Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Please Return Your Tray to the Upright Position

I was quiet today.  Settling into my thoughts.  I had the house alone, no boys, just three girl dogs and me, their Mama.

I did my usual, made some breakfast, did some reading, watered the yard, took care of my finches, tried to wake up my right foot.

Wake up, wake up.

She don't wanna budge.

I sat out on the back patio, my chair in the shade but my legs and feet in the hot sun.  Wow that felt good.  A slight breeze blew.  Nature all around me.  Bees buzzing in the fennel.  A hummingbird french kissing hanging flowers.  Two doves up on the top fence, coo cooing.  The mockingbird protecting his territory from the scrub jay.  Dogs laying in the hot sun at my feet.  The gurgle of my fountain, a little bird splashing in it.  My finches excited about the lettuce I put at the bottom of their cage.  A lazy squirrel took a nap mid-fence.

If I had been videoing him, I could have won America's Funniest Videos, because he fell off the fence during his nap, just like in those videos where the sleeping cat falls off the TV.  Squirrel landed in complete surprise and gave a look like "What the hell?"

These sounds and creatures comforted me today, thinking about what I was thinking about.

There really is no way to make right what feels all wrong.  There is no way to ease into it. 

There are moments I still can't believe I was diagnosed with breast cancer.  Can't believe my immune system failed me.  Still find it hard to believe.

Is this a dream?

I rub my fuzzy head.  Nope.  I adjust the net on my arm and try to give a scratch to skin under plastic, careful not to tug at the line.  Nope.  I tap my right foot, you wake up yet?  Nope.  My eye twitches.  Nope.

It's not a dream.

This is happening.

There are moments when as much as your brain would like to deny what is happening, the weight and gravity settle on to you like a lead blanket.

I am a couple months away from the biggest change/adjustment/challenge and dose of reality of my life so far.

Deep deep breath. 

I posted on my favorite cancer message board about beginning the grieving for my boobies and nipples.  I received many great replies, and would like to share this one with you, from "Laurie."

Yep, Cancer sucks, and I know we would all gladly trade our nipples to save our lives, but they certainly are missed, almost as much as our pre-cancer lives!!!

This is something that I posted a while ago. It is a letter that a women on another board wrote to her boob the night before her mastectomy, I thought you would identify with it.


A letter to my right boob

I guess it was about 30 years ago that you came into my life. A sore little nubby that was exciting and disappointing and the same time. I remember when Mom took me for my first bra fitting and that old lady just treated you like an assembly line boob, not understanding what a big deal these little protrusions were to me.

We adapted through the teen years, you were probably very attractive back then wish I could remember better. A nice D cup that I tended to keep under wraps. I never wore fancy bras or low cut tops. I don't think I was ashamed of you, I just kinda thought you were my private business and never felt comfortable with the low cut tops that women wore.

Remember the wedding dress fiasco? I wore a different bra for the fitting and so my fancy wedding night undergarment made the wedding dress fit differently. The lady who did the alterations was not pleased.

Good times and bad times we have had. The nipple crushing incident with the large cans of tomatoes- sorry about that. Being stepped on and rolled on by babies jumping on the bed - sorry about that, too. The whole breast feeding thing, sorry about the crappy parts of that, the thrush, the being raw, the breast pumping, it was all a necessary evil.

Speaking of the breastfeeding, I do appreciate you stepping up to the plate on that one. I felt like a failure after having C-sections and you helped me feel redeemed by becoming a breast feeding champ. The nerf ball size engorgement, the crazy bras, the funky clothes, we made it through it all. I remember the last time I nursed my youngest daughter. Thanks again for all that.

Remember that thing that the one guy did, pretty cool, that is a memory of you that I will always appreciate.

Remember the time I had to redirect the guy since you slid downhill since our last encounter, funny memory, but not quite as pleasant. But it wasn't your fault, you fought gravity like a champ.

Oh and sorry for trying to make you do jumping jacks. Double D's should not have to put up with that. But remember how funny the kids looked holding their chest. That is how they thought you were supposed to do jumping jacks.

Now we get to the lump part. That morning in the shower, that panic, the brief denial, doctors, tests, drills, and finally the diagnoses-Cancer. You were once a novelty, then a sexual organ, then a baby feeding machine, then you struggled against gravity to maintain an air of vital womanhood.

Now you are a tumor to be analyzed, handled by strangers, bruised, painful and about to hacked off in a cold operating room. Where I once suckled my children will be replaced by an ugly scar. Men used to feel you and get excited about what was to come, now men in lab coats feel you and their face drops and they wish me luck on the cancer journey.

I don't hold it against you, we had a good run. I could have tried to have them carefully carve out the cancer and save some of you. Please don't take it personally, you are not my friend anymore, you have to go. I will not subject myself and my children to long treatments to try and shrink your poison so I can have some of you left. You are just too far gone, in my opinion.

Thanks for the memories, the good the bad and the ugly. It is weird, I remember the "growing pains", I remember the great naked times, I remember the breastfeeding sensation, and I am aware of the sensation of cancer cells growing in those ducts that once carried milk to my young. I kept feeling like I was lactating, but it was cancer cells filling up my breast. That weird arm rub women do when they are engorged, I did that because my breast was filling up the cancer.

You were a great tool, but now you are a liability. I am glad to have the memories I have but I need to make about 40 more years of memories. I mean no disrespect to you, but good riddance.

In about 24 hours you will be gone. Take all the crappy cancer with you please. Don't leave anything behind. Right now, I do have good memories, so retract your claws and go peacefully.

I hate thinking of them cutting you off and plunking you in a cold stainless steel bowl for dissection. But you were once cradled nicely, oh I guess I shouldn't blame you. You didn't do this to me. But better a boob than a brain or something important.

So, bye boob, I'll wear that hot pink bra you liked for you last day.

Thank God for the support of my family and friends and caregivers; I think it's gonna get bumpy.

Tonight Thank you God especially for my sisters who have also walked this path and now come to hold my hand, and pat me, and get pissed with me, and carry me and lift me up.

I pray I will find the courage to go through it,
keep the humor as I do it,
and when I'm done and come out the other side,

I will return the favor to someone else who has to hear the words "You have breast cancer."


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