Monday, April 25, 2011



Shortness Of Breath. Son Of a Bitch. Sob (as in cry). Time is drawing near to the BIG day and I have a lump in the back of my throat and tears leaking from my eyes. I read a blog post about another woman's experience on her BIG day. She is done and happy to be home after her pbm. I have heard many of you say how relieved you are and how the buildup to the surgery is so much larger than it should be. That it will be ok and I will be happy afterward. But how did you make it from the Before to the After? How did you make yourself get out of bed that morning and get your legs to move you out the door and all the way to the hospital? How did you force your way through the doors and past the receptionist, the waiting room and into pre-op? How did you keep yourself from ripping off the iv and jumping off the table and running until you couldn't run anymore?

It is the running from it that I am most tired of. I am out of breath, bent over, hands on my knees gulping for air, searching for a bench to rest on. I passed my first post-cancer mri, then my first mammo. Did I feel safe? No. Always more surprised than not when nothing was found. Was I being paranoid? Ha, if so I was not the only one. I talked to my former surgeon to discuss some questions I had about my recent diagnosis and she was happily surprised that they did not find any more cancer in my bad boob. Never did do my radiation therapy but that would not have helped the (formerly) good boob. They don't treat good boobs with radiation. They'll cut the whole thing off but won't radiate it. So here I am. Tired of running but wanting to finish the race. Just need to figure out how to get to the start line on race morning. Any tips are appreciated.

Sometimes I'm calm about the whole thing. I was talking with a resident a few days ago. I was assisting her with her shower. She is missing a boob from cancer some 20 years ago. Now she is nursing a bruised boob with two biopsied lumps that are cancer. She will find out today when her surgery date will be. She was so calm, matter of fact about it and so was I as we discussed it. She said I was too young for cancer. And she is too old to go through it again. She said it calmly, with a smile on her face that she was not looking forward to the surgery and pain. And I said I know as I held her hand and smiled back. I told her it is probably not as bad as when they took her first breast. Things are different and not as invasive. They spare the muscles. She isn't worried about dying. In fact, she said several times that she hopes she will be dead by the time she heals from this. Doesn't want to live to be 100 (but getting very close). I hope at her age she will be spared chemo and radiation. She is the only resident I've told about my cancer. I don't like to share my problems with them. They have their own worries and I don't need them worrying about me. I think my secret is safe though. I saw her later that evening and she has forgotten our conversation. Short term memory is not a strong feature when in the 90's!


  1. I did Positive visualization. I thought about how much happier I'd be and worry-free (with an awesome rack). I have such a great support system that that helped me through my surgery day. And yes I wanted to run...I really and truly did. But I thought about how I was being pro-active about my health and taking care of this awful mess on MY terms, not cancers. I consider myself blessed that I could pick a time that worked for me to have the surgery and could recover when I wanted. I'm a week post-op and still hurt. But I'm slowly getting better day by day and I've never once thought I made a bad decision. Hugs! :)

  2. Two and a half years ago I was scheduled for a procedure called a myomectomy, to remove a uterine fibroid. I pretty much knew I would be waking up after surgery without my uterus. Right up til they knocked me out I thought about leaving the hospital, walking away, just going. Anywhere. In the end, I knew if my team couldn't get the fibroid out, nobody could. It sucked, but there it was. I was pretty much out of options.

    I think it's normal to be scared. Talking about it might help. Promise yourself something awesome when you're feeling better. Think about why you made this decision in the first place. You'll do great. I have faith in you. =)

  3. Hi Janine!

    One day at a time, right? Here's some skills I teach my clients, hope it helps! I don't know if it is too simple but I look at the day of your operation as a good thing--the day I know that my sister will be free of cancer.

    I love you!


  4. Deb and Linda were over for a BRCA slumber party 2 nights before surgery, and Cheryl's sister was in from out of town, so we were so busy that my anxiety was able to be released as some hyperactive celebrating with far flung friends. Maybe you gould do your trampoline dodgeba;; after all! Surgery was so early in the morning that all I had time to do was take the required shower and roll out the door. We set up the Ipod in my pre-op cubicle and listened to my playlist. I'll send it to you. Just stopped listening to it last week. Love you. wt

  5. Somewhere inside you is the strength to survive. You know you have to do some things and your inner self just gets you there. You are gonna be just fine.

    I just tried to forget about surgery, had a blow out with friends, hooked up with some old ones, distracted myself until the day. I just had revision surgery (4hrs) last wednesday so feeling sore still but good. I got tired of pain. I was driven this time not by survival instinct, as with my LD Flap reconstruction 2 years ago, but more a resolution to cramping muscle spasm pain. You need to focus on why you are doing it rather than why you want to run away.

    However you get there, the staff make you feel cared for, special almost and that it will all be fine. You have to just go with the flow, all the stuff they have prepared for your arrival, all the planning to care for you. You will be fine..seriously. This panic is totally normal. A friend of mine nearly went mad with paranoia and insomnia but she is all okay now.

    You will find some stored inner strength just for this very occasion. You wear it with pride on your day. And take the pain meds religiously - easy :)

  6. I feel bad offering advice when I have not been faced with what you are dealing with, but you know what Mom would've chosen had she had the opportunity to cut the bad out. You can do this man.

    One tip - one thing that got me through Mom's death was thinking about all those who had even less time with their moms. Thinking about all those who have it worse and wish they could be in your shoes can take your mind off your own struggles.