Thursday, August 27, 2009

Follow my footsteps

It's amazing how there's almost a recipe for the progress each one of us makes as we move through breast cancer treatment. Diagnosis, despair, pick up by the bootstraps, surgery, chemo, radiation, recovery...on and on. One after another. Like cookie cutters. I read one blogger friend will finish chemo this week and I think of how I remember the same time in my life. As clearly as I remember the birth of my children.

One of the things that fried me the most when I was first diagnosed was everyone thinking BC made me like everyone else. I didn't like pink (still don't) and don't want to be part of the club. I tear up when I see pink ribbons, pens, socks, purses - because it defines me now. It's who I am.

I don't think a day goes by that I don't wonder if the beast will return. I know I'm reminded of the mess made of my body on a daily basis. I have to laugh when people say to my whining, "yea but what's the alternative?" Hey, no one knows more than someone who's faced what I have. Eye to eye with mortality at age 40 wasn't/isn't fun. I've also had people tell me "it's life" - thanks, but no thanks. I'll take reduced levels of stress for $100, Alex.

I went for marker tests yesterday and a checkup. I'm fine, although Tamoxifen isn't being kind to me. I bought an urban rebounder today because it's supposed to be low-impact exercise and excellent for lymphedema. Hips, knees and ankles hurt brutally at times. I'm 8 months out of chemo here and the bone pain still overwhelms me. I gimp frequently, tottering around holding onto stuff - especially in the morning.

Jackie and Steffie start school next week. I'm looking forward to it, sort of. My baby won't be home with Mommy anymore. She needs to be in preschool for the phonics, writing and socializing. I just can't help feeling this last year was stolen from us both. Hell, it was stolen from all of us.

This time last year I still had my drains. Yuck. I guess that's progress in someone's eyes. Still have another surgery sometime this fall but I don't feel rushed about it. At least I won't have drains this time. Slice and dice - driveby surgery to swap out my implants. I'm told the new tatas will already be filled so I don't have to go in for filling. I sure hope so.

I did something very therapeutic this summer. I chose 20 or so breast cancer articles for the company I write for. I researched and wrote until I purged it all out. I did learn a lot but ultimately, I think a writer wants to help their readers gain a better understanding. It was medicinal for me. If one women who's scared stumbles across one of my articles, then it makes it worth it.

There really isn't anyone who can relate better than someone who's been there...


Jill said...

Well stated here, and yes I don't think anyone does fully understand what we go through and have to give up unless they have been there.It definitely is a long, long road and all we can do is hope that one day we finally reach the end of that road.
Take care.
Jill :)

Beth said...

It's been so helpful to follow blogs like yours, Jill's, Renee's (to be able to read your earlier stuff and see where you are now) as well as to find people at the same stage as me (Alli, Sara).

I think in your first paragraph you missed a couple 'despairs' - one after surgery while you're waiting for 'the plan', and one (or two) during chemo when you're not sure you can really get through it all...

Great post, thanks!

Daria said...

Well written ...

S. F. Heron said...

God's truth Beth - I just can't ponder the true nature of the despair ones feels with this diagnosis. Especially with young children.

I left a few out because I didn't want to start crying :)

Praying for an uneventful FINAL chemo for you Beth. God bless sweetie...Sharon