Friday, December 21, 2018

I'm not sure I heard you correctly

I certainly don't want to think I heard that correctly.

I have severe cancer in my right breast, again. It is in the milk ducts which obviously grow throughout the breast....so it is throughout my breast. Seriously?
But I knew it.

I found a lump about 4 months ago. I called and said I needed a mamm. although I was six months early for one. Had it. The conclusion was that there might be something there but there was also much calcification so that was the conclusion, just calcification, a result of all the previous radiation. Whatever they thought they found was too infinitesimal to actually be considered anything of any importance, and maybe it wasn't even there.  Come back in a few months and we will see if anything is actually visible.

Did that. There was some concern that it, although barely visible, might in fact be something worth looking at a little closer. When they sit you down in the dressing room and they tell you that they would like to do a biopsy.....you know.

Biopsy's are hell.  I won't bother describing it, except only to say that it is a mammogram that lasts an hour and a half. You get the picture. Even numbed up, it's not fun and I'm a bit of a bleeder so that wasn't pleasant either. The breast turns green with bruises. With this kind of probing they get a whole different view. It turns out that it was barely visible because it is in the outer lining of the duct. That needs a super magnifier because it is essentially invisible....and he hit it with a needle!! A needle that deposits tiny, tiny little pieces of metal so they can find it if they need to look again.

Then the sweet gentleman who did it also sits down with you in the dressing room. By now you really know you're screwed. Next step, a surgeon who diagnoses the situation and sets you up with a plastic surgeon (they work in tandem) and a surgery date. On January 21st,  although it's everywhere it's a slow grower, I am going to have both of my breasts cut off. Breathe, breathe. You actually forget to do that when they say double mastectomy. There's a lot of talk about implants and a drug (5 years) called Tamoxifen and counseling and nutrition classes (shouldn't have had that hamburger). I have no idea what decisions to make. My daughter says no implants. I say implants but I don't know why. A drug for 5 years? I only have weeks to decide something that will affect me for the rest of my life. And you know what bothers me the most?  The time. The time it takes to do this and the time it takes to heal. If you get implants, I think it takes 3 months from the first operation before you go back for a second to have them put in place. Time suddenly feels very precious. What do breasts mean to us? What would it feel like to have none?

I made a terrible mistake and got on Google and looked up mastectomy. Whhhhyyy did I watch that? I thought I was watching a horror film, what poor surgeons have to go through....guck!!!!!  I keep shutting off my brain. It's not even voluntarily, it's just pure instinct. Something takes over that is stronger than you. And then it doesn't. It all sneaks in through a crack and my breath wavers. What the fuck? What the fuck??!! They say things come in 3's, this is the 3rd time.

OK, I'm scared. I'm really scared. Everyone keeps saying how well I'm taking it. But I'm not. I've said so many times in my life - is this the end? Surely things will get better now. It's so embarrassing. Just one thing after another after another. And if you're thinking - bad karma - then I don't even know what to say to you. And I'm not crying. Why am I not crying?

I so wanted to write a happy post for my next one. But this is what there is, this is what you get.

Love
Liv

PS: my windshield wipers just quit working...and I live in the Pacific Northwest..............

PPS: I haven't been reading anyone elses's blog, so I really, really hope everything is alright with you. I truly do.










18 comments:

  1. Oh Liv, I'm so sorry. I hate cancer. There are good things for you though. You're post menopausal, so less estrogen and you said it's slow growing.

    We have a sign up at work in our mammo department that says the only thing worse than finding out you have breast cancer, is not finding out you have breast cancer.

    I hope all goes well for you. I'm sending hugs.

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    1. Thank you, Deb. That's so true. Yes, post menopause has it's rewards. Wish I had you in my journey here. Your patients are lucky.

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  2. I'm so sorry to hear this, Liv. Such terrible news. Your reaction is entirely appropriate -- it's all of the things you've described. I wish you much strength and courage in the months ahead. Lean into any help that is offered. I have several friends who've gone through double mastectomies, radiation and the years of Tamoxifen. All are doing well, five, ten and 15 years out. You will, too. Take care of yourself. Take CBD. Gentle yoga. Acupuncture. Whatever it takes to heal. Blessings to you.

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    1. I really appreciate that good advice, Elizabeth. I get lost in the whirlwind of this and forget that there are ways to take care of myself. Thanks for hanging in there with me.

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  3. Geez o Freakin' Pete! Not fair, sweetheart. I'm sending all my love, every single bit of it.

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    1. Got it. And thanks so much. I need every single little drop of it.

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  4. JFC, Liv. so sorry to hear this. I have no advice. all I can say is having gone through life with boobs so small they look like I don't have any unless you see me naked, I have often wondered what the big deal is about big boobs. if you opt out of the implants, you never have to wear a bra again. and believe me, not ever having to wear a bra (unless it's padded to fill out my fancy dress) has been one of the highlights of my life.

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    1. That has been a prevailing thought, Ellen. Freedom! But I get stumped by the thought of two huge scars on my chest and having to see them everyday. Back and forth my brain goes. But thanks for the comment...it made me laugh!

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    2. you could get some pretty tattoos to hide the scars.

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    3. Now that reallly made me laugh. In fact, I could have breasts tattooed, that would solve it all!

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  5. Thanks for the email, Liv.

    Wow! This must all be such a shock. Even when we know or have experienced and expect situations we can still go into shock and we are left feeling bewildered and scared.

    I am sending you a million hugs. Use up as needed.

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    1. Thank you, Birdie.
      The majority of them were used up instantly.
      Please send more intermittently.
      xo

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  6. This is such a shock to read. My heart goes out to you.
    Like Elizabeth I too have several friends who had a double mast., some had chemo and/or radiation and the tamoxifen years and all are very well.
    I went along with one friend to get her nipple tattoos after the implant and honestly, the result made me very jealous.

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    1. My surgeon says I don't have to have chemo or radiation, because I won't have any breast tissue left. She said the plastic surgeon could make new nipples, but didn't sound very enthusiastic, but tattoos, hmmm. Except what if they popped from the needle...hahaha (sort of). Thanks so much, Sabine, for sticking with me. I hope you are doing ok and I hope you've had a good Christmas!

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  7. Oh LORD. What a shock it was to read this! I am thinking of you so much. What a fucking year this has been for you. Keep writing and we will keep reading. Sometimes it’s all we can do. SJ

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    1. Darling SJ, I'm so glad you do keep reading. I'll try to give updates. Right now I am still in shock. I keep envisioning things I don't want to. But it means a lot to me that you are still here for me.

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  8. I left you a comment the other day, but lately my comments have been disappearing, I don't know why. I am so sorry you are going through all this, but i too have friends who have had double mastectomies are ten, fifteen years out are doing just fine. I am sending hugs to supplement Birdie's, and healing thoughts to stir the universe.

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    1. Dearest Angela, I haven't been checking comments so much. Like I told SJ, I am still in shock and don't really know what to think, although I am being as proactive as possible and am proud of myself for getting somethings accomplish before the day. Thank you so much for your comment, it's like balm for my soul...and heart.

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