Hear Me Roar

 “A good many dramatic situations begin with screaming.”…Jane Fonda

Driving to yet another appointment for a dose of healing potion no. 18 (herceptin), I had the pedal to the metal, the music blasting and tears flowing while screaming at the top of my lungs.  Loud insufferable beyond the pale noises spewing from my inner most soul.   I know all of us have lost it at some point in our lives, screaming, yelling, and cussing at life while doing 80 down the freeway.  If not, please appease me.  My windows were rolled up but I’m sure the woman in the car next to me could hear my loud wails.  Maybe she just thought I was singing along to Adele, “I could have had it aaaaaaaalllllllll.” Tears are gonna faaaaaaalllllllll.”  “Rolling in the deeeeeeep.”   

Tears were falling all right.  Black streaks down my cheeks.  I was rolling in a deep dark sea of feeling hopelessly sorry for myself, full of regrets, angry at the world, and pissed-off that I had just spilled green goddess juice on my perfectly clean white shirt. 

Let’s face it.  I was having a bad day.  No one ever told me recovery from chemo would be so darn difficult.   It has been 80 days since my last treatment.  80 days around the world, headaches, body aches, weakness, nausea, anger, frustration and emotional meltdowns big enough to melt the Arctic and leave those poor polar bears without an iceberg to walk on.  

My doctor says it takes 3 to 4 months before the chemo will be out of my system.  I don’t believe her.  Not one bit. 

And to top it all off, I am officially in menopause, I still have 34 more herceptin treatments to go, (“little chemo’s” as I call them), two more surgeries, kids, family, bills, blah blah blah.  

I am not alone in feeling this way.  Apparently it is quite common to feel like shit after chemo.  I did a bit of research and found a cancer support website that states: 

When your treatment is finished, you may feel it’s time to get back to normal. However, this can sometimes be one of the hardest times to cope with. Recovery times vary and no one can say for sure how long it should take to get over the treatment and its effects.  Many people find that they feel very low and emotional at this time, when they had expected to be able to put the cancer and the treatment behind them.” 

Low is an understatement. 

But today while sweating on the elliptical at LA Fitness, painted in huge letters across the wall, these words screamed out at me like words flashing brilliantly on a billboard:

Deanne, “Never let weakness convince you that you lack strength.”

OK, it didn’t say Deanne but it may as well have. How is it that I never noticed this before?   

Just because I feel weak today, does not mean I am weak.  So, I can’t remember what I did yesterday.  So what?  I have that unattractive floppy loose skin thing going on under my arms, reminds me of my Grandma, God bless her baggy skin soul.  So what?  I have pimples all over my forehead and behind my ears and on my chin, like a teenager in puberty.  So what?  My breasts are completely uneven, one trying to reach my belly button, the other my nose.  So what?  I have 13 eye lashes left.  So what?  My hair is growing back, grayer than ever and I kinda look like one of those tall thin African women you see in National Geographic (albeit beautiful I must admit.)  So what?  I am spending faster than Kevin can earn putting a huge hole in our wallets.  So what?  Thank you, by the way, Kevin.  A friend of mine told me that in Germany, chemo patients are offered a three month recovery retreat on an Island in the North Sea all expenses paid.  Is this true Alan?  Alan is a friend of mine undergoing Chemo in Germany right now.  If yes, I will hop on a plane tomorrow.  Anyway, back to my rant.  So what?  I am strong.  I am invincible.  I am woman.  Hear me Roar god dammit!  

I refuse to feel sorry for myself for one more f#$!@& minute.  Instead, I have empowered myself.  Today is the first day of the rest of my life.  Something we need to remind ourselves every day.  I worked out with Brad, my personal trainer, I guzzled my green goddess drink without spilling, I did my dry rub, ate a huge organic salad and took my supplements.  I am popping more pills than Charlie Sheen.  At least my pills are green and clean.  

Webster says recovery is the act or process of recovering, esp from sickness, a shock, or a setback; recuperation; restoration to a former or better condition; a return to a normal state of health, mind, or strength.  Key word here is process but I don’t care what Webster says, recovery is a bitch.  B-I-T-C-H in capital letters.   

And, according to the Us Marine Recruiting office, “Pain is weakness leaving the body.”  Brilliant propaganda!  Nonetheless, that explains it, the tears, the meltdowns, the screaming.  Weakness out, strength in. 

I am strong.  I am invincible.  I am woman.  I am Deanne!

Hear me roar!


If you want an excellent trainer, call Brad at (602) 475-1973.  Tell him I sent you!

15 Responses to “Hear Me Roar”

  1. Mom Says:

    OMG you have me in total tears! You are strong (much stronger than your Mom) you are invincibile (you will never be conquered) You are definetely a WOMAN (bring home the bacon, cook it up in pan) and I have always heard you roar. I so love you and again how much prouder can a mother be.

  2. Aunt Marilyn Says:

    Honey, I can’t think of another word to fit. You are unbelievable.
    You are indeed a strong lady and whether she believes it or not, you
    get it from your Mom.

  3. Debi Says:

    Girl – we are soooo gonna have to punk up I Am Woman by Helen Ready ;) You ARE strong, You ARE invincible – and you WILL get thru the down times! I Love You!

  4. Asia Says:

    DEANNE!!! You are such an inspiration, such an amazing person. You literally inspire me in every situation of doubt or trouble I come across. Not sure if I said this before, but I think a “What Would Deanne Do?” shirt is in order.

    It’s been both a hard and beautiful journey we’ve all witnessed you going through. I’m sure we’ve only been given a peephole into what it’s been like for you. What’s certain is that you are loved and that you can do anything. Congratulations on your rebirth, mamacita! <3

  5. Jan Wood Harris Says:

    WOW! You set me straight today! I thought I walked with a certain strength and acceptance of this silly life but damn gurl, you just upped it! You are an inspiration, strong and funny, the perfect combination! Yes, you Rock! Thank you for sharing who you are, all of it!

  6. Angela Says:

    As usual I am in awe of you! Your raw expression is breath-taking. Thanks for sharing your vulnerability AND strength :)

    ps – your arms look pretty toned and rad to me!

  7. Deanne Says:

    Thanks Mom. I got the cook it up in a pan part down. Now I’m working on bringing home the bacon.

    Yes, Aunt Marilyn, I do get it from her.

    Debi, great idea. Love you too.

    And Asia, you inspire me too girl. I always have asked myself what would Owen Meany do or what would Atticus do? Two of my favorite books, A Prayer for OwenMeany and To Kill a Mockingbird. Never imagined someone would ask what would Deanne do? That is the biggest compliment ever. Ever! Thank you!

  8. Deanne Says:

    Thanks Angela! I have been working out every day but I think it was just a good picture angle. ha ha

    By the way, better to be raw than overcooked I have decided!!!

  9. Beckie Says:

    Deanne, your strenght and beauty move me. Your words, so passionately written, inspire me. You are an amazing women.

  10. Shawn Johnson Says:

    WOOT YEAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  11. clare Says:

    I’m going to risk going against the current and say that you have every right to cry and scream and be sad and angry and you don’t have to be strong all the time. You have every right to mourn the loss of your old self; the self that didn’t feel sick, who had a functioning brain and gorgeous hair and beautiful breasts. It is the equivalent of losing an actual person with all the grieving that entails. So be weak and sad and keep reminding all of us that you still need support and help and understanding because it is totally shitty and debilitating and disheartening. People have short attention spans and need to be reminded that while they get to go on living their lives you are driving back and forth on ugly freeways in order to have poison pumped into a port sticking out of your mangled chest. It’s OK to be sad and it’s OK to be mad and it’s OK to say you don’t feel strong. I really hate the implication that surviving cancer is all about fighting. It’s hard to fight when you want to throw up and you can’t remember what day it is. And so that’s where you need to remind us to be there for you.

  12. Mom Says:

    Thanks Claire! That was very well put!

  13. Deanne Says:

    I love that about you Clare! You are not afraid to go against the current.

  14. Gerri Says:

    We have a mutual friend (Wayne McCabe) that directed me to your site.
    He told me that he was reminded of me when he went to your site. I am honored. You are an amazing woman with such a way with words. You speak my language. I too am a Cancer survivor.
    I too say F*&K CANCER, and my hat is off to you!
    I hear you roar!!! I’m roaring back!

  15. Deanne Says:

    Hey Gerri,

    Somehow your reply got lost but I just found it and I am truly glad I did.

    It is so refreshsing to meet others out there that speak the same language. Happy to hear you are a survivor! Keep up the kick ass attitude and please tell Wayne I say hi.


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