Lately, things have felt difficult for me. I suppose the pink cloud of not having to go back to chemo has worn off. I am in no way ungrateful for my newfound health and my new hair growth. I am, however, quite aware of all that I have lost also.
At times, I find it surreal that I actually lost my breast. Other times, I grieve for it and miss it terribly. The craziest things can cause me emotional pain these days…. Bathing suits, bras, lingerie.
And of course, I haven’t left breast cancer in the dust. I have a mammogram scheduled one week from today. It hasn’t been quite a year since my last one but I literally can’t bear to wait until April to do it.
The universe still has a sense of humor though. I called Kaiser for the mammogram appointment and the scheduler said, “I see you’ve had breast cancer”. Yes, I say. “You’ve had a mastectomy?”. Yes, I say. “So we’ll be filming both breasts?” Um, no, I say. I only have one now. “Do you have an implant”, she says. Becoming irritated now, I respond. Yup! “So we’ll need to x-ray that?”. G-d how I wish I didn’t have a filter sometimes and could just say exactly what I’m thinking…. In the end, I explained to her that there is no breast tissue to x-ray on that side and that an implant doesn’t become cancerous…. It can’t be easy being so stupid…. The poor thing.
O and there’s the hair. I’m ecstatic to have hair. I mean being bald was unbelievably hard. I think, though, had I worn my hair short before this may have been easier. As it is, though, my hair was halfway down my back prior to my diagnosis. I was able to wear it up, down, pinned, etc. This new short hair is a big change for me and while I’m thrilled to have it, I cannot help but miss my long, long hair sometimes. Like my breast, I sometimes cry because I miss it so much.
Finally, there’s Tamoxifen, hot flashes and menopause at age 45. The Tamoxifen isn’t too bad but it does cause joint pain. The hot flashes are hardly bothersome really. Menopause is a cakewalk too really. In fact, I am suffering none of the common symptoms of menopause really. BUT, I am 45. I couldn’t have gotten pregnant safely at this age but I still hate the fact that cancer destroyed my fertility – regardless of how weak and waning it may have been.
Nine months ago, I had two breasts, long hair, my time of the month, and was a size 4. So sometimes this is still hard as hell. But nobody said it would be easy and I’m going to keep on keeping on. Keep on moving on…Or trying anyway.