Saturday, March 5, 2011

Perspective

When I was diagnosed with cancer, I had nothing but dread for chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation.  I was filled with fear, but I have since learned that this fear was misplaced.  Where I feared pain, I should have feared the cancer itself.  Where I feared my own suffering, I should have feared the suffering of my children were I not to survive.  What caused this change in perspective?  Time.  Wisdom from fellow cancer patients imparted in the waiting room.  The possibility of a metastasis in T9.


I spent weeks dreading the mastectomy.  Now it is upon me and I am excited.  I no longer fear my own suffering, nor do I fear a life without a breast.  I am terribly ready to be separated from this ticking timebomb.  My imminent suffering will be brief relative to the life ahead that it will afford me.  Also, my amazing college friends got me a sweet hotel room for the night before (see right) that includes a linen upgrade.  Ooooh!       

I have also spent a lot of time disparaging my port, or "port" as I often referred to it.  I will no longer talk smack about the port.  This past week I really started to appreciate the significance of my port (see? now it's MY port and not THE port) and what it does for me.  I don't even want to know how many sticks I would have had for those platelet transfusions if I didn't have a port.  A dozen is certainly a conservative estimate.  Instead, they put a needle in my port at 4:30 pm, and that same needle stayed in comfortably and painlessly until after the spine biopsy the following day.  One needle, one stick, allowed my blood to be drawn at least 4 times, steroids and morphine to be administered at least 3 times, platelets to go in 4 times, and probably other things that I'm forgetting.  Sometimes I elect to use an arm if the port has been poked twice in a week already, but for the most part I have become an exclusive port fan.  Three cheers for ports!  

Finally, my hair is starting to grow back and I thought I'd reflect on being bald.  This is not something I particularly dreaded, and I don't think that my perspective has changed.  I would say that being bald is inconvenient sometimes because it complicates my body's temperature regulation.  I would also say that I miss my hair because it was kind of pretty and my girls liked to play with it.  The fun things about being bald are rubbing my hands on the stubble, putting on backpacks without catching my hair in the straps, not having the wispy static-electrified hairs in my face in the winter, and cooling off quickly after a hot flash.  But I am looking forward to the return of my hair, however it decides to grow in.   Please go here or use the photo link at the right to see more pics of my baldness in action.        

Poke tally:
port  23
right arm 9
tummy  6
left arm  6
left breast  1
superior vena cava 1
T9 vertebral body 1

15 comments:

  1. Ooh, that room looks fabulous for the night before - what an awesome gift idea! Do you have a surgery date set then?

    And I'm so excited to see how your hair comes in once it grows again. Perhaps you'll be a curly redhead? A wavy brunette? A blonde? How fun to speculate :)

    S.

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  2. You are such a beauty. I am so impressed how you rocked that bald head- it was like an episode from America's Next Top Model where the girl's long beautiful hair gets shaved off and reveals her true model status.

    You are taking big leaps here.

    Huge. Momentous.

    And we all watch
    amazed and in awe of
    how beautifully

    you take all this shit down.

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  3. I am so glad that you are positive about your surgery. I am sure you realize it makes a difference.
    My MIL had a mastectomy, right before she had a hip replacement. She has been through a lot she had lost her own husband to bone cancer a few years after her own bout. She is 73 now and it really amazes me at how positive she is. She has also lost a daughter to lung cancer 14 years ago (never smoked). It's kind of different for my MIL as she is older but she never missed her breast and really didn't care that it wasn't going to be there. She knew her life wasn't over and she wasn't ready for it to be. Sometimes we people that live around her and interact with her forget she doesn't even have a breast because it's just not noticeable w/the artificial one.
    She is so very strong.
    I think like all your followers here think- you are so very strong.
    Prayers go up for you carnation girl, and so do praises! You are an inspiration to many.

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  4. Sweet suite for your pre-surgery stay.

    Wishing you a speedy recovery from your surgery, and some post-op peace of mind.

    Thanks so much for sharing your recent photos. It looks like you've been enjoying some time with your family, as well as going to work looking so pretty -- your cloths and accessories are almost as beautiful as you.

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  5. Heather.
    I would guess that you are in your cozy upgraded suite at this very moment. My thoughts and prayers are with you today. I even told the horses and sheep about the surgery tomorrow. They're with you babe. They are sure that all will be well. Our whole family will be thinking of you and picturing you strong, able, and well. Love Ya.

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  6. Dear Heather. The comment right above went through Erin's account, not mine. she wanted me to correct it. She doesn't want you to think that she talks to sheep and horses. She's with you, but not with the farm animals. Love....Andrea

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  7. I wish you a safe and successful procedure Heather. I wrote you a haiku. <3

    Do not be afraid
    Strength, love, hope, passion, truth, life
    You are not alone

    xoxo

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  8. HK, I see your blog post (plus the s) title and I instantly think of the Warrior brother Ryan, quoting Lionel Osbourn. When you emerge tomorrow from surgery, we do indeed hope you feel, well, FANTASTIC. We are with you all the way you amazing girl....in any and all of your 'perspective' (plus the s).

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  9. We're thinking of you this morning!

    I know everything is going to go swimmingly.

    xoxo!

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  10. I'll be thinking of you all day Heather! You are beyond amazing.

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  11. What Amanda said!

    Also tell the beer band to tune up and prepare for a post-surgery march through the Ped Mall and a rousing performance of "In Heaven There is no Beer; Nor Are There Malignant Cells or Inflamed Tissue." Once this boob is out it's going to be bigger and better than when Iowa toppled UConn in 1999. Or when the Hawks took the Big Ten title in 2001. Or when Alford left. Or all three! Huzzah!

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  12. I can't stop thinking about you over in Iowa City. I am glad Dad and Aunt Jac are with you today. You are so brave! Now it's your turn to be taken care of as you took care of your younger siblings all of these years. Love you big sis!!!!!

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  13. Hey Ian and Heather - I hope you are managing to get through tbfccxxvfegghtegh xzzxxc vzzzaaaatxtcc xzzzcddqqqqsssdcxxc xxc b c x(message from Miss E) this tough day okay. I am so glad that Aunt J and GR are there with you. I'm with you in spirit, and through your little sweeties. Just thought I'd give you a "talk about our day" recap. Everyone had a great night last night - tubbies and Cinderella, then a few stories, conversation and songs. Everyone slept very well. We were up about 7:30, cheesy eggs, pbj toast and blackberries for breakfast. Miss E gave me a scare, smashed a blackberry on her forehead and it looked like an injury for a moment. We read a lot of stories, went for a snowy walk, drove to grandma's work to get crayons and then the grocery store. Lunch was mac and cheese, blueberries and apples - and some crackers. Great, long naps with a wake up call about 4 pm. Made TT casserole, green beans and hd for dinner with more blueberries. We had a glorious 8 block walk while dinner was cooking. Everyone ate a good dinner. We are now all enjoying "free time" as Miss A calls it. Today Miss A discovered that colored pencils are far superior to crayons (the trip to the UUFA was a waste of time). In total, she has spent an hour with the colored pencils. Currently, in our free time, I am writing this post, A is color penciling and E is putting a baby to bed, giving lots of hugs and kisses to the baby and calling her cute. Thank you so much for letting me keep these two darlings - I wish it were under different circumstances - like you were on a beach somewhere. Well, Miss A is going to write to you now and then we'll close. Love you both so much Gma L aaaaaaaaaaaaaaafazaaaeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddda

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  14. Gma L--

    Be careful when you let Miss A type. She was helping me write emails for work one day, and I taught her the "control A" followed by "delete" button sequence so she make the screen clean again. The next day, she was doing it by herself, filling two or three lines of an email, deleting it, and starting over. She did this for about 20 minutes one day, and when prompted could even type her name (although she doesn't like lower case l's.

    That girl--like her parents--is incredible.

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  15. I have learned of Miss A's amazing computer skills! Last night she wanted to send a note to her cousins on FB. She discovered the automatic text option and unintentionally (I think) called them both unAmerican! We should be interviewing literary agents for this girl!

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