Archive for April 25th, 2012

I have not connected with others who have gone through or are going through the same thing as me. Yesterday a woman I work with came up to me and said that when she was going through cancer the number one thing that helped her was joining a support group. Talking and being with people who really understood because they were facing the same thing.

I am sure she is right. It was definitely reading through breast cancer discussion boards – essentially eavesdropping on other women’s conversations – that helped me make the double mastectomy decision. That, and reading about Christina Applegate (and seeing her fabulous new boobs – can I look just like that please?) and watching Giuliana and Bill, the reality show about E talk show host Giuliana Rancic and her husband Bill (first winner of The Apprentice), who happen to be going through the same thing in this season’s episodes.

But I haven’t actually written anything on any of those boards. And while so many of my friends and family have offered to connect me to people they know who have been through this, I haven’t taken anyone up on it. Yes, I guess I’ve still been holding on to that last bit of denial.

You probably wouldn’t know it by talking to me. At work, so many people know that I’m almost surprised when someone doesn’t. As people have heard just that I’ll be out, they’ve asked where I’m going – somewhere nice? Somewhere tropical? Poor Steve, I just spurted “breast cancer” and shrugged. His eyes widened and mouth dropped, and I felt so bad for saying it that way. “I’m sorry,” I explained, “It’s just become automatic.” So it appears I have faced it and am sailing through, but as a handful know, it’s not necessarily true. I have a lot of dealing to do. And I should probably start by making some of those connections…

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Written this morning

I’m sitting on the plane, on my way to visit my family in Florida. What is my reading material? Two magazines: Dana Farber’s Paths of Progress and Breast Cancer Wellness. We haven’t even taken off and my eyes start to fill. I never thought this would be me. I don’t want my life to be about cancer. I don’t want to read this stuff. I want to read novels. Or the Steve Jobs biography. Or Shades of Grey, which I now see everywhere since Tina told me everyone is talking about.

Last book I read? Why I Wore Lipstick to My Mastectomy.  Don’t get me wrong – it is excellent and I am so thankful Geralyn Lucas wrote it because as far as I’ve come on my journey, so much of what she’s said is right on. We’re very similar and so I can see some of what I’m going to be going through. It isn’t all pretty, but it has a happy ending and I’m determined mine will too. (I highly recommend it for anyone wondering what this is like – or you can watch the lifetime movie based on the book – it’s free on the web site, link above. I haven’t watched it yet but plan to.)

I know I need to read, to study, to learn. At dinner last night Mike asked me if there are certain foods I should be eating now or after surgery. I know there are but I haven’t really looked into it. And he asked about other things like certain types of exercise or specific things I’ll need. I don’t know. I haven’t wanted to deal with it. Surgery is Monday. I guess it’s time to find out.

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Letting go

April 24, 2012

Today was my last day at work for a while – hopefully only six weeks or so, but possibly more. It’s not easy letting go. I love my job and the people I work with – they couldn’t be more supportive. And I know I couldn’t be leaving things in better hands – thank goodness Vanessa joined us in January! I do feel guilty leaving her with it all, but I know she’ll kill me for saying that and that it will all be just fine. And I will do as promised and turn my work laptop and blackberry off on Sunday and will not turn it back on until the doctor clears me. I know that, as a work friend/cancer survivor told me Monday, my job will be to get better.

Before Monday’s surgery I am going to visit my Florida/Tennessee parents Dad and Maggie, and my brother Steve, his wife Kelli and my nephews Hudson and Holden. While it’s not quite the trip I had initially envisioned or would prefer, as I’m going alone, that can’t be helped and it’s still important I go. I need to show my family (especially my dad) that I really am fine and will be throughout all of this. I know it’s especially hard for them being so far away. And I get to see my two precious and rambunctious nephews. And hey, who couldn’t use a pre-surgery tan?

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