Cancer Diary: Some Random Thoughts on Life, People, and Everything

Five weeks post-surgery, a few random thoughts and shout-outs.
(I was going to try not to get emotional, but since I’m a big baby, that’s not going to happen.)
Above: Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters on the Magic Bus (named "Furthur") during their long strange trip across America in 1964.

Waking up in recovery to see my husband, my chest covered in bandages, it wasn’t to so bad. (Because I was still fully under anesthesia and all loopy.) I even laughed a few times and chatted with the cute nurse who rolled my bed down the hallway to my room. Until she told me about “the transfer” -- me moving from one bed to the other. Picture, if you will, one of those cartoon moments when the character’s eyes pop out of their heads. I was that cartoon character.

Me: You mean this isn’t my bed?

Her: No, we have to transfer you to that bed.

(Duh. The large hospital bed in the middle of the room, genius!)

Transfer happens; I feel as if someone is sawing my back. Literally sawing. Burning. Horrible. More drugs, please! Throw up those drugs and everything else for a while.

At home, I hobble for the first few days, stay mostly in bed searching for something to watch. Find that almost impossible. (Too many reality shows featuring dumb people.) But I’ll never forget the day after I returned home, my son stayed on the bed with me all day. This is remarkable since he’s a teenager and they’re not supposed to be so sweet like that. He played a game on his phone and we watched an “Oddities” marathon.

All the while, the man in the red Hawaian shirts has shopped, cooked, done laundry, and acted as a prince. (A little ruffled sometimes, but princely nonetheless.)


They say things happen for a reason, but over the past year or so, I’ve made so many connections – many before embarking on my current journey, but a few since. I’ve reconnected with old friends, made new court reporting friends, new writer friends, deepened relationships with church friends. My family’s been there for me. So many people have touched my life in ways large and small, it feels as if something larger has been involved…

From taking walks around the living room for exercise, and being winded doing so, I’m now regaining much of my strength, but there’s still a long way to go. I can do a few yoga poses, but who knows when I’ll be doing downward facing dog again.

I had my first saline fill into my expanders a little over a week ago, so I’m now about an A cup on each side. The plastic surgeon is working slowly because this is essentially stretching my skin for the eventual placement of the permanent implants and can be quite uncomfortable. (And was for a few days, but not horrible.)

When this process is over, I’ll have maybe B-sized breasts. (Maybe B plus?) I’m hoping that my newer smaller breasts will help me to run faster and jump higher because of my being all aerodynamic and having less wind resistance. (Oh, and that I’ll actually want to run and jump.)

I’m also hoping to go back to work the first week of August but can’t quite get my mind wrapped around lugging my steno equipment/setting it up, and driving to my jobs. But that’s still a whole month of recovery away, and I’ve come so far already. I’ll be setting my steno machine up in a week or so for practice and see how it goes. (But I’ve been mentally steno writing stuff. My CR friends will get this.) I’ll never forget the edible bouquet a beautiful group of reporters sent me. (Chocolate covered everything. Can you imagine? Heaven.)

I want to give a special shout out to my publisher, Musa, who I found after working with a literary agent for a year and having that not work out. Heartbroken, I found them maybe two days after Marissa and I parted ways because I hang out on a writer’s forum. (Fate?) They accepted my first book, and before my cancer reoccurrence, I was waiting to hear back on queries I’d sent them on three other manuscripts.

After my diagnosis and in the weeks leading up to surgery, Musa offered contracts on my other books. This has been a great gift as it’s given me something to work on and towards; it’s helped me fill those moments that have gotten a little dark (because I don’t care how much of an optimist a person is, this “life” stuff can be pretty heavy sometimes, almost too much). Here are some thoughts from my intrepid publisher on her forward-thinking publishing company for the new millenium.

I’m cancer free now, and I am a work in progress. Literally. (Right now I have these strange Frankenboobs, but in a few months, they’ll be all perfect and shiny. Or something like that. But they won’t be Dolly sized.)

To borrow a line from the Grateful Dead, what a long strange trip it’s been, and I’m so glad for everyone who’s been part of my trip and hope you’ll be there for the long strange (and not so strange) time to come. Thank you all.

Also in this series…
o Cancer Diary: Some Things I've Learned
o Adventures in Breast Cancer!
o Cancer 102 - Second Semester: Some Breast Cancer Etiquette
o Storytelling
o So Much for Not Worrying

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