Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Full Circle

So how does one mark such dates? It comes with sadness and some anger, a true want for "the before". But this Thursday, the anniversary of my diagnosis, I'm getting even. Something remarkable is set for the day. Something meant to be and will start to bring me full circle.

At 10:30 a.m., my surgery will begin. It is the first step towards putting my body back together. I am having my tissue expanders put it. This is the beginning towards replacing my breasts. They will never be identical to what I had before. And yes, in the end, i will essentially have had a boob job. But at last I will begin what was literally planned to occur after my chemo treatment for breast cancer. In fact, my original tissue expander surgery date was on the day that all the tests came back, confirming I had leukemia as well.

Perhaps it is a little odd to be so excited about a surgery. And it is no small task, and should last 3 1/2 to 4 hours. The surgeon essentially cuts from side to side across my chest, cutting through skin and muscle. The expanders are placed behind the muscle and attached to the ribs. The expanders hold a temporary implant that is filled with saline. Ports are placed under the skin on both sides for access.

Over the course of some time, perhaps a few months, more saline will be injected through the ports, slowly expanding the muscle and skin. I will go to the surgeon's office every week or every other week, depending on how it goes and what I can reasonably tolerate, and the temporary implant is gradually filled. Once my body's limit is reached or I am satisfied with the size, I will then "wear" that for about two months, allowing the body to heal itself a bit.

Then there is a second surgery during which the expanders are removed along with the temporary implant. Then silicone implants will be put in place.

So what am I doing Thursday? Getting part of what I have lost back. I am really excited and hopeful for a positive journey through this. Pray for me, please, if that is your thing. I'll take positive thoughts too!

What an incredible way to mark this anniversary of my diagnosis. New boobs!!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Four Year Anniversary

Tomorrow is the four year anniversary of my final lumpectomy. I remember quite vividly waiting for the results. It was always an uneasy few days waiting to hear what the pathology report held for me.

Four years ago this Thursday, November 10, was a Saturday. Craig was off at a friend's house with the boys. The phone rang at about 10:00 a.m., the caller id showing the name of the clinic where my surgeon practiced. I remember knowing that as I reached out my hand to answer the phone that my life would never be the same again. I considered not answering, as if doing so would prevent cancer. But when your surgeon calls you two days after a surgery, on a Saturday morning, you know there is a problem.

He was very cautious and caring with his words. But the bottom line was the same. Cancer cells, a tumor, had been found. I had cancer.

So it may seem strange to you that I keep track of these anniversaries. But each day/event was a "before and after" moment. There is before cancer and after cancer. It delineates what was versus what is. It dictates much of who I am today.

Cancer sucks.