Friday, December 13, 2013

I AIN'T MISSING YOU AT ALL


Lake Como, Italy - Fall 2009
I guess I never really thought that I would miss having breasts.  All I cared about was getting rid of the cancer.  That to me seemed so much more important.  I had tried to imagine what it would feel like and what I would look like.  That’s a very hard thing to do when it is completely unknown.

Before I had the mastectomy I really started to think about it a lot.  It was a very stressful time.  One night I even googled images of mastectomies and it scared the crap out of me.  I remember closing my eyes and then looking at the images and wanting to look away but then always coming back to it.  Like a car accident.  Why on earth was I doing this?  Then I would look again.  Then it really hit me that soon I was going to be like one of those images.  I remember putting my head down on the desk and sobbing.  It was really scary to try to think about how I was going to look afterwards.  What scared me more was how it was going to make me feel.  I didn’t know what to expect.

My Friends - Brockville, Ontario - Summer 2013
I knew that my husband and my family would love me no matter what.  I knew that I was not going to be a different person because I had no breasts.  I was not defined by that.  However, no matter what, I was indeed going to be different.  I would look different and I would feel different.  How would my clothes fit me?  Would people be able to tell?  Would others stare?  What if I had to wear a bathing suit?  Would I still feel like a woman or would this make me feel more masculine or something?  Like some kind of a freak.  All of these things went through my head but I suppose I knew that it had to be done and being alive was certainly a great incentive.  So I took a big breath, swallowed that lump in my throat and decided that I was strong and I would get through this next hurdle.  I turned off the computer and went to bed.  I would deal with everything one day at a time.  What else could I do? 

Now that I was on the other side of the mastectomy, I was adjusting to the new reality and still not too sure how I felt about it.  Several months had passed but each day brought mixed feelings and physical challenges.  However, I was determined to focus on the positive.  The cancer was gone.


I Ain't Missing You - John Waite


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Thursday, December 5, 2013

CALL ME MAYBE

It started happening all of a sudden.  People started asking me questions about this whole cancer experience to try to understand and figure out how to help others in their lives that were affected by cancer somehow.  I guess they wanted some first-hand info from someone that had been through it.  Everyone seems to have a personal connection to cancer with somebody in their lives.  So many of us simply don’t really know much about it.  Sure you hear about it and hear the words cancer, chemo, radiation, pathology and so on but how many really know what all that stuff is?

Alex & 1 - Fall 2011
One of the first times that I was asked about my personal cancer experience was one night at my son’s hockey practice.  One of the fathers asked me if he could talk to me about something kind of serious and kind of personal.  So I said sure.  It turned out that one of his close friends at work had just got the results of a biopsy that indicated she had breast cancer.  I guess she was in a bit of shock and really didn’t know what to think.  I told him that by all means he could give her my phone number and email address.  I would be more than happy to talk or listen or share with her.  I know I would have liked to have had more people to talk to when I was first diagnosed.  I only had one friend that had been through her own breast cancer experience and we didn’t live in the same city.  We spoke by phone a few times which was amazingly helpful to me.

Perfect Day - Larose Forest, Winter 2013
I was also able to speak with a relative of my father-in-law at one point by phone which was comforting.  I also had my sister-in-law’s mother to talk to a bit but we didn’t see each other often during that time either.  So, I sort of got what I could from them and from books and the internet and always had a lot of questions for the times I would see the doctors.  That was for the physical stuff.  The emotional stuff was something else.

I really had no interest in a support group because that’s just not really my thing.  I didn’t want to share in a big group.  I also didn’t want to hear all of the issues that they might be dealing with because that was not going to make me feel better.  However, talking to someone that had been in my position and had made it through to the other side would definitely be much more my thing.  These people have experience and could explain what to expect, offer some advice, and maybe explain what they would have done differently.  That’s the kind of stuff I would have liked to know.

So, if I could be that person for someone else then I would certainly make myself available should anyone want to ask questions.  Little did I know how many others there would be in the coming years that would ask me about my breast cancer experience.

Call Me Maybe - Carly Rae Jepsen




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