Monday, May 21, 2012

Second surgery on ol' lefty is done!

I had surgery on ol’ lefty Thursday morning; round 2. If you’ve been reading me, then you know that I had a mastectomy on the right breast, and what I teasingly call a “half-ectomy” on the left. Due to the area where they took the lump from the left side, the nipple pointed down and to the left. And, no, I promise I won’t tell any more jokes about it being all embarrassed, and how the “twins” are fighting with each other & making my life intolerable.

Anyway, they did a breast lift, and so far, it looks like it’s evened the girls up. Next, after I heal, they’ll put a nipple on the bionic, baby Barbie boob. Hopefully, that’s IT for surgeries due to this damned disease!

I have to be honest – I’m a little surprised by how painful this was. Dr. Topham had said that the implant surgery (the first to try to even me out) was more painful, so I was taken by surprise. After the last implant surgery, I needed additional pain meds, so I decided to be pro-active this time. I asked them to write for more, since they can’t phone them in. Plus, it’s an hour & 15 minute drive to the doctor’s office in Philly, & I wasn’t in the mood to make that trip for a prescription – even if I was really hurting. I tried to make the original script last, but honestly, it was difficult. I was happy that I’d asked for the additional medicine; we filled it. But, on the bright side, I don’t think I’ll be needing all of it for this surgery. I should be good by Wednesday & just be on aspirin.

The reason I bring this up is that I NEVER ask for more medicine before going home from surgery. I usually try to make do with whatever I’ve been given – and I’ve suffered. I guess I’m finally at the point where I’ve had more surgeries than I care to have had in the past two & a half years. I’m to the point where I know myself, and I know the possibilities of how much I’m going to suffer. I’m done doing it. And that’s why I’m telling you about it. If YOU, like me, have been mousy about asking for help with pain – knock it off! This stuff hurts and it’s no picnic. You’re not going to become a junky; don’t feel ashamed for asking for medicine. If you need to reach for a pill – reach for it. Don’t let the stigma of taking narcotics make you suffer.

The road we’ve traveled has been hard, difficult, hopeful, sometimes funny, often times frustrating, terrifying, full of inspirational people as well as those that aren’t quite so inspirational, sometimes silly, frequently embarrassing, and the list goes on. We’ve experienced more emotions in a few years than some people experience in their lives. Heck, our loved ones have experienced them as well, no matter how hard we try to shield them. Please don’t add misery without help intrude on an already difficult journey. Speak up!

 I hope that if you’re just starting out on this journey, this blog has been helpful. I hope I’ve told you what to expect as you go on. I hope that you know you aren’t alone. I hope that if you need to reach out, you’ll contact me. If not me, someone. This is not a journey that is best taken alone.

But most of all, I hope that I’ve given you a small bit of comfort, and maybe a smile. Laugh when you glue your eyes together trying on a pair of false eyelashes or when you almost blind yourself trying to take a picture of them growing in. Giggle the first time your wig goes askew or flies off in a good wind. If something strikes you funny while you’re sitting at chemo, laugh! Strike up a conversation with those around you; I did. And boy, did I meet some amazing women and heard some fascinating stories.

No matter what, life is what we make of it. This cancer thing sucks – hard. And it isn’t easy. Still, I hope that as you go on, you find the humor in it. It gets better. I’m living proof.

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