One Year Anniversary

Posted: April 26th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Comments Off

    Today is a personal “Happy Anniversary” day for me. A year ago today a doctor told me, “you have breast cancer.” Pretty understandably at that moment my whole life changed, along with those that make up my inner circle of loved ones. And subsequently, the new friends I’ve been blessed with meeting because of the cancer.
    I can’t speak for how my journey through breast cancer has changed their lives, I can only tell you how it’s changed mine. In many ways it’s changed and enriched it for the better.
    Right now though I’m struggling through the overexpansion phase of my temporary breast implants. Bluntly stated, the injection sessions have become rather painful as well as the couple of days afterward. The stretching of my chest wall muscles [or as my massage therapist heart sister explained it "the continual re-ripping and shredding of your chest wall muscles"], mastectomy scar tissue and the ports where the saline is injected into have become very painful. But the overall biggest struggle to contend with now is fatigue. Both breasts are so hard, like overstuffed sandbags, that good quality sleep just won’t exist again until some time in September. That’s the projected time frame for my permanent implant surgery.

Is he exercising with temporary boob implants?

    Each of my breasts right now feel like overstuffed sandbags. There is no give to them, they’re rock hard. Since I’m a belly/side sleeper this is a surefire recipe for next to little good quality sleep. I’ve also apparently ripped some of the support tissue structure on my right breast so now it hangs lower than the left breast.
    It was indeed painful when it popped. I woke up out of a sleeping pill, dead sound sleep with a terrible stabbing wincing pain for a couple of nights. A few days later I happened to notice that my right breast was hanging lower than the left. I called my breast surgeon’s nurse. She told me that this is quite common. I highly suspect that it’s because I sleep on my right side a lot with my arm hooked up under my pillow. With my breasts getting so much larger it must have proven to be too much of a strain for the stitched-in support tissue under my breast implants to withstand the extra pressure. The nurse reassured me that Dr. S will fix this during the permanent implant surgery. I’ll be perfectly symmetrical again.

    But for now? I temporarily have new nickname … Upon telling my dad the breast slippage news he said, “I’ve got a new nickname for you.” I asked him what it was, he said it really, really fast. I didn’t understand what he had said, so this time he said it in a Chinese accent, “Wan Titlo (One Tit Low).” I retorted back in a Chinese accent, “Oh, you mean Wan Titlo as in, you want egg roll with dat?” [Leave it to my dad!]
    As I look over this past year, upon learning I had breast cancer, I see so many blessings to embrace. Some of them were tough, some were deeply moving, some were highly frustrating and some have been filled with utter joy.
    I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard, “If it was me? I’d be crying all the time. I don’t know how you can handle all of this so well. How you can laugh about it all.” My consistent answer is calmly given, “Well? Would crying about it change anything? No. So, why not make the best of it and laugh when you can?” As my old boss, Shirley Gribble, used to say, “Attitude is everything.” She’s still 110% right.
    Quite a few people who swore up and down they’d be there for me, weren’t. I learned that being angry with them was a waste of my precious energy — energy that I needed for fighting the war of my life. I’ve let them go with love. I’ve found myself more and more brushing off other people’s aberrant behavior. They’re just not worth the harmful stress chemicals surging through one’s body.

    My soul has forever been touched by those who have been there for me, who have stood by me — with their actions, with their verbal and emotional support. My Honey, Keith, my Dad and Sharleen have each helped me so many times with mundane tasks — without ever once a complaint, or a “look at me I’m doing this for you aren’t I good person” or “you owe me now” attitude. A ride somewhere, helping me grocery shop, mopping or vacuuming my floors, helping get my laundry done, cooking me some meals, washing dishes … they’re all simple deeds that are immeasurably invaluable. I wish there was something more meaningful than “thank you” in our English vernacular that could express the depth of my love and thankfulness to all three of you.
    Across the miles various friends have been there for me too. I love the unexpected cards in the mail, TLC boxes, books, and phone calls. They have enriched the grind of my recovery so much. You have no idea how much even a five minute phone call can brighten up someone else’s day. I love you each so much.
    And the surge of healing energy from so many prayers, wow, just mind blowing! I found out that different friends have put me on prayer lists. It is amazing how powerful focused positive thought is, even from strangers. If you think sending up a quick prayer for somebody does nothing? I’ve got news for ya, Bubbaette, it DOES do something. I’m living proof.
    I also stumbled upon finding out how much an irreverent, hopeful and funny approach to life can mean to total strangers. It is my understanding that this blog has been passed along to friends and loved ones who are also dealing with Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue and/or Cancer — people that I’ll never meet. I sincerely hope the literary stripping of myself on a public forum, to share my journey through life, might at least bring you a laugh, brighten a corner of your day.
    I will continue to live my life with a thankful and joyful heart, especially for those before me that lost their battle with cancer. I will embrace each day, no matter how rotten or tough, for it is another day that I get to live — from what was learned from their unfortunate lost battle(s) with cancer.
    Lastly, one of the most unexpected joys from this journey through cancer has been discovering that I’m a writer. It’s a gift that I will enjoy until it’s my time to pass from this plane of existence. In a way, this date in time will not only be the date to begin marking my cancer survivor date — it will also be the date to memorialize the discovery of my voice as a writer.
    Thank you, each and every one of you, thank you and Happy Anniversary!

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