T minus 18 hours until Greg is sent to tumor heaven.
I have been in quarantine in my bedroom for about 60 hours since my pre-op Covid test (which is negative!).
Here is a short rundown of what I have been doing, with corresponding embarrassment levels 1-10; 1 being not embarrassing at all and 10 being I’m a trashbag:
- Looking at TikTok- 7
- Spacing out- 2
- Watched the following:
- Project Runway- 1
- Grey’s Anatomy- 3
- Joe Millionaire- 9.5
- Ballet Now (documentary)- 1
- Blown Away Christmas- 2
- Emily in Paris- 2 for content, 7 for visuals
- The Bachelor- 8.75
- Don’t Look Up- 1
- Exercised using my Mirror app
- Talked to my dogs
- Listened to podcasts that are very lowbrow- 2 (see rating scale above)
- Screamed to/at my husband and kids to either turn the volume down or to bring me food
- Read a book that I don’t really like, but it’s all I have in here
- Had a dream of the romantic nature involving the character Cousin Greg. Oedipal much? It is concerning
I am pretty good at surgery by now and I know the drill. I am a little sad that I can’t have anyone with me, curbside service only. Thanks Omicron. It is much easier to wait for your impending slice n’ dice when you have a loved one to keep you company. Perhaps this time I will try and be reflective and introspective. PSYCHE- I’ll probably be setting up my phone to video me doing manic things that I will post on the interwebs and then regret for the rest of my life.
I had a phone consult with the plastic surgeon a few days ago. He informed me that he will not be removing my implant, as it will likely get wrecked from radiation anyway. He said they will be removing 1) the tumor plus margins, 2) a chunk of my pec muscle, and 3) a piece of my skin. The skin is right where the most beautiful flower of my mastectomy tattoo is. I am pretty devastated by this, as that tattoo means a hell of a lot to me, but also to a lot of other people who have drawn strength from the documentary GRACE.
The good news is that my dear friend and tattoo artist David will of course fix it when I am healed from surgery and radiation, which will also do some damage to the tat. Any excuse to see David is a good one, even skin removal and radiation.
The conversation with the plastic surgeon did end up being unsettling. He kept saying things like, ‘this is no big deal.’ I realize he was trying to make me feel less worried and using perspective, comparing my mastectomy to this surgery, but it didn’t sit well with me. I understand that this surgery is far less involved than a mastectomy with lymph node removal, but it doesn’t lessen the fact that I am in the 6% that have a breast cancer recurrence and that is scary AF. And removing part of my pec muscles?! Puke.
Sure your part may be simple, removing tissue, tumor and muscles, but my part involves all of the terror that comes with having cancer twice at 41 years old, knowing that my cancer loves my body so much it beat almost insurmountable odds to return, and the PTSD of having done this before.
I gotta be honest, I did not think my cancer would recur. I worried about it, sure, but in my heart, I felt like I was done. I selfishly thought that it would be someone else, that I would not take on this statistic. Now that I am here, I am glad it was me. I am good at cancer. I just am. I can do this and I will come out maybe a little more ragged for the wear, but I will be ok.
Not everyone comes out okay. And by this I mean the mental scars are heavier than any physical ones, and this disease can wreck lives. I have seen it time and again in the breast cancery world. We get physically repaired, but our hearts remain broken and our minds murky. Instead of worrying about me tomorrow, send up good vibes for all the people who live harder lives in the rearview of their disease. I will wake up from anesthesia, make jokes, have people bring me things, write cathartically and be able to move forward.
Will my dose of Effexor go up? Perhaps, but I got this.