After facing this reality, how can I come up with something inspiring and uplifting to say about the Big C? You know I can. I usually do with this blog. The reason for the delay in posting is that there were/are too many stories to tell and weeding it down to one.
The Boob Job
Nothing strikes at a female's femininity more than breast cancer. Even a passing thought of this particular cancer strikes questions like future sex appeal, future partner relationship impacts, and even clothing options.
Now I have always had large breasts on a petite frame. My twins always greeted you before I did. I was an EE after five children on a size 2 frame. You can see it right? I opted for a breast reduction because of back problems and was very happy with my size C breasts until 1998. Think 10 pounds each side removed. Granted at over 50, gravity was doing it's natural thing. Hey, even at over 50, I ain't dead yet.
I found a lump during a shower. Now I've always had fibroids so it would have been so easy to pass it off as another one, But this one felt different. Having battled cancer twice already I checked in with my family physician. He ordered a mammogram. Sure enough, it came back questionable. Always, always listen to that tiny voice in your head.
I was scheduled for surgery the next week. A long few days of agonizing discussions ensured. I decided if it was cancer to let the doctor remove all that he could find while I was in surgery.I would deal with the aftermath later. The idea of waking up after anesthesia, being told it was cancer, and having another surgery scheduled was too much. I wanted it out and done. A brave move? Not hardly. To me, it was a chicken poop way of not facing my fears until it was over or at least this part. Radiation and chemo would follow but I'd deal with that later. One crisis at a time.
I awoke with both breast gone, as well as some lymph nodes under my right arm. How did I know this? The pain upon movement. The amount of packing and bandages gives you the impression that you still have squashed boobs after surgery if you look at just the bandages.
The realization that lymph nodes had been removed rang alarm klaxons in my head. This wasn't over. There was spread. So I began repeating my mantra in my head.
I'm too stubborn to give up.I'm too mean to die.
I'm a fighter.
I'm in God's hands.
My old oncologist came in. I'd given him a heads up prior to my surgery. We discussed options. I opted to go straight to chemo since the lymph nodes were involved. Let's fool the cancer that I'm dying so it will stop and die too. That's what chemo basically is. It kills the cancer cells, as well as healthy ones. This sounds like bravado, and in retrospect it was in part.
I knew I would lose my hair once again. I pulled out my silk scarves from a ziplock bag stuffed in my underwear drawer. There is nothing more girlie than donning pure silk on bare flesh. Just the thought gave me tingles of pleasure. Yes, I'd forgo the wigs once again. I placed my large, gold hoop earrings on the dresser. Black eyeliner pencil to emphasize my eyes instead of a sick body. Gypsy fortune teller mode. I'd asked for the prescriptions for Phenagren and Immodium from my oncologist beforehand and they now sat at my bedside. I knew how the chemo would affect my body. Been there. Done that. Didn't want to be here again. But I was.
I'd grabbed a paperback and stuffed it in my purse. I was girded in my armor with my mantra on the tip of my tongue. Let the infusions of poisons begin. I was Don Quixote off to battle the beast, or King Richard the Lion Heart taking on Saladin in Jerusalem. My purse transformed into flail with sharp spikes and sturdy chain. I was ready for battling the beast. I would be victorious once again. Of this, I had no doubt because...
I'm too mean to die.
Too stubborn to give up.
I'm a fighter.
I'm in God's hands.