What Was It?

Today marks a year since I began chemotherapy.  And still I wonder, what was it?  What brought it on?

Perhaps it was some misaligned genetic code written in my cells before birth.

Perhaps it was the weed killer sprayed between my bare juvenile toes on the cracks in the front sidewalk
Or the summer clouds of DDT rolling through the neighborhoods in search of mosquitoes.

Better living through chemistry.
We still believe it.

Maybe it was the smoke curling upward from the ember of my father’s cigarette, that glowing ember bobbing through my room at night, assuring me Dad was home.
The liquid balls of mercury from the broken thermometer that we rolled around the table in play?

Or maybe it was the teenage years of nail polish
The adult years of hair color
Lotions, perfumes and toothpaste
The chlorine in the backyard pool and the water from the faucet

Maybe alcohol set the stage and the Pill acted its part.

Pesticides on the broccoli?
Hormones in the beef?
The everyday stress of every day
These old metal fillings in my mouth

The air, the water, the land
Hard to believe such beautiful things can kill.

God reminding me to live


3 Responses to “What Was It?”

  1. Helena Says:

    Julie, I like your blog.
    best from Helena of http://www.glamotherapy.com

  2. Sue Rickels Says:

    I know there is nothing in the literature to support my thoughts. Still, I’ve thought of your case and wondered if the dramatic hormonal changes at perimenopause aren’t in part to blame. We all know about hot flashes, mood changes, but no one prepared me for the autoimmune diseases and severe mania after my hormonal changes. Six months after my Julie was born, I developed a rare condition, morphea scleroderma. I knew the scarring must be related to the pregnancy, perhaps the pre-eclampsia. Now, the scleroderma website has peer reviewed articles relating it to a response to the fetus’ foreign protein.

    Within 6 hours of Emily’s birth, I had my first manic attack. It was amazing to feel energized an assertive, a different person, like taking a drug. Now, this is recognized as a rare, but recognizable reaction to the sudden drop in hormones. The same thing happened at perimenopause. I developed Hunner’s ulcer, a classic, rare and severe form of interstitial cystis, often considered autoimmune, and I had extremely high levels of anti-nuclear antibodies at that time.

    All this is for what it’s worth. And, a bit of my take on what may have triggered it.

    My trust is that your intrinsic good health, continuing to take care of yourself as you always have, and your excellent medical care will see you to a ripe old age!


  3. Julie Yamamoto Says:

    I wouldn’t be surprised if there is a connection there. I recall feeling a hormonal “shutoff” — as though a switch had been thrown — a few weeks after one of my pregnancies was over. And those fluctuations in hormones could very well explain why there’s such controversy about whether women in their 40s should have mammograms every year or every other year. Before 40 and after menopause, the guidelines are clear. It’s that period between about age 40 and menopause (average age at onset is 51) that presents the complex gray areas.

    Hormones in the form of birth control pills apparently can have the ability to change the density of breast tissue, but I haven’t seen much discussion of that. And very little discussion of dense breast tissue perhaps being its own risk factor for cancer. Even if its not a direct factor, it certainly does make it harder to find.

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