Monday, June 13, 2016

The Breast Cancer Chronicles: Volume Three

Trying so very hard to put this day into words, and really struggling. As much as I hate to admit it, I let this day send me into fetal position (the very day after I said I wouldn't do that for lmore than a few minutes!) where I slept all afternoon and allowed my brain to rest and process.

Nothing has changed, except that I learned today how much harder this was going to be than I wanted to believe.  Notice the word "wanted" in there. I knew it was going to be awful. I knew it was going to hurt like Hell and have a long recovery process, but I didn't realize just how long and how involved a double mastectomy with reconstruction really is. 

In my perfect dream world, I wake up from the surgery, cancer and pain free, with a perfect new set of breasts that are complete and need nothing else. I've also lost fifty pounds, my hair and make-up are so perfect that I could be on a movie set. I LOVE that world... In the real world, I wake up with expanders in my chest, that will be injected with saline every week until they reach the right size and shape. Meanwhile I am taking chemo regularly and going bald. THEN, well after any chemo has ended, there is another surgery to put the actual implants in place. 

In my head it went: surgery - back to work the next week - chemo - shave head - life and work as usual - cured forever! Celebrate!  In the real world it goes more like: surgery - recover from surgery - chemo - next surgery - recover from next surgery - cured - back to life as usual.  I am sure that work and home life are in there at regular internvals, but I don't know when, where, or how. 

I am scared, really scared, of how long the recovery part of this usually takes. I wanted to be Superwoman. I wanted to be the one who could take all of this while still managing work, taking care of two big, energetic dogs and a cat, doing yoga every day and setting the world on fire. Instead, I found out I am just a regular person. But a very lucky one who has a fierce army surrounding her on all sides. 

I had mountains of insurance paperwork and planning to do today, but instead I collapsed into bed and slept there for four hours. I bet even Superwoman has to nap too sometimes. I bet every woman and man who has fought this fight has been exhausted sometimes. But after we rest, we get back up, put our gloves up, and fight on until we win. 

One of my amazing survivor friends was with me and Mom at the plastic surgeon's today. She said something that I have heard in different ways several time of late. This time, it really seemed to get in my head. "You are going to feel everything on this journey, scared, angry, sad, hopeful, hopeless, happy, and even like giving up sometimes. Allow yourself to feel all of those things without judging them. Feel them and let them go." I may be paraphrasing a bit, but I heard it, and I listened this time. 

Today was one of those terrified, yet hopeful days. I was discouraged, but I knew it wouldn't last. Sleep helped. Writing this blog helped. An anonymous gift of a mantraband that said, "Never Give Up' arrived, and that helped. If you are the one who sent it to me, thank you. I will never give up. I will fight every minute of every day I have, even in the minutes when I am sleeping, I am preparing for the fight. 

I can do this. I will do this. I appreciate all of you for your support and encouragement. Together we are strong. 

Peace and love.


  1. My Queen - you are superwoman, but even superwoman needs to rest. You have been hit with something the size of a boulder that is the size of a mountain but takes the shape of a walnut. You will need rest....lots of deal with this, both physically and emotionally. Let yourself rest, whenever you can. It is not weakness. It is your way of giving your body, mind and spirit what you need to do your superwoman thing. I love and admire you for your enduring joie de every part of your life. Now let others' joie de Amy give you what you need. It's okay. Honest. Just rest and listen to what you need...and give it to yourself every, single day. It is a very important part of your healing. I love you. <3

  2. There is nothing more Superwoman than a regular woman doing something extraordinary, like beating cancer.
    (Besides, I don't think anyone thinks you're not a super woman.)