The other day I glanced in the mirror and saw... myself.
My real self, my pre-cancer self. It was there, in my eyes. Something... a certain sparkle.
Somehow I looked different than I had over the last six months and it was obvious at just a glance: Without even really realizing I had left, I was -- without a doubt -- back from Cancerland.
As the leaves are slowly drifting off the trees outside and everything prepares for a winter's sleep, I feel my own body experiencing a sort of Spring, a rebirth. I'm healing: growing new skin cells, repairing nerves, but also moving on, away from Warrior and on to Survivor.
My own personal phoenix.
I met with my oncologist last week. He said that my dream of having a second child could be realized sooner than later -- it turns out I only have to wait ONE YEAR from my last chemo infusion, which was in August!
As I sat in the Chemo Lounge later with Joe (for my once-a-month infusion of the wonder drug Herceptin), I was dumbfounded. I sat there blinking at my shoes for a long time & then I sent Joe a text.
Did he just say I could potentially be pregnant this time next year??!
Joe looked up from his cell phone and nodded, his eyes full of the same shock and amazement and excitement that I was feeling.
And then it was just too much.
The tears streamed down my cheeks. I all but ran to the bathroom.
Later, Joe told me he his eyes had filled with tears, too.
I asked Dr. Y what kind of monitoring or scanning I should expect going forward. What kind of safeguards were in place to catch the cancer should it try to take up residency again? What if my other breast tries to kill me?
He said there are no protocols for scheduled scanning.
Suddenly I felt as though I were flying without a parachute. My blood turned to ice.
Dr. Y explained that outcomes are no better for breast cancer patients with early detection, and in fact, patients' quality of life is diminished with a lot of scanning and monitoring (because then you spend your life waiting for the scan results).
Instead, it is up to me to tell him if something feels wrong.
But then at a party recently, a person said bluntly:
You found it the first time. You can find it again.
And then there is the foob.
You know: The faux boob. The puff.
At some point down the road I'll get a prescription for a real prosthetic breast. In the meantime I have a little pillow insert. I've worn it a few times, but my incision site is still sensitive and even a little pillow can put too much pressure on the area.
So more often then not, I go out without. And I'm amazed at how much it doesn't bother me to be out in the world with only one breast.
After being Chemo Girl, I wasn't sure I really wanted to be the Mastectomy Poster Girl.
It turns out it is a lot less noticeable than one would think.
But even if people are noticing, I guess I don't really care.
And that's new.
Warrior to Survivor.