Patchwork-quilt-of-a-breast keeping me up . . .

17 Sep

Well, here I am . . . again, no sleep. It is after 4:30 in the morning. It has been a year and a half of no sleep, really. I am quite tired of it. I am at half speed, half brain and half energy. Surgery is coming up in a matter of days now and I am not ready. Yet, if my surgeon told me I could go for surgery tomorrow, I would do it, God, I want this over with. I am so done with all of it. And now, here we are in the middle of “pinktober” (October is breast cancer awareness month, so the pink is everywhere).

Pink is on everything now . . .

Don’t get me wrong. I am grateful to have had a kind of cancer that is popular, sympathetic etc., etc., etc. What I mean is that breast cancer gets most of the research dollars and most of the “awareness” attention and as a result there are many treatment options available for breast cancer patients. And, for the type I had, a targeted therapy – one that cures the type of breast cancer I had – that not long ago few ever survived.

But, but, but . . . I want my life back. I want the non-hijacked-by-cancer-life-I-had-before back. But, I know that is not going to happen. And so, I have, for the most part, accepted certain things. Last year they took body parts away. Now more than a year later, I am getting new parts. But . . . my body will never be the same, I will never feel the same and I will never be the same. I have one reconstructed breast (on my left side, the non-radiated side). I still feel that it is foreign. I still feel sharp jabs of pain in my back from where my latissimus muscle was taken from my back to my front to help “rebuild” me. I still feel that new “breast” move whenever I move my arm . . . it pulls my new “breast” to the left . . . I swear, I could probably do tricks. And as funny as that seems, it isn’t funny at all. I hate it sometimes. Mostly, I just sincerely dislike not feeling like myself and . . . I hate the constant physical reminders that I had cancer.

And now as I get closer to perhaps being done with all of this nonsense, I am faced with the realization that this is it . . . this is how I am feeling. I have done battle and there are scars and parts missing and movements I make everyday that remind me of what I have been through. I can’t open a car door the way I used to do it. I can still do it, but, I have to do it differently now and the annoying thing is that I always forget this and so my first attempt never works . . . I have to be reminded – by not being able to open a door – that I now have to do it a different way. That is what it is about now, I think, re-navigating, re-routing things. Everything really.

Maybe one day the new ways of getting things done will become hardwired into my brain and become second nature so that I won’t have to think about it, won’t have to try to do it the old way first (because that is what my body instinctively does) and simply have the new way hardwired into my brain.

The path is still shaping up for me. I am still figuring things out and I guess I just have to be okay with that.

I saw someone with his shirt off the other day . . . a friend changed his shirt in front of me at an outdoor barbecue (can’t say that I minded it one bit, but, that is a whole other story). But, when he joked with me that I should do the same, we both immediately realized how unfunny that joke was . . . he felt badly I am sure and I felt, well, just kind of sad. There will be no unscarred pretty version of me naked. That is not happening. And after this most recent mishap with my prior surgeon, what I can hope for is something that will resemble a breast when I am wearing clothes. And, I am grateful for the patch work breast that I will get. I am grateful for the surgeon I now have as I know that with him, whatever the result, it will be the very best that I can get at this point.

But, I am also terrified of it, terrified of seeing it and terrified of having anyone else ever see it. So what is a girl to do?

Sometimes a girl needs to cry a little. Damn. This is where the being single with breast cancer cuts kind of deep. Not to say that having a husband would have made this cancer roller coaster a bed of roses. So, really, I don’t even know what I am talking about. But, I guess I am talking about where to pick up my life after this . . . and whether or not anyone will want to pick it up with me. I do have someone in my life. But, what that will be like after more surgery and recovery . . . who is to say? And, whatever it is like, well, only part of me will be there when I am done. Does that make sense?

I am so, so tired. Sleep is so hard to come by these days. This might be one of those four am rambles that I regret. Hopefully not 🙂

Love and peace,


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