Sunday, June 23, 2013

POOR POOR PITIFUL ME

Poor Poor Pitiful Me - New York State, Summer 2011

All of a sudden it was March 7, 2007.  The day before the bilateral mastectomy surgery.  At this point I just wanted to get it over with.  I wanted to get the cancer the hell out of my body.  The date of March 8 had been hanging over me for so long now and it was finally almost there.  I spent most of the day getting ready.  Getting ready for what I’m not sure.  It’s kind of like “nesting” I guess just before you have a baby.  I was trying to clean the house, change bed linens, do laundry, etc…and also my Dad and Sheila were expected that afternoon.  The other thing on my mind was that I wouldn’t be able to do anything once I got home from the hospital because I wouldn’t be able to lift anything.  I just wanted to be sure that everything was done and I think it was also keeping my mind busy so that I didn't get too freaked out about the operation.

My friends and family were calling to wish me well but the telephone was ringing off the hook and it was really starting to get to me.  I do know that people had good intentions but the more the phone rang the farther I got behind in the things I was trying to get done and also the more it made me think about the surgery.  I was really just trying to put it out of my head for the time being and I figured I would just show up the next day at the required time and take it from there.  No point worrying about the unknown and all the “what ifs”.

Poor Poor Pitiful Alex-
Paris, Spring 2010
Finally the hospital called to tell me that the surgery was scheduled from 8:00 am to 1:00 pm.  This is the moment when my next low point happened.  I think this is the fourth one I have described to you now.  The lady that I was speaking to on the phone was going over the requirements that I had to meet before the surgery.  She said I could not be wearing any makeup, nail polish or jewellery. I said to her, “Except my wedding ring.”  Then she asked me if I had read the info that I was given where it stated “no jewellery” and I said yes but that it always said that and I’d never had to remove my wedding ring before.  In fact, I couldn’t actually get my wedding ring off and I never do take it off.  I was so puffy from the chemo I knew for sure that ring was not going to come off my fat little fingers.  I think the only time I ever took it off in all these years was when I was pregnant and I really don’t know how I got it off even then.

Anyway, she told me I had to take it off or they either wouldn’t do the surgery or they would cut it off.  She said I should go to a jeweller because they’d do a better job than at the hospital.  But she was so cold and matter of fact and uncaring (well that was what I thought at the time).  She even said that I had lots of time to do it that afternoon.  I felt like smacking her!  Did she not realize how many other things I was trying to get done?  Did she not realize how many other things were on my mind?  Did I really need to have this to worry about now?  I was crying so hard at this point that I couldn’t breathe and couldn’t talk so I just wrote down the rest of the info and hung up.

For some reason this really upset me.  It was like not only did I have to get my breasts hacked off, I also had to delete anything else that was any part feminine or made me feel like a woman.  No lipstick, no nail polish, not even that which makes me feel the most special – my wedding and engagement rings.  I just felt so ripped off and like I was literally stripped of everything.  I supposed all the emotions I had been holding inside and the fear of the surgery and me trying to brave all just exploded with this phone call that had turned me into a weepy crazy lady.

Poor Poor Pitiful Tasz -
Lake Louise, AB Summer 2009
Of course I called Mike right away and cried like a baby on the phone until I got it out of my system.  Poor him.  He looked up some hints on the net right away on how to get off a too-tight ring.  I tried ice water, soap, lotion and even wrapped my finger in dental floss (like a mummy) and the ring was supposed to slide right over and off.  Yeah right.  That didn’t work at all except that by this time my finger was swollen and red.  I even stuck my finger in the margarine container and that didn’t work either.  Stupid tricks.  I ended up calling the local jewellery store and they told me they could cut it off and then fix it for me a few weeks after my surgery when my fingers were back at the usual size.  Mike took me as soon as he got home from work.  The older couple that runs the jewellery store were very nice and they cut my wedding ring off for me and reassured me that they would fix it up for me when I was ready.


That evening we had a nice family dinner and I figured it would be my last good meal for a few days.  Afterwards I packed myself a bag for the hospital and resigned myself to the fact that when I woke up the next day I would be off on yet another journey.  I fell asleep thinking about the photos I have tucked away from the summer I spent backpacking in Europe and lounging on the topless/nude beaches in Greece.  I was glad I had that crossed off my bucket list when I was in my twenties.

Poor Poor Pitiful Me - Terri Clark


2 comments:

  1. Thanks for posting this. Your blog is so interesting and very informative.

    www.triciajoy.com

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