Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Objects of my Infection

Friday was a day of mourning for me. I'm sure I spent the greater part of the day in tears. First for the inability to pick up my baby and secondly for having lost "MY GIRLS" for the second time.

I went to yet another doctor's appointment to discover I had developed an infection that will cause me to lose the tissue expanders that guaranteed me a set of new and improved boobs.

As I lay propped up on the examination table while the doctor explained that I would have to have another surgery to remove them the tears began to flow. I thought to myself, seriously, can I please catch at least one break here. And I began to mourn. I didn't feel like hearing how in the grand scheme of things they're just breasts and my life was more important or about how I'm so strong and I can make it through this. I wanted to cry HARD and so I did. The doctor stood next to me silently for a while and asked me if there was anything he could do. I wanted to say, "Unless you can pull a perky pair of cocoa colored size D boobs from the pocket of your lab coat and sew them on right now then HELL NO. JERK." But instead I shook my head no and kept crying.

This morning as I sit in my dad's recliner I realize I'm tired. I'm tired of wanting to sit still and not move because if I do something is going to hurt. I'm tired of the pain. So in this moment right now I don't care if I don't get boobs because I just want the pain to go away. Which means that right now I am okay with it.

Don't release your sigh of relief yet because this feeling is not going to last. When the pain goes away I'm going to get mad and be PISSED!!

Wait for it...........

Friday, January 28, 2011

Just to Hold You in My Arms Again

Last night, after the kids left, I sat right down and had myself a cry. Mothers will understand why I was moved to tears.

Almost everyday after school the kids come and visit me and we have  dinner together before they go home where my aunt is taking care of them. I stay at my dad's where my step-mom is taking care of me. Well, for some unknown reason last night my 3-year old, Zion, goes into the other room and is crying really hard. I call him out and over to me and he cannot articulate the reason he was crying. The moment didn't last long and within minutes his face was clear and beaming as he normally is but from that moment on he wouldn't leave my side. Then it occurred to me that "I think he misses me." At that moment I so desperately wanted to pick him up and hold him in my lap but I couldn't. Per the doctor's instructions I cannot lift anything heavier than five pounds. My heart BROKE. I want to hold my baby again and I can't and it's the worst feeling ever. I had to settle for letting him stand in front of me while I hugged him as he finished watching Spongebob. Today, I officially HATE CANCER!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

What Cancer Cannot Do!

Last week during my visit to the hair salon I received a phone call from a former student who wanted to visit me. I told her I was getting my hair done and wouldn't be home for a while. She insisted on coming to see me at the salon so I agreed. When she showed up she came bearing gifts. One gift was a "Get Well" butterfly. It was crystal butterfly trimmed in gold inside a purple satin box with the following poem inside the lid:

Find strength and hope within in this box,
To speed you on your way;
The butterfly will be right here
Inspiring you each day.

It was a very nice and thoughtful gift. But the second gift is what literally brought me to tears. It is a silver necklace with a charm on it that has a poem titled "What Cancer Cannot Do..." What makes this necklace so special is the sentiment behind it. The instructions she gave me was that I was supposed to wear the necklace through my cancer journey. I should wear it to each doctors appointment, each chemotherapy treatment, and all through radiation. Once I finished my journey my charge was then  to pass it on to someone else who was beginning the process I just finished. It was kind of like "Paying it Forward". It moved me beyond words and it is one of the best gifts I have received thus far. I am even more moved just to think that I have touched someone enough that they would think of me in this way. I am a living testimony that it pays to always be kind (even in my rough kind of way) because I have been shown kindness beyond measure and for that I am truly grateful!!

What Cancer Cannot Do...
It cannot...
invade the soul
suppress memories
kill friendship
destroy peace
conquer the spirit
shatter hope
cripple love
corrode faith
steal eternal life
silence courage

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


Today has been a weepy day and one that reminds me just how long of a road to recovery I have. I began the morning with an impromptu doctor's appointment because of extra tenderness and swelling under my arm and continued swelling of my feet. From the moment I made the appointment I had a sense of dread that would not go away. I feared that when I went they were going to do something that would hurt or that I would get bad news. The areas where the drains exit my body are already sore enough!!

Well, the doctor noticed the pronounced swelling and did an ultrasound. Luckily she did not find anything of extreme alarm but did want to drain the area with a needle. (Fear number one's going to hurt). YES the procedure was painful but the outcome was that no internal bleeding existed and my drains were working properly. YEAH!! But needless to say.....the other shoe did  drop. (Fear number two realized...yes there was more bad news).

During the visit the doctor reviewed the surgery and findings in detail with me. She removed 15 lymph nodes of which three were positive for cancer. There were four cancer spots in my left breast which bumped my original diagnosis from Stage 2 to Stage 3 and now I have to add radiation treatments after chemotherapy. Not to mention that my drains will stay in for a minimum of three weeks. Yes.....just when you think things can't get much better right?!?!? And to add insult to injury I had to stand there while the medical assistant took more pictures of my mutilated body. IT WAS HORRID!!!

Today was definitely an emotional low for me that I did not soon recover from. My day has been filled with silent tears and despondency. The highlight of my day was seeing my children. I miss them so. I have been recuperating at my dad and step-mom's so she can clear and empty my drains and help me not do anything. I can't lift anything heavier than a 2-liter (which eliminates even my purse). Thanks to family who have been helping me along the way and friends for their constant support and words of encouragement...not to mention the meals!! I am soooooo spoiled.

So, I am finished with tears for today and to my friend and colleague Taylor Haydock, I will "Weep no more, my lady!"

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Scarred for Life

Surgery is over and I feel surprisingly good for having gone through a double mastectomy. I'm not in a lot of pain and my spirits are very high. I am surrounded by so many positive people that I can't help but feel good inside and out.

I have been reluctant to look at my scars. Afraid of how my reaction would be emotionally since I already feel as though my womanhood has been altered. Yesterday, while alone, a took a good, long, and hard look at myself and my scars and I was okay. I didn't cry and I didn't feel sorry for myself, so I'm counting that as another small victory along the way!

With vanity in full tact my main concern was having my toenails repolished to match my fingernails. Lo and behold, Lauren was there to save the day!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

'Twas the night before surgery....

It's the night before my double mastectomy and the last time I'll spend with 'my girls' and OH I will miss them so. I have been through such a range of emotions these past three weeks I don't know how to begin to express them all. First there were tears, then sadness, then strength, and more sadness, then courage, and so on the cycle has gone.

I never would have thought I would be one to get cancer. Of course, we never think it's going to happen to us. However, with the way my life has been going these past couple of years why not throw in a cancer chaser to the death of my sister, me taking in my niece and nephew, bringing my brood to four, and a husband who decided he didn't want to be married anymore! With all of this I can honestly say I never asked "Why me?" My faith leads me to assume that God wouldn't have given it to me if I couldn't take 'take it' I shall!

In the past three weeks I have also been A-M-A-Z-E-D by the people in my life. I have received immeasurable amounts of love, support, compassion, hugs, cards, calls, e-mails, and anything else you can imagine!! I have been overwhelmed by the thoughtfulness of others and it makes me feel that if I died tomorrow I couldn't have been blessed any more than I have already!

I knew tonight was going to be extremely emotional for me especially once the kids were gone and I was alone. My anxiety has built to a fever pitch but at this very moment I am exhausted. I just want to get it over with and begin this journey of recovery because the waiting is what's killing me slowly. I feel as though the best is yet to come. Everything I have been through has been preparation for a blessing bigger than me that I cannot wait to receive.

So with that, I am going to call it a night and get some rest so I can wake up in the morning and FIGHT LIKE A GIRL!