May 19, 2017
Great news today! Doc called to say that my pathology report showed no cancer in the left breast and all lymph nodes were clear. Tumor in the right had shrunk to about 1.5 cm (1/2 inch) and they got it all.
Hopes remain high that my oncologist will not recommend radiation.
While I know it may be necessary, aside from making for a longer and more painful recovery, it takes up a lot of time. Daily visits to a radiation facility over a period of five or six weeks will definitely put a crimp in my summer plans.
It scares me and I’m tired of being brave. If it’s selfish to just want to be done with all this, then so be it.
It felt great to get back to the gym today for some slow and easy treadmill time, an oversized t-shirt concealing the bandages and drains.
Call me a diehard, but I feel pretty good and the need to move around and feel alive is compelling.
An area under my left arm where the drain tubing exits is starting to bug me, but otherwise I have no pain to speak of. My chest and underarms remain numb and I’m told the feeling may or may not come back as nerves heal.
OK. I can live with that.
May 23, 2017
It’s official…100% of my eyebrows are now gone. Time to call on my art background to sketch a pair. Lashes are gone as well, except for a couple that have been stubbornly hanging on since the beginning.
My brave little soldiers!
No matter what kind of supposedly waterproof, smear-proof, tear-proof or gym-proof makeup I try, nothing sticks to bare skin. It drips and falls away within a few hours, having no hair to cling to and I may be a bit heavy-handed in my efforts to compensate.
I feel like a drag queen.
I look nothing like the beautiful models you see in ads for chemo caps and such. A set of false lashes waits in my makeup drawer, but I just can’t do that yet.
Why are chin hairs so quick to return when other body hair is still deserting ship? Well, except for that one long one you find randomly sprouting from your thigh. Auaughghgh!
Meanwhile, below the neck….
Orders are to leave bandages in place till my first post surgery visit, but I can’t resist a peek. I thought I’d be squeamish about it but curiosity wins out.
Deep breath. Here we go….
It looks pretty good, considering I’m peering at a bunch of staples and stitches where my breasts used to be, neatly done, like the fine needlework of a seasoned quilter. I’m impressed. He did a nice job.
It looks like he listened when I emphasized that I didn’t want reconstruction and stitched me up with no extra skin. That’s a huge relief because some surgeons assume you really do want to reconstruct, even if you insist you don’t.
They leave ample skin to place implants when you finally come to your senses. As if a girl my age doesn’t have enough extra, sagging skin.
Don’t even get me started.
Bright sunshine and warm temperatures today made it impossible to stay in the house, so, donning my wig/baseball cap combination (yes, it’s all one piece!) and sporting an oversized hoodie and t-shirt to conceal padding and drains, I set out on a walk.
No breasts, totally bald and a belly bulge from the drains.
Believe it or not, as I made my way to the mile point and back, not one but two separate trucks passed by, the drivers letting out wolf whistles and waving.
All I could think was “Hey, big boy, my drains need cleaning. You up for that?”
And I laughed, and I laughed…
Seriously, though, I’m grateful to be able to take that walk. I’m thankful that most of the things I’m dealing with are more of an annoyance than anything other people face.
Sleeping on a wedge pillow, not being allowed to drive and being restricted to sponge baths when a hot shower would feel so great right now are nothing compared to losing limbs, constantly puking or sh##ing your guts out or struggling for every single painful breath.
I’m able to joke about inconsequential things like random hairs or lack of them and radiation crimping my plans because I know my road to recovery will be short in comparison, free of major obstacles and gnarly curves.
Still, that hot shower would feel really, really good…..
Photo from Pixabay