Parts ‘n Bits

Posted: July 29th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: breast cancer, Uncategorized | Tags: , | Comments Off

As I mentioned in the “If Ever So Briefly” article, I will be having a total hysterectomy done. It will take place on July’s full blue moon this Friday.

grapefruitIt turns out that there has been good reason as to why I’ve been less prolific in writing and keeping up with everyone over the past 9-6 months. My health and nervous system have been steadily declining over the past nine months. Especially over the past three months. As a loved one pointed out to me a weeks or so ago, “I didn’t even recognize you! Your vim and vigor is almost gone.”

For years a fibroid has quietly sat atop my uterus. But now it’s changed in size and texture, as has my uterus itself. The uterus has enlarged and the fibroid has grown to the size of a large grapefruit, plus, it has become hard in texture. Also, some fibroids on my right ovary have gotten larger. All of this has caused everything to be pushing on my lower intestines, bladder and uterus.

Question: Fruit? Why do they always compare this junk to fruit?

Needless to say this situation has been giving cause for lower abdominal discomfort and pain. The constant discomfort has also caused my entire nervous system to become taxed. To be perfectly honest, I haven’t felt this drained and weak since the tail end of my breast resconstruction process.

To those of you who have been checking in on me, I can’t tell you how much comfort your support has brought into my life. Thank you so much for that.

I apologize for not being as prolific in writing as I had planned to be nine months ago. I also apologize for any writing I had promised to do these past few weeks and was unable to do so. I will, however, refrain from apologizing for not continuing to chase down people to try and let them know what has been going on with me.

Between my health rapidly deteriorating and the whirlwind of doctor’s appointments I’ve been muddling through — just keeping up with my fur-kids and daily life has been a challenge in of itself. I’ve had to choose to shift into oldo not removed breast cancer survival mode — keep moving forward and keep on trucking best I can, those that truly matter will show up and stay.

My doctor is hoping the hysterectomy can be done with the robot. Chop up the junk into parts ‘n bits. But, due to the size and texture of the uterine fibroid, I may well end up having to have it done the traditional way, which will mean a longer hospital stay and a longer “homebound” healing time afterward. The doctor just won’t know until I’m on the table come this Friday.

So, hopefully the rumors are true … that after I’m healed up I’ll feel far better than I have in a long time.

But I’ve gotta ask this … Being that my breast are already gone, and now my female reproductive system will be gone … What femaleness of me will be left, besides my ‘tude?

Come surgery day I’m seriously considering taping a post-it-note to my clitoris “DO NOT REMOVE!”

 

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What Women Do Best

Posted: October 30th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: breast cancer, mastectomy, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | Comments Off

A dear friend of mine shared this news video with me today. She said, “I thought of all the people, you would appreciate this story.” You are so right, Snoopy Girl! I’m passing it forward.

Recently in, “Flipped Thank Yous,” I wrote, “… Yours and my experience as breast cancer patients was far different than what women just five, 10, 15 years ago was. It was rough, but those women did what women do best — they spoke up and started networking to make things better …”

The breast cancer survivors in this news video did exactly that. They reached out to make a difference in another woman’s life. They forwarded mindful kindness, via a chair.

 

… those women did what women do best — they spoke up and started networking to make things better …”

From simply sharing a chair, these women gained so much more than just physical comfort after mastectomy surgery. They gained the comfort of knowing someone else cared about them in their time of need. They went on to gain the comfort of new friendships. And, as they make arrangements to pass the chair along to yet another woman, they’ve each gained comfort from making a difference within their community … What women do best.

Be a friend in time of need.

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Flipped Thank Yous

Posted: October 18th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: breast cancer, mastectomy, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | Comments Off

“Thank you! Thank you so much for being here!” As each survivor arrived at the “Meet & Greet” for the 2014 “P.INK Day” at the Indigo Rose Tattoo Studio in South Carolina, this is how I greeted them. They each reacted the same way, they looked at me with polite puzzlement. I recognized that look, that was me, last year.

Throughout our uproariously fun night I then made a point to single out each survivor and repeat this thanks with as much enthusiasm as I could muster. “Really, thank you so much for coming and being a part of this! We’re so happy you’re here! ” They each started to look at me like I just might be a crazy person. I could see it in their eyes, “Why on earth is this woman thanking ME for getting gifted tattoos?”

Then I’d add, “You are in store for a gift of joyous healing! We’re so happy for you!” Then I’d get the, “Okay, for sure she’s daffy,” and then they’d look happy, “But I’m getting my scars covered! Whatever,” looks.

I recognized those looks, it made for a delicious giggle within my heart.

After the survivors left the party and Shannon, owner/operator of the tattoo shop, and her wonderful crew of helpers were cleaning up, I told her what I had been doing. Her beautiful eyes smirked, she’d overheard me. I asked her, “So, I fill them in during the morning greeting you asked me to do?” Her, “Yeah,” was full of approving mischief.

Morning came, everyone was beyond excited to get going. Shannon quickly greeted the survivors and then said she’d like for me to say a few words.

I’ll do my best to recollect and paraphrase what I said that morning — as I didn’t write out a speech.

“Good morning! Again, we’d like to thank you so much for being here. A year ago, I stood exactly where you are standing today, waiting for my mastectomy tattoos to begin. But before I finally explain why we’re so happy you’re here, I’d like to first take a few moments to give recognition to some people that made today possible. People who you may never get to thank in person, shake their hand or give them a hug of gratitude.

There are countless volunteers all across the country today who put in their time, energy and funds into making “P.INK Day” possible. But the main core of people I’d like us to pay homage to today are Molly, Noel Franus and his team of volunteers. Noel and the Personal P.INK team have worked year-round to make today possible.

I had the privilege of meeting Molly, her family and Noel last year. They are some of the warmest and nicest people you’d ever want to meet. And if it weren’t for Noel and his team of volunteers pushing forward, all year long, with wanting to help more survivors, none of this would have ever happened for us. So, a special thank you to them.

Now onto why I’ve repeatedly thanked you. You see, that’s what Molly, her family and Noel kept saying to us last year. To the survivors and tattoo artists. “Thank you for coming! Thank you for being here!”

At first, at the “Meet & Greet,” I thought they were just really happy we made it to NYC okay. But they kept saying it. And the morning of “P.INK Day” Noel still kept saying it. I finally whispered to Shannon, “Why are THEY thanking US? They are gifting US with tattoos! Are these people crazy?””

I pantomimed out for this year’s survivors Shannon’s shrugging a, “Heck if I know” look. I went on, “I said to Shannon, “Whatever, let’s roll with it!”” And then I pantomimed Shannon’s silent, “Okay, let’s hit it!” Everyone laughed.

And then I got serious, I looked each survivor in their eyes. I said …

“Yours and my experience as breast cancer patients was far different than what women just five, 10, 15 years ago was. It was rough, but those women did what women do best — they spoke up and started networking to make things better. They, and their loved ones, networked until the medical community and the insurance companies made changes in how we, as patients, are now treated and dealt with. That is why our patient experience was far better than what theirs was.

But now we have many more survivors than there ever used to be. The medical community and insurance companies haven’t caught up with what our survivor needs are. And we have a lot of them. They haven’t caught up, yet. But because of organizations like Personal P.INK, because of women like you — who are coming together and networking, healing together — things are changing!

Last year history was made with tattooing 10 mastectomy scar survivors in one shop. That is why I think Noel kept thanking us. We showed up and helped make a dream into a change, we made history. This year 38 women in 12 shops, across the country, are receiving mastectomy scar tattoos today. You are the second wave of making history.  And, that is why I have been making a point of thanking you for being here today. Thank you for being a part of making more history!

And in closing, if I should ever have the privilege of being a part of another “P.INK Day,” and if you are ever a part of one? I hope that you will carry on this “Thank You” tradition. I  know I will, I hope you will too.

Now let’s get going with your gift of joyous healing! Go get your tattoos done!””

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