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Friday, February 24, 2012

Day 1 - Mapping...

If I come back in another life, it will be as an oncologist and I will invent a way to treat the breast that doesn't rival a mechanic pulling a carborator out of a pick up. Okay so I'm hardly a prude and really very fine with the body in general. Boobs, tits, melons, sweater puppies...I don't care, no agenda and I have them...boy do I have them...well one anyway. I was a champion nurser. I could do it anywhere and I didn't care. I could wear a lacy bra and I could wear a sports bra and never really worried about much except maybe a little TOO much cleavage (four kids...remember?)...not for show baby, these were working breasts.

So today is Day One of radiation. Prep really. Mapping my entire chest. Holding still and strong, topless on a cold machine with a mold so my arm can nestle without moving and I am told to freeze (like a Popsicle I think...thanks to my son). Then it begins. Barbarians dressed in camouflage and white lab coats take to my chest with a sharpie. Mapping beams, pawing at my neck and stomach, scooting my remaining breast out of the way, talking about me in terms I don't understand with numbers of beam angles I can't figure. I start counting...thank you Ronni. I count backwards from 100. I count in Spanish. I count in Hebrew (but could only get up to 9, sorry Rabbi). I am doing anything I can think of to remove my head from where I am and where I am is under a light and several loud machines with people over me like I am not there and really I am not. I am back...back to a older me. One where I could wear that lacy bra with a bit of seduction; one where I can work out on the treadmill and not worry about my prosthetic boob falling on the belt and flinging into the face of the guy behind me, one where I can look at myself in a mirror without blocking my own line of vision to my chest, hacked and scarred, battle where I am not walking fast, outrunning a disease that threatens to take me from my husband and children; one where I can walk into a doctor's office with ease for a routine visit, one where I don't look at pink ribbons and am reminded that I am one suspicious mammogram away from doing this all over where I am just normal.

Loud orders to stay still bring me come when they say don't move it's at that exact moment every follicle on your entire body begins to twitch?

They walk me back to the dressing area where permanent ink marks on my chest pave the way for a seven week radiation bath. I get dressed, pack on that smile and walk back into the lobby where my husband and son are playing games on his phone. It's why I am here and it's why I keep's why I will win.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Reunion Tour...

My cancer team was shifted from civilian back to military which since my chemo ended and my rebuilding is about to begin, I was okay with until my new surgeon asked me to be reevaluated from radiation.  It was ruled out before so why this again?  It seems new information since 2010 (thank you Komen/Avon for the funds by the way) indicated my type of cancer, my grade of tumor, my age, my location of tumors, my shoe size, my hairstyle all point to a strong need for radiation to reduce my risk of local how much I ask?  Well - no way to really tell.  What they can tell me is I run a 22% increased risk of reoccurance without it...well okay, where do I sign?

I came in yesterday to be 'fitted' and despite the absolutely humiliating experience of being strapped to a table with not one, not three but five men and women in uniform poking, prodding and shifting my boob around (Im sure in some circles this could be considered worth the price of admission but not yesterday) and now I am sporting some smokin' tattoos.  Yes, tattoos.  Markers if you will to direct the beams of radiation to pulverize the cancer cells and chest cavity.  Once it begins, I am back on the cancer fighting wagon.  It's my reunion tour.  Me and fight - together again.  5 times a week for 7 weeks (6 for chest and one extra for fun).

I can't really think of anything I will need -'s not chemo which means it's all uphill from there but it's a reminder to me that cancer is still around and not willing to let me sit comfortably for even a little bit in my recovery.  Yes, it's aggressive, yes, it's critical, yes, it's necessary, yes, women do it all the time and yes, I am still fighting and still winning but sometimes I am just done and today is one of those days.

Score remains Dawn 1, Cancer 0 but game went way into overtime.