I have not been able to write much since my surgery because I have been just too overwhelmed. The surgery took a lot out of me and off me too. Today, I had my first radiation treatment. Which is for 6 weeks of my life everyday but Saturday and Sunday. Yes, I said everyday. I’m off on a new chapter of this long journey that started last year in April when I discovered the lumps under my arm pit.
Losing my breast has not been what i thought I would do in 2011. Not in my plans. Do you have any idea unless you reading are also a victim of breast cancer, what this feels like? How I can even deal with the removal of one of the most personal parts of my body? And I had to do it to save my life…no choice except to either do it or die….I keep waiting for it to grow back like my hair and my nails. I don’t really believe it isn’t going too. I have not been able to talk much about it. What I really want to say here, I’m afraid I would lose some folks and it’s just way too personal. I’m exploding to talk about it and this is my venue. After I got the drains out and felt more like going out in public, I had a delimma…what could I wear to hide the fact that I only have one breast? My clothes didn’t fit me anymore. I’ve always been a very sexual, sexy woman and now I don’t feel that way much. This has really done a number on my head, my heart, my self worth…and I do not want to hear, Sam, Your not your breasts….screw you…you have two of them…don’t say that to me or any other woman who is in my position…in fact, only if you have had breast cancer and survived it do I even want to discuss it with you. Yes, I can get reconstruction but now they tell me in one year from now. I don’t want to wait a year but yet, I don’t want to go through another surgery either. And it is only for looks, I will not have a nipple, and there is no feeling left in my chest area, no sensations but numbness and tingling….I am getting the type of reconstruction that uses the fat from my belly instead of an implant, so I get two surgeries at once. It will only make me look more normal with my clothes on and off too…. YEs, they got clean margins and basically I had a tumor bed in the center of my breast with dead cells of cancer. The chemo worked very well my physicians told me. Not only did they remove my breast tissue, my muscle was also removed which means that the ones it was attached too are like dangling in my body or slid down and that gave me a new row of what looks like fat above my waist. Oh great when I figured that one out and the physicians do not tell you this little tid bit!!! I don’t know what to do with this. I have lost even more weight…I guess I am depressed and can’t really eat much so I am steadily losing a lot of weight.
I was totally active as I could be in all the Art Car activities this past weekend and I had a lot of fun, knowing that I had cancer and was sporting one breast with a home-made prosthesis in my bra…. and even made a crazy costume. I rode in Bonnie Blue’s Breast Cancer survivors van with 11 other women. I was the freshest survivor, the other ladies all had years of survivorship. I was the only one that had no husband and family out of the group. We all wore pink of course in various crazy costumes. It was a very hot, emotional, yet fun at times. All I wanted to do was to feel normal again and I can’t because I’m not! The day of the parade, it brought the cancer thing right up into everyone’s face and you would not believe how many people came up to me, strangers and friends and said things like…oh my, my sister died last year of breast cancer, my Mother died 3 years ago of breast cancer, my neighbor’s Aunt Bea died of breast cancer…..a few women yelled out, Hey, I’m a survivor too…but the amount of people all concentrated in one place saying how their loved ones DIED of a DISEASE that I’ve been fighting to try to save my life…was not very encouraging. What are PEOPLE THINKING when they say this to you….? Can you tell me why you think it is necessary to tell a person with cancer of any kind you know someone who DIED….come on folks, think before you open your mouth. It is hard enough to go through this treatment without a total stranger or a friend telling you how many of their friends and relatives died from the very thing that is in or was in your body…and the best ones are the ones that tell you that their Mom had it three times and then died. This actually has been going on since I got diagnosed. This is one of the many things to NOT SAY TO SOMEONE WITH CANCER. One of the other things is, You don’t look sick, you look really great….I would have rather heard, Sam, how are you feeling? Is there anything I can do for you…and You look really great with no hair while you are standing there with you long flowing locks blowing in the wind. Somebody told me to not dye my hair again that the gray and white hairs that are coming in are so adorable. I miss my hair, I miss my breast, I’m tired of going to the clinic, I’m tired of seeing all the other sick people, it reminds me that I’m sick too. The first thing I do in the morning when I open my eyes is I remember, oh shit, I have cancer. I want my life back, and what is my life going to be after all this is over. What am I going to do to take care of myself. I have been self-employed all my life and I am barely able to financially take care of myself. I notice that when I do go to MDA I don’t see a lot of people smile very much. Everyone is in pain or worry so I try to smile at people and make some jokes or small talk with strangers on the elevators. I try to help other women when I see them feeling bad. This is my therapy to help others because I know how they feel and only people who walk in our shoes know how we feel. It is insulting for someone to tell you to not act or feel a certain way when they have no idea how badly I do feel sometime. I am basically alone with all of this, and don’t get your feathers all ruffled up my dear dear friends. What I mean is, I don’t have family here to hold me up and tell me that it’s alright, I don’t have a husband or significant other to hold me in the night when I am alone and crying..with all this pain and anxiety and mortal fear envelopes me….. The nighttime is the worse. I don’t have a husband with an income to take up the slack…there is no slack…and I’m scared. I try to put on a smiley face and say, everything is okay when sometimes it’s not. I’m afraid of what my future holds. I have to make decisions about my care all alone. I do have a couple of close girlfriends that I lean heavily on and I don’t know what I would do without them.
This is my anxiety and it has been heavy lately to the point I could not write about it. But maybe writing about my fears and anxiety is what I really needed to do. I ‘ll let you know if this helped….and telling me to chin up or stay positive is not something I like to hear on a daily basis either. I hold my chin up more than you do and I’m as positive as I can be and sometimes, I just don’t feel like it. Reality is a hard bitch to bear sometimes and yet, I take a bite of it and somehow, I find the strength to go on and do what I have to do. I can now say, I do know what it feels like to push one foot in front of the other and keep on keeping on. Sorry I just had to vent and this is my venue. Don’t take anything personal that I have just said please. Sometimes, I just want to scream and scream and scream and beat the walls if it would only help me feel better and make this go away there would be no sheet-rock in my house.
You know that old saying, “I wouldn’t wish this on my worse enemy? Well I wouldn’t. I thought taking care of my poor husband till he died was the hardest thing I had ever done in my life and I’m here to tell you, it was a cake walk for me the one that was well at the time. It was a living hell for him and I so wanted him to live but at the end, he didn’t and he left this plane. This is the only thing that holds me up is the fact that if I do die, he will be waiting for me and I would be with him again.