I've had time to get used to the idea that I have cancer. Barely. I still don't like to think about it. I would rather pretend that I'm still perfectly healthy. Well, as healthy as a person about to be 50 can expect. Most days I can pull it off, distracted by the every day routines, work, the chores, books, etc.
And then something happens, and I get walloped by the realization all over again. There's lots of these sorts of situations when you have cancer. Things that you once took for granted, or never thought much about before, suddenly become a big deal. I call
them sucker punches.
As the stylist was finishing up my last haircut, for instance, the realization that I would lose all of my hair
slammed into me, and I lost my breath a moment. I'm don't consider myself vain, but my hair is a part of me, and it wasn't going to be there for awhile. The poor stylist became more and more flustered, because I sat there in her chair, tears running down my face. I was finally able to explain to her that I was not upset about my haircut, and I hope that she understood. I tend to become high-pitched and unintelligible to everyone but dogs when I cry; but maybe I can let her know the next time I get to visit. In a year.
And I was looking at a nice underwire bra the other day, and that was another punch to the gut. I've lost part of my left breast. Am I going to be more lopsided? Will anyone be able to tell, just by looking at me? What about future bra shopping? Will I ever find one that fits perfectly, or will I have to get a pad or something to wear in there? Like I said, I'm not vain, but the idea of being lopsided, with all that entails, bothers me a little.
That one hasn't bothered me as much as the idea of the mediport, which will have to be installed somewhere around my clavicle. A mediport is necessary for chemo, because my veins would take a beating. But this will require some wardrobe changes, it hit me while I was looking through my closet. I would prefer to be discreet about my cancer treatments. Since I work in a school, I don't want to scare small children wondering about that thing on my clavicle. Do I shop for new shirts that cover up that area, or do I cover it up with a bandage?
And the holidays are coming, and I will be going through chemo therapy. I will likely be too exhausted to do most of the fun things that make up the season. I may not be allowed to attend parties or other events, if my white blood cell count is too low. Instead I will be at home, by myself, because I will want my son and husband to carry on the general family responsibilities for the time. That particular sucker punch wasn't so bad, since I traditionally get maudlin and depressed during the holidays anyway.
I'm sure that there will be more sucker punches to come, and I guess that I will deal with them like I always seem to do. I will have a good cry about it, blow my nose, and then I will move on. It's in my nature to get back up whenever I fall down.
Unless I get another call from my surgeon, telling me that, no, they did not get the rest of the tumor in my breast, which means more surgery at some point, either now or after chemo. Right now I'm feeling rather winded from all these sucker punches.
But I'll be back tomorrow.