The Big C and Me: my cancer story

My cancer story: this is a collection of my blog posts and articles about my cancer experience over the years. I decided to pull them all together into one place to make them easy to find.

This turned out to be a much bigger projected than I expected. I’ve cataloged more than thirty here so far, and there are many more to add.

my cancer story | CoffeeJitters | Judy Schwartz Haley

This is a work in progress. I will continue adding the posts already completed as well as the new posts to come, so check back from time to time. Tags are coming soon to allow for searching by topic.

It has been an eye opening exercise to go back through these posts and see how my attitude, perspective, writing style, and my life in general have all evolved over time.

My hope is that these pieces will provide someone with cancer some measure of hope, comfort, and useful information to help them along this difficult road. Even if you don’t have cancer, you just might find this story interesting.

My Cancer Story

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Judy Schwartz Haley

The Big C and Me: My Cancer Story

Judy Schwartz Haley writes about her experiences with breast cancer.

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  1. 1  The Stuffed Bra and the Wandering Socks - CoffeeJitters

    The Stuffed Bra and the Wandering Socks - CoffeeJitters

    One of the frustrations I've had to deal with because of this breast cancer is my lopsidedness. Getting dressed in the morning takes quite a bit more thought and planning than ever before. I wasn't small breasted to start with, but thanks to my mastectomy I have a bouncy D-Cup that swings a little lower since breastfeeding, and a rock hard, absurdly high, almost A-cup.

  2. 2  Walkthrough of chemo day for a cancer patient - CoffeeJitters

    Walkthrough of chemo day for a cancer patient - CoffeeJitters

    Ever wondered what a day of chemotherapy was like for a cancer patient? I thought I'd bring you along today, and give you a snapshot of what cancer treatment looks like. I hope its helpful to the newly diagnosed. Obvious disclaimer: of course, every patient's treatment is different, and each cancer treatment center is different.

  3. 3  Scarred - CoffeeJitters

    Scarred - CoffeeJitters

    It was my good boob that tried to kill me. A year ago I stood at the mirror, glaring at my left breast which was starting to show the strain of breastfeeding my baby. The good boob, the one on the right, remained as firm and perky as it was when I was 18.

  4. 4  Walkthrough of Radiation Treatment for a Cancer Patient - CoffeeJitters

    Walkthrough of Radiation Treatment for a Cancer Patient - CoffeeJitters

    Curious what radiation treatment is like for cancer patients? This post will walk you through one day of radiation treatment for a patient with breast cancer (me). Disclaimer: It is important to note that cancer treatments are tailored to the patient and their pathology, so there can be quite a bit of variation in the way treatment is experienced.

  5. 5  It's Not the Same - CoffeeJitters

    It's Not the Same - CoffeeJitters

    Yesterday I spent the day manning the door at a wine-tasting representing 16 different local wineries. Every year, this event chooses a different charity to which the proceeds are donated. This year, the beneficiary was the Seattle affiliate of the Young Survival Coalition, which supports pre-menopausal women with breast cancer.

  6. 6  Wait. What? - CoffeeJitters

    Wait. What? - CoffeeJitters

    I think there should be some kind of trophy, or medal, or certificate of achievement, something anyway to mark the completion of cancer treatment. I understand why it's not done, but nonetheless it seems like all this hard work and endurance should reach some point of crescendo, a climax, a triumphant overcoming of the evil beast rather than just sputtering out at the end with a casual "have a nice life."

  7. 7  Who in this room - CoffeeJitters

    Who in this room - CoffeeJitters

    I went straight to the bookstore after I got the "I'm sorry it's cancer" phone call; surely amongst all the wisdom coded into letters and words, pressed to paper, and bound to books, would be some little snippet that would tell me how to move forward.

  8. 8  It isn't easy being pink - CoffeeJitters

    It isn't easy being pink - CoffeeJitters

    It's that time of year when the world is washed in pink, and people prance around in their favorite tongue-in-cheek, boob-aware apparel. But how much awareness does all this bring to the realities of breast cancer, and how much does this just turn our attention to boobs?

  9. 9  On the radio - CoffeeJitters

    On the radio - CoffeeJitters

    This is the story of how I became an on air radio personality. Ok, it's not. I'm not. It's not even about me. This is a story about Debbie Cantwell, and the non-profit organization she started on her kitchen table, all by herself, to help young women with breast cancer, like me.

  10. 10  Harmony Hill - CoffeeJitters

    Harmony Hill - CoffeeJitters

    I've spent the past two days working on a couple projects that have had me knee deep in photographs from the Young Survival Coalition. That's had me a little emotional, to say the least: memories, faces, friends... One of those projects a presentation on our getaway to the Harmony Hill Cancer Retreat Center.

  11. 11  In Living Pink 2011 - CoffeeJitters

    In Living Pink 2011 - CoffeeJitters

    It sounds cliche to say that women who have faced down a life-threatening diagnosis really know how to embrace life. It is cliche. It's not even always true. But my girls? My friends? They know how to party. Friday night we celebrated and raised money for the Young Survival Coalition with our annual silent auction ...

  12. 12  Get Hitched Give Hope - CoffeeJitters

    Get Hitched Give Hope - CoffeeJitters

    What happens when you take a few good friends Add some bedazzled furnishings A little finery, and a little wine And a few cameras? Well, for starters, you end up with some fun pictures... . But more importantly, this event raised money for some pretty awesome organizations.

  13. 13  Dear Gem - Month 30 - CoffeeJitters

    Dear Gem - Month 30 - CoffeeJitters

    The weather turned since the last time I wrote one of these letters to you. In just a couple months we went from temperatures in the 80s to frosty mornings and piles of multicolored leaves on the ground. You've changed so much, grown up so much, in that little bit of time.

  14. 14  Why Mommy: remembering Susan Niebur - CoffeeJitters

    Why Mommy: remembering Susan Niebur - CoffeeJitters

    Susan Niebur touched so many lives, her husband and little boys, her friends and family, the science community, the blogging community, the cancer and health advocacy community... and me, a girl at a computer Seattle, whose life was blessed by knowing her, even though we never met.

  15. 15  Traveling Companions - CoffeeJitters

    Traveling Companions - CoffeeJitters

    The second anniversary of my cancer diagnosis is quickly approaching. Of course it has me thinking. A lot. Not all the thoughts are happy thoughts, but that just comes with the territory. But some of those thoughts are happy thoughts. Warm, fuzzy, happy thoughts. Like the girls I met because I have cancer.

  16. 16  Three - CoffeeJitters

    Three - CoffeeJitters

    Yesterday, my little girl turned three (yes, she shares a birthday with William Shatner). Today, I'm making calls trying to find a venue for her birthday party. I'm that on top of things. How important is it to throw a party anyway?

  17. 17  Courage Night - CoffeeJitters

    Courage Night - CoffeeJitters

    I have been invited to participate in Courage Night, an author event sponsored by the Young Survival Coalition where 5 young survivors of breast cancer will read from their books, followed by a book signing. Well, in my case, I will read from my blog.

  18. 18  A relearning how to dream after cancer blog - CoffeeJitters

    A relearning how to dream after cancer blog - CoffeeJitters

    Those were the words I wrote without thinking: "a relearning how to dream after cancer blog." I was shocked when I looked back and saw that I described my blog in this manner. Since writing the post, I've gone back and stared at those words countless times.

  19. 19  Deep thoughts... - CoffeeJitters

    Deep thoughts... - CoffeeJitters

    deep thoughts: what does this cancer diagnosis mean to the rest of my life? to what extent will I let it define me? what do I want to do when I grow up? will it have something to do with cancer? should I change my major?

  20. 20  Normalizing - in a good way - CoffeeJitters

    Normalizing - in a good way - CoffeeJitters

    "People give you 3 months to mourn, and a year to have cancer, then they expect you to get back to normal." I don't know where I heard this quote first, but I've experienced the truth of the statement both in terms of mourning and cancer recovery.

  21. 21  Little pick-me-ups - CoffeeJitters

    Little pick-me-ups - CoffeeJitters

    A friend once said to me "Enough with the character building; we've got plenty of character." And I do believe I have plenty of character, yet life keeps the lessons coming at me. One of those lessons is that I need to make a practice of taking care of myself, and I'm not just talking ...

  22. 22  Parents with Cancer: "Don't Be Afraid to Ask for Help."

    Parents with Cancer: "Don't Be Afraid to Ask for Help."

    Name: Judy Schwartz Haley Child's name and age: Genevieve, 3 Location: Seattle, WA Diagnosis: DCIS, IDC, Paget's Disease of the Breast, stage 3, ER/PR-, HER2+, secondary lymphedema Treatments: mastectomy with lymph node dissection, 8 ½ rounds of dense dose chemo (the half because an allergic reaction truncated one dose), 6 weeks of radiation, reconstruction pending Current status: N.E.D.

  23. 23  Contending with change - CoffeeJitters

    Contending with change - CoffeeJitters

    These are big changes that impact programs that were built with sweat, tears, and heart by unpaid volunteers. They are mucking about with, what is for many of us, our safe place. But I went home feeling ok about the situation, not because I agree with everything that has been decided, but because of the way the announcement and the subsequent activities were handled.

  24. 24  Cancer and Guilt

    Cancer and Guilt

    Do you feel guilty since having a cancer diagnosis? Do you spend time feeling responsible that you in some way caused your cancer? This month's blog post comes from a young breast cancer survivor who shares her perspective on dealing with guilt after cancer.

  25. 25  Taking back October - CoffeeJitters

    Taking back October - CoffeeJitters

    There is a certain coziness to autumn. After the chaos of summer, it's the time when we settle back into routine; we find a rhythm. It is the time of comfort food, of warm colors, and crisp breezes. It is the season of pumpkin pie.

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