It's been a wild ride this week.
One day before my first chemo treatment sounded like a great time to schedule a plastic surgeon consult, so it was there I found myself man-handling silicone implants, weighing them in each of my hands, pressing against the cool surface, poking, prodding--then looking ahead to a few months and trying to picture them in me. There are several styles to choose from: shapes, consistencies, teardrops, saline, etc. Another option is to take a meaty section of fat off your bod...
My first chemo treatment is on Wednesday. Two days. People have been asking me if I'm nervous or scared--and yes, I'm both, in a floaty, that's happening to someone else kind of way.
I decided to make a little timeline of some unusual and portentous events, which I'd mentioned in a previous post. Call them spooky, call them crazy coincidences, call them signs from God. Whatever. But they're there.
- Earlier this year, starting around January/February...
I started feeling odd. Every day, I’d wake up with this urgent need to get the most out of the day, with this voice in my head repeating that life is short, life is short, you need to do all you can in this life, go go go.
Today marks 30 days since the lump discovery, day 7 of IVF, and T-2 weeks before chemo begins, the last of which is dependent on how my follicles are doing. Not that I have any idea what that means. The doctor has tried explaining it all in finite detail, but no matter - we just stare at her like idiots.
I spent yesterday watching wig videos and makeup tutorials. Actually, rewind, I started yesterday getting stuck with a needle full of hormones in order to stimulate my ovaries & freeze my eggs so that I can maybe, possibly, still have kids after the chemo. That’s how I spent my day, and oddly, it was an amazing, calming day.
It was the first day I’ve had to myself, the first day I hadn’t been rushing to appointments or crying in a small empty office at work or Googling ‘mother daughter cancer’ (do NOT read that NYTimes article, do NOT) and thinking about all the ways my evil sweater puppies have betrayed me. Scratch that: all the ways my one evil sweater puppy has betrayed me; that poor left one hasn’t done anything, and here I am thinking about sending her to boob heaven too!
The doctors insist a bilateral (double) chop off doesn’t factor into living any longer. The cancer could come back elsewhere in the body, they say, which is a real bummer, but it does allow you to skip mammograms for the rest of time. Which, after my first (and only) rodeo with mammograms at the beginning of all this, right before my 31st birthday, is quite an attractive offer. Jamming my not very large, but evidently dense-as-shit boob in between a plastic vise is no picnic.
There are several other aspects of the last few weeks that I find amusing, or surprising, or at the very least unexpected:
So far, all the trite sayings ring true. I am thankful for every day, and every day I've had so far. It could be worse. I feel like a different person, and I know I'll never be the same. That it is going to be okay--I know this has happened for a reason. Also, that my friends are the best in the whole world*.
A couple more things. This new cancer persona has caused me to have odd fixations. Everywhere I go, I try to guess if someone is wearing a wig. And if I suspect I see one, I feel soothed. Short of me going up to someone and yanking on the end of their hair, I can't dependably reach a conclusion, so this often ends in me determining that no, that is not a wig. That’s hair. And then I feel terrible.
I also think a lot about a card I gave my mom last fall. It was a picture of a sea lion, its bottom flippers squeezed into a pair of tight jeans, with the words, “Thanks for the good genes” on the inside. It’s a hilarious card. My mom has it displayed on her hutch. Now my face reddens when I picture it there, and I want to sneak into her house and hide it. But not throw it out, I mean, it’s still a funny card.
It's been almost 4 weeks since I discovered the lump. I couldn't write at first because it was so hard first of all to tell my closest friends, a couple of whom I still haven’t told yet or plan to soon, and also because I was in a state of shock and feeling bad for myself. I thought I could pull an Edie Falco and just not tell anyone and go to work and pretend everything’s fine. I thought I could refrain from doing the 'Elaine' too hard on the dance floor at weddings this summer, so that way my wig won't fly off. I thought I could wear big hats to the beach with Wayne’s World hair taped to the inside or something.
But my life isn’t the set of The Sopranos, I’m not blonde, and besides, I am terrible at hiding my emotions and everyone would ask why I was crying all time, not to mention, what happened to your other tit?
Anyhooters--oh, another annoying thing: reference to boobs in any context is now loaded and makes some people pause and look stricken--I think I’m done writing for today. I am not sure how to end this. Other than to also mention that I’ll be okay, we're moving to Hingham this weekend to be closer to Dana Farber but still have a driveway, and I’m going to keep writing. Hopefully this will lessen the blow of what’s to come. And hopefully it answers some questions so that I don’t have to type out text messages - which I love getting, don’t get me wrong, but my fingers get tired when I need to answer complex questions.
*PS: Acknowledging the supreme, mindblowing kindness and thoughtfulness of my friends & family so far, with their gifts and ears and messages and cards I will save for another post. It’s not something I can do justice to here. Especially in regards to Mike, who has been keeping me laughing and jabbing me with needles (like a pro!) and taking notes and using his bloodhound-like instincts to vet certain doctors so that I get the best possible care...oh I could go on but I won't)...
Done for now, really. XOXO Mustard Girl.