But first…Magumba

Last ChemoThis is me after my final round of chemo. Unfortunately, after six months of treatment, there is no way to know for sure that there are no cancer cells. We can spend one billion dollars to make a telescope that can see through space to the beginning of time but there is no instrument that can detect individual cancer cells that have not yet regrouped and taken residence in another area of the body.

Since I am not a person of faith which makes me squeamish about counting on the supernatural, I cannot justify the mere hope of not getting a recurrence. So, I saw the radiologist last week. and he gave me the odds. If you stick me in a room with a hundred women with the same size and type of breast tumor and two affected lymph nodes, five years from now five of those women will be suffering from a recurrence and/or dead, even with radiation. Without radiation, 15 women will be in that position. So, like George Bush, I keep attacking the unseen and unknowable enemy. Unlike George Bush, I will be responsible only for the death of some of my good cells and not for the deaths of thousands of young Americans, in the process.

It’s really hard to celebrate the end of chemo when I’m facing 33 visits to the radiologist, every day, five times a week. My body wants a break, a chance to recover and regroup after massive surgery and six months of chemo, but that means giving potential cancer cells a break, giving them a chance to recover and regroup. I have to hope that my cancer cells are not as stubborn as I am in their fight to stay alive.

Thinking about getting radiation reminds me of that old joke: Two guys get captured by a violent tribe shouting Magumba! One guy watches his buddy suffer as they rip out his fingernails, cut off his dick, poke his eyes out and skin him alive, leaving him in a pile of fire ants to die. When they turn their attention to him, they ask him, “Do you want death or Magumba?” He chooses death. “As you wish,” says the leader, “but first..Magumba!”

Posted in Announcements, Breast Cancer.


  1. Cheer up my friend. Have you tried working with healing stones? I know this is hard. I took care of my brother in law during all of his treatments. My BIL is also autistic. He has lymphoma. 3 yrs in remission after his radiation. A pet scan shows were the cells are and if they have come back. He gets a pet scan every 6 months. They do it at the radioligist. Have you had one yet? I also have a cousin whom just had her 5 years clear of breast cancer, although her sister was not so lucky. You have many people rooting for you. You can do it! Positive energy is coming your way.

    Thanks Darla. Your BIL is lucky to have you. Congrats to your cousin! Sometimes it’s just the luck of the draw. I’ve had a PET scan and it came out clean, but that just shows cells that have regrouped. It does not detect individual cells. ~ Denise

  2. Golly gee, my sweet friend. I have so much admiration and awe for your resolve and grit. And I lack the words sufficient to express what I feel as you walk this path. Or maybe the feelings are so complex, I don’t know where to start… (you know, all the rage and hate and anger I feel towards the damned disease, and the protectiveness, tenderness, and love I feel for you…)

    Yes, I do my friend, and right back at ya!

  3. None of us know the right words to truly help in such hard times, yet when we care we try. You do seem more down, rightfully so. I think you were hoping that after all the torment of chemo, if you came out the other side that you would have had a complete victory over the bastard. It only seems fair. Instead, you were given more battles (radiology) and no guarantee. That Sucks!!
    I will say what I think, but I don’t claim to really have answers. I want you to seek out all the things that make you happy and embrace them, savor them, and focus mostly on them. Don’t dwell on the statistics! Plan on being a statistic breaker, period!
    Then, though you are not a person of faith (I am far from religious myself) realize you cannot control everything, AND perhaps there is a form of strength in the universe. Maybe you can release those things that you cannot control to the universe. All of us out here who care about you are also releasing our hopes and well-wishes for you back out into that same universe.
    I believe there is strength and hope there. When I face shitty things, it can help me to try and accept that it is something I must face, it will pass in time, and then I will embrace life more than ever.
    Please know I am not being trite, because what you have been dealing with is more than a “shitty thing”
    Keep your wit if you can. It is one of your Greatest attributes! You inspire people with your wit and written words. You have a gift πŸ™‚
    When should we have tea? πŸ™‚

    Thanks Char. I’d be happy to make you tea. Give a holler when you’re free.

  4. You keep fighting! that “instrument that can detect individual cancer cells that have not yet regrouped and taken residence in another area of the body”, will be invented and I want you to be around when it is!! Shout Magumba! at least they can’t cut your dick off πŸ˜‰ I love you <3

    Hmm, I don’t know about the dick thing. I’m pretty butch with this bald head!

  5. The Magumba story fits, but you remind me more of the second guy in THIS story, Denise: Two hunters get captured, and the tribal chief gives them each one last request. “I’d like a steak dinner,” says the first guy. After his dinner, the tribe kills him, skins him and makes a canoe out of his skin. The second guy’s last request? “I’d like a fork, please.” They give him a fork, he stabs it all over his body, yelling “You’re not making a canoe out of ME!” Fork the cancer, Denise.

    Hah! Only you, Cela! …Denise

  6. Denise I’m glad to finally be catching up on your writing, though I’m sorry your topic is not the most pleasant, to say the least. Thank you for writing about and sharing your journey through Magumba.

    My pleasure, Vickie

  7. I want to pinch those cute cheeks (on your face) and give you a big follow up Jewish Italian hug. It’s my first response. I’ll be relieved for you when it’s all done and finished and you’re not spending time looking forward to treatments. Then your subconscious can reflect on the great statistics that are in your favor, while your brilliant immune system, your miraculous fighting machine immune system, keeps doing its job to give you a good long life

    BTW as an aside, this is brilliant writing on your part. It’d make a really great book. Not kidding or trying to say something supportive, I mean it. Of course, you know I do already love your writing.


    Hey Paulette, thanks for the JI hug…and the clarification about the cheeks. LOL! Here’s to my immune system, determined little bastard!

  8. Many many miracle stories and you are one of those miracles! Not fun I am sure but plug away D–hope the radiation kills the f’ers! Always thinking about you!
    Thanks Teeeeeeeeeee! Miss your face. ~ Denise

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