After a friend told her she had a “bad mammogramma,” she naturally pulled her string bass into the tiny padded closet where she does her voice over work and recorded a short jingle: “Nah nah nah nah nah nah nah, whoo! She’s got a bad mammogramma, just as bad as it could be, but could have been worse.” The recording now lives on her blog alongside an account of a kind technologist who walked her through her follow-up mammogram experience.
“NEEDLE and BIOPSY are scary words when used by themselves. When used together, they become terrifying,” she writes to open a post about her diagnosis. “…I won’t forget the sting of the needle biopsy, but Michelle and Marcia’s care will be what I take home.”
For another post, she and her sister made a video homage to a scene from the 1962 film What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? where McLemore is served a plate of rats for a meal in her hospital room.
“You have to find the fun, and find the fun where you can,” McLemore says. “It’s kind of gross—the drains and all that stuff, but I’m just trying to be real. This is what my experience has been.”
Using photos and videos, McLemore documents the good, bad, and hilarious of 12 weeks of chemo treatments and the “fatigue, nausea, heartburn, and hair loss” that came along with them. “I cried many times,” she writes in her eighth post. “Too many pity parties to count. Sometimes a person gets to choose her poison. Sometimes not.”
Showing photos of drains installed after her double mastectomy, she says they gave new meaning to the phrase “getting a six pack.” There’s a video of her getting stuck with a needle, a humble ode of words to her caregivers, and a recounting of watching a Lifetime movie about a drug she is taking.
“Sometimes part of the blog is cathartic, it helps me process all that’s happening,” McLemore says. “And sometimes it’s extremely emotional, and sometimes I just find certain things so funny.”
This fall, McLemore completed her chemo treatments, was still taking the antibody Herceptin, and underwent an eight-hour breast reconstruction surgery. At the end of March, a PET scan will determine if the cancer has spread or not. One thing is certain: There are sure to be many jokes between now and then. “You just have to have fun,” she says. “You have to add it in when you feel really bad.”#