Thursday, June 26, 2008

Crawling out from under the Rock

I don't mean the former wrestler. That might have meant that I had had a good couple of weeks. And I'm not sure I'm really "crawling" out so much as peeking.

Jason just came into the kitchen and stuffed a Red Sox cap on my head and gingerly tucked all the hair that he could under the cap. He's trying to show me that I will be "cute" bald. That's because I sent him a link to Bald is Beautiful, the website of an ovarian cancer survivor (and fellow Columbia grad-- though she went to Barnard) who decided that she was so gorgeous bald that she became a bald model and a cancer activist. (I'm oversimplifying-- check out the blog)

It's been a dreadful couple of weeks. Pretty much since Bonnaroo I've been very blah, mostly because I am in constant unrelenting pain. It's like someone is nailing nails into my non-existant breasts all of the time. It was so bad this week that my plastic surgeon refused to "inflate" me. He says he hasn't seen this much pain this far along in a long time. And sometimes I wonder if he thinks I'm full of crap. But I'm on a steady diet of Advil, Darvocet, and Valium at all times. Not too good for the noggin. Perhaps this is a preview of what chemo brain will feel like.

The big news is that chemo starts a week from today-- July 3. And Tuesday, July 1, I have to have surgery to put a port in. For some reason the whole port thing has me absolutely berzerk. I do NOT want to do this, but everyone swears that chemo will be too hard on my veins. When I got home from that dr. appointment-- the one informing me of the port stuff-- I had a total sobbing meltdown.

Jason has been doing a good job keeping me busy. He'll be gone one week in July and the entire month of August (including our shared birthday weekend, which burns my butt). Sunday we went to a Louisville Bats game (they won). Yesterday we went to Waterfront Wednesday, a free outdoor concert featuring Celtic band the Elders and a performance by Sonny Landreth.

Students have started to swing by. One brought me dinner on Saturday and three kids came for an impromptu visit that lasted nearly three hours on Tuesday.

On Tuesday too I had lunch with the "breast cancer girls" who basically assured me that most of what I am feeling and experiencing is 100% normal. But more importantly, it was super important to spend time with women who have come out on the other side of this and are beautiful, happy, and vibrant.

Another setback has been that insurance won't cover anything related to my fertility issues. So if chemo sends me into early menopause, that's all she wrote when it comes to spawn of my own creation. I'm pretty much at peace with it, but that was certainly the source of another meltdown around a week ago.

I do find it a bit ironic (am I using that word in the right way or in the Alanis Morrisette way?) that I've always been totally squeamed-out by the idea of breast feeding. The idea of a wee one latching onto your boob and slurping away always made me go "ew." (Although the idea of Johnny Depp doing the same thing has never made me go "ew." Quite the opposite.) Well, that's now out of the question.

AND back when I was pregnant, I was totally happy-happy-joy-joy about the whole thing EXCEPT about the idea of actual childbirth, whether it be natural or C-section. Just ten weeks or so into my pregnancy and I was already having panic attacks about the act of birthing. Of course, back then that fear disappeared tragically. But now I may never even have the option of experiencing that fear again. (Don't worry, it will be replaced by new fears: the fear of adoption agencies taking a look at my lifestyle, my credit rating, my health... the fear that my foster kid would be better off with a mommy AND a daddy or a mommy AND another mommy or a daddy AND another daddy...)

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