"I see no cancer in the specimens and this is fabulous news," said my doctor. "Fabulous."
Breast Cancer Surgery has left me scratching my bald head. "Good News," my Oncologist said on my voicemail. "No cancer left in the breast or node." I don't know if I just don't know how to handle good news or I'm just hard on myself. This is the second time I apologized to Dr. Kaplan for my funny stare instead of jumping up and down for joy. I was happier when his nurse was telling me about the baby goats she was expecting in a few weeks.
So I have cancer one day but the next day it's gone? What the heck happens now? Am I a survivor or am I supposed to say I'm in remission? Should I start advising others on what they can do to add to their wellness or do I dig deep and focus on healing after that surgery? The next leg of this race will be Radiation. This is nothing like any Amazing Race episode I've ever watched on television. I'm in a real race and I will be running it for the rest of my life.
Sure there are moments that I cry and other times that I say, "Oh my goodness what the heck just happened?" Chemotherapy is done but I still need to go in every three weeks for a treatment of Herceptin. I have to go in tomorrow actually. Darn, I forgot to get chocolates for the nurses.
Right now my focus must be healing under my right arm. I had a lumpectomy and over 21 lymph nodes were removed. That puts me at risk for lymphedema. I'm working with a physical therapist and a massage therapist to limit those risks. It just feels weird under the arm. Even though it was a lumpectomy, my breast as far as I can see still looks about the same. I mean I still have steri strips on my breast so maybe there are marks underneath there. My right arm doesn't fully go up, so maybe there is something disgusting looking, under that area. There is discomfort and the range is not there. I hope of course to graduate this part with minimum effects. I'm worried about the nodes.
Radiation is next month and that will be followed up with a hysterectomy. I'm sure a lot of people have more on their plate but yikes! This body needs a vacation. My poor body and this right shoulder area has been taking a hit for the past few years. I had a shoulder surgery on March 8, 2016.
Lots of people look at me and say, "You don't look like you have cancer." I'm still left speechless when folks say this. I guess they envision a frail, unhappy person in front of them, that's not necessarily ordering the bacon pesto breakfast sandwich with a smile. Bacon or no bacon I'm thinking to myself. You know what, I was eating sardines, drinking green tea and fixing my steel cut oats in the morning prior to cancer. I didn't smoke, didn't drink or eat greasy foods everyday. I didn't pop fries in my mouth or eat a Dick's burger everyday. I purposely went to buy organic blueberries if I could because they are good for my body. The only thing I was popping in my body was pieces of raw garlic.
I never realized how different our bodies are from one another. Our bodies react differently to everything. When I was going through chemotherapy I wasn't vomiting and wasn't bedridden. Lots of people were surprised that I was up and about. I've had effects from chemotherapy. I'm looking at my purple nails right now. Did I tell you it's hard to type wearing bandaids? But I was up and walking and going to Art Therapy and Music Therapy. I can't look at what others are eating or not eating. I learned that I have to focus on my body and what I need to do to heal my body and mind. That's the journey I'm on right now. I must continue to work on my wellness.
Just like shaving my head prior to chemotherapy I need to continue to do everything I can. I just recently met up with my naturopathic doctor to go over another game plan. I have a list of supplements to take in the morning and evening. Early on I told myself that I would use all available resources to fight my breast cancer. I can actually say it turned out successful. I don't even use that word much. I guess I am pretty hard on myself.
My breast surgeon told me I'm not considered cancer-free until after the five year mark. Do I call myself a survivor or say I'm in remission? I will just say I'm After Breast Cancer Surgery. I still have a ways to go, to get this arm area working properly. My hot sweats are still a hot mess at night and the fibroid is still a bother. I try to focus on the here and now and not so much what happens in 1 or 6 months. Sometimes I feel like time has frozen and I've fallen into a hole that even Alice in Wonderland couldn't get out of. Other times I feel like I'm being held hostage by Life Happens!
That psychotherapist was right. I am one of those people that want to say the world. She said that on my first visit. That seemed so long ago but actually it wasn't. I started down this road in early November. It's a club I wasn't looking to join. I can't believe everything that has happened. I get diagnosed with breast cancer but discovered true wellness.
As I said, I'm trying to focus on the present and not so much what's going to happen later on. I will say that one day I would like to get my coffee table book published on President Obama, get a dog, and in my dreams I would love to live in Hawaii at least part-time. I also need to step up to the plate and commit 100% to working on my photography one day. For years people say they love my photographs but apparently there is some insecurity that I have. After searching under rocks and looking near and far, could I finally one day commit to finally saying I'm a photographer? I honestly think I will be able to say it very soon.
Cancer sure does shake things up and gets you thinking about wellness and discovery. For the record I need to point out that I was already soul searching prior to my dad's passing on October 30, 2015. I was already saying, "Life is Short." After my dad passed you better believe I was truly soul searcing and then breast cancer was handed to me. At this point I just want to be working on everything that makes me happy in both my heart and body. If a baby goat named Poppy, can put a smile on my face, then let me head down to Corvallis, Oregon again. Do I need to wait a few more years for more folks to tell me, "I love your photography." I've had enough Life Happens in my life to know that right now is the time for living and to not be afraid. If I can get through everything that has been thrown my way then the rest is a piece of cake!
I Love Goats!
Goat + Yoga = Goat Yoga
I love baby goats