A very honest and wonderful story by a new friend, Rae, about her experiences with breast cancer. I hope you’ll stop by her blog!
I have thought long and hard about this. Should I? Shouldn’t I? But I am now 2 years clear of cancer and I feel it would be a good way to celebrate that.
So here goes…
When I was first diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer 2 years ago (aged 47) I thought my number was up. I had lost my Mum (lung cancer), my Sister (oesophageal cancer), two Aunts (breast cancer), an Uncle (lung cancer) and my grandmother (breast cancer) throughout my life. So for me cancer has never had a “happy ending”. In fact on my medical notes it states “negative experience of cancer”. I honestly believed there was no other experience of cancer.
Whilst I am overjoyed that I am 2 years clear, I have run through the whole gamut of human emotion. Guilt because I “survived”, elation because it didn’t “get me”, fear because…
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A very sweet friend of mine, Patty at Scarlett 79, was kind enough to nominate me for this award. I told her I’d play along, but since I’ve shared ad nauseam about my breast cancer and resulting baldness and now short white hair and new boob (and that was just since August) I cannot imagine there’s much mystery remaining!
Rule 1: Put the award logo/image on your blog.
Rule 2: List the rules.
Rule 3: Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
Rule 4: Mention the creator of the award and provide a link as well. Okoto Enigma’s blog
Rule 5: Tell your readers three things about yourself.
a) I adore writing fiction, though I started my blog as a book reviewer, hence the name
b) I love sports, especially the Chicago Cubs baseball team, and have ever since I was a teenager taking the El to games! (The El stands for elevated train, which is a form of public transportation in the Chicago area)
c) My favorite color is turquoise, though I love black clothing
Rule 6: You have to nominate 10 to 20 people. Nope. If you would be so kind, please copy this and tell us about yourselves if you are so inclined. It’s not that I don’t want to, I just hate to make people feel obligated…
Rule 7: Notify them.
Rule 8: Ask your nominee any five questions of your choice, one weird or funny question.
My five questions to answer:
What is your dream job? Naming the nail polishes for OPI. Or being a published novelist.
If money were no object, where would you live?? Hawaii. Would you work?? Only at getting a tan!
What is your favorite kind of animal??? Dogs. Do you have any animals?? Two sweet old dogs
East Coast or West Coast?? I like both, have spent more time on the East Coast
What is your favorite food of all time??? Crabcakes
Who’s going to win the Stanley Cup ??? I cannot bring myself to care after the Chicago Blackhawks were eliminated 😦
Rule 9: Add a link to my best post. This is the first fiction piece I posted.
No boob pictures, just my short, mostly white hair. I’ve been going out without the wig or hat and a dear lady told me how much she loved my hair and asked me if I went to a barber for this look! I’m kind of liking the white, hope it doesn’t get to be some bizarre, unattractive gray color down the road. But at least I’m getting hair! And you can’t tell from this picture, but my lashes and brows are coming back, too. And from the looks of it, I need more sleep to get rid of the bags under my eyes 🙂
On Friday I had my last big (haha, no, just regular size!) breast reconstruction surgery and it went well. I was more nervous than about the previous surgeries, mostly because of the complications I’d had, I guess. I talked my wonderful plastic surgeon down to just cutting open my right boob to exchange the temporary saline-filled expander for a permanent silicone implant. Okay, that was a little dramatic. There’s actually just an incision under my boob. I’m back to wearing the surgical bra and have a drainage tube in, but only one this time. A little achy and sore, but not terrible pain.
But what he also planned to do was suction some fat from my abdominal area and insert it above the implant to further soften the look. And do what’s called a mastopexy to the left breast to perk it up a bit. Or a lot, as the case may be. But I stayed firm (haha, cracking myself up, may just be the pain pills!) and nixed all that because I couldn’t face the thought of developing clots or unnecessary bleeding like before. But he did explain that I could choose to do the mastopexy at a later date if needed and it would still be covered as reconstructive surgery. I checked with insurance and that’s true.
So then he asked me to sit up (we were in the little curtained off room where you wait before outpatient surgery), me in my paper gown, so that he could draw the incision mark under my boob with that lovely indelible marker. And with totally detached clinical appreciation he said to me and hubby, “These are probably the best match I’ve seen with a one-sided surgery!”
I completely chose to believe that he meant my unaided boob was unbelievably perky all on its own and rather closely matched the surgically enhanced one. So I awkwardly said, “Thank you?” and we parted to meet up later in surgery.
Then a nurse started my IV, pushed me and my gurney to an operating room where they slid me onto a table exactly the width of my hips and had me breathe into an oxygen mask a few times. And that’s all I really remember…
These picture are all selfies, all taken last week. Every time I look in the mirror, I feel like I’m fading away a little more. If I had light eyes, I’d have no features at all!
What little hair I have is nearly transparent and my lashes and eyebrows are falling out now. I can only look somewhat normal with make up and a wig. I won’t lie, I don’t like the way I look right now.
Yes, I know it’s temporary. Hopefully, although now I’ve been reading that eyelashes sometimes come and go after chemo. Yes, I only have one surgery left. If there are no complications. I think I’m getting nervous and I’m just tired of dealing with everything and, God, I want my life back!
Please don’t tell me I’m brave or an inspiration. I don’t feel like I am. What I feel like is a big whiner. Yes, I know I’m entitled to my feelings. But I feel even guiltier having them. I know trading my hair for my health is something I would do again tomorrow if necessary. I’m just tired of looking like this.
Probably you should just ignore me and I’ll get my sense of humor back soon. And I’m only leaving these pictures up for a day or two…