joy and pain

I almost made it through March break without incident until I accidentally burnt myself on the stomach while cooking. I was taking out a butternut squash from the microwave and splashed myself with boiling hot water…yes that happened. Luckily, I am ok and was able to still go swimming Monday morning and use my new Neptune Finis…phew. The funny part is that the burn is shaped like an upside down witch on her broom. Do you think this has some sort of weird meaning?! Hahahaha…too funny, not really it’s ugly, red and swollen. GROSS. Anyway, it’s nice that my kids are a little older now for many reasons, for one they’re more fun to be around and they dress themselves… brushing teeth and showering on the other hand takes more convincing… but if there is ANY whining involved…that’s where I start to have an internal adult meltdown and if I’m being perfectly honest, external meltdown as well. Sometimes I have to walk away and give myself time-outs that include taking deep breathes. I read a quote once that being a parent consists of – 70% patience & 30% love. Hmmm, what do think, sound right? Have you heard the term chemo fog or chemo brain? Well I suffer from this occasionally. I also suffer from mommy brain and middle-age brain. Great threesome right?! This trio keeps me on my toes and regularly having to make meticulous to-do lists. I find these lists in my wallet, purse, coat pockets, gym bag, junk drawer, stuck to the fridge, all over…. and it’s a constant reminder of the extent of my brain’s thought capacity. Sometimes I gather them all together and lay them out to make a master list to ensure nothing falls off my radar… or just to tidy up a little!

When I got home from the double mastectomy surgery and was able to stand in front of the mirror examining my bandages, it was sooooo surreal. To this day it’s surreal. Like looking at an altered version of myself. Kind of like looking at myself in the ‘hall of mirrors’ at an amusement park – I felt truly distorted. My chest size went from a C cup to an A cup. I couldn’t remove the bandages for at least a week to truly grasp the change but it was drastic enough that I could envision what was hidden. Oh but don’t worry I had the power to control the future cup size. You ask how? Well…now this is the coolest part of the reconstruction process. Even though it was explained to me prior to the procedure, it hadn’t sunk in until my first fill. Yes, I said fill… about a month after surgery and right before I started chemo I went in to start the next step of augmentation. So, the temporary expanders have metal ports. These ports are the size of a large coin that have a small opening to allow the needle to poke through and to fill each expander with silicone. Remember I told you that my chest is PERMANETALY numb?!?…this is important because they don’t use any local anesthetic. They simply take this mini metal detector apparatus that looks like the thing you used when playing with the Ouija board game, sliding back and forth to find the letters and answers that the spirits are conveying – but instead it’s looking for the metal port. Once it’s found, they use a sharpie and mark it with an X. Breathe. Then they pull out a large/long needle and poke through the skin where it’s marked with the X and start squeezing the silicon into the expander. No, it didn’t hurt… but it was one of the most bizzare things I’ve witnessed in my life…and I’ve given birth. twice. I watched my boob instantly expanding. A bandaged was applied and then they moved over to the other one. They normally will fill 60-100 cc per visit to a max of 800cc in total, fills are staggered over time and not done all at once. Some women have larger expanders, it all depends on size of your anatomy. OMG…WTF this is crazy!! Let me tell you my thoughts going into this appointment – I am only doing this once. But I was instantly hooked and booking my next fill. I affectionately referred to this process as getting ‘my tires’ filled. I mean it really is similar to pumping up tires….hahahaha …and also very addictive. Breast cancer is sexy and not boring, who knew?

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