Monday, July 29, 2013

"My Breasts Don't Define Me". Gag.

Rant of the morning...

I was reading someone else's breast cancer-related Facebook page and someone had commented (regarding reconstruction), "breasts don't define me". Oh, how I loathe that. 

If it were reconstruction of any other body part, people just wouldn't say that! Your body is your body. If you choose not to reconstruct, that's absolutely your prerogative, but don't play the "I wouldn't be so vain as to reconstruct - GASP - breasts!" card. (I know that not everyone does this. I'm just venting!)

My breasts didn't define me but they sure were a big part of me. (Snicker. Pun not intended.) I am more than my funbags but it doesn't make me love them any less. 

I'm sure I'll have a longer post about this at some point but just really wanted to get this off my chest. (Snort.) 

Hoping off my soapbox now... 

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Happy Dancing

I'm going to say something that will probably piss more than a few people off. 

Cancer may have threatened my life in unimaginable ways but strangely, I think it may have saved it, too. 

(Let the backlash begin...)

In the few years leading up to my cancer diagnosis in March of 2012, I dealt with a variety of significant personal and work-related issues. My stress level was at an all-time high. The migraines that plagued me for nearly 30 years had gotten so frequent that I had to switch medications twice in a matter of weeks. They wouldn't simmer down.

The depression that I had battled off and on for the majority of my adult life had also decided once again to rear its ugly head. I bit the bullet and made an appointment with my family doctor to rule out any other possible issues and to begrudgingly ask for a prescription for Prozac - my happy pill of choice.  

The bottom line was that I wasn't happy at all. I felt useless and hopeless and drained of emotion. I could be silly and laugh and joke, but when I was alone, my brain wouldn't calm down. It was a downward spiral that I had been down before and was afraid of heading there again.

After describing all of my woes and symptoms to my doctor, she ordered blood work to see if I was actually pre-menopausal, which would explain quite a bit of my issues. This was in December of 2011. 

Two months later, I found the lump in my breast that would ultimately lead to my diagnosis of stage IIB, triple negative breast cancer. I would have to endure  13 rounds of chemo, 30 radiation treatments and removal of both breasts. 

Now that I am nearly 8 months post treatment, I've had plenty of time to reflect and do what I do best - over-analyze. 

I have had one pretty minor migraine since I started chemo about 16 months ago. ONE!  I haven't gone a stretch like that in decades. I rarely get headaches now, period. Those that I do get are usually knocked out with a couple of Advil. No prescription meds!

Given all the shit I've gone through mentally and physically in the last year and a half, my stress level is a fraction of what it's been the last 5-10 years.  I am still taking my happy pills like a good little girl and clearly, they're working. 

I appreciate life in a different way now. I hold those that have been there for me very close to my heart and try to tell them often how much i appreciate them. All others? Well, I don't waste my precious time worrying about them. They didn't worry about me! 

I'm eating better. I'm sleeping better (finally!). I'm making better and more thoughtful decisions. I'm trying to be a better person overall. 

I will never cop to thanking cancer for any of these good things. I wouldn't rather have those things back in my life at all but cancer was placed in my way and for whatever reason, I was able to recover. Regardless of what my future holds, right now, I'm stronger, healthier and yes, happier, than I've been in a very, very long time. 

I'll say it again...

I am happy.