Cancer saddens me.
No, not like that. Not like, “Wow, cancer is really sad.” Like an in-your-bones, deep-within-the- psyche-sad, a sad that burrows itself deep into your heart and never quite goes away, not even in the happiest of moments, a sad that becomes an integral part of you, really. A sad that means that tears are always near the surface, even if I don’t know it. Some little thing could bring the tears forth, a reminder of my and others’ mortality.
I had maintenance chemo yesterday, and the first person I met at chemo, B., was there. I’ve looked up to her, thought of her as kind of a breast cancer mentor. She’s strong, she’s a survivor, she has a great wit and sense of strength about her. She was doing her second round with breast cancer when I met her. Just a few months after we met, she went into remission. I was so very happy for her. Yesterday, just yesterday, she said, “I’ve had a huge setback,” and told me a story of her forgetting simple things like driving places that she’s known how to drive to for years, of seeing dead people. A brain MRI confirmed that she has tumors in her brain.
I’m scared for her, yet hopeful that she’ll beat this one too.
Susan of Toddler Planet writes eloquently of how difficult some things are in the everyday world when you’re a woman with Inflammatory Breast Cancer. Yes, how very difficult they are. As I stood in the boutique yesterday getting fitted for mastectomy bras and a prosthesis, I saw myself in a full-length mirror, one full breast and one area with a little bit of breast tissue, a red scar crossing the entire length of it, trying to fit the breast and find a prosthesis for Notatata. I call it a funny name to reduce the seriousness of what it really is.
When I tell friends that I actually wish I had asked the surgeon about taking both of them off, if that had been an option, most people give me a horrified, “WHY?!!” response. I tell them because that way, I’d be done with all of this. I could just be flat the rest of my life and not have to worry about the rest of this. I wouldn’t have to get a mastectomy bra or a prosthesis. I wouldn’t have to think about reconstructive surgery and wonder if I’ll do it, then decide when and figure out the risks of having it versus my comfort in having it done. I could just be DONE with all of this. Maybe I’m simplifying things. Maybe I’d still be grieving the loss of my breasts. Maybe grieving is a part of having a body part/body parts cut off. The loss of the breast seems to bring up all the memories associated with this cancer, from the day of diagnosis to today. It brings up the fears, the worries, the sadness.
There are several people who have told me that they think I’ll beat this. And I may; I hope so. Sometimes I have that confidence too; other times it’s harder to hold onto that. It’s just the way things go.
No matter what, cancer . . . . well, it just sucks. It robs people of so many things. And while I know that in so many ways I’m blessed, there are times when I just feel the heaviness in my heart. I can’t help but wonder if that heaviness will always be there. I can’t help but think that I’ll always be changed, always be a bit more saddened by the knowledge of how fleeting life is, how some of us truly know our mortality and live with it everyday.
I’m sad and scared for B. I’m embarking on a new treatment for myself — radiation — for I haven’t yet had a treatment. They’ve been tweaking and moving me around, finally made a mold for me to lie in and taken umpteen photographs, but it’s all good because Dr. Radiation Oncologist is a perfectionist and I’m glad about that. Today I finally have my first radiation treatment. I’ll be getting a prosthesis when the boutique orders some new, my-size mastectomy bras in for me (the ones I tried on didn’t quite work for me).
But I digress.
Sad, sad, sad.
Cancer just makes me bloody sad.
(If you pray, say a prayer for my friend B., would you?)
Cross-posted to Just Enjoy Him.