Wednesday, March 28, 2012


Do you know what happens when you have over 5000 emails between two primary accounts?  First, it takes forever to clean the stuff up.  Second, IF you have chemobrain, you may read a rather important email, know you must respond or take some other sort of action, forget you saw the email, walk around with that nagging, "I know I'm forgetting something" feeling and blow a deadline or miss an opportunity.

Thankfully, I am beyond Mom's Taxi Days and parent teacher conferences.  I'm fairly certain my kids would have already been left stranded enough times for the school to notify Child Protective Services.  Missing the birthdays of my nieces and nephews until weeks have passed is quickly moving me down the Favorite Aunt Ladder.  Tracking appointments?  I've gotten that under control with my phone calendar.  MAKING the appointments?  Not so much.

Presently, my car is 500 miles overdue for service.  I've been getting warnings for the last 2,500 miles.  I could have driven to Miami and back.  Today, I got as far as pulling out the folder to get the phone number.  The folder is on my desk. Tomorrow when I start my car it will admonish me yet again.  Service Now 525 Miles Overdue.

The dishwasher just stopped working sometime last week.  Are you old enough to remember that Maytag guy who was always lonely in those commercials because Maytag appliances were just THAT dependable?  I suspect the chemobrain crowd may have contributed to his loneliness because there were a whole mess of people forgetting to make repair appointments.

I am supposed to see an oral surgeon.  This is kind of important.  I'm losing significant bone in my upper jaw, likely femara fallout.  That guy's number has been on my To Do list for many weeks.  When I need a sinus lift because I let this go for too long, I will have no one but myself to blame.

I want to schedule my pool opening NOW otherwise I can assure you, it will be August and I will be staring at a green cover instead of blue water.  Ditto the sprinkler guy.  Brown lawn and dead shrubs in lieu of lush lawn and a glorious garden.

Mind you, ALL of these appointments could have been made in under twenty minutes.  Phone in hand to make sure I am not creating a scheduling conflict nightmare, I would have had all of this out of my head and properly entered in my iCloud iCalendar across all of my apple devices.  Maybe tomorrow.  Hopefully tomorrow.  GOTTA BE tomorrow.

And then, there is that little matter of Income Tax Time.  I already have three corporations on extension but we do not put our personal return on extension.  What's today's date?  I'm painting myself into a corner with the April 15th thing. Actually, sweet serendipity.  The deadline is April 17th this year.  Don't trust me?  Google it.  The 15th falls on a Sunday which automatically makes the deadline the 16th.  The 16th is a holiday in DC (or somewhere federal....I'm not googling it... ok, I caved...).  It's Emancipation Day.  That's a bit of twisted irony or black humor or something.  Whatever.  I have a-HEM, tons of time.

No worries about the car dropping dead, the dishes piling up, my face collapsing, pissing off Uncle Sam.  Instead, I'm cleaning out my email box.  Deleting things, reading previously unread mail and getting distracted (and UPSET) as I read the series of emails between my sister and I.  These were from 2010 and it started with The Questionable Mammography, through the biopsies to her diagnosis.  And the tone changed entirely as she entered The Decision Making portion of the program.

I remember commiserating with my mom.  I remember being the voice of reason to keep my mom somewhat calm.  This was daughter number two.  It was breast cancer number four and my sister was "deciding."  Mom was worried sick and I wanted to kick her ass.  Instead, I maintained a sense of decorum and made sure she understood those statistics she was reading did NOT apply to her.  She was 42.  She had two first degree relatives with pre-menopausal invasive breast cancers before age 50.  And mom with a second primary twenty years after the first diagnosis.  Right on cue.  And she is deciding. And mom is beside herself.  And I'm lacing up the boxing gloves.  All's well that goes the way I WANTED.  Yes, I had a strong opinion about the course of treatment.  And yes, I shut my mouth until AFTER the decision was made.

There is a reason for this whole mess of nonsense sharing.  My sister's cancer is not nonsense.  My brown lawn blues? Nonsense.  (Bell Bottom Blues?  Definitely NOT nonsense.... Eric Clapton, Derek and the Dominoes.... one of my favorites of all time..... that was a definite chemobrain zig zag... brown lawn blues zigged me right into my mental juke box....)

However, in one of my short notes to my sister, I mentioned that I just saw the Pink KFC Bucket being advertised on television.  I told her I was so emotionally charged over the whole mess that the stupid commercial made me weepy. Ironic that I will be discussing Pink Ribbons Inc. this evening on behalf of Breast Cancer Action?  The Think Before You Pink "What the Cluck!?" campaign made it to Steven Colbert WITH a shout out to Barbara Brenner.

There WAS a reason I went on this story telling path of Cleaning Up My Email.  And it's important.  And it bothers me.  As I was reading and cleaning and strolling down memory lane, I happened upon an Army of Woman e-blast dated May 5, 2010. That is almost TWO YEARS AGO.  How is it that we have NOT filled this study?  The researcher is looking for 5000 women anywhere in the US OR Canada.  That's a pretty damn big pond from which to fish.  I mean seriously.  What is UP?  WHY it this still open on the Army of Women website.

This is EXHIBIT A.  A researcher with an idea.  AND money.  Still waiting some TWO YEARS later to actually CONDUCT the research.  Because he needs WOMEN.  Now do you see WHY The Army of Women is so important????  It doesn't get any clearer than this.  We are wasting time.  Precious time.

Here is the criteria and let's fill this thing already.  Enough of you either qualify or KNOW someone who qualifies.  Click the sign up button or click the send to a friend button.  Don't do NOTHING.  It's up to us. Are you In It To End It?

Were you diagnosed with invasive breast cancer at or before age 40?  It does NOT matter how old you are today.  Are you willing to have blood drawn for the researcher the next time you see your OWN doctor?  Willing to share your records with the researcher?  Then HOP to it already.  Don't make me have to lace up the boxing gloves.  Here's the email.  The email that was sent TWO YEARS AGO.  For a study that is still NOT filled.  How can we get these researchers to help us if we aren't willing to help them?  I was over 40.  So was my mom and so was my sister.  Some of my twitter friends were under 40.  To them I say, "Tag, You're It!"

Army of Women
Were You Diagnosed with Breast Cancer At Age 40 or Under? Let's Work Together to Find Out Why!

Dear AnneMarie,

Why do young women get breast cancer? And why are they more likely than older women to get an aggressive form of the disease? Might genetics play a role? That's what a research team at the Washington University School of Medicine is trying to find out. If we can find out WHY some women might be more susceptible to getting breast cancer early, it could help women and doctors learn how to prevent it.

If you were diagnosed with invasive breast cancer when you were 40 years old or younger, please read on and sign-up!

If this study isn't a right fit for you, please pass this e-blast along to friends, family members, and any women you know who have been diagnosed with breast cancer. The research team needs to enroll thousands of women, and by passing this Call to Action along you will be spreading the word about a study that could help us learn why young women get breast cancer.

PLEASE REMEMBER, if you don't fit the criteria for this study, there are MANY, MANY more upcoming studies that you will eventually be able to participate in. Please stay tuned and keep an eye out for the next one.

What's the study about?

The purpose of the study is to learn what genetic factors may play a role in the development of breast cancer in young women.

The researchers need to recruit 5,000 women who were diagnosed with invasive breast cancer when they were 40 years old or younger for this study.

What's involved?

If you choose to join the Breast Cancer Risk in Young Women Study, you will be asked to submit a blood sample, which can be drawn at your next doctor's appointment. Your doctor will ship the sample directly to the researchers. You will be sent a kit that includes shipping materials, the materials needed to draw your blood, and all of the documentation your doctor needs to draw and ship your blood to the research staff. There will be no cost to you to participate in this study, and you will not have to handle or ship your own blood.

You will be asked to provide the researchers with information about your family history. You will also be asked to give them permission to obtain a copy of your cancer-related medical records.

Who is conducting the study?

Paul Goodfellow, PhD, at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri


United States and Canada

Who can participate?

You can join the Breast Cancer Risk in Young Women Study if you match ALL of these MAIN categories:

• You were diagnosed with invasive breast cancer (stage I, II, III, or IV) when you were 40 years old or younger (You are eligible regardless of how old you are now.) There are no exclusions based on current stage of treatment, previous or current diagnosis or prior genetic testing.

• You live in the United States or Canada

The researcher may ask you additional questions to be sure that this study is a right fit for you.
Copyright 2009 Love/Avon Army of Women


  1. AM I wrote about this one last week. It hurts my head to think that there are researchers hanging on the thread of anticipation of participation.

    Thank you for helping to stop the madness!

  2. I'm glad to be your teammate, Renn. I discussed this issue tonight after I saw Pink Ribbons Inc. Researchers with money and ideas and NO participants.



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