Wednesday, March 28, 2012

"Awwww....Freak out!"

Last week I had my first official post cancer freak out.  I had a sore spot on my shoulder blade that had been bothering me for a week or so.   I have been going to the gym to try and work on getting my stamina up, so my first thought is that one of my workout tops rubbed it the wrong way.  Then the seat belt was aggravating it.  Finally, I was feeling around for the sore spot and BAM...there it is.....a lump under my collar bone.  I'm thinking to myself....this is NOT happening to me again.

So different from my first reaction to the lump on my breast.   This, after talking to my Rheumatologist about how I'm dosing myself with Enbrel as little as possible to control my symptoms.  I met a woman at yoga with RA who DID get lymphoma while taking Enbrel and Humera, so now it's officially on the table as something real that can happen to people, not just a black box warning on a sheet of paper from the pharmacist.  

So I spent  two days of thinking, there is no way that I can have a recurrence or a new tumor so close to stopping Chemo comes with the terror of remembering back to the day when a strange lump in my breast did nothing more than make me pause and think, I should probably have someone look at this at some point.

Rather than worry myself longer than I had to, I called my doctor to have her check it out. She tells me that it's feels like an enlarged lymph node, nothing to worry about, I probably have a little bit of something or other. But if it's still there in 2 weeks, I can get it biopsied for piece of mind.   I feel foolish. I don't want to spend the rest of my life freaking out about every little lump bump or illness that comes my way, but right now, I can't help it.  I worry that all this that I have been through and all that is still yet to come will not make any difference in the long run.

I think this is a normal reaction at this point.  After all, I just found out last night that the grieving process doesn't take place until 6-18 months AFTER the traumatic event.  Just about the time your friends and family think that the ordeal is mostly over and we all can return to a normal existence.  I feel nowhere close to normal at this point.
This is me almost exactly one year ago, when we took Connor to Chicago to celebrate his 10th birthday.  I know I will never be this person again.

Here is the hair update: Still no eyebrows or eyelashes, but I've gone out in public the past two nights without wearing a hat or scarf on my head, but a lot of eye makeup.  I'm still dealing with the neuropathy in my finger tips and toes from the last session of Taxotere in February.  I won't know if it will ever go away. At this point, I just have to wait and see, and bear it if it doesn't.  The good news is that I didn't lose my nails or my toenails. My finger nails look horrid, but they aren't lifting up or anything, they are just discolored and funky looking.  I ended up putting on nail polish and keep cutting them down in hopes of getting them looking back to normal as soon as possible.

chemo nails

It's a month since my boob 2.0 upgrade, and the real implant is more comfortable than the football they had in there before, but not as much as I had hoped.  I still get phantom pain where there is nothing to hurt and I feel like I am now smuggling a water balloon in my chest.   I know that I will eventually get used to this feeling, too.  Humans are so wonderfully adaptable, but I don't know if I will ever be happy about it.  It doesn't look real, it doesn't feel real, and I seriously question myself sometimes for ever going thru with it in the first place, rather than just cutting it off and being done with it.  No one prepared me for what it would be like to have a part of myself cut off, even though they can reproduce something that looks normal as long as I have clothes on.   I see my boob doctor next on April 9th and I hope that I can get a date for the breast lift for the right side, so I can put these surgeries behind me and get on with it.  

I just don't know what "IT" is at the moment.


  1. Hey there, this is Cadwallon. Freaking out is just a part of life. So please just let it pass along. Your Dr. knows best! So here's thinking of you from afar....[Don't tell Phillipe!] -Chuck
    my real name.

  2. Hang in there PBA!!! I am rooting for you! Today is my one month anniversary of surgery--I had a Tram flap reconstruction (they took my belly fat to replace the tissue removed for the mastectomy). I lost my nipple too-I found your blog searching for nipple tattoos. As soon as I heal, I am supposed to start chemo and then have radiation. I am scared, and annoyed that I will lose my hair, and be outed by cancer, when I am still not telling everyone and like being able to pretend things are still normal. Your blog gives me hope that I can stay strong and get through it too. You are quite awesome!!!

  3. Foxxytales...thanks for your comments. Yes the chemo and rads are hard...and anticipation harder still, but you get thru them. As far as being "outed", I found great support from people everywhere I went...but then again, I'm not really the shrinking violet type!! I found women coming up to me at grocery stores and sharing their own stories of BC and it gives you courage and hope that others made it through exactly what you are. I'll be sending out out positive healing energy to you as you go through your journey. ~ pixie. (aka. Lori)

  4. Cad- thanks for your support! <3 ya!

  5. The only thing I can say to you Lory is:

    Paulo & Mara


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