Three Things.

It has been 6 weeks since surgery! Hooray! That means I am no longer forced to sit still most of the time and I can FINALLY use my crutches. Obviously, I celebrated by walked Albus. He was almost as excited as I was about it!

Also, I have had my expander filled twice. Both times with the maximum 120cc (4oz) for a total of 240cc (8oz) and whatever was put in during surgery (I think he said 120, as well. But I may be wrong). I think I need about 60 more Monday when I go back. I was TERRIFIED when I went the first time. I mean, those needles are huge!! Once it was happening I realized it was kinda awesome, though. They use a magnet to find the port. I kinda felt like a refrigerator. Then it was like my left side was going through puberty very, very quickly. Of course, I was prepared for extreme soreness after each procedure but I only experienced it slightly in my left should and upper arm. The tightness was gone by the next morning. So, my experience has been great with the expander under a lat flap recon. I wasn’t able to find many survivor stories about this sort of lat flap recon, so I am going to be adding mine to forums later today in hopes that someone like me needs it.

Now. On to the main reason for this post.

The last seven days have been a whirlwind of emotions.

About this time last week I went into my “Other Messages” folder on Facebook because I hadn’t in so long. I was greeted with what is possibly the meanest message in the history of mean messages. I’m going to share it, now. If you are really upset by cursing, there is one doosie in the message, though it is hardly the worst part, so use discretion and skip over it if needed:

“Have you changed, or are you still a miserable sociopath? I have spent hours empathizing and trying to love you, but you were always just a miserable, manipulative cunt. Did the threat of death at such an early age horribly scar your psyche? Is self-preservation the only human emotion you have left? How do you sleep at night, knowing that you lied incessantly to further your petty goals? Have you ever truly cared for anyone, or are we all just a means to an end? I wish you peace, love, and happiness. I fear you are incapable of experiencing basic human emotion.”

The message was sent from a false profile with the name of a famous WWE person, and I am clueless about who it could be and I no longer want to know. I really did want to know for the first few days. I was utterly heartbroken, to be honest. It really, really got to me. I don’t care if he knows that, either. At first, I tried to grab onto anger and not be upset- I didn’t want him to win and get what he wanted. But my ideas about that have changed over the week. I AM upset by these words. I know that they are false, now, and I know that I should pity this person. I do empathize with him because I have been that angry with someone and with life, just like him. The words still hurt, though, because I know that there was a time in my life that I was miserable, though not in the way he says.

There is one thing in particular that had made me realize his words are false.

I was nominated as one of Birmingham’s Most Beautiful people. This isn’t a contest about looks- no worries. Anyway, there are quite a few nominees and only 20 will be featured in the magazine once the results are in. It is an amazing opportunity to get word out about the charities and things that we each work with.

It is not the actual nomination that has helped me feel better about the horrible note, but rather, the amount of love I have received from people I have never even met. It was like a snowball: friends and family shared. Then their friends and family shared. Comments upon comments.

It has made me feel like everything I do matters, and reminded me that I am not the bad things someone says about me. I know that I am a good person and there are good people that believe in me and my story- as corny as that sounds, it worked. I stopped feeling the hurt and shame that note made me feel. Not only that, but the contest has caught me on fire and I am more than ready for the next thing. I am hoping to help camp with a new part of their program now that I’m healed and I’m busting at the seams about it!

So, blog people, here are the links to the contest and to my bio, submitted by the person that nominated me.

Here is the bio page: http://photos.al.com/alphotos/2014/04/bp_pics_1zip_30.html

And the Contest: http://www.al.com/bhammag/index.ssf/2014/04/vote_for_birmingham_magazines_1.html

Also, here’s a link to some really good music! It’s a friend’s band, Kenny George Band, and they are pretty fantastic, if I do say so myself:   https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/gunshy/id858654835

It is also on Amazon and Google Play. If you want to check it out on either of those sites let me know and I will share those links.

Silicone

The thing about my current fake boob is this:

I am confused about cleaning it.

I cant wait until the silicone is inside my body and I don’t have to open my browser and Google, “how to clean prosthetic breast”

But I just did that and now that I’m sure I’m doing it correctly, I won’t have to Google it again.

Also.

Mastectomy bras offer absolutely no discretion when it comes to the nipple. However, my fake one doesn’t HAVE a nipple so I have walked around for months now with lopsided nipples. Im sure people think I just have one nipple that is over active. On the other hand, when I see a woman with one active nipple, now I just assume that she, like me, has a dumb mastectomy bra on and her fake boobie doesn’t have a nipple either.

Do they even make them with nipples?

How many times can I type that word in one post??

Anyway, Im off to wash my fake boob.

 

PS If you need a good strapless or multi-way bra for your prostetic boob, and- like me- you cant find a good mastectomy one, Victoria’s Secret‘s new Body by Victoria line has a really great multi way bra that holds the boob in really well and curves around it naturally. There is no ‘drop off’ effect and I have no worries that the boob is going to go flying through the air, like it tends to do when Im not wearing a mastectomy bra!

And others…

I know you are so happy about this: I went and got fitted for a mastectomy bra or two and got a new prosthetic that won’t pop out in public!

You can all stop waiting for it to happen when we are together, now! Yay!

I am not lying when I say that I expected it to be a horrible experience. Not sure why… but I really thought it was going to be horrible. But it was the BEST bra buying experience ever. If you are in the Birmingham area and know women who need mastectomy bras, prosthetics or anything cancer related (OR you can go and get one of the really comfy mastectomy bras even if you still have both of your tata’s) I really recommend you send them to For Ladies Only in Vestavia. So wonderful.

While I was being fitted, the lady said, “Your chest wall is BEAUTIFUL!” Without fully grasping what she said, I said, “Thank you so much!” and oozed with happiness over the word beautiful. I mean, I was a nervous wreck in there. I was at least 30 years younger than everyone in the building and I had NO idea what was going on for a minute. I was also EXHAUSTED because I went straight from work (more on that later).

So I heard ‘beautiful’ and like most women, I swooned! (That is not the reason this was a great experience, but it helped)

It wasn’t until I was driving home that I really thought about that comment. “Your chest wall is beautiful! Who is your surgeon?? He did a fabulous job!” That MUST be the same as hearing, “Your implants are beautiful! Who is your surgeon?? He did a fabulous job!” Surely it is the same? I thought about it the whoooole drive home and it still made me proud. Heck yeah I have a great chest wall! And I’m going to have two fabulous reconstructed breasts next year! (I hope)

I wanted to call my surgeon and tell him all about the compliment we received… but I’ll wait til our appointment in July, I guess!

While my chest wall may be lovely, my energy levels still leave something to be desired. I pretty much have PMS every afternoon. I’m tired, sore, grumpy and have a headache every evening. If I don’t work, I try to clean up or straighten up at least one room and do a load of laundry. At about 3, I start crashing. I don’t get sleepy so I don’t nap; I just can’t, so I will rest. I will literally sit and do nothing except watch a show or two online. It doesn’t revive me, but it keeps me going and keeps the soreness and the headaches from hitting too hard.

If I DO work in the mornings (I had previously explained to my boss that my stamina was crap so I have been scheduled for morning shifts since returning to work- until this coming week) I am up at 6, at work at 7 and work until noon, roughly. When I clock out, I’m usually so exhausted that I’ll chug something with caffeine for the drive home. When I get home, I crash for about 30 minutes. There is no stopping it. Around 5pm I get my PMS symptoms. Then it’s dinner, time with Blake, bathe, bed.

I’m not sure if it is the medicine that is making me this way, but I think it must be. This is not the same as post surgery tiredness and surgery was 3 months ago.

So, I need help.

Advice, I guess.

What can I add to my diet or my day that will help me make it through the day? (besides iron and vitamin b)

I am working two afternoons next week, starting when my exhaustion hits the hardest and going until pretty late. I would normally take my medicine at 8pm, but I’m going to push it back to when I get home so that I can make the drive home without any issues (it messes with my focus on top of making me tired). I’m just really lost for what to do about it all and thought you guys might be able to help!

I have a whole list of side effects aside from the exhaustion and eye issues, so I can’t wait to go over them with my oncologist! Maybe she can start me on B12 shots or something?

Gratitude

About 2 seconds after posting “Homeless man in an Armani suit”, I realized I probably come off as ungrateful to some people, myself. While I find it funny that I am so worried about this that I want to apologize, I just can’t apologize for my words. I mean them I AM sorry if I came off as ungrateful, though.

So, I’m making a gratitude list. Right here. For the public to see.

I am thankful for:

–          My grandparents. My family is unconventional and a little unstructured; my grandparents are kind of like the central location of our family. Like the kitchen in an old house, they are what bring us all together. They keep us straight and they support us, as well. I don’t think anyone in my immediate family that can disagree with this.

–          My Lady (or ‘Mom’). She sat with me in the hospital every night, every other week, for a whole year while I puked and refused to eat (ugh, chemo) when I was 12. Not to mention all the other illnesses she fought BEFORE I had cancer as a kid. Now, she supports me while I do it again, just a little differently. Somewhere in between she dealt with me as a teenager, and while I wasn’t a bad kid… looking back, I was kind of intense. I don’t know that I would have dealt with me well if I was her. Just. I’d have to tell you my whole story to explain why I’m thankful for her.

–          My sister. She’s here right now, when I need her. She is the only one that was with me for a while, when our family was split up, and sometimes we both forget that, I think. Having her around is something I don’t want to take for granted.  Also: she’s throwing my engagement party!

–          Big Brother. He and I were so close as kids. I’m pretty sure we still have secrets from our childhood that only the other knows.  He’s my bud. I’ve never even hesitated to tell him things when I’m upset or bothered. That’s not something I can say about anyone else, really.

–          Little Brother. He’s different in that he is the protective brother. And I want to protect him, as well. In our story, I think that is obvious. But he won’t convince me to buy a gun, no matter how hard he tries.

–          The C clan- My Uncle, Aunt and 2 cousins (who have been featured here!) hah. Then the girls were born I was still in this whole… “Omg babies… I don’t get it!” phase, but now, I kid you not- they are to blame, at least partially, for me wanting kids. Not even kidding. And while I don’t see them much or know much about their day to day life, their little family makes me hope I can have a little family. They are like a little beacon of hope for normalcy! (If they read this, they may laugh at that, but I hope they know what I mean by ‘normalcy’ hah).

–          My college experiences. I’ll just say this: my broken heart led to where I am now. Once college led me to another. One form of art led me to another. That life led me to this life. And there are SO many great memories, even in the midst of my screwed up days. My sorority, slursday, the lambda chi hall, apta 32, doubleplay, tubing, and music. I left Montevallo 6 years ago. Sometimes it feels like yesterday. UAB isn’t really full of memories, but I’m thankful for it because it’s there that I learned that I LOVE to teach.

–          South Side. In south side I lived life with no consequences, really, for a year. And it’s exactly what I needed, I think. I filtered out all of my crazy, and then I was saved by that little community. Even now, I think of it as ‘home’.

–          Everyone listed in “Luckiest Girl Alive

–          My job. I got it less than a month before diagnosis with breast cancer and they have been so good to me when it comes to taking off work for doctors and surgery.  Yes, it is there that I have to deal with horrid people, but I also really like it. And those small checks happen to be a godsend right now.

–          This apartment. I was lucky to get this place and now that we have it, I’m grateful for each piece of it. There is not a centimeter of space in here that I do not love and cherish.

–          Albus <3. I got Albus shortly after my TLC (taking on life after cancer) doctor told me that I would probably go into menopause around age 30. She told me that 2 and a half years ago; I was 25 and had just started to really admit to myself that I wanted a family. I did so much research to find Albus, and since then, he and I have nearly crossed the Red Sea together. Now that chances are becoming slimmer for me having a kiddo (because of FBC) I am even more grateful that I have him.

–          Olive Yew Photography

–          Coffee and diet coke

–          There is no cancer in my lymph nodes

–          I didn’t have to have a second surgery to remove more tissue

–          Cleaning for a reason  

–          Modern medicine (And the fact that only one person, so far, has told me I don’t need it to rid myself of my cancer)

–          Fruit. I really like fruit.

–          And last, let me offend or confuse or make sense, maybe. I’m thankful for cancer. How messed up does that sound?! But I am. I’m thankful for it because if I had not had cancer at 12 years old, I would not have had the complications I had and gotten Medicaid. Without Medicaid I would be screwed. I wouldn’t have been able to stomp my feet for a mammogram to find out I had cancer again. I wouldn’t be able to treat my breast cancer. That may make no sense, but I’m hoping you guys can read what I’m trying to say. I’m also thankful for it because of what it did to my family when I was 12- it brought us together and we were happy, despite cancer. The same goes for this time. It has brought us together in some ways. Ya know, cancer puts things in perspective, even for the people who don’t have it. It also led me to my camp family and made me into the sort of person I am. Why wouldn’t I be grateful for that?

There’s a lot more, but making a gratitude list is emotional and intense sometimes. Maybe we will do a part 2 one day.

Vanity

Before I post as usual, I want to discuss the cleaning service that was sent to me. ‘Two maids and a mop’ was here because of Cleaning for a reason. If you or someone you know has breast cancer and is undergoing ANY treatment whatsoever, click here and sign yourself or your loved one up! (You can also make donations by following the link).

Should have a few more updates added today. (Like who is officiating, photography, etc)

Now, Business as usual:

If you wanna know what shallow is, talk to me about how much I love my hair. Maybe it’s not so much that I love it, so much as it is that I am obsessed with it.

I was thinking about that yesterday when I got 100% dressed and ready all by myself (and to more of an extent than I have since before surgery.)

I fixed my hair and did my makeup. I picked out normal clothes (by ‘normal’ clothes I mean I gave no consideration to my prosthetic boob. I should have. I swore it was about to pop out most of the night. And it occasionally made itself known by poking out a bit. Oops. Pretty sure no one noticed, though.)

I looked completely normal last night.

Why is this important? Because I just have not been on top of my game. And I know that.

I mean… While I may not have gotten to 100% before yesterday, I still did SOME stuff.  I mean, I bathed. I put my hair in a ponytail. I occasionally put on a little mascara (because let’s face it- when I don’t put it on these white eyelashes, I look a bit like a weirdo). Very often in my recovery, I don’t wear a bra. I’m probably not supposed to tell anyone that. But still. I’m making a point here!

I know that I saw people and just did not look good.

I think that when you have cancer… people think you look good as long as you aren’t dead.

Seriously.

Do you have any idea how much I’ve heard, “You look so good/great/healthy/etc”? Because I have heard it a lot, and more often than not, I wanted to respond with, “Are you blind?!” At least 50% of these comments came on the day I gave my hair the dry shampoo treatment. Sure, it looks good when I’m going for rock star, but paired with yoga pants, a hoodie, a naked face and a ponytail… not so much.

How many people that don’t have cancer can leave the gym and get, “You look so GREAT!”? Because, really. That’s how I looked.

Here’s the thing, though. No one is going to admit that. But I know it. I mean, I’m not sheltered, nor out of touch with society and suburban, WASP culture.

I’m well aware of how people are.

And to top off my knowledge of basic human behavior, one of my close friends came to visit and went through the whole, ‘you look great blahblahblah’ thing and followed it up with something completely honest. She said, ‘I don’t know why but I thought you’d look awful. I imagined you propped up in the bed just looking horrible. And for some reason in my brain, it was a hospital bed… but that makes no sense.’

I got so sick of hearing people lie to me about how great I looked with my dirty hair and over-sized sweatshirt that I gave them something to compliment.

Because fuck yeah I look good!

I look like a normal 27 year old girl (with one leg and one boob.) Totally normal.

We were out last night and I was not in the least bit self-conscious. (Though I was conscious of my boob almost falling out.)

And I really, really, REALLY enjoyed fixing my hair.

Here’s the first completely normal photo of me to be posted on this blog!

photo(5)

Something to remember: Just because I have a terminal illness doesn’t mean I am terminal. Cancer treatments vary from case to case and the effects vary even more.

(By the way, I KNOW that sometimes these compliments are genuine, so if you’re reading this and yours was genuine, I’m not in any way referring to you.)

But I’m not done, yet.

Remember how I told you about my hair obsession?

Yesterday I started thinking about lice. I am SUPER FREAKED OUT BY LICE. I guess no one really likes lice so this is not really irrational, but I really started thinking about it and freaked myself out. Like, obsessing over it until I had a panic attack. Anyone with any type of anxiety disorder probably understands what I mean. Just one thought leading to another and another until you’ve basically made your own heart explode. Why did I do THAT?! I’ve always thought of lice as, like, ‘The children’s infestation.’ Considering it that is almost enough to make me REALLY not want anything to do with children. Little lice breeding teacup humans.  Almost.  So, I’m okay now. And no worries, no lice over here.

PS If you see a woman randomly raise her hand in a public place, it is likely that she is not waiting for her turn to speak. She is probably post-mastectomy and really needed to stretch RIGHT then. Forgive us, we can’t help it.

Grace and Peace

The past 48 hours have been full of little miracles and gifts! If you are reading this and had a part in any of these little miracles or gifts, know that I (WE) feel so blessed and so thankful and so amazed.

Seriously.

I won’t go into detail about some of these little graces but here is a photo of a wonderful gift that was made for me!

runtothebear(ignore how silly I look, please.)

We are hanging it above the mantle. It’s a perfect reminder to us that we need to run towards this with every ounce of fight that we have!

As for an update, very little has happened.

Health wise: Had to run to the doctor’s office for quick look at this weird squishy [read: cancer is NOT squishy] lump on my ribcage, under my arm about 3-4 inches. We thought it was a fluid buildup from removing my drain a bit early (because we thought it wouldn’t be a big deal with me having surgery again…). However, it is not a fluid buildup.  It is MOST LIKELY a swollen lymph node but it may also be a fatty tumor or something equally random and weird. It is definitely nothing to worry about.

Also, I got the go ahead to use my crutches last night. It is REALLY hard to do when your arm and side are so numb, but I’m figuring it out. It also really wears me out.

The only things that keep me in a battle with progress are a) getting dressed and b) sleeping.

Getting dressed is an obvious one. Even if I am allowed to move, I just CAN’T. My range of motion is janky and sometimes it just really freakin’ hurts. Sometimes I can put clothes on; I just can’t get them off!

Sleeping is less obvious. Before surgery and since I was 15 and my knee replacement broke (which led to the amputation), I slept on my left side. I did that because well, a broken knee replacement and constantly operated on leg are just not easy to sleep on. Post amputation, it remains difficult because I have a hip stabilizer. Now that I’ve had a mastectomy and lymph biopsy on my left side, I can certainly NOT lay on it. Laying on it could cause lymphedema, so I suppose it’s a good thing that it hurts. I wake myself up trying to roll over just the slightest bit, and it is instinct to roll to that side after so many years.

And last, but not least (and also not new, I just couldn’t figure out how to put this in the previous post), Albus is home! He has learned that if he lies on my left arm I can’t lift him to make him move. He really likes that.

Here are some photos of my sweet boy:

Newest to oldest (the first two are after his return!)

albus is home

His tongue always sticks out like that…

albus selfie

I had my camera up on my phone and he bumped me, essentially taking his own photo

muddy al

He had a bath the night before..

christmas albus

Xmas Albus

photo(5)

My all time favorite photo of this guy.

Life’s not Hard

My body is so weird. All bodies are weird, really, but mine is experiencing things more weird than normal.

I can’t even imagine that… a normal body.

I wish I could go back to myself as a very young child and say, “Bekah, dear… be nice to your body. You play very rough and many people will see that (which is okay) even when you are 27. You will make marks that won’t go away. And yes, you will go through a VERY awkward phase at 10-11 years old. You will know that you aren’t pretty, but you won’t really care. Not really. You’ll care more about being tough and that will cause more scars. (But you will be pretty. Very Pretty). At 12, you will be a very pretty bald girl. Somehow, being bald will cure that awkward phase you are going through. Cancer will give you a new self- assurance. You will have doctors…. So many doctors. And you will be even more scarred. You won’t think about it as a bad thing until you are 22. You will be struggling with depression and all you will see how you and other people have hurt your body. You will spend a year in complete drug and alcohol oblivion, and you will add to those marks, but you will be okay. You won’t get over your scars and marks, but you will accept them, again. When you are 26 you will stop fighting with life. You will accept Gods will easily and find humor in the fucked up situations you encounter. You will find real, true love with an unlikely suspect and people will condemn your love. You won’t care. You will turn 27 and you will be diagnosed with cancer, again, and he will be the brightest part of your day. You will joke about who has the most scars; who is the most damaged, but after your mastectomy, the answer will be quite clear. What I’m telling you, teacup Bekah, is to be kind to your body, because no one else will. Your battle wounds are epic, even though you are small.”

That may seem like a pointless bit to tell a 6 year old. But I think it says quite a lot. I wish someone had explained to me that I would lose so much of my body (literally and NOT literally) in life. And really, I’d probably curse more. I do tend to curse like a sailor…

I don’t think I would have stopped being so rough, as a little girl. But I think I would have been more conscious of my roughness and of my body.

So, my body, like all bodies, is weird.

There are new things, though. New things, since my mastectomy…

You know when you drink something cold and can feel it alllll the way down?

I can feel it in the left part of my back/underarm and sometimes; if I’m lucky, I can feel it in my left arm. My skin is numb and the muscles are SO sore but I can feel it turn cold from the inside, almost. It is my favorite part of drinking cold water, right now.

As far as recovery goes, I’m taking a little more time than I expected. I can start using my arm Saturday. So, maybe in a week I’ll be able to see progress and strength and I can dress and bathe myself. I assume once I can bathe and dress myself and get down the stairs to my car, I can go back to work. Goals!

and now, a quote:

“Children show scars like medals. Lovers use them as a secrets to reveal.

A scar is what happens when the word is made flesh.”
Leonard Cohen, The Favorite Game

Dork-tastic

Me with my poster from Audrey and Ella. I love the drawing of Albus in the top corner more and more.

Recovery photos, most recent to older:

dressing removed

Notice the little baby bump on my chest. I am calling it my ‘firefly’. Its so silly!

Day of Surgery

JP drain tube, day of surgery

Day of surgery, Dressing

Dressing, day of surgery. I hate oxygen tubes.

Lions and Tigers and Bears

You guys… YOU WILL NEVER GUESS WHAT HAPPENED.

Never.

It’s okay, though, because I’m going to tell you!

I am NOT having another surgery! Yay! Hooray! Do the Harlem Shake! Woo!

During my previous surgery, they removed what would ‘normally’ be removed in a mastectomy and the surgeon and pathologist knew by looking at it that the margins wouldn’t be clear, so they removed ANOTHER bit.

The pathology report is correct in saying that margins aren’t clear. However, it is also correct in saying that they ARE clear. You see, it is written out of order. It lists the second section that was removed first. It says those margins are clear. Below that, at the end of the report, it lists the first sections margins and that they are not clear.

That may not make any sense. If not, what it means is that someone didn’t read the report thoroughly and notice that it was written out of order. IT MEANS THAT MY MARGINS ARE CLEAR! Yay! Clear Margins! It means that I don’t have to have surgery! Yay! I can keep recovering without starting over!

More good news? I got rid of my drain today! I am no longer carrying around a bulb of blood and other fluids. I don’t have to find a place to shove a blood bulb when I get dressed! (You’d think it would make sense to just shove it where the boob used to be, and I have, but eventually, you gotta move it… it starts to get a littttle uncomfortable. And I realized someone might see it and think I had funky cleavage.)

Now that I can’t shove the blood bulb into the empty place on my chest for a faux boob, I guess I can start wearing my fake boob!

Actually, I did that today.

I tried a few days ago and just couldn’t figure the thing out.

I had it all wrong! No idea what I was doing.

Then Whitney, my sister, comes in this morning and holds it up to her boob like she just KNOWS how to wear it. I’m glad someone understands it or I’d just shove some socks in a bra (when I can wear one, again) and call it done!

Now that surgery is out of the way, on to radiation! I’ll start in a few (4ish) weeks! (No details, yet. Must see my radiologist and oncologist before I can tell you those.)

Little Accomplishments

98(This photo is of me in June of 1998, about 9 months into treatment for Osteogenic Sarcoma. I was about a month shy of 13 when it was taken)

I just realized that seven days ago I was getting everything ready for the big day! It feels like just yesterday!

I mean, have I REALLY been sitting around the house with one boob for a week?! All of Blake’s time off is over?! You have got to be kidding me.

It might be easier to imagine had I been able to accomplish more in my recovery, but not being able to walk around definitely makes it feel like I’ve accomplished even less.

Wednesday was the last time I threw up from the anesthesia. (It has always made me throw up for a few days post op)

Friday was the first day I didn’t have that post surgery hangover feeling, and I started to really get an appetite. To celebrate, I we got my hair washed and my bangs trimmed! It was the best day!

Yesterday I started defying my caretaker (I like to call him that, I don’t know why. It’s just hilarious to me) and hopped myself to wherever I wanted to go a few times. That was an accomplishment to me, but he sure did fuss. We also brought my mom some food for my sweet Albus and I got to see him. I have missed him so… I wish I could walk just so that I could have him back and be able to take care of him. Screw everything else I could do… I just want to walk my dog!

I hopped today, too (In my defense, things needed to be done and I wanted to do them). I also figured out how to put my hair in some sort of pony-tail. I can lift and hold my arm just high enough to also tilt my head down and put my hair in a normal pony-tail.  I even went so far as to announce, “I did it!” I can also almost pull up my skinny jeans all by myself. I can pull up the loose ones all by myself if I hook my little Huge JP drain to whatever button up I’m wearing. AND I can KIND OF do my own makeup. It’s not as fancy as it was a week ago, but I’ve certainly made progress, considering I’m wearing it at all right now.

Tomorrow I’m sure I’ll make more silly little progressions, and the next day, too. The only problem here is that it is all going to go to hell when I have surgery again this week.

Tomorrow my sister is bringing me to meet with the plastic surgeon in the morning and is will look over everything and get a plan for moving tissue, if needed. Then I will run downstairs to my surgeon’s office and tell him or his nurse that I’m done. Then a date will be set for the next surgery and I’ll start all over.

I am REALLY hoping they take out this drain tomorrow, even though I’m having surgery again this week. I mean, REALLY hoping. The tube has moved a little and seems to be directly in the hollow of my armpit. Right around my sweat glands…

Sorry if that grossed anyone out. But it’s life. It’s cancer…  and it’s not all pink ribbons (or gold ones) all the time. It is, more often than not, time off work for caregivers and patients, puke buckets, beeping pumps and an inability to bathe yourself. It is celebrating when you can lift your arm (or put weight on your leg), when you don’t get blood or puke on your favorite jeans (that you are wearing because they make you feel pretty, even if they aren’t convenient, darnit!) and when you finally know your protocol (maybe that’s just me. I might throw a party when I learn it).

Cancer is some weird shit, guys.

At least I’m prepared. And I won’t be bald this time (not that I would mind).

Running to the bear is exhausting.

My pathology report came back today, but before I get to that… let me just say how thankful I am that I gave in and accepted help from people.

I am under a lot of stress at home without having to make dinner and such so I have no clue how we would cook dinner without burning the house down.

My pride kept telling me, ‘No, Bekah, you CAN do EVERYTHING! You can recuperate and get up and help clean and cook dinner and take care of Albus!’

But, No. No, I can’t.

I can’t do much at all because my left arm is pretty useless, I have one leg and I have a drain hanging out of my torso. I am really good at sitting here. I can plan a wedding and write thank you notes. This, by the way, has kept me sane and unstressed. I am so glad we got engaged before surgery!

I am not completely finished, of course, but I have gotten it started and I’m rather enjoying myself! If you guys have any tips or ideas do not hesitate to share.

Now, on to the not-so-fun update.

My pathology report.

My lymph node biopsy and dissection came back clear, so, no chemo! Yay!

However, my margins are another story. They came back not so clear. In fact, they came back so NOT clear that I have to have another surgery before I can start radiation. I do not know a date, yet, just that it will be next week. They are going to remove more of the tissue from the underside of the breast area. Because I’m a small person, I’m already pulled pretty tight from the first surgery. They removed all of the skin on the breast and had to stretch the skin that was left to cover the wound. I am so tight that this time we will have a plastic surgeon in the operating room as well, and he will get tissue from another part of my body in order to close the wound, if needed.

We won’t even remove my drain before surgery.  I mean, I’m still covered in steri-strips from Monday!

I’m not really feeling much when it comes to the news. I expected radiation and I’m willing to do pretty much everything the doctors want me to do in order to beat this.

I can’t walk to the bathroom, but I can run to the bear!