiation. I talked my Oncologist into treating my metastatic breast cancer with a curative intent. Hence I had a lumpectomy followed by stereotactic body radiation treatments to my lung. I am now housebound as my white blood cell count is dropping due to no Neulasta patch during the radiation treatments. Hopefully I won’t catch anything and can get back on chemo next week.
    I have had two of those lovely breast MRIs. Hated it both times! The things you do not know until you get the breast cancer diagnosis!
    Love reading your blog. Thanks for all you do.

    1. Jacki, Hope your white blood cell count is better. Yeah, those breast MRIs are something else. May your upcoming treatments go as smoothly as possible. Thank you for sharing about your summer.

  6. I had a double mastectomy 2 years ago, with no reconstruction. I bought the prostheses that come in the pretty pink hat boxes and the bras. Initially I wore them whenever I left the house. Now, less and less. If there is one good thing about my breast cancer, it’s that I don’t have to wear a bra anymore. This year I didn’t even take my prostheses and little hat boxes on our annual week in Vermont… ( I can just imagine security going through my checked luggage. Last year one of the hat boxes got mashed in my luggage !) I visited with my brother who came down from Maine, and ate in our favorite restaurant etc. Dressing in layers works, and I am so comfortable -especially in this hot weather.. Any one who notices that I am flat is looking too hard.

    1. Teresa, It’s good you are comfortable with your decision to opt out of reconstruction. Also good that you opt out of wearing the prostheses whenever you want, which is more and more frequently, it sound like. I am really struggling with my decision about what to do from here. Love your last sentence. That is priceless. And so true! Glad you had a good week in Vermont. Thank you for sharing.

    2. Oooh, what is your favorite restaurant in Vermont? I’m always looking for recommendations as the bounty of excellent restaurants we had in the Grand Rapids, Michigan area is not replicated in the central Vermont area. I’ve found a few good ones but some are too dear for our pocketbook.

      My summer was dealing with the first part of my cancer journey…diagnosis in April, chemo, multiple surgeries with horrific pathology reports and now starting oral chemo on Labor Day with radiation to follow in January. I’m just so DONE with it all! I’ve come to terms with my survival statistics and the treatments that I will NOT accept but I really want to be through the “active” part of treatment.

      I’ve been reading the blog and comments for a couple of months but the mention of Vermont was the push I needed to join in. Thank you!

  7. Dear Miss Nancy,
    This year’s summer woefully lacked the obligatory vacation. Instead here’s what we did:
    1. Oncology visits and finishing up 26 straight weeks of Taxol followed by ibrance/ fulvestrant/ xgeva for however long it lasts.
    2. Gained 29 lbs in one week although no one seems interested in that I’m mega uncomfortable and can only wear really stretchy jeans or loose dresses. More collateral financial damage.
    3. I turned 54 and thus my 5th year of life with MBC.
    4. Sold our house.
    4a. Must find house to live in due ti #4.
    5. Had a “friend” and her two children who are PERFECT of course stay here for over a month and exhaust me so vacation became a four letter word. Like “trip” or “shit”
    6. 1 each PET and CT scan
    7. Husband on new depression meds and taking six weeks to get over awful things like hallucinations as side effects.
    8. A lot of goodwill shopping.
    9. The loss of two more friends to me having cancer, one says I’m disrespecting her by being late, so now I just avoid plans altogether.
    10. Looking for new oncology team closer to where we will move.
    11. LookingForward to spending two weeks in between the two towns where we are focusing on our house search. It’s a lovely little place – wonderful owner, rideable horses and it’s Very very nice I’m hoping to take it v

    1. Ilene, My goodness, you have had a very busy summer. Plenty of ups and downs in there too. Good luck finding the new house. Thank you for taking to share.

  8. Continued i hit return too soon.
    I’m hoping to take a vantage of the horses and Swimming pool but not the owner.The owner seems very nice and was willing to take my cat although she doesn’t generally in our Airbnb, So that will be my summer vacation while we look for a house. Wish me luck and I wish you all the same.
    With much love,

  9. Having had a clear mammogram and normal PAT scan, hubby and I went off to Sweden for 8 days. An amazing country and definitely one I will visit again. We have friends out there and spent four days with them, being thoroughly spoilt. Now back home and back to work today. Next year we are hoping to go to Scotland and take our dogs with us. Much love xx

    1. Christine, Yay on the clear mammogram and normal scan! I’m glad you got away for a few days and got spoiled too. Hope getting back to reality wasn’t too tough. Thank you for reading and taking time to share.

  10. Have a lovely holiday, Nancy. We had a week by the sea in June, and it drizzled most days! I remember lovely sunny days on the south coast of my childhood, but it seems to have packed up and moved to Spain. Still lovely to be on hols though, having no plans (so what’s different about that?) and getting oodles of fresh air and fun. During the school holidays we generally sit in the garden, to avoid crazy traffic – and the sun has come out to play again – yippee! See you on the dark side…

    1. Julia, I’m sure you enjoyed your week by the sea even thought it drizzled most days. A change of routine and scenery can do wonders. Thank you for sharing.

  11. Ha! I always imagined the MRI like they milking me like a cow. These tools for viewing breasts (MRI and mammography) need improvement like yesterday!
    Glad the biopsy is OK whew!
    Have a splendid vacay!

    1. CC, The MRI I had was by far the worst test I’ve had and I’ve had quite a few. That one truly felt antiquated. Thanks for stopping by and thanks for the good wishes too.

      1. Hi Nancy,
        Finding your blog appears to be the best ‘vacation’ for me. In seven days I’m having a bi-lateral mastectomy and the horror and reality are settling in. I had my annual mammogram a few days before our planned vacation. It never occurred to me that I’d be diagnosed with breast cancer and, rather than heading out with my family for summer vaca, I’d be spending those weeks in various procedures. First the core biopsy and then the MRI. Followed by the surgical oncologist and plastic surgeon. I’m glad I’ve found your blog, sleep seems to be evading me this week so I will catch up on your blog and books.

        1. Elizabeth, Well, I’m glad you found my blog then! I am sorry that you are facing so much. I understand that horror. Gosh, I’m thinking today is your bilateral. Sorry to not respond sooner. Hoping all goes as smoothly as possible for you. You’ll be in my thoughts. Thank you for taking time to comment. And welcome.

  12. First, so glad the biopsy was alright. I have never had an MRI. Hope to never need one. Seems super scary.

    Other than participating in your blogger challenge, my summer has been spent with my head down, taking the online course for Real Estate in Georgia. And I am now a licensed Realtor. But I’m not done with school yet. I need to take a required 25 hour Continuing Education & pass a Final Exam at the end within my first year. I have an opportunity to do it next month. Has to be done in person. I don’t wanna. Ugh.

    1. Kimberly, Very relieved the biopsy was benign too; I was trying to prepare for the worst, but of course, you can’t really do that. I hope you don’t ever need a breast MRI. Not fun, mine was horrible. Congratulations on becoming a licensed realtor! What an amazing accomplishment! You have been very busy this summer. Good luck with the 25 hour continuing ed stuff and on the exam, of course. I’m sure you’ll do fine. Hoping to hear lots more about your new career. Best of luck with it. Thanks for telling me about it.

  13. So last summer was filled with having double mastectomy, recovering and two major home remodeling projects. Expanders were exchanged for implants on Halloween (kind of funny …permanent costume?!)
    Wasn’t able to spend much time at place in Maine due to the surgery and remodeling, so this summer’s plan was to get there as often as I could . Not easy with 92 year old Mom to handle things for, and then had to break up with Plastic Surgeon #1 due to lack of 6 month follow up and over the phone his nurse saying my “issue” was normal for reconstruction and they didn’t need to see it. Huh? So daughter who now works at Mayo in Jacksonville insisted I see their Plastic Surgeons and end of July had my “fixit” surgery with plastic surgeon #2 at Mayo, and am more than pleased. That took a month to be at home between appts and surgery, then back to Maine.
    Here’s the best part and what I really want to share …I decided to have the 3D tattooing and my research all went to Vinnie Myers in Baltimore. Since that is my stop between FL and Maine on Southwest…booked appt or 6 weeks after
    correction surgery and had it done yesterday! He is amazing! So professional and it was a breeze…and they look so realistic. Definitely worth the trip and stayed at the lovely Gramercy Inn halfway between Baltimore airport and his place (which is 40 minutes from airport).
    Could have flown in and out but wanted to relax. Check out this video on to see Vinnie in action .
    Best to you Nancy, and everyone who comes together here!

    1. Missy, This summer sounds better than your last, although this one’s had it’s challenges, too, it sounds like. So glad you are happy with your decision to have 3D tattooing. That is great. And it’s nice you were able to incorporate that as part of your travel plans. That worked out well for you. Sounds like Vinnie Myers is doing great things. I’ve heard others speak highly of his work too. Thank you for sharing. Best to you too.

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