Thursday, June 26, 2008

Email #7 Back "Online" June 21

Thanks so much for all the notes in the past week or so. I'll get back to you all asap.

Since I got home from Bonnaroo, I've literally "powered down." It's been me on my back on the couch all day every day. The decision to do Bonnaroo this year ended up being awesome for the soul and terrible for the body.

The festival does an excellent job providing access for people who are mobility impaired. Our campsite was just a two minute walk from the main gate, I never had to wait in line, and if I'd wanted to, I could have sat in special access seats for just about every show. We borrowed an air mattress from a friend and that turned out to be even more comfortable than my own bed.

All that being said... by the time I got home my body felt as bad as it did the first few days after surgery and I've spent this whole week clawing my way back to where I was before I went to Bonnaroo.

Worth it? You know, it was worth it for four whole days of NOT being "Cancer Girl" alone. Add to that Willie Nelson, Pearl Jam, the Swell Season, Chris Rock, Ben Folds, Drive by Truckers, literally the best line-up of bluegrass artists the country has to offer, and like 100 more artists... it was worth it. I keep having to remind myself of that.

So, the pain drugs are still getting in the way of my ability to read (or "understand," I should say... I can read just fine). But two brilliant friends of mine sent me the DVDs of seasons one and two of Battlestar Galactica, and now I am a fracking addict! I find myself rationing... "No, Chip, SIX episodes is too much for one day." Holy cow. That's some good tv.

Unfortunately I've entered the "expansion" stage of my reconstruction, so weekly I go to the plastic surgeon and he (lovingly) injects 60ccs of saline into each of the footballs in my chest. Each expansion gives me a half a cup size and renewed soreness and pain as my muscles stretch. And as I check out my Franken-boobs and consider the prospect of more weeks of soreness, I can't help but wonder if I couldn't be perfectly happy going through the rest of my life as an A-cup. After all, my Ma has always been an A cup and she seems perfectly happy. Of course.... she's a crazy cat lady who probably hasn't had sex since the 1970's... but, she's happy.

(Back when I was a kid, in the sports section of the New London Day there were ads for strip clubs, and I remember there was one performer who used to swing into town regularly. Her name was "Busty Heart" and her measurements were advertised as, like, triple G or something. I wonder what Dr. Thornton would say if I went into his office and said, "You know, I think I'd like to keep going til I'm a triple G.")

(OMG! Busty Heart has a wikipedia page!!! She is 46H-22-36. Well, bless her heart.)

Speaking of "bless her heart," I went to have a pre-chemo echocardiogram on Tuesday. That's an ultrasound of your heart. And apparently the lab tech didn't read my chart or something before she started on me because when she undid my hospital gown and saw the Franken-boobs, she GASPED, dropped my gown, and said, "Oh my god!" Totally understandable, and I was totally not offended, but it was a little bit unsettling. What was MORE unsettling was the fact that she ended up calling another lab tech to actually do the echocardiogram because she was afraid of hurting me... but she stuck around and chatted with me and when she found out I was unmarried, single, childless, and DIDN'T OWN A DOG, she started to WEEP!!!!

Bless her heart.

For my research-minded/science-geek pals, right now my planned chemo is a combo of taxotere and paraplatin for 6 months and a year of herceptin. (Last week, I thought it was called herpecin, and was totally confounded when I googled it and found it to be a treatment for herpes. I was like, "HERPES? Is there something they're not telling me??")

Anyway, that's all the news that's fit to print. Congrats to the Celtics. And congrats to Jamie Lynn Spears for not giving her kid too much of a stripper name.

And I send super special love to my Wisconsin support.

love to you all,

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