The Coast News Group
Small Talk

Still able to find the humor

I prefer to make my readers chuckle, if possible, but some have requested an update on my daughter and her breast cancer progress. And if you have the right attitude, there is actually humor to be found in the madness.

For instance, there is a marvelous website,, by a young breast cancer survivor with a list of reasons why she is glad she had a double mastectomy.

The top reason? She no longer has nipples, and so, can legally go topless anywhere she wants.

She exercised that right at Halloween, going topless as Bride of Frankenstein, with mastectomy stitches across each breast.

It was, actually, pretty awesome and it made my daughter laugh.

My daughter will shortly begin 20 weeks of chemotherapy, followed by radiation.

As I mentioned, the docs want very aggressive treatment because she is so young.

We expect that to begin in about two weeks. We are still waiting for test results that will show if she carries the BRCA cancer gene.

Under the “Things I Never Expected To Deal With” category, we can now add not only breast cancer but also the need to think ahead about one’s ability to have babies in the future.

Chemotherapy can be very hard on the reproductive system, and the doctors recommended that my daughter harvest and freeze some eggs.

It was a big emotional and financial decision, but she and her new husband decided they wanted no regrets and she has begun the 12-day process.

She gets to have two injections every day, given by her brave and stalwart husband, who is quite capable but felt awful when she cried a bit during the first shots.

As if she isn’t anxious enough, she gets to be overloaded with hormones for a week — and you know how well we ladies do with excess hormones.

Our hearts were then deeply touched as a friend set up a GoFundMe site to help her pay for the very expensive, and not covered by insurance, procedure. If anyone is interested, the site link is The outpouring of support and affection has been extraordinary and we all feel pretty loved.

Meanwhile, because her immune system will be so compromised during chemo, I am in the process of sterilizing the guest room and bath where she will stay and figuring out how to buy spray bleach cleaner by the industrial drum.

As her mom, I wish I could take the whole thing onto myself, but in lieu of that, I have found my inner strength and am wielding it relentlessly. I am surrounded by the most gracious, generous, amazing women, all ready to lend a hand at a moment’s notice. Several have already gone through mastectomies and chemo, so have wisdom more precious than gold. I’m truly not sure what I would have done without them.

So, “Onward and upward,” as my dad used to say. Or was it “Things have to go sideways or up from here.” Are we laughing? Sometimes. My girl posted a photo shopped selfie with a pirate’s eye patch across her missing breast and armor on her shoulders.  Yes, I’m certain she is going to be fine.

Jean Gillette is a freelance writer with a warrior daughter. Contact her at [email protected].