Monday, November 6
So my surgery was last week and I'm sure many of you would like to know how it went. It went really, really well.A few of you already know that because you've checked in, so thank you. I think I've been reluctant to write about it because I'm still processing everything.
I arrived at the hospital at 6:30 am, I was the first surgery of the day for my surgeon. I was gowned and put in a waiting cubicle by the nurses station and the anesthetist and the nurse who would escort me came to say hi. Then the doctor who was going to watch the surgery came in and initialed the breast that was going to go. Then my surgeon came in and said hi to me and asked me how I was feeling and if I was ready.I nodded, too choked up to voice anything. I was actually afraid, but I didn't want to show any fear. I wanted to be strong. My nurse then told me it was time to go and she walked me down the hallway to the operating room. I started to cry when she was walking me and she squeezed me and said "Don't cry sweetheart, look at me, I am 67 years old and two years ago I was where you are, and now look at me. I am fine, and you will be fine too". It did feel weird walking into the operating room and getting up on the table myself. but everyone was cheerful and efficient and my I was not conscious long. My recovery from the anesthetic was a little longer than they predicted, I was in recovery until almost 3 o'clock and the nurse I had was wonderful. Nurturing and concerned, clucking around me like a mother hen she was perfect. Home was fine too, I wasn't feeling to groggy, but I did try to eat a few hours after getting home and I got sick. The drains were a pain in the ass and really weird. I just don't need to see the internal fluids you know? But I was up and atem a few days later, much to the surprise of my friends and family. All week people brought food over and checked in. I got my drains out exactly a week after surgery and I still have the steri strips on as you can see in the above picture. Much to my own surprise and secret relief, I don't miss my breast. Of course now that it's gone I can no longer be in denial about the shape my body is in 'cause it's not hiding under my boobs. But that is for later. now I need to rest and stretch my arm and continue recovering from chemo as well as surgery. Pathology report is on Nov. 22nd.
Saturday, October 21
And of course most of you know, that I had to have my cat Luccia put down a few days ago. My life is a classic Country tale of woe right now. Old country, not new. Me and Hank Williams, hangin out eating 'Gator Fritters, on the tailgate of a gas guzzling flatbed.
I first heard Hank Williams when I was 8 years old. My Mom had a contract at a logging camp in Bella Coola to be the cooks assistant and I went up and lived with her for a while. The Foreman of the camp, Fritz, loved country music and so did his wife Sheila, the Cook. It played over the speakers most days in the mess hall or when Sheila and my Mom were cooking. They also had a black and white bobtailed cat that would only eat salted raw eggs. And a huge newfoundland dog that I used to ride around the camp like a horse, until he got smart and started taking swims in the sewage pool, so I wouldn't come near him. Anyway, I digress. I guess my point is, even when your life is a country song, there are good things there.
So far the "only" lingering effects of the chemo are fatigue, I get tired by 1 or 2 o'clock usually, and some aches and pains that are residual. I feel old. I know I'm not but I never felt middle aged before now. I guess I still had some residual immortal feelings from my youth, not now. I've been thinking about death a little more lately, particularly my death and for the first time, have been quite scared about dying. In the middle of the night, if I wake up, I lie there, mulling over all the scenarios of where my life could lead after this. Most of them are good, positive places, but there are some dark ones too. What if my cancer did actually matastasize and it's somewhere else? What if I get cancer in the other breast? What if I can't change my eating habits and exercise to a satisfactory degree? What if I die? what does dying really mean? What does it feel like? where will I go? What have I done, in this life, that is of any significance ( I mean outside of procreating).
I think it's quite natural to have all these thoughts, and it has opened up some space in my mind, for me to try and find the answers to those questions.
My surgery will be at 8 am on Tuesday the 24th. I will be in surgery about 2 hours, with a recovery of about an hour and then I will be sent home. With good drugs. L is taking the day off and is going to be with Jake all day, and I will squirrel away in the bedroom and rest.
I just remembered the dogs name. His name was Jed.
Love to You. I'll write soon.
Friday, October 6
So you get the news. Breast cancer, FUCK. The first worry(worries), what stage is it? how big is the mass? has it spread? will I lose my whole breast? what about the other one? will I survive this? how do I do this? Will it come back?
And then you get to tell all your friends and family your sick and they get sad and worried because they don't really know what it means, unless the have a survivor or two in their families (and there are A LOT) That's one of the first things you learn about this disease (all cancers not just breast) there are a FUCK of a lot of sick people out there, Holy Shit.
So we move forward...I'm going to go to the Lymphedema clinic at the hospital and get all the facts about everything. And I have come to terms with the idea I'm not going to look conventionally "pretty" right away in the booby department (which is a dream I carried through chemo so I could cope with all the information). In fact I may decide to stay flat instead of reconstruction, who knows? None of my clothes now really have a spot for breasts anyway, I mostly wear stretchy black clothes and sports bras, so there you go. I have a feeling that my scar will be something to feel proud of, and worn with pride. Once I get through the mourning process and getting used to it being gone. (does that ever really happen?)
Anyway. I love you all. Thank you for your support and love. Onward we go.
Friday, September 22
Being diagnosed with cancer has actually helped me. Can you believe it? So far it has been a crazy, sad, hopeful, determined journey. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying, "hey, you should try cancer sometime, it will really change your life!" but it has. and not in a bad way.
first of all cancer has made me a nicer person to the general world. And most importantly, nicer to myself. These are some of the things I have learned:
-I have a very hard time asking for help. ( I am figuring it out)(the first few experiments have gone well!)
-I used to feel like I shouldn't burden people with my state of mind, or my huge emotional feelings. ( I have started to trust, that when people ask me how I am, they really want to know)
- I thought I was fat. In every single picture ever taken of me (after high school). And it was simply not true. (That's why I posted that cheesy motivational poster thing on my FB wall about wanting to be friends with my body)
-I am really strong. Like, stronger than I know. I keep having this flashback of me as a kid, I'm not sure what age, maybe 7? of me trying to get up and going on our friends windsurfer. It was way too big for me, and every time I stood up and grabbed the sail bar to go forward, I would fall over into the water. I did this for over an hour. over and over again, I believed, that if I could just get up on it in the right way and hang on, I could go. I couldn't/ wouldn't give up.
-Even though my face and hair and body are different/changing, and soon I will missing my right breast, I have a partner who will stay with me, through thick and thin.(thank you B)
-My Toronto "family" is here for me. Other parents are helping with childcare, my neighbors are bringing us meals, my co-worker from Lilliput Hats has made me bone broth and borscht every time I have chemo, my friend and ex boss has come by with meals and she and her Hubby have been checking in all through this process, not to mention L, who comes over almost every night and washes the dishes and takes Jake for the weekends that are the hardest for me. T came and brought groceries, and cleaned my kitchen. It is amazing. It completely blows me away, every time someone reaches out. Shout out to #hospitalglam gals and especially Rosalind, for pain and stress management tips as well as moral support, and her adorable kitty Louis Cat-tors (sp)
-My international "family" and my friends back home have been amazing at sending cards and love. (and flowers! Butch Kaplan!!)
-I am learning who my real friends are and who will be there no matter what.
- My blood family, my Mom, my Dad my Aunts, my cousin Dale, are awesome. They have all been loving and supportive. And they believe in me.
-Kids are resilient (well my kid is) he is lovely, happy, and not phased in the least about Momma's changes. And my kid is going to be ok.
-eventually I will feel normal again.
Take care of each other, we are all we've got. J.