Monday, July 12, 2010

The Road Ahead, See Me Bending?

I can't tell you what a difference it makes in your life when you aren't nauseated all the time.  It's as if your brain starts coming back into focus.  My energy level is still very low, but I can deal with feeling tired.  My brain feels like it is waking up from the nausea coma I was in.

I've spent a few weeks now just getting through the week; some days just getting through the day.  Now that my head is clearing, I'm ready to start thinking about the decisions ahead and doing my homework again.

As I've mentioned my chemo will continue through most of September.  One week of "T" down, eleven to go.

I will be scheduled for surgery in October.  October is usually one of my favorite months.  Married in October.  Both boys born in October.  Of course, Halloween.  Scary will not be so fun this year with Flopsy heading towards the guillotine.  In the breast cancer chat rooms I visit, many women have elected to have what's called a BLMBLM?  Sounds like a BLT gone bad.  Ok so BLM, bi-lateral mastectomy, they take them both.  I suppose this is something I will need to consider.

As you know, I'm not a fan of overkill, but many of the women who have been through this felt relieved after having both breasts taken, and better symmetry achieved after reconstruction.  The science does not necessarily support the decision to remove what is perceived as a healthy breast.  Mastectomy does not insure that cancer will not return.  I think it has to be a consideration though since the type of breast cancer I have, lobular, is more likely to occur in both breasts.

If I just have the mastectomy, they will reconstruct Mopsy to look as close to Flopsy as possible.  If I kept Mopsy, I'd still have one nipple and feeling in that breast.  The new and improved Stepford wife Flopsy will not have a nipple, a facsimile will be tattooed on, and as my surgeon said "It won't be a sex organ, it will just fill your bra cup."  Yikes.

It's time I start deciding on a plastic surgeon.  A few of those recommended are not on my health plan.  I've got my homework cut out for me.

Another decision for reconstruction is will I have implants put in, or have a surgery called a TRAM FLAP?  That sounds like some kind of tram incident that has to be taken before the City Council or something.  Not.  It's where they use tissue and muscle from your abdomen to fill up your new boobies.  The advantages?  A bonus tummy tuck and a natural feel to the new breast.  The disadvantages?  Two major surgeries instead of one, sometimes the fatty tummy tissue puckers and does not have the more "perfect" look of implants.  Some women have also experienced numbness in the abdomen.

Sheesh.  My big decisions use to be what to cook for dinner, you know like fusilli or penne?  Which tie should I wear to work tonight and which earrings match best?  Should I wear my hair in a ponytail or all the way up?  Sparkle barettes or no?  Should I include the automatic gratuity on a large guest check or do I feel lucky?  Diet coke?  Diet coke with lime?  Diet Coke with Splenda?

I'd been thinking about having a breast reduction for some time, even thought about a tummy tuck too.  On the other hand, I never realized how fond of my body I am.

I never thought I would say that.

I mean, come on, there's good reason why I named the girls Flopsy and Mopsy, but there is an honor and distinction in knowing these breasts fed two beautiful baby boys.  And my tummy, after two C-sections, I mean, the only good place for a muffin top is on top of a muffin.  I have stretch marks on my lower tummy and its poochy.  It's funny, I look at my body differently now and appreciate how it has served me.  This ain't the army though is it?

My imperfect body has the scars and badges I earned when I became a mother, the best thing that ever happened to me.  I never thought I would feel such attachment to these parts of me that are me.  I always thought if I had the money for plastic surgery, I'd do it.  Why not look better?  Feel better?  Have your clothes look better.  I haven't been able to wear a halter top since 7th grade.

I guess this feels different.  Maybe I can work on letting go of the feeling that what makes me "me" is not the stretch marks, or even Flopsy, and I will not lose me by losing them.  What makes me is me, somewhere deep inside here, talking to you right now.

I sure don't feel like me without my hair though.  I can't imagine not having Flopsy, or both girls?  Oh boy.  They almost have a spirit of their own.  I will have to write about that one of these posts.  Like my ode to my hair.  Yes, I will write an ode to my girls.

It is still very surreal though, I will tell you.  Sometimes I look at myself and it slaps me in the face. WHACK!

I have breast cancer.  I am undergoing chemotherapy.  I have no hair.  I will be having a mastectomy.

Weird.  Weird.  Could not have seen this one coming.  This happens to other people.  Not me.

I'm still me though.  I think.  Getting used to this new me and life story.

This IS my story now.  While I'm thinking about the logistics and the decisions ahead, I will just keep working on embracing whatever unfolds.  What else can I do?  What else can any of us do?  I think John Lennon said "Life is what happens to you while you are making other plans."

and of course Buffy Saint-Marie wrote "I was an oak, now I'm a willow, I can bend."

See me bending?

Bend baby bend.

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