Sunday, May 18, 2008

Day 11: Weekend Musings

So, Ma is coming on May 27. We talked on Friday when I heard about the surgery. I told her that she should plan on staying a week. She said, "No, ten days." I said, "Please make sure you make a reservation on Southwest or something you can change. You have to understand that I will only start feeling good when I can take care of myself." And we, I thought, left it at that.

She emailed me her flight plan this morning and she reserved for 14 days. Again, trying very hard to balance her needs and my needs. I thought 10 days was a fair balance. What do I say now?

The public-ness of my cancer is getting a little exhausting. Colleagues I don't even know ask me about my surgery. I'm getting emails from parents of students I've never taught. I'm grateful. Really. I don't want to sound like a shit who's worn out by all her well-wishers. It's just contrary to my nature. I have a well-earned reputation among my friends and family as being a person who hibernates when things in my life turn ugly.

I have no doubt that I have actually lost friends because of my solitary nature. Certainly during my divorce I turned away nearly every offer of help and solace that I was offered. I was embarrassed. (And believe me, that's a story for a whole 'nother blog) And that kind of pain is pain I would much, much rather sit on and let hatch into whatever ugly thing it was going to turn into.

But I find myself having to re-wire my brain to handle this.

There's a lot of re-wiring going on.

As I worked on "coming down" from my prom meltdown, I realized that I had only just begun to think of the larger, long term consequences of even a best-case scenario. Best case scenario being that I have the mastectomy, they test my lymph nodes and discover that it hasn't spread, and by some good grace they also decide to forgo chemo and radiation. Breasts gone, but otherwise only the reconstruction process to face. (Let's all pause for a moment to give a little cheer for best case scenarios)

Best case scenario, I'll never breastfeed a child. Okay. I can handle that. Truth be told, I've always been weired out by the idea of breastfeeding. Still, though, we all know now that breastfeeding is the way to go. Any future child of mine will not have the many advantages that breastfeeding offers. I wasn't breastfed.

Best case scenario, I'll never have sex with the girls again. In fact, I'll never find sexual pleasure from my breasts again. I'm still processing this. This, to me, seems like the best case scenario's greatest tragedy. And, I have a feeling, that as I lie in my hospital bed waiting for the surgery, I expect that this will be one of the things most on my mind. Truth be told, this thought has all the makings of Meltdown #2. I'm just not there yet. It's still just a ghost in the periphery.

But let's put that thought aside for now.

So, Jason leaves town on Wednesday. That means a whole week almost of me alone with the girls and my thoughts. He pressed me to have my mother come early (and in retrospect, if I'd pushed for that, maybe I wouldn't be looking at 12 days post-surgery with Ma). He said, "You may not realize it, but I've been subtly trying to keep you busy." I had realized it. This is his busiest time of year and yet he's been pushing for outings and projects. Today we repainted the front porch; and while the porch needed repainting, it's way low on the list of things we need to do around the humble abode.

Impending hospitalization and knowledge that it could be a month before I'm able to really "work" again is a good kick in the keister insofar as getting stuff done is concerned. This weekend not only did we repaint the porch floor and the front door, we planted my vegetable garden, weeded extensively; I cleaned out my car and got him a new battery. I've been better about cleaning up after myself and doing laundry and dishes.

I worry about keeping myself occupied during my recovery. Even when I go to bed at night, I dwell on the fact that I sleep best on my stomach or my side and that will be impossible for a while. Will I be able to hold a book? All I want to do is read. The crazy geek that I am, I thought that this might be a perfect time to learn a new language, and my first thought was that I've always wanted to learn sign language, but will it hurt too much to use my hands and arms in that way? I'm a huge TV fan, but recently our sattelite has decided that it can't "see" over a tree that grew gigantic during the spring. No local networks for us now. So I figure I can rent seasons of TV shows that I've missed, but what's really worth watching? So far all I've decided upon is Battlestar Galactica.

It's nice to dwell on minutia like that every once in a while. Better than thinking about sex without my breasts or whether or not chemo will fuck with my already questionable fertility. Or facing surgery without Jason to hold my hand. Or whether or not the fact that I've had weird cramps in my gut is a sign that the cancer has spread. Or that one in ten women have to have their breast expanders removed and reconstruction postponed because of infection. Or that I will most definitely not be able to use my ticket to Bonnaroo this year. Or that in the heat of June, I'll have to wear clothing that conceals the drain bulbs from my surgery. Or that I will not be able to weed and care for the garden of tomatos and peppers and peas that I just planted. Or that I will not be well enough to be able to use the $2300 grant that I received from my school this year. Or that I may have to have chemo and will lose the hair it took me three years to grow and that I may have a funny-looking head and will not be able to pull of the Sinead O'Connor badass cool look that I like to pretend I'll be able to pull off. I don't want to wear a wig. I want to be bald and beautiful if I have to. That's a big issue for me.

Sigh. Great thought process to have before I go to bed.

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