I already know which of my offspring doesn’t and have stored that information along with my Christmas shopping list and will revision. I know my doctors don’t because none have dropped me from their practice and/or apologized for prompting me to complain in what was going to be a positive blog about journeying through breast cancer. My husband would probably read it more often if I added some obscure music facts and/or video. Yesterday I found out someone else hasn’t been keeping up with me. Paula Young Wigs. I got an email asking why I hadn’t made a purchase in a while and offering me incentive to come back. I immediately started to fire off a reply that I no longer needed a wig because my hair had made a triumphant return! Luckily before I hit send I realized the people at Paula Young not only don’t care why I needed a wig to begin with, but would be even less interested in why I don’t. Then I started wigging out (see what I did there?) about the so called quality of these wigs if they expected me to have replaced them already. I mean, I had one freebie from the ACS and bought two myself so I would have some variety. How many wigs does the average wig wearer own and how often do they need replacement? If I sold wigs I would sell them in days of the week packs like the panties we used to get as kids. I’m telling ya, nothing could screw up your day more than wearing Thursday’s underwear on Monday. Maybe that’s not such a good idea after all. Women who are wearing wigs because they’ve lost their hair to chemo or other medical conditions have enough stress.
Back to the panties for a second.. I always figured they were a good idea for kids.. reminds them to change every day. Now I see they make them for adults too and I’m entertaining myself with possible reasons why. If my underwear say Monday I am supposed to be at the office….
Oh! They also have them for men. Now that’s probably a good idea.
Okay, maybe I am a little. I don’t suffer from the kind of PTSD that has me diving under tables, self-medicating with drugs bought off of sleazy characters in back alleys or laying awake staring at the ceiling every night. Instead I have these little flashbacks of the past year that leave me feeling a little sick to my stomach or with a lump in my throat. The next several months (ie. the entire holiday line up from now until July 4th) is one long anniversary of cancer. I found the lump October 30. Happy Halloween. I had surgery the week after Thanksgiving and started a 6+ month course of chemo two days after Christmas. New Years was spent sick and in pain from the first infusion. I started radiation the week before July 4 and that lasted the entire summer. In every family photo celebrating holidays and birthdays I am either wearing a wig or a scarf. Every celebration was wonderful, but I was exhausted or not feeling well through all of them. Concerts, movies, even simple dinners out had to be planned so I could rest up a bit ahead of time and I always came this  close to canceling, but never did. I decided no matter how I was feeling to take the words “fake it til you make it” to heart. 99% of the time my attitude is positive, but then I have a precancerous polyp removed and a wonky pap smear and what would have previously elicited only a mild concern gives me pause.
Now I should just be putting this behind me and moving on (and I will!) but wouldn’t you know the anniversary of my cancer diagnosis begins during the month of Pinktober, where everywhere I look there are constant reminders of breast cancer. I have an appointment at the Cancer Center tomorrow and I suspect it will be especially obnoxious. You literally cannot leave the house, pick up a newspaper or magazine, turn on the computer or television without being engulfed in a Pepto Bismol colored haze. It’s all good. Just in case, ya know, you’ve been living under a rock and haven’t heard of breast cancer. Now you know.
I’m not suggesting you don’t wear pink. You might look really good in pink! I’m not suggesting you don’t purchase pink items. I use a royal blue spatula myself and I’m not going to judge you if you want a pink one. My favorite present after my diagnosis is still the pink afghan my aunt crocheted for me that I wrapped myself in during chemo. But that blanket was made, given and received out of love. It wasn’t part of a marketing ploy to tug on heartstrings and loosen purse strings. Be mindful of which companies actually support breast cancer charities when you purchase their pink items and which are only using breast cancer to fatten their bottom line. Or, instead of licking pink yogurt tops (Really Yoplait? You can’t just donate based on sales?) make a donation to the carefully researched charity of your choice. I support the American Cancer Society http://www.cancer.org and recently have joined http://www.armyofwomen.org/ and signed up for a 20 year research study that anyone can take part in, men or women, any age, with or without a history of breast cancer https://www.healthofwomenstudy.org Check them out.
One more anniversary to mention. Today I am
Look what I can do!
So my scheduled 30 minute “let’s just talk” appointment ended 2 1/2 hours later with me naked from the waist up being fondled and tattooed. If there had been drinks involved it would have been reminiscent of.. well… never mind. I am now all set for 33 rounds of radiation. 25 to the breast and axilla and then an additional 8 just to the breast. I do finally understand why I would need any radiation at all after all that chemo. Apparently cancer cells can be hanging out in the scar tissue from the surgery. Scar tissue has no blood supply so chemo is not delivered to the area as it is the rest of the body. Stupid scars. Afterwards I was asked to meet with a very nice man from the American Cancer Society. He had a lot of information but unfortunately, 8 months in, there was nothing I wasn’t already all too aware of. I’m not sure why this meeting happened now and not at the beginning of my journey, but it was a nice reminder of all that the ACS does. I took the folder full of information I don’t need and thanked him. It will be a nice addition to the burn pile along with the endless pink themed booklets and pamphlets I was given at my very first visit to the interdisciplinary clinic.
I mentioned in my last post about the lack of testing following treatment. Interestingly enough, when I had surgery (at the same hospital, different building) yesterday and was undergoing light sedation in the way of anesthesia I was told I would need to take a urine pregnancy test. I declined and then asked what the thought process was here.. I just underwent 6 months and 16 rounds of chemotherapy and not once did anyone ask me to pee in a cup first. They had no answer for me but did concede it was a good point. Umm.. yea