In addition to reaching the land of NED, I assumed the light at the end of this crapbasket would be a fierce boob job. Nothing like gravity-defying cleavage to turn around a tragic boob situation! But I recently learned that the huge amount of radiation I am going to have will pretty much destroy any chance of implants -- at least successful ones. I'm told if I attempt them, I could be walking down the street one day only to have one slip out and get trapped in my pant leg. Clip the wrong end of a revolving door? Bang, explosion. Booosh.
This turn of events will not doom me to a boobless existence, however. Instead, I'll likely have reconstructive surgery, a procedure that involves building some brand new hammers out of my own fat cells. Many pals have already offered up generous T&A donations (thanks, friends) but the doctors said it doesn't work that way. So much for going up a size.
Anyteets, reconstruction involves more extensive surgery, skin grafts, and the very Sci-Fi experience of walking around without nipples for up to a year. Nipples are "tattooed" on post operatively. There are people out there who actually specialize in this rare art. If you do a search for nipple tattoo artists, you'll find people who design all kinds of nips from the natural looking to those for which no areola is too big.
But all of this is down the road. In the here and now, I am completing chemo on Monday (yahoo!) and preparing for my mastectomy which should take place sometime in July. I've been kind of lax about getting a surgery date scheduled. I've had this laissez-faire "it's all good - whatever" attitude that's been zapping my sense of urgency. Maybe it's fatigue, or maybe I'm just sick of talking about tits! Also, some of the side-effect meds (not marijuana, but may as well be) could be causing this mellow cloudiness. I've had trouble writing lately (if the lapse in blogging is any indication) and have had all the mental clarity of an elderly driver at a farmer's market. I've also been in a very, very good mood -- unshakably good, but mindlessly so.
Last week, the only thing I had to do one morning was call my surgeon to schedule my consultation. I started picking balls of dried grape jelly off of Vito’s hindquarters and completely forgot about it for the rest of the day.
Would you please pass the jelleh?
I'm afraid I've become too complacent while plodding through what seems like endless treatment. At my last oncologist appointment, I learned that the A/C, Taxol and Herceptin has worked so well that the 10cm mass in Lefty is no longer palpable! My doc said I may even be a candidate for a lumpectomy since the tumor has shrunk so much. While I was thrilled to hear the treatment is working so well, this surgical scale-back threw me off a little. I've already bid farewell to Lefty and have resolved to go as drastic as possible surgery-wise to ensure this cancer doesn't come back. I'm trying to rekindle that sense of fear and urgency I felt in January.
Aside: Besides, Lefty is busted. It's always been trouble, rogue even, popping out of bathing suits at the most inopportune moments. Nobody has been subjected to this horror more than poor BG. Waving his hand like a white flag on the beach: “It’s out again! It’s out again! Put it back! No!”
My doc said survival rates are the same regardless of the type of surgery. There's a less than five percent chance of local recurrence (If HER2 recurs, it usually recurs distantly). There is always the chance of getting a second BC in either Lefty or Righty, but it's also a small one.
I trust my doctors and I know there are protocols that are more attractive, but ultimately you have to do what’s right for you. The BC statistics have been in my favor all along but have not necessarily come in on my side: Only six percent of BCs occur in women under 40. Only 20 percent of all BCs are HER2 positive. This is a trend I would like to buck. So I will not fuck with the odds just because they seem to be in my favor. So, off with the boobs! I want to be talking about reconstruction next year, not recurrence. I don't intend on going through this ever again.
DF 10, June 15 - Killing time
It's been awhile but my social worker (SW) has popped by my chemo cubby for a wee visit. She keeps calling me Kathy but I'm way too mellow to correct her: “It’s all good, you crazy coot.” The last time I saw the SW, I was in a crooked do-rag looking for happy pills so I can see how my newly calm exterior would throw her off.
SW: How are you feeling?
ME: Just chillaxing.
James returns from a sandwich run and sees the SW. Realizing we never tried to guess where she was from, we dig into our favorite time-killer.
JAMES: Definitely Brookline or Newton.
ME: “Yeah, man, sounds good. Good. Good. All good.”
A subsequent Google shows she is indeed from Newton Center.
Seven Songs of the Day -- 6/17/2009
1. Heavy Metal Drummer - Wilco
2. Hell Yes - Beck
3. Sports & Wine - Ben Folds Five
4. Tower of Strength - Mission UK
5. Outside - Tribe
6. Dry Land - Buffalo Tom
7. Hello, My Treacherous Friends - Ok Go
Today's playlist comes courtesy of Bart Parker in ME. Thanks, Bart!