The thing is, I really do like pink. I just don’t like the pinkification – trivialization – marketization – of breast cancer.

My name is Johanna and I was diagnosed with stage 3 triple negative breast cancer in March 2016. This statement does not do justice to the knock-me-to-my-knees shock, grief, and despair that had me prone sometimes for days. Suddenly I was on top of the Empire State Building with no glass, no safety guard. The wind blew and all around was a bare and open downward view into who knows what.

I had surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation treatments. After all of this, I was NED (“No Evidence of Disease”).

I then participated in a vaccine trial at the Texas Oncology Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, Texas. This had so much promise; it was a phase II trial of an alpha folate receptor vaccine that was designed to prevent recurrence of this very aggressive form of cancer.

Unfortunately, it didn’t work.

In April 2018, two years later near to the day, I was diagnosed with a recurrence. It was local, operable, and as I write this (January 2019) is currently gone. But this recurrence –  Cancer Round 2 – took more air out of me and stole the best whelps of my recovery.  Time feels suddenly compressed. The future has become a glaucoma. And this time around I’m a little less hopeful, a little less gung ho about the whole cancer “experience.” I’d been ready to put it all behind me, but now this.

Update: Diagnosed stage iv in April 2019. Currently in treatment, prognosis unknown.

Yet beauty and living continue too, no? And so this blog is about my experiences with cancer and with living, and the ways in which this disease has impacted my life. Anecdotes about my wonderful daughter and husband and friends and family will be woven in. It’s also about food, poetry, writing, crankiness, anger, grief, and all the other life that jumps or crawls or flits across the table. Silliness, too. Because when all else fails, Peter Dinklage doing pelvic thrusts in a mock-mafia bar can make the world feel all right again. Diversion: Space pants!

If you have cancer, if you know someone with cancer, I am so sorry.  It stinks. Pink stinks. Cancer stinks. I hope this blog offers some comfort, some solace to the questions, the shock, the wide wide pool of emotions that comes with this diagnosis. You are not alone.

Thank you for stopping by.

And, courage.


(I had another blog prior, and it is one to cringe by.

Here’s the link: I’m really embarrassed about the title.)

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