Dena Taylor | BOOK
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Breast Cancer, Row 7

Flight from Seattle to Anchorage Mom and I are sitting in row 8 reading as the remaining passengers board. An older man in front of us engages in conversation with his rowmate. He had breast cancer, he says. I prick up my ears. I know men can get breast cancer, I've just never (over) heard it first hand. In the span of about 7 minutes I hear him describe the cancer that was found a little over a year ago. He had chemo; it knocked him off his feet. He was 60. His older sister has had breast cancer too. He was tested for the BRCA gene. He encouraged his two daughters to get tested too. I couldn't make out the results. He went on tamoxifen for two months. He got a bloodclot in his leg. He is wearing compression garments. He has to get up and move every hour to prevent another...

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About that crap I'm drinking: higher stakes, greener foods

MOM: What is that crap you’re drinking? It looks awful! ME: I’m going to give you a chance to rephrase that. MOM: What is that…stuff…you’re drinking. It looks absolutely horrible. ME: And let’s try that one more time. MOM: Okay, what is that…you’re…drink…ing? [caption id="attachment_3298" align="aligncenter" width="147"] Compared to my fresh green juice (L) a glass of superfood does look pretty gross.[/caption] I was visiting Mom for the weekend, celebrating her impending birthday, and since she doesn’t have a juicer with which I could make my (almost) daily fresh green juice, I brought along a little baggy of my Superfood -- a drink powder made with organic green foods designed to “achieve the recommended 5-9 daily servings of fruits and vegetables.” I read about it in Kris Carr’s Crazy Sexy Diet, saw it on sale at the Whole Foods Market and snatched up a container. I admit, a glass of Superfood looks a lot like watery...

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Friends let friends (and friends of friends) look at their reconstructed breasts

The sharing and baring of breast cancer. The other day on the Twitter, “reluctant blogger” @chemo_babe asked her followers, “Have you ever felt brave by telling the truth of your cancer story?” She was referring to the courage it takes not to go through treatment, but to tell people you have cancer. “I wouldn't say brave,” I replied. “I have felt good, though, in that sharing may bring comfort, a laugh, or needed info to make a decision.” When I think of brave, I think of either the shy kid who gets up in front of class and stumbles through a God-awful poem about her pet gerbil or the soldier who consciously puts his or her life on the line for their country. Extremes, I know, but that’s what comes to mind. I’m not brave. I’m not a warrior either. Fucking breast cancer came along (and I hope that sounds unladylike because breast cancer...

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From afternoon snack to premature Rapture

I was going to tell you how to make this lazy sexy snack that is both healthy and satisfying for that 3pm lully sweet tooth (inspired by my love for Kris Carr's Crazy Sexy Diet.) About how it takes like 10 seconds of your day to make and is way better than a waxy candy bar or crack-sugar-smackaccino from the local coffee bar. About how you simply take a brown rice cake, slather some almond butter on it (or whatever nut butter you like) and sprinkle it with coconut shavings, and voila! A sweet, crunchy snack, and a good source of protein. [caption id="attachment_3352" align="aligncenter" width="225"] Ingredients: Brown rice cake, almond butter, coconut shavings (from the bulk bin).[/caption] But instead I'll tell you about the barfy-carpet in the Los Angeles International airport. Seriously, the image below shows one of the three color splashes that are part of the design carpeting the floors...

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My brain on chocolate strawberry smoothies.

Today is another example of a complete diversion and something I might do more often. It's about eating and drinking stuff that tastes good, is good for your body and doesn't take all effing day to make. We have better things to do, no? Why do I care? Because in 2006, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. It was the worst day of my life, which is to say it wasn't a gift. If it was a gift, it would've been a pretty lousy one, like showing up to someone's birthday party with a pinata full of cockroaches. Nobody wants to hit that. Nevertheless, it happened and now I'm doing what I can to prevent it from happening again, i.e., stepping up my healthy diet and exercise habits. In the wake of my diagnosis I found a handful of books I could relate to: Meredith Norton's Lopsided, Shelley Lewis' Five Lessons I...

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Tamoxifen: A User’s Glossary

Tamoxifeng shui – The pleasing arrangement of an industrial sized fan and block of ice next to one's bed Tamoxifender bender – What happens when my sweaty hands slip off the steering wheel Tamoxifeind – The dominant mental state of a hot flasher wearing a wool sweater, wool pants, wool socks and fleece-lined boots Tamoxiferno – My hot flashing ass Tamoxifence – The dubious moment before a hot flasher screams or cries Tamoxifanity - Various expletives used in describing a hot flash, e.g. It's so fucking hot; Shit it's hot; It's too damn hot Tamoxifetish – An unnatural desire to press a bag of frozen vegetable medley on one's bare flesh Tamoxifeud – The result of anyone standing in the way of me and my freezer Tamoxifree – How Stella gets her temperature back Tamoxifun – This word not found...

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Dear Santa,

This year, when you’re making your list and checking it twice, and finding out who is naughty and nice, you might also want to find out who had to go through chemo, who lost their hair and who had to endure months of nausea, and adjust your gifts accordingly.  If not, Santa, the ASPCA might find out just exactly how you and your reindeer stay so warm on those cold winter nights. You better watch out. Indeed....

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