A few more things to put out there, not all of them good, but not all of them bad either:
– The world lost an IBC warrior this week, a friend to many in the IBC advocacy community. Norma Greer, an IBC advocate in Arizona and a friend through the listservs, lost her battle this week. She will be missed;
– Cancer yoga has been helpful beyond words to me. I think I’ve finally become comfortable with my own skin, which is ironic, since there’s now so much less of it in places (and more of it in others!);
– I really enjoyed meeting Jen Ballantyne and her friends Meg and Bella this week, exchanging comments, and seeing pictures of her beautiful boy. Some days, I think making new friends (and keeping old ones!) is what the blogosphere is all about;
– My skin is healing nicely; the scars are not bothersome at all. Although there is a little swelling under my arms that I find ugly, I’m already shopping for a new swimsuit and summerwear;
– We went shopping today and it was actually fun;
– I keep reading and rereading this thought-provoking post from Bella at Beyond the Map. The words echo in my mind: Trust your body. As I worry over my scars and feel the shame of extra skin and fat, as I check out reconstruction photos and recoil at the thought of my body needing such, as I wonder and worry about the future of this skin, I am thinking a lot about things like this, and wondering. But I think she’s right. Trust your body, it knows what it’s doing and it knows what it needs. And so I will take my vitamins and eat my vegetables and not subject it to further surgery unless it will help heal me;
– Someone asked today on the IBC support list whether all the pain, the trouble, the discomfort, the vomiting, the booblessness (no she didn’t!) was all worth it. I say YES. to all. And the booblessness? So far, it’s such a net positive. Not even 3 weeks out, I feel great and light and carefree without the worry of recurrence in my breasts. Such a good thing. Not that it’s easy; it’s a terribly hard road, but IMO, sooooo worth it;
– If you’re getting a mastectomy, I’ve learned that you should stock up on the following: soft cotton camisoles, big button down shirts, cocoa butter, aloe (if you’re going to be doing radiation afterwards), gauze bandage pads and tape, and spray deoderant. I have never seen a list quite like this, but, trust me, it’s a good one. It’s not easy to find spray deoderant anymore, by the way, but if you don’t at least try it, you’ll have to find someone else to apply the regular stuff to you every morning. And that? Gets old. (While I’m sure Jess or Stimey could make a hiliarous blog post from this bullet, I’m just slightly embarrassed. Ah well. That’s why Oh, The Joys and Stimeyland are so much fun to visit!);
– Widget’s words to me tonight as I was putting him down, “I want to help you. I want to help you with your work.” When I told him I was starting to write a book about a NASA program that I used to work with, he said, “I want to write a book too!” So look out, world! It sounds like there’s a book about firefighters, planets, backhoes, dogs, and baby cats to be written someday!
– Oh, and Imstell asked recently whether I’m going to get breast reconstruction. Nope. I’ve decided not to. And not just because it’s easier to do scans and such to catch recurrences early without reconstruction. Not just because I can’t have any work done at all until after radiation, and I’m not a candidate for implants now for a number of reasons. Not even because the idea of transplanting belly fat, back muscle, or tush (as my three-year old and I call it) muscle to my chest doesn’t appeal to me. I’m just not going to do it because I’m happy with myself right now. I’m happy with my body the way it has to be right now, even if I am more than a little pear-shaped(!), and I’ll just have to get used to it. Because that’s what the new normal is for me now;
– And it’s all about the new normal.
Next week, I go to meet with my medical oncologist, my radiation oncologist, my surgical oncologist, and my lymphodema prevention physical therapist. Whew. I guess I’m not done healing after all! Soon, soon my body will be recovered. Healing, I’m learning, can take even longer.
But the end result may be better than any of us even imagined.