Friday, March 29, 2013

A tenuous state

I made a mistake yesterday.  I followed someone's link from facebook to a cancer blog that turned out to be a bunch of beautiful photographs of someone's wife as she fought and then died from breast cancer.  I cannot tell you what a bad idea looking at cancer blogs is if you are in my boat.  Most of them anyway.  Any tenuous non-worrying state I had been in since the nice prognosis report instantly vanished.  I knew that that state was tenuous, as my reality is that having this cancer means I will always, always be worried, for as long as always turns out to be.  Even with the good news and mostly positive outlook, no one knows what will actually happen.  I guess that is everyone's true state, only cancer people experience it in our faces, in quite an ugly and terrifying way.  So... lest you thought I was done worrying, I'm here to report that that will never happen, and that clicking on the wrong link is enough to cause a complete panic attack.  Sad but true.  I feel sorry for my oncologist, who bears the brunt of it in the form of a new set of neurotic and irrational questions every time I see him.  He is a patient man.

On another note, I started swimming this week.  That was not so pretty either.  It felt really good, the way swimming always does, but seems to be a whole new endeavor.  My form stinks and my arms are pretty different than they were.  I think that the muscles of my chest are attached to me differently than they were before and so feel odd.  The good news is, the second swim went better than the first, so maybe progress will be quick.  I did experience some additional swelling for a couple of days after both times, so am waiting a few days between swims for now.  At times I cannot believe that the person I am chose to get the implants, as the healing really is so much slower than it would have been.  I have always been a pretty no frills person, so am a little surprised at times that I did the reconstruction.  On the other hand, if I try to imagine having nothing there (my understanding of mastectomy is that you do not come out what we think of as a"flat chested" woman but actually more like concave), I know I would be totally self conscious and hunched over.  I also know that the idea of prostheses in a bra sounds nightmarish to me (bra being the operative nightmarish word there).  For the long term I believe I made the right choice, though at times it does seem like more vanity than I generally exhibit.  It's funny, I really never thought I was vain.  I never wear makeup, I barely put on earrings, I wear Levi's jeans most days; but I knew when I went bald that I am a little more vain than I thought.  I knew when I was morbidly self conscious about my lack of eyebrows, that having a concave chest might be more difficult than I could imagine.  I had five long months to consider my options because of the neoadjuvant chemotherapy, and what I came up with was that the reconstruction would, simply put, make my daily life easier, more convenient, and though it seems counterintuitive, give me less, not more to think and worry about.  The price is the long healing.  So, I will go to the pool and pay it.