BadASS Victories

Victory! It’s my Chemoversary!

Cindy Coe (CC)
My BadASS Life
Published in
9 min readApr 15



CC standing in the bedroom with a striped pajama top, her camisole pulled up showing her stomach and wearing depends underwear and a take home butt pack containing a bolis of chemotherapy. The photo is labeled to show the location of her chest port, her smile, her depends, her chemo bloat, the chemo flowing through the IV and a speech bubble that says, “Celebrating one year since my last chemo. What a difference a year makes!”
It’s my Chemoversary! Don’t miss this!

We Cancer Survivors celebrate EVERYTHING, or at least I do! 🥂 I find that celebrating even the smallest victories each day really keeps me staying positive, hopeful and grounded in the NOW!

Chemo and Cancer Treatment in general takes a toll on the mind, body and spirit in ways that you just can’t explain unless you’ve been there. Once it’s over, it’s hard not to look back and wonder how on earth did I get through that?!?! But we just DO. We are always stronger than we know. 💪🏼

Many of us also have long-term side effects and permanent changes after treatment that require adaptation (like Lower Anterior Resection Syndrome — LARS — or lingering Chemo Induced Peripheral Neuropathy — CIPN). On the +++ side, there are so many things I’ll get to do this year that I couldn’t do last year and I can’t wait to have a summer full of fun and activity this year! I have never been one to sit still, but I cherish all of these things so differently now. 🙏

When I look back a year I’m surprised that the time has passed so quickly. I’m also surprised at all that has happened. It’s surreal.

The biggest victory of all for me was kicking cancer’s ass, but it’s also important to celebrate ALL of the other victories along the way…

Soon it will be the one-year anniversary of my Ultra Low Anterior Resection Surgery (ULAR) and ileostomy. Then a couple of days after that, my Cancer Rebirth Day (one year of being Cancer Free 💙, then in August, a year since my final reconnect and ileostomy reversal surgery! All of these events will be celebrated, remembered, honored and revered! 🎉

More Victories and the #UnexpectedRoadtrip

And there’s more! My most recent victories (chemoversary aside) are pretty big in my book.

I have always believed in celebrating milestones and achievements and even when I was a leader in the corporate world I believed in stopping to celebrate wins with my team before simply moving on to the next project. And yet, I like many, I am still guilty of not living in the moment enough. Looking into the future instead of being in the present. The world is busy and it tells us if we aren’t busy, too, we will get left behind, but this is fake news! So now I try to celebrate even the smallest things each day. Because I know what I’ve been through, I am very focused on applauding my body for doing some pretty incredible things that most people don’t even think about (like pooping and staying alive). Such as when I have a day that I only poop 3 times instead of 5, 8 or 12 I celebrate! 💩💩💩!

Back to the roadtrip. We are semi-retired (yes, that decision was made in part due to cancer, but it was always in the plan to retire early). Since the end of my treatment, we’ve been on three major trips in the US and Canada (each a victory in its own right), and all of which I will likely reference in future articles, but this one is happening as we speak.

We are currently on what we are calling the #UnexpectedRoadtrip (look up the hashtag on social media), This trip led to one of my proudest hiking moments of all time let alone as a cancer survivor! Being a BadASS just 7.5 months out of my last surgery, definitely makes these achievements sweeter, BUTT I would be proud of this one regardless!

The Backstory: True to our lives, we embarked on what should have been a short-ish journey to Albuquerque to have work done on our Roadtrek RV Van, “No Dick Van Dyke” (she has her own #). She needs some fiberglass repairs due to all the dirt roads we drive/live on making her shake, rattle and roll to the point of stress cracking. You might wonder why not get her repaired in Colorado? We couldn’t find a body shop willing or equipped to do repairs. Yep. Sounds crazy. 🤷‍♀️

Our first stop was Santa Fe, where we spent one night at the Posada de Santa Fe hotel in downtown. We had a certificate to use and we’d celebrated 21 years together in February, so we made it a belated anniversary celebration. We experienced a beautiful spring snow and walked the plaza under a canopy of big white wet flakes. It was a rare and beautiful stay (since Covid and cancer, we have only stayed in one other hotel setting, otherwise we are always in the RV with the rolling toilet). 🚐

From Santa Fe, we headed out to Albuquerque to the repair place. When we got there, the guy that would do our fiberglass repairs (retired and working part time) does the once over and then the RV repair shop owner comes out to evaluate a few other minor (inside) repairs to the coach and gives us an estimate. This repair shop has a great reputation and the owner is a stand-up guy. The estimate for the outside was higher than what we were expecting so he sent us down the street to a different type of shop because he said using a different type of material (other than fiberglass) for the repair would likely last longer. We decided to go with shop #2 for the outside repairs but they couldn’t get us in for a couple of weeks!

What to do? Doc has been ready to leave the cold and big winds that spring in Colorado inevitably bring and head for warmer weather for at least part of April. So we headed to Arizona! We were already halfway there, right? Unfortunately the weather didn’t entirely cooperate (Arizona didn’t get the turn up the heat memo until this week) but we made the best of it camping and hiking. Truth be told since menopause I prefer hiking cool anyway. 😂❄️

Victory! Climbing Picacho Peak in AZ

Celebrating this section of the most badass hike I’ve done in a long time! Much of the hike looked like this!

A big victory for me on this trip was climbing up and over Picacho Peak in AZ! This was the most strenuous climb I had been on in a few years, let alone a post-cancer climb, and I was super impressed with myself for many reasons: long hike — 7 miles (no bathroom), technical hiking/climbing, fast elevation gain (1500 in the first 1.5 miles), using my still frozen but getting better each day, frozen shoulder to power myself up and down using only cables on very steep rock faces, and for some reason my latent fear of heights stayed latent even though this photo does not do the steepness of this hike justice!

This was a huge day and the best part of the whole thing was that I wasn’t anxious, scared or lacking confidence at any point in the hike. I didn’t overthink or over worry. I took every obstacle as it came, trusted my body and somehow just knew that I could do it and it would be ok. Our bodies are amazing!

We’ve posted a short video of this hike on our social media. You can find it HERE.

Victory! A 5 hour drive with NO rolling toilet!

The Unexpected Roadtrip just got more interesting!

While we were in AZ, our van refrigerator quit working! So it got added to the repairs list. Once we headed back to New Mexico we dropped it off at repair shop #1 and as it turns out they are having a devil of a time getting the refrigerator out — it seems someone at the Roadtrek factory REALLY glued it in there. The plan was to stay at a hotel until the repairs were done but once they told us they needed more time we realized it would be cheaper to rent a car, drive home and drive back. We did spend a few great days in a hotel and getting to know Old Town Albuquerque, which was a blast! The point is we had to drive home WITHOUT my blessed toilet(s)! This is the first time I have been without a toilet in the car for this length of time basically since I got diagnosed — so November of 2021. I’m sure you can imagine what I was thinking. 😬 🌳💩🧻

It was crazy because we actually forgot all about my “condition” until the day before we were supposed to leave and it hit me at about 11 PM that night. It was a little like a gut punch. Not as much because of the fact that I would not have a toilet in the car, though that was stressful to consider — I knew that except for one stretch there are public restrooms along the way, which I don’t love but will use. The shock came because all of a sudden I realized this is my life now. Our lives often revolve around spontaneity (i.e., Unexpected Roadtrip), and It was the reality check of realizing I will likely always have to think and plan differently, now. I can’t just go and do and not worry about going. 🚽 Maybe in a year or two🤞🏼, but for right now a 5-hour drive or without a toilet requires planning: Timing of meals, location of public bathrooms along the route, extra supplies just in case, do I take Imodium?, etc.

I did a lot of talking with my semicolon, Baby R (my micro rectum) and my solar plexus chakra that night and morning! I was careful about how much I ate and drank and we left later so I could have my #2 office time before we left and I freaking MADE IT! I made it 5 hours home without stopping*! We were both SO freaking proud! Seriously. VICTORY!

Celebrate them! Big, small, infinitesimal and even if you’ve gotta make them up! You are worth every moment of celebration! I’m not just talking about cancer survivors either! ALL of us need to celebrate more and worry less!

Cancer may be gone but its lasting impact on my mind, body and soul are still driving my purpose. In that way, I view it as a gift. But I recognize not all see it that way, and that is OK! If you are still in it, know that I see you and I pray that soon you get your day in the post-cancer sun ☀️! I recognize that not everyone gets to experience the gift of being cancer free and to those people I say, “My hat’s off to you because you are superhuman in my opinion. Every day you are here is a victory! Keep shining your light.”

A note to those who have never had cancer: Please know that some chemo symptoms can last long after chemo ends (from months to years). Just because treatment is over doesn’t mean that everything goes back to normal. Please be compassionate to your cancer survivor friends and realize every BODY is different.

*On social media, it looks as if we are still traveling because when we are boondocking we tend to get behind on posting due to a lack of available internet.

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I am not a doctor. I am married to one, but she’s the other kind thus all opinions herein are my own and should not be considered as medical advice. Please, do your own homework, make your own choices and consult your own experts!

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Cindy Coe (CC)
My BadASS Life

Welcome to My BadASS Life! 1/2 @CCnDoc, Semi-retired CEO, Exec Coach, Author, Podcaster, Digital Creator & CRC BadASS, living bold after stage 3b rectal cancer.