Who knew my new rallying cry, tits up, would actually work. It seems I am blessed with elastic skin with strong contraction abilities. It is hard to fathom how one month post surgery my left dangly removed implant stretch skin thing has contracted back incredibly. The skin contracts back if there is nothin left to stretch it. Some a lot, some not at all. Mine has. I knew about contraction but seriously. Not much can blow me away but this has. The looks of incredulity on my sister and niece’s faces when I showed them were priceless. Summed up how I felt. They saw me a month ago. And were devastated for me. Fuck me the body is an incredible thing. This time I am happy once again to be unusual. I saw my stylish Canadian plastic surgeon yesterday again. And ate humble pie. He knew. Or in my defence he hoped. And he was so brilliant with me. He also knew me losing it was also about so much more than how awful I looked. It was needed. It was about time and it was cathartic. Fuck cancer sucks. Look my man made breasts are in no way beautiful but they are more symmetrical. (As my baby daughter taught me re my eyebrows and I wish more knew this, they are sisters not twins) And thats all I wanted. And them to look breast like. And no not in a bra, but in real life. The real life I see reflected back at me in the mirror. So more surgery still needed to make a nipple, try fill in some dents, lipectomy under my arm where things have shifted as they shouldn’t and then fuck please we can be done.
Although it never is. Kate had dinner with her friends last night and beautifully they expressed concern over me and does this now mean, no more breast tissue, no more cancer? Unfortunately no. As I’ve bleated on previously, I am the one percent, my cancer came back where there was no breast tissue, where I had had a full mastectomy. So there is no guarantee of anything. I will be pricked and prodded and have to be vigilant with every bump and any fatigue, weight loss, aches and pains. But I plan to do it as I have to date, without fear. It truly is what it is. I will do what I can and what I must. As must we all. Tits up and onwards.
So we all know life sucks from time to time. And we all know to be grateful for the non sucky moments because they too will pass. As will the sucky ones. I keep telling myself this as I plan my next months. Yup I am having chemo. Again. A different chemo to the one I had before but chemo. And yes I will lose my hair, and potentially my nails, and my eyebrows and eyelashes and get mouth ulcers and vomit and rashes and nausea and extreme fatigue and neuropathy and generally hate the world. And it all fucking sucks. But I am resilient. I am a warrior woman. And I knew it was coming. I knew it the minute I read that awful word invasive on my pathology report. I knew that a systemic response would be needed. Its the medical consensus of many learned oncologists and pathologists and surgeons and who am I to argue? Anyway I know too much. I know the consequence of winning that argument but losing in the long run. And that’s not an option. Chemo sucks but having cancer sucks a whole lot more. So I am at peace with relinquishing control (okay a bit) and being guided by those reknowned for being cautious, sensible and non aggressive in their approach. And deep deep down I know I’ll sleep better knowing we are doing what we can.
I have to admit I lost the plot a little yesterday. And not because the news is bad but because the news is incomplete. And how could I have forgotten. There is nothing finite about this. We can only deal with each bit of information as it presents itself with care and determination. Well yesterday was a fuck that, what does that mean kind of day. Not much dignity around. Today is a little better. So. It appears I have invasive papillary carcinoma. The word that threw me was invasive. Not what you want on your path report. Actually what you really don’t want is a path report. Anyway. My kind brilliant surgeon is quietly confident he got it all and with safe margins. And I like him. But that damn word again. Invasive. I so wish it was that’s that. Carry on juicing, being positive and eating raw food and we’ll see you next year. Oh and sorry for the divot in your armpit. Okay so maybe today isn’t really a better day. Anyway. Now it’s over to oncology. Apparently I am a little of an enigma third time round. You’re kidding right. So my case will be discussed on Tuesday at a round table with all these brilliant oncological minds and best route foreward discussed. Whilst they do that I have to have a pet scan to see if there is any indication of invasiveness. Any need for more surgery. But my kind brilliant surgeon is quietly confident there won’t be. And I like him. And his gentle positivity. So I’ll hold onto that and retreat into my cocoon for today. Safe in the knowledge once we have all opinions I will make the best decision for me. Because only I can. And that tomorrow I’ll be in a better mood.
14 January. My mother-in-law is an inspiration to me, and to anyone who meets her. At 85 she has more energy, a sharper wit, a better handle on a manual vehicle, a keener mind, is better read and more informed than many her junior. In fact, that’s all got nothing to do with her age. She simply is a woman to behold. And be loved. I am grateful she is in my world, to inspire me daily, to guide me and to give me hope. And always a new perspective.
6 January. Today I am grateful for the anticipation of family reunions. To be sharing in new beginnings and for more lessons in letting go.
4 January. I am grateful for my oncologist. And that in my desire to find the best care I came full circle to the man who scared me off at first. I am grateful for his honesty, his integrity, his purpose and his lovely sense of humour. I am reminded today as I sit in front of him of the laughter he brought in to the chemo ward, despite the hush that was always present. I loved that. He made me laugh. He brought hope.
1 January. I am grateful for a new year. Not because 2012 was not a year to celebrate, it was, for all the lessons learnt, challenges faced, decisions made, love shared and life lived. I am grateful for every moment. But I am looking forward to moving forward. To being less in limbo, to truly living what is, to making a real home for the girls and to even more love and laughter. Life is good.
19 December. I am grateful we made it to Sydney, for my own words whispered in my ear by my sweetest Jem, mom, this too will pass, and for the best sister imaginable.
15 December. I love my daughters. And I held them a little closer in my heart today, like I’m sure everyone did their own children. I am so very grateful my children are safe and at home, I wish with all my heart those tiny little souls and their courageous carers were too.
I just realised I’m a bit of a fraud. I just had surgery. And it was cosmetic. Well, not really. Actually not at all, but it was a lift. Of sorts. An internal one. To my bowel. Shudder. I’m a fraud because as you all know I am a tad anti cosmetic surgery, because of how weird women ultimately end up looking. And I think women are beautiful, all women, old or young, just as they are. So now I’m wondering. It’s all just the same really. To stop the sag of life. In my case caused by childbirth, a lifetime on my feet and hastened by chemotherapy. You’ve just got to love how cancer is a gift that just keeps giving. I do try to embrace the passing of time and relish every little moment, punctuated by gratitude, but the last couple of days have been delightfully challenging. Those who know me well, know that I have privacy issues when it comes to that area of my anatomy. We all do, but it seems me more than most. Well, clearly no longer. And to be honest, do with me what you will, the knowledge that nothing sinister was lurking, made it all worthwhile. So, to anyone contemplating any form of surgery to rectify the sag, I say, go for it.