Thursday, February 17, 2011

I am not tough. I am all fluff.

Early on in my diagnosis of Breast Cancer, someone said to me…”Do you know why this happened to you?”....I’m thinking.... “No…It’s Bullshit, isn’t it…”, but no, that was not what they were getting at...It was…”It’s because you are tough and you can handle this.” 
It is true that I was awarded the first place women’s finisher plaque for the “Toughest Race In Texas”  a severely hilly 20 mile trail race, and, that I did believe that this was the confirmation that I needed to prove that I was indeed tough.  In some ways I believed it proof also that my husband and my old friend John Stark were wrong. (They have both mentioned at one time or another that I am not that tough).   I used to think that John wrote the BDS song “Yer All Fluff” partly with me in mind, and even if he didn’t, I thought about that when I heard it.
Now, I began to believe that if what this person was saying is true, I needed to make sure that I was no longer tough.  I, for once, needed to allow John and Richie to be right, and at the same time find a way to have things that require “toughness” stop happening to me.   
I initially made a joke of it, and figured I’d just proclaim myself as no longer tough, and begin doing everything the opposite of how I normally do things, like for example, I’d start watching more football and go to church.  Those were the main things that I could think of, that I was obviously doing wrong.  I just couldn’t initially accept running less, or drinking more, as things that would help this situation.  However, in retrospect, now that I am running less, and doing chemo, which is kinda like drinking more ‘cause it is killing my kidneys and liver like alcohol would, I do believe it may be helping. I did also watch a lot more football and started going to YOGA, best I could do under the circumstances.
While yesterday was difficult for me, it has become for me, the proof that i needed to declare that I am officially no longer tough.

This is really not entertaining.  Please do not get your hopes up, or prepare yourself to be jealous of my Wednesday.  On the surface, possibly not even that significant.  Just a day.
The day started out very nicely:  Double shot iced latte’, 2%, paper cup, more ice, less milk, from my favorite Irie Bean coffee bar, followed by taco breakfast with my boy at “our place” Casita Taco.

Then the toughness challenge begins:
9:30 a.m. 1st appointment: Oncologist.
Weight.. Up one pound.  Student nurse + real nurse =  Blood pressure 2x.  Doctor dictates that I'm in stage 2 neurotoxicity which is causing the neuropathies: Numbness and incoordination in my hands and arms, as well as severely painful toes and toenails.  We may discontinue the Taxol next week if necessary to avoid permanent damage.
We will soon have MRI of breast.  If MRI shows cancer still present and active, we will definitely do 4-6 weeks of radiation, likely prior to Surgery.  If MRI looks good, then I’ll have a 4 week break then surgery with reconstruction.  If during surgery, active disease is found, then I will have radiation after. 

10:45 a.m. 2nd Appointment:  Visit with OBGYN at Menopause Clinic. 
2nd weight taken:  up 3 more pounds!!!  What!! No.  Shoes need to come off .  Third blood pressure taken.  Full disrobe.  Speculum - need I say more?  Definitely in Menopause.  No one knows if that will reverse.  The atrophic vaginitis can be improved with small dose estrogen cream.  The vaginal wall can be stretched with olive oil and a candle???  Wow.
Not so pleasant blood draw through arm, to test to see if my thyroid is being affected.  Hmm, with that rapid weight gain from this morning…I almost hope so.

1:45 P.M. 3rd appointment:  CT scan
Scan of abdomen for pre-op (breast reconstruction) identification of abdominal artery location in preparation for the downtube upshift. 
2nd full disrobe.  “Oh, no one told you this required an IV.?”  No, actually, they hadn't.
Tears start.  “Yer All Fluff” begins playing in my head.
IV placed.  Me in CT tube...  “Oh, when did you have Chemo last?” Yesterday. “We’ll we just need to ask the doctor…. due to our policy... No iodine injection until after 48- 72 hours from last chemo”.   More tears…”Are you O.K.”  Head nod, yes, eyes closed. (Richie would be upset if I don’t at least attempt to respond to this woman).  Just lie still and wait in tube.  More… Yer All Fluff.  “The Doctor said your kidney function is good and we can go ahead if you want.  What do you want to do?”  More tears.  Unable to make sound medical decision. “Go ahead, I guess”.
Iodine injected... “It will feel like a hot flash”... Well, at least I know what they are saying... Actually, much hotter than a hot flash, but, over fairly quickly..  IV out... Several more tears throughout the dressing and back to the car.
I am not tough.  I am all fluff  J

Click link below.  Judgemental Radio.

Afer only a mere 7 days of perseverating on attempts to get this video to play UPRIGHT!! I've done it!!

 Music Courtesy of John Stark and Blue Diamond Shine.

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