i have surgery on tuesday. at 730am i’ll go under, and they’ll remove my breast, replacing it with a plastic expander that i will have for up to a year after radiation, until my skin is healed enough for the final implant. they’ll remove as many lymph nodes as makes sense given analysis of invasive cancer during the procedure, and if i’m lucky, my skin and nipple will be spared. i’ll lose all feeling in the breast no matter what. i’ll be in the hospital for 1-2 nights and come home with surgical drains, pain meds, and a lot of instructions on not lifting/bathing/doing much.
just the facts.
surgery is scary, and shifting from a set schedule with weekly chemo to an unknown schedule that all depends on how the procedure goes and how i’m healing is tough. it’s also adding the idea of pain into the mix of still-chronic side effects of chemo (read: most all bodily functions). it’s been my last week of work until april, and in my busy-ness to get everything done, i’ve been pretty successful at blocking all the scariness out and when asked, being able to be very clinical about it all (x is happening, then y, then z). but fear is definitely there, lurking in the corners of my mind, mike’s mind. our dry run to the hospital for my bloodwork today prompted some serious calcari-sweathands.
the regular parade of doctors appointments continues (one including a bone density scan to see if i’m osteoparitic, a common side effect of chemo and especially in young women…stay tuned on what other characteristics make me 90 years old). i also restarted the herceptin, the targeted therapy, infusions that are to happen now every 3 weeks to round out a full year of getting that drug. it was a romantic valentine’s day in the infusion center. i’ve been trying a bunch of homeopathic remedies to get my core biopsy bruises and contusions to go away, but they persist. my therapist made me a guided imagery cd that they will let me take into surgery, so i’ve been playing that to imagine what a good outcome will be and how to continue trusting the team of doctors who are also invested in my outcome. and then, i’m trying not to beat myself up on what other things i should be/should have been doing all this time to get ready for surgery, like some hard core stretching and iron eating and water drinking. oh, and i just picked up latisse to hopefully help sprout some eyelashes so i look and feel less like a cancer patient (don’t get me started on my reverse soul patch on the back of my head, where a band of hair is showing up strong…and alone).
all this stuff happens and we try and detach from it and lead a normal life, with dinners with friends, snowshoeing in tahoe (such a wonderful mastectamoon to be away with good people and scenery, helping shift our energy completely), and drinks with my hairdresser at the lookout…you know, a normal tuesday night kind of thing.
mike will keep you posted on how surgery goes, and once we’re home and figure out what end is up, we’ll update the mealtrain with things like walks/meals/etc. in the meantime, 2 favors from the crowd:
- please continue to send your good vibes, prayers, and thoughts my way, especially so tuesday morning. i’ll be thinking of all of you as my immune system.
- if you have some funny youtube clip or other link, please email them to maureen (firstname.lastname@example.org) by monday, who is going to compile and send them to us for my stay in the hospital. laughter is good medicine.
the picture attached to the post is a mural outside of our house. we had it commissioned by an awesome woman, meagan. she sketched it after talking with me for awhile in the fall. it’s a wall full of flowers and butterflies….butterflies who undergo a transformation. a goodbye and hello. sort of like me and what i’m going through.
a couple other goodbyes and hellos go to meredith who is en route to phoenix and wee joe who was born to joe and susan + freya who was born to dan and kristin – much love to you all.
i look forward to reconnecting in a few days. until then – i’m sending you all some of SF sunshine.