So yeah, I said I would post after my surgery… but I didn’t say WHEN I would post, right?
Still can’t think of a better word than surreal for having two doctors create nipple nubs on my faux-boobies while we chat about things like the fact that my plastic surgeon is wearing a white dress and black heels, things to think of when naming children, and whatever else came to mind during the 90 min procedure.
When I left, I was given a set of foam “protector” pads, which I was to wear at all times, except in the shower. They also gave me a second set, as I had to wear until I came back two weeks later when I was to get my stitches out. It looked to me like I had on nursing pads… although I did a pretty good job of keeping something loose or patterned on top so that no one else would notice.
Two weeks later, nylon stitches out, and I still needed to wear the pads for 2 more weeks. Sigh. This went fine, and I finally got to dump them this week but I’m now having a little surgical complication… the scar under my right arm doesn’t seem to want to heal up. Last weekend it started to hurt, and it is now re-opened about 1/2 inch. Luckily, I was able to e-mail my doc a picture & she says it’s fine, just “normal wound care.” (aka, not infected, but kind of hurts)
So there’s my month in a nutshell. I also have the tattoo session scheduled, Dec 3.
The other excitement this week was my quarterly visit with Dr. Gadi. He reassured me that all is still going well, although there’s still no testing to do to make sure that really is still the case. I’ve had a couple of people ask me if I’m “in remission” now, and as I thought, that’s not the proper term for Breast Cancer — it’s more of a term for something more systemic like Leukemia or Lymphoma. For Breast Cancer, we say I am N.E.D. No evidence of disease.
So that’s where I’m at. NED. Dr. Gadi wants me to keep track of the headaches that I’ve been having, which are most likely either a side effect of VagiFem, or a side effect of LIFE, and not something more sinister.
The final thing he had me do at this visit was a blood test for FSH or Follicle-Stimulating Hormone. Evidently this spikes when you go into menopause… and since it’s been a year since I’ve had a period, I could officially be there. I got the test results Saturday, but without any context I don’t really know what they mean. If I am all the way in menopause, then he will likely switch me from Tamoxifen to something else, but I don’t think that would take away the hot flashes, special memory moments, or atrophy down south. I’m a little scared of the extra time in menopause and the toll it can take on my body to not have estrogen, but I’m in this for the long haul. I need to not borrow trouble.
Finally- I’ve picked out my Halloween costume this year, in large part based on my lack of need for a wig to pull it off.
I feel guilty sometimes for not writing more often. After all, if I don’t write, my parents and the 3 or so other people who follow me regularly don’t have the latest.
But more often, I feel like maybe I should quit. There’s not so much that’s interesting to say these days. And my reflex to belittle my own experience kicks in. Shouldn’t someone who had it harder than I be the one people are hearing from? I was only stage IA. People keep telling me I’m brave or awesome or whatever. And that isn’t why I’ve been sharing.
I reassure myself, that even if people are friends on Facebook where I tend to post links, they have every choice not to click if they don’t want to listen to me babble. But to me, babbling is like breathing. It’s just something that I do. And I still feel like if there’s one person, survivor, family member, whatever, who I can help, then I’m babbling for a cause.
So then I get all twisted up in a vicious, guilty-if-I-don’t-write, but guilty-if-I-take-time-away-from-anything-else-to-write, cycle. Because if I write, I’m taking time that’s all about me. Since this blog is, in fact, all about me.
So I’m officially telling my self to suck it up, and let go of guilt either way. If anyone wants an update & I haven’t posted, I’m pretty easy to get ahold of. And if anyone doesn’t want to read, it’s pretty damn easy to not open the link.
Because to lie to all of you, that’s the thing I’d never do.
Please don’t stop writing! I love your writing, even if sporadic. You had breast cancer and faced it with such courage. You’ve demystified this huge process. Too often we only hear about the absolute end of the road worst case ever stories. I appreciate hearing a story of “normal” cancer and what it looks like.
Plus, you still had cancer, don’t diminish it! You have been so amazing and inspirational and I truly am grateful to have been able to follow along.
*Blushes* I honestly wasn’t fishing for complements, but thanks. 🙂
You have something valuable to say. Thanks for sharing it with all of us. Keep going! 🙂
Love the Halloween look – and yes, there are worse things you could do – like letting guilt change you into something you are not! Wished that every time someone read your post a bell would ring to give you “wings.” I find your honest posts fascinating and inspiring…plus helpful (fyi: I went through early menopause in my late twenties…o yeah I remember that FSH test well). May your scar heal up soon and may your tattoo session go well 🙂 Carry on with gusto xoxox