Some days are such rollercoasters.
Friday was just such a day.
I was late getting Q (a.k.a #5) to daycare, then forgot to send her with a towel because, of course, it was water day. I was already late to my appointment. So sorry, almost 4 year old. No towel for you. I’m pretty sure the staff thinks I’m bi-polar.Or at least a shitty mom.
So I raced to see the genetic counselor, arriving 16 minutes after the scheduled time I’d demanded. We sat down and went over my family tree, including (because of course it’s required) the branches that were of absolutely no importance to the topic at hand. Once we get to the extended family, the confirmed genetic mutation, then it all started to become clear to her.
We began to discuss the reality of my diagnosis, the body image issues, the horror of losing control over my body.
I hate this. I hate it. I hated my c-sections. I didn’t care at all about the outcomes, healthy babies, and the other bullshit. They hurt, I don’t do well with pain meds, and I hate that I had no choice, no control, no goddamn autonomy over my physical being. That is reality, folks. I relived a nightmare 5 times over because I wasn’t allowed the choice. Because my body and medical professionals (at lease for the first two) betrayed me.
And here I sat with tears that wouldn’t stop, shaking; my body having completely betrayed me again. The idea of plastic surgery is different, it is taking charge and being able to attain something better. What is coming is disgusting, barbaric. Just as I see my scars and feel nothing empowering about them, I see the tattered remnants of someone I barely remember. The cut nerves, the disfigurement of stretch marks that left me shredded and my skin tissue thin, the years spent building myself back up and learning to look in the mirror again. The tears, those bitter, hated drops of shame, simply continue.
Crying is a sign of weakness, of failure. Crying in public means I can’t handle this.
She brought in another nurse who coordinates care, something nobody had yet done. My gynecologist handed me off, the surgeon is just the surgeon, there’s nobody who is the point man in this awful game. So she helped. And she told me that my chances of doing what I’d hoped were not just unrealistic but that I need to accept the reality of my situation. I mean, not in those words, but essentially. There was much more, but that’s the takeaway.
So of course, I went grocery shopping afterward.
It started to hit me.
I’d forgotten about meeting up with my girlfriends later. Then as the time approached and Facebook notifications kept coming, it seemed like a good idea to try to go. My nerves were shot. I needed to fake it till I made it, throw on a smile & hit the beach.
I did, and it helped a bit more. Look, I smiled.
But the fact remains that I’m struggling. I am. Every day….kills me a bit more. This is asinine, it is. I’m not even dying. I’M NOT EVEN DYING! But who cares? Because cancer.
Cancer that isn’t killing my body is killing my soul.
On Wednesday the surgeon gave me hope. I choose door number Shitty Choice because doors number Fuck That & You Can’t Even Be Serious aren’t any better. Then later the plastic surgeon sucked all of the hope out with condescension, derision, and the poorly thought out over-use of the word pendulous. Shitty choice door leads to the dreaded double mastectomy, btw. It seems to be the only option that both spares me from radiation and will (probably) allow the breasts to continue to age at the same rate.
Yes, I realize my breasts are large, and no longer in their original, upright positions. Why, yes, they do have stretch marks. These are all things I WAS TRYING TO HAVE FIXED because I needed to feel better about them. Because I needed to be happy with my physical body that I have to see every day. That those are the very things that will further complicate matters, will (possibly, and definitely if I choose this particular doctor) require a minimum of two (possibly more) surgeries is cruel.
Having hope given, then revoked, is cruel.
It took so very long for me to accept my body at all, from puberty, to womanhood, to the nightmare I see after I had the children. The nipples that were bigger, darker than others, that wouldn’t fit into the tiny mouths of the babies. That I finally accepted as part of my uniqueness. That may or may not get to stay. It depends of the thin-skinned, pendulous breasts. And if I keep the nipples, there’s no hope of putting the breasts closer to where they started. No lift for me! And I won’t be able to implant with the size I currently am. So the good news is that *if* my nipples don’t die in my vascularly-compromised, pendulous skin sacks, I will still get to have saggy, smaller breasts! HOORAY medical advancements. Oh, and perhaps the very best part is that I need this to be one surgery. Not just financially (this bullshit isn’t cheap, regardless of insurance. I can’t work now or till I’ve recovered), but emotionally. The idea of repeating this process is just…oh, god. I can’t do it. I cannot endure this a single second more than I have to. But there is a big possibility (again with the rug being pulled out from under my feet just after being placed there) that I’ll have tissue expanders inserted after my breast tissue is removed. Then every 2 weeks or so, depending on how my saggy, pendulous skin is tolerating it, fluid will be added till someone deems it suitable. Then, if I’m not doing chemotherapy, I get to have a second surgery to place the implants. More money, more pain, more time recovering, more bullshit. I salute my friends who’ve gone through this, but they aren’t me. I need it to just be over. Just over.
I’d hoped, so stupidly, that if I proffered up the tissue inside both breasts willingly, that somehow I could keep them a shadow of their true selves with my own nipples. A fake nipple, made of folded up skin, may be the only thing I get. Or maybe I’ll just keep what I have and say thank you, but no thank you, and go about my merry way. Or maybe I’ll get to wake up from this stupid nightmare and my life will be its regular brand of awful and not this fresh, shiny hell.
The tears almost won’t stop now. Then I’m numb, which I prefer.
Crying is for lame ass wimps. Which I am not. But I can’t stop.
So, I’m showing the dark side of this, the hard stuff that I don’t seem to see anywhere else. I resent this whole thing. And I’m tired of crying, but don’t think it will stop it happening any time soon.