Another anniversary. Today, I'm celebrating (celebrating? commemorating?) the one year anniversary of my bilateral mastectomy with tram flap reconstruction. That translates to BOOB JOB AND TUMMY TUCK THAT IS COVERED BY INSURANCE. Okay, the drawback might be that pesky cancer, but you know I'm a look-on-the-bright-side Pollyanna. And as such, I have decided to list ten positive things about having breast cancer, and, in the interest of equal opportunity, ten negatives.
10 POSITIVES OF HAVING BREAST CANCER
1. Obviously, the boob job and the tummy tuck. The incisions have healed nicely and the scars are fading. Boobs perky. Tummy flat.
2. No more pain from the fibrocystic disease. And I had constant pain, which varied from mildly uncomfortable to can't stand for my clothes to touch me. No more boobies, no more pain.
3. New friends (Vol. 1), from SueAnn at the infusion center to Suzanne the Tattoo Guru at the plastic surgeon's office.
4. New friends (Vol. 2). These are my bloggy friends, whom I have met because I sat down at the computer and decided to spill my guts and publish the results on-line. All of them are brilliant and funny and unbelievably supportive of my little efforts, such as:
Your Daily Dose of Damn!
A Fly On Our (Chicken Coop) Wall
My Half Assed Life
renee a. schuls-jacobson's blog
Don't Chew On The Dinner Table!
Underachiever's Guide To Being A Domestic Goddess
5. Old friends. I have the BEST support system ever. EVER.
6. Several friends have come to me to say they got their long-overdue mammograms because of me. REMEMBER, IF YOU CAN'T SET A GOOD EXAMPLE, THEN SET A REALLY, REALLY BAD ONE.
7. A continuation of #6 - several friends have come to me for advice when their routine mammograms showed something "suspicious." The first thing I tell them? Don't borrow trouble. (See? Pollyanna.) Thankfully, each time, my friends have checked out just fine. Which is why you don't borrow trouble in the first place.
8. I don't have to wear a bra. Did you hear that? I DON'T HAVE TO WEAR A BRA. A cami will do nicely, thank you.
9. Thanks to my treatments, no more visits from Aunt Flo.
10. FLAT TUMMY AND AWESOME BOOBIES. I realize I already listed that, but it bears repeating.
10 NEGATIVES OF HAVING BREAST CANCER
1. No feeling in the boobular area. None. Nada. Just peripherally. They're all show, baby.
2. Continued pulling and pain in the tummy tuck area, mostly when lying down and trying to sit up. Or turning over in bed. Oh, and when I SNEEZE. Will I EVER feel like my innards aren't ripping apart when I sneeze?!
3. This is my daughter's legacy. I thought it was bad enough when fibrocystic disease was going to be her destiny, but now she'll most likely have that along with an increased risk for developing breast cancer. And words cannot express how much I wish I could change that for her. I'm sorry, baby girl. This is one thing Mama can't kiss and make better.
4. The calf pills (also known as calcium supplements) I have to swallow every morning, along with Vitamins D and E. Plus the Metamucil I gag down to counteract the side effects of the calcium. The wee little aromatase inhibitor tablet I take every morning as part of my treatment is nothing by comparison.
5. The side effects of being chemically thrown into menopause. Hot flashes. Weight gain. Loss of muscle tone. Hot flashes. Occasional moodiness (in a not-ordinarily moody person). Hot flashes. Did I mention hot flashes? And side effects just from the Arimidex and Zoladex treatments. Bone aches. Insomnia. Brittle fingernails. Dry skin.
6. Okay, the occasional moodiness needs to be addressed further. Most of the time, everything is fine, and I'm my usual optimistic self. But if something upsets the status quo, I fall apart. You're not likely to see it. I don't like to cry in front of other people, because I am a hideous crier, so I've grown pretty good at holding it together until I am alone. Then one tear escapes, then another. Sometimes, it continues until there's not a drop left. And sometimes, I wouldn't even be able to tell you why I'm crying (that is, if you saw me and asked, which you wouldn't because I'm a ninja crier).
7. I haven't slept the night through since two nights before I had my surgery. That's one year plus two nights of lying awake every night, sometimes for hours at a time. Oddly enough, once I get myself out of bed in the morning, I don't feel sleep-deprived. But it's a sleep pattern that I am not happy with. I used to have vivid dreams all night that I would describe with great detail the next morning to my husband. (I know HE doesn't miss my crazy-ass dreams, but I do!)
8. My medical expenses are astronomical. That monthly shot of Zoladex alone is $1,400.
9. I can never donate blood again. Or be an organ donor. I'm tainted.
10. Every single day, I'm at least a little bit scared that the cancer is going to come back somewhere else. It's a shadow that will always dance over my head.
And there you go. Happy birthday, boobies!
|Me, completely lit on narcotics, 3/30/12|