It’s not easy. It’s not fun. It’s not cool. Most of the time I am ashamed of my body. Most of the time I avoid mirrors. It’s not because I think I am ugly, but it has everything to do with the scar that crosses my chest. I may not have chosen this path for myself, but it doesn’t make it any less hard. I feel people staring at me. I know I hold my self a bit differently than I use to and I do because I am not as confidant as I was 18 months ago. So this brings me to my point. I went to purchase a mastectomy bra, the lady measured me and helped me pick out a size. I sat in the room on the floor crying for about 10 min. Because fake boobs look fake. I tried the bra on and immediately had a panic attack looking at myself in the 360 mirror. How is this fair? I never wanted this. Now everytime I turn around I am reminded that I am not the me I was then, I am the me I am now. And now I need to work through the idea of fake boobs. I’m alive that’s what counts. Right?! Well after all of that emotion, the kind lady informs me “oh, we don’t actually sell these, they are just for show. ” Who keeps mastectomy bras just for show?. Ok my rant is over… But I still don’t have boobs.
Today is #worldcancerday and I wanted to mention it. Bring it to the attention of every one. The photo you see below is the photo of a younger me, and my beloved father. I never would have imagined that just a few years later I would lose him to #cancer . A cancer that started in his liver then eventually took over his body. I had never witness such a strong man become so weak. My hero didn’t become a real superhero to anyone but me. Because of him someone has a seeing eye dog. Because of him and the medications he used doctors would know what not to use on others going through the same thing. In my eyes because of him my world wAs a better place. I didn’t imagine that just 6 short years after my father’s death,I too would experience cancer. That I would have to fight for my life, and depend on the kindness of strangers to pay my bills or buy food. I never expected to be a fighter , but I am so, in honor of world Cancer Day raise a glass 🍷🍾🥂 and say a prayer for your loved ones who are suffering.
So, my fellow peeps, I DID IT! I made the decision and had a simple right side mastectomy. Some of you probably wonder why on God’s green earth someone would want to go through any of this pain? but the truth is, it’s better than feeling like your body doesn’t fit you. There was this feeling like I wasn’t complete. like I wasn’t even, I was lopsided. I didn’t feel whole and then there was the other aspect, medical side my doctors told me that because of my resection, because of 25 rounds of radiation that thinned the skin and blood vessels, I would never be eligible for implants/flaps. So now I have this wonderful scar 24cms long. And a hand widths under that on either side is a scar for the JP tubes. Those things need to be reinvented. Talk about torture, I caught it on a door , I sat on it I tank it trying to get changed….those things are a curse.
I just wanted to drop a note. I’m back. I’m breastless, I am proud to be momentarily (hopefully never to have again) cancer free.
I have spent the last 17 days trying to figure out how to represent breast cancer awareness month. I have to be honest…I can’t. No matter how much pink ( I hate the color pink) I wear, or how many people I tell. it comes down to one thing and only one thing. Self check. I don’t care how healthy you think you are. It can happen to any one. It happened to me. It’s happened to millions of people all over the world. I am lucky,I am alive to share my story. I have stage 3 invasive ductal carcinoma as well I have invasive carcinoma in situ. Cancer isn’t the smiling faces on tv, it’s not the brochure with the woman with a scarf on her head. It’s pain and sickness, it’s a lot of tears. It’s not having any fight left in you but still continuing on. It’s smiling and making the best of a horrible situation. The one thing that’s gets me everytime is when people say “at least it’s breast cancer, it could be worse.” Or”if you’re gonna have cancer you couldn’t have picked a better one “. There is NO GOOD CANCER. It’s all awful. It all kills and makes you suffer or fight for your life. All Cancer makes you sick. I think everyone should have a chance to hear a survivors story. So ask a survivor. That’s how you honor breast cancer awareness month.
Tears are something I try to hide. Especially if I am scared and angry. I’m not scared that I have cancer. I am scared that they keep finding things wrong with me. Spot in places they shouldn’t be. It’s like there is a constant threat hanging over me.
Today I had a CT scan with a drink and dye. The dye was put in through an iv and it was a weird sensation when it started to flow. The nurse described it as a hot flash. I felt like I had peed myself and like I was about to throw up I was so hot. It went to every lymph node and caused like a rush of heat. Then they scanned me. AGAIN.
The green waiting room is where I almost broke down. I held it together untill I was walking back to my car. I am scared. And I am a strong.
Have you ever had the feeling you aren’t being told everything? Maybe some detail was left out,but you can hear it in the person’s voice when they talk to you. I had that experience this morning. My oncologist called me bright and early to tell me that it was not pneumonia that I had. However she wants me to have a CT scan because there was a suspicious spot on my ribcage she wants to check. Then of course she said don’t worry it’s probably nothing but just incase we are being extra careful. Now I sit and think… Is it cancer? Could be. Maybe I broke my rib? Possible, this cough has been pretty violent some nights. But …..cancer. CANCER. Cancer. It’s like a headache pounding away in my head . Cancer, cancer , cancer. It’s only fear.
So I hurry up and wait. For a scan, for results,for tests,for radiation. I crave my normal life back, but I live in a new normal now. That involves doctors and test, and words I can’t pronounce, medications and needles that I question. My new normal is blood work every week and being woken up to a phone calls from my doctors. My new normal is several doctors appointments a week.my new normal is boring.
Today I turned 40 years old. Today also marks 13 days after my last day of chemotherapy. It was my first checkup with my oncologist since chemo ended, it ended in a whirlwind of tests. I hadn’t been feeling well since about my 4th chemo treatment,it turned out to be bronchitis which they now believe has turned into pneumonia.(fingers crossed my doctor doesn’t call) . I also has a echo cardiogram, which in all honestly felt like I got punched in the chest. He kept rolling over my scar which is slightly sensitive. Lol
I really have so much to be thankful for as I turn 40, I am thankful I wake up every morning (no matter how crappy I feel) atleast I woke up. I am thankful to have this experience, so that I could find out the meaning of true family and friends, so that I could see the generosity of others and so that I will remember to live. And in the spirit of living this week I am hitting up 2 concerts, the Trews and July talk. I long to hear music in its original form so seeing these 2 amazing Canadian bands in one week is a real dream come true. I am thankful that my daughter knows how strong I am.I am thankful that my daughter sees that even when times are tough,it’s not the end of the world. I am thankful that sometimes a smile can change my whole day.