Thursday, March 14, 2013

A year later, I'm still standing

A year ago today, Matt, the girls and I were on our way to Alabama to see my sister and my mom.  About two hours into the drive, I got a call from my nurse practitioner that changed my life - and the lives of those closest to me - forever.  While she didn't have all of the path report results yet, she confirmed my biggest fear... I had breast cancer.  Motherfucking cancer.  A year later, I'm still standing.

I started an aggressive chemo plan on April 5, 2012.  I lost all my hair (yep, even there).  I lost my energy.  I lost my ability to focus and remember things.  My hands and fingers ached from the chemo-caused neuropathy.  I never lost my wit or my undeniable charm.  (Snicker.)  A year later, I'm still standing.

On September 17, 2012, I had my right breast removed.  Cut off.  Amputated.  I had a crazy milk jug-feeling tissue expander sewn into me and some lovely bruises and scars that earned the nickname, "Frankenboob."  I had drains that looked like testicles coming out of my side.  The bruises faded, the drains came out and Frankenboob's scars have healed quite nicely.  A year later, I'm still standing.

I began 6 weeks' worth of radiation treatments on October 15, 2012 that left me with Texas fried skin.  I was crunchy, burnt and peeling and experienced the worst fatigue since chemo.  I still have some darkened areas of skin, but it's pretty much back to normal now.  A year later, I'm still standing.

In 39 days, on April 22, 2013, I will have my final reconstruction surgery to give me new, cancer-free boobies (and a flat tummy to boot!).  It'll be a longer recovery than the first surgery and I may be hunched over while my incisions heal, but you know what?  I'll STILL be standing.

All of the things I've experienced in the last year have made me a more determined person.  I'm stronger than I ever knew I could be.  Cancer couldn't take that from me.

Fuck you, cancer.  Fuck you where it hurts.  You smacked me around and tried to make me tap out but guess what...


Saturday, March 9, 2013

No more Grammi-locks!

I finally decided to color my hair back to "Nancy" brown. Sure, the grey was lovely and all but for God's sake... I'm only 42. The next person that said, "oh, you should keep it" was going to get a chop to the trachea. Really? I'm pretty sure that not ONE of my friends that are around my age would dream of letting their hair go grey. My own mother is 62 and her hair is still colored! I'm glad that they were being kind but come on...

The lack of maintenance was a great but looking like Matt's frumpy sugar mama cougar was not. Yes, I'm vain like that. Now I just look like his little dorky brother. Even better.

I love when people ask if I'm going to keep it short. Um, do I have a choice? In the six months since it's been growing back, it's still only about an inch and a half long at its longest. Even if I let it grow back to the shoulder length I had previously, it would take a couple of years. Ain't nobody got time for that!

I really do like having short hair. I can get up, take a shower and get all dolled up (yeah, I snickered just typing that) in less than 30 minutes. That's fan-damn-tastic. Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night messes up my hair. My hair is like the fucking mailman sans the goofy socks and attitude.

Just like my boobs, my hair certainly doesn't define me but having post-chemo shorty short grey hair made me feel like I was still in transition mode. Now I feel - and think I look - like I got this 'do on purpose.

Look out... The old Nancy is peeking out!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

This is me.

Tomorrow, 3.3.13, is Triple Negative Breast Cancer Day. I refuse to celebrate this cancer. I choose to celebrate life.

This is my right breast now. It's scarred from a mastectomy. It's darkened from radiation. It's unnaturally shaped and uncomfortable from the expander within.

We need awareness for cancer of all kinds - not just breast cancer. As I always say, be vigilant. Listen to your body. You're your own best advocate.

Praying for a cure.