Where is that upbeat woman? I know I left her here somewhere…

In Uncategorized on August 18, 2012 at 7:57 pm

So, it turns out menopause blows, just in case anyone wasn’t completely clear on that fact.  So if this post seems shaded by an unusual amount of cynicism, keep in mind that my hormones could compete in the trampoline jumping event at the olympics.  And really?  Trampoline jumping as an olympic event- please…

But the updates are all good.  I am just shy of eight weeks post surgery, seven weeks post blood clot, and  while I am not up to normal speed, I can do most of my daily stuff on my own and I can manage the remaining pain and fatigue.  The pain, surprisingly, is still primarily from the breast expanders which will not be removed until the end of November, when I am safely off of blood thinners and can undergo surgery again.  That should be outpatient, a procedure of simply having the expanders replaced by something soft and malleable- words that have never sounded so good as they do at this moment.  The expanders have made it impossible to sleep comfortably on my side and because of the blood thinners my breasts, or whatever we want to call these funny nipple-less mounds currently, are bruised as hell.  With that said, I can tell that the expanders are settling into a good shape and I am pleased with how my would-be breasts look under clothes so that’s a plus.

Downstairs, I am completely healed.  My gynecologic surgeon was thrilled to sign off on resuming all normal activity which I said was a relief because there is a line forming around the block of men who want to have sex with me.  Nothing hotter than a woman who is in too much pain to have her breasts even looked at sideways and who might burst into tears if you confuse there and they’re.  Well really people- it’s basic grammar.

There have been some developments with the other members of team BRCA.  My sister had a scare this week when her surgeon felt something abnormal at her tumor site but an ultrasound confirmed that it is only fluid that wasn’t reabsorbed.  Yes again, I realized I had held my breath for five days waiting to hear this news- and when I finally started breathing again I could feel the anxiety that had built up over the week.  My dad- who as you recall had one ureter and kidney removed due to a tumor has been having difficulty as his remaining kidney does not seem to be functioning at the level it should be.  He will undergo outpatient surgery next week in an attempt to solve this problem with a stent.  Hopefully that will be the end of the kidney chapter but it’s yet another surgery my dad has to go through.  At this point we’ve started treating outpatient procedures as though we’re picking up at a drive through, but the truth is, surgery is surgery and it’s always anxiety provoking.

And I return to work on Monday- which is both a blessing and a curse.  I love my job, my co-workers and that I’m returning right as the theater season begins.  I am thrilled that I’ll have a place to go everyday, return to a sense of purpose and not be so focused on the ins, outs, ups and downs of recovery so that’s all a definite plus.  The downside is, I’m still managing some pain, I tire out very easily and menopause really is kicking my ass right now.  Because of the blood clot I will forever be unable to take any hormones so I just need to tough this out and push through.  I’ve been told that when it comes on fast and hard from a hysterectomy, as opposed to going through it naturally, that it normally doesn’t last as long and that’s a relief because I cannot afford to be without my optimistic disposition right now.  In my normal state I could tell myself the pain is temporary, the discomfort will pass by November and all will be well by May, which will be here in a blink of an eye.  But right now I feel so bogged down by the loss of so much in such a short time.  I find that I am constantly worrying about things that haven’t troubled me for years.  I have been lonely, something that truly never happens.  I normally revel in time to myself because it is so rare in the life that I lead.  But the emotional side of these losses- they seem to have hit me like a tidal wave and while I can intellectually tell myself it’s purely a hormonal reaction, I am in a state of panic that this is the new me.  That the person who laughed through the terror of having a double mastectomy and hysterectomy and how that might affect my Multiple sclerosis is in fact truly fractured somehow now.   I was in Ikea with my mom this week, I was weak, sweating, and wanted nothing more than to escape the big blue building and simply forget all of the things we had already decided to purchase.  She made me push through it, I’m glad that I did, but jesus, a trip to Ikea shouldn’t be this traumatic.  Fucking hormones…

There have been many side effects to these surgeries.  Pain, fatigue, a loss of appetite that verges on a repulsion from food and an inability to keep calm and carry on.  But there are a few things that have suggested a light at the end of this tunnel.  As I was telling my doctor about my hormones being out of control and weeping for hours on end, I was smiling and laughing which he pointed out to me.  He assured me that at the end of this process, I’ll feel great and I’ll have far less to worry about in terms of cancer in my future.  The truth is, I prepared myself to lose my breasts, my ovaries, and all of the various accoutrements.  What I didn’t account for was the loss of my positive outlook, and that is simply something I cannot be without- not with the cards I have stacked against me.  So I’m trying- I’m reading a book that my girls recommended called “When Things Fall Apart”.  Thus far it has basically told me that to feel like hell is normal and it’s far better to deal with it in the moment.  The moment passes as does the feeling.  I’m also reading a far more escapist book called The Weird Sisters which I’m loving so I can get lost in that in my darker moments.

I have had the most intense outpouring of support in the last two weeks.  Apart from my mom getting me through Ikea with hopes of an organized office, a friend who I’ve not seen in almost 20 years skyped with me and showered me with such love for which I was so grateful.   My ex-husband dropped the myriad of things we needed to discuss and listened to me sob with no idea what had prompted the sobbing.  Another friend held my hand while I was sleeping- just because.

And my normal self- she knows better than to wallow- it’s just this bitchy hormonal hag who has moved in that tries to convince me otherwise.  So I’ll go back to work, I’ll push through whatever comes next and hope that I don’t spontaneously weep during the workday or in front of my son.  Right now, accomplishing those small feats would feel like winning the gold- in trampoline jumping.

  1. I love you madly!

  2. As I read your this I just kept thinking, “you can’t cure normal.” It sounds like all your reactions are within the realm of human, to me. And a trip to Ikea can test even the most positive of dispositions. I think the most amazing thing, and I’ve said this to you already, is that you have made a big declaration to the universe (and anyone else who might be listening) that you plan on living a LONG, HEALTHY and HAPPY LIFE. So it is, and so it shall be.
    Come on, you can do this.
    Hang in there buckaroo. There are boys to kiss, kittens to cuddle and pugs to raise.
    xoxo, j.

  3. I’m buying you a trampoline.

  4. First of all: Just to piggy back on the trampoline thing–look up Dong Dong from China, and remind him: “There is NO CRYING in trampoline!”. Second of all: It is not only normal, but completely healthy to have the reaction that you had in Ikea. I have that reaction in Ikea, and I am not yet going through menopause. At least I don’t think i am yet. Third of all: How did I get so lucky to have you in my life? I just cannot believe how honest and true you are. You could teach Pema C. something or two. Your optimism is still here, and will be back in full swing once you get through this hormonal torrent, the Warfarin, the rest of the surgery. And that is the abbreviated version. How could you not be anxious for Missy and Mr. The Lev. If you were optimistic continually through everything you have been going through, i’d be concerned about a level of denial only found in my family of origin. I am thinking of you back at work today, and hoping that it is a positive experience. I love you so much–cawfee tawk soon. LOVe, LOVE, LOVE you.

  5. I’m honored to be mentioned in your newest entry (at least I assume it was me!). Truly honored. You are inspirational, exceptional, eloquent and beautiful. I’m a better person for knowing you…have I said that before? If not, I should have.

    Having said that…Another amazing blog entry. I look forward to more, and I still want you to meet my wife and son, even if only over Skype! Love you, Kid.

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