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Lymphoma and Pets
The other day Tom and I were talking about that phone call that changed my life forever. How I still dreamt about it. There are days the phone rings and I have flash backs to that call. I remember that call word for word; the tone in her voice as she told me I had cancer. I remember how I repeated back to her the word cancer and the expression on Tom's face when I said it. A breast cancer survivor friend of mine was horrified when she heard they told me the news over the phone instead of calling me into the office. I'm not sure I could have handled that. They don't usually call you in to tell you everything is ok, ya know? I would have known something was up and been completely freaked out until the appointment. There really is no good way to tell you you havce cancer, in my opinion.
That first office visit they tried to tell me all I really needed was to have the rest of lump removed. In the beginning Tom, my surgeon, my oncologist and a few other family members were all trying to tell me to go ahead with just a lumpectomy and chemo. I was never more scared of anything in my entire life. What if my surgeon missed something? Could I take that chance with my life? From the beginning I had something inside me telling me I needed more than a lumpectomy. Turns out it was God and I'm glad I listened. For those of you who haven't read my whole story, or who have forgotten - after my mastectomy they found a second mass in my left breast - a tumor that didn't show up on my mammogram or MRI.
So, here I am without breasts trying to decide if I should have implants or not. I don't have to have actual implants either - I can have the them take muscle and fat from my stomach to create breasts. From what I understand that is extremely painful, though. Plus they will create these neat fake nipples and tattoo on the aureoles. The nipples won't be responsive so I'll always look like I'm cold. I just can't decide what to do. There are times I don't mind not having any breasts. I like not wearing a bra. No bouncing when I run and jump (yeah, ok, I know they won't bounce IF I were to run and jump.) On the negative side: tight fitting t-shirts are out! I look ridiculous! And I have to worry about my weight and the fact that my stomach could someday pop out further than my chest giving me that potbelly look. We don't want that. Nope.
Next month I'm going to be 40 years old. I promise you before all this started I was completely unhappy with my breasts. I wonder if there are any 40 year old women (with their natural breasts) who love their breasts. Is there any woman who looks down in the shower and thinks "they're still soooo beautiful!". I know breast feeding two children was unkind to mine. Much thought had been given to someday having a breast lift. Women who have breasts that are large wish for small breasts; women with small breasts wish for large breasts. My wish is that I had mine back - just the way they were. Please don't tell me if that's what I wish I should have the surgery to get implants. Those won't be mine. Fake nipples and tattoos? Absolutely no feeling in my chest area? Yeah, people, totally not the same. I did the right thing having them removed, but I miss them. I mourn for them.
I don't usually write blogs like this. I much prefer to tell stories than to write about a random subject matter. But I needed to vent. Today I wore a tight gray t-shirt and decided I'd wear a sports bra underneath (I dunno why either) after a couple hours of doing the junior high bra pull down because there was nothing that was keeping the bra from riding up - I had to take the stupid thing off. It made me sad. While I know I'm not going to change anyone's life with this post, I hope you pause and think - at least for a moment - and be happy with what you have. Trust me it's better than nothing.
I can't end this without a story:
A couple weeks ago it was a beautiful sunny day and I decided I would take advantage of my beastlessness and wear a shirt that required no bra. I put on my spaghetti strap top with the build in padded bra. Problem was, without anything to pad the bra was gaping open and you could see my scars. After much consideration I finally decided I only had one option: stuff shirt with socks - and that's what I did. I used two big, fluffy, hot pink socks all balled up and it looked pretty good, if I do say so myself. When Tom and the kids got home they were most impressed by my new figure (they all noticed right away.) In fact, I was feeling so good I wanted to go out to dinner; so out to dinner we went.
I was in a good mood and I noticed a few people staring at me, as usual. Yeah, yeah, I have no hair - or maybe they were staring at my hot chest. I noticed the waitress kept giving me a really sweet smile. I did notice she was checking out my chest, too. You can tell I have cancer, and usually you can tell I have no breasts...maybe she was trying to figure out what kind of cancer I had. Or she noticed what I noticed on the drive home: one of my hot pink socks was falling out of my shirt. Classy!