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Saturday, November 20, 2010

graphic video of today

OK, so this isn't ME or MY SURGEON in this video and my scars run vertically as opposed to horizontally, but this IS a video of the procedure I had done today.

Minus the altogether important port removal, of which I'm still in search of decent videos.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Adios, Portia!

Tomorrow, the "final" step on this whole sucky journey takes place....I'm having my reconstruction surgery. Even more exciting, my port will be removed at the same time. I am more excited about having my port removed than I am about getting my squishy boobs. I'm pretty much over breasts. If I had a different body type, I'm now certain I'd have not opted for any reconstruction. If I had this body type, I'd be quite comfortable without breasts. Alas, no matter how much I run, no matter how much I work out, that particular body type will never belong to me. I'm rather happy with my rock hard, totally unnatural "breast mounds" caused by the tissue expanders I have in right now. For those of you who don't know about tissue expanders, they are HARD. No movement, what's so ever. The rest of my body jiggles. Not my boobs. This makes lying on my stomach somewhat of a challenge, but it's still manageable. I could live with these for the rest of my life. Really, I could.

But this port....the port squicks me out, big time. The surgeons and doctors all say that it's one of the "best" they've seen, but it's nasty. There's this button right under my skin, about 2" below my collar bone. And then there's this tubing that runs under my skin, up toward my collar bone and disappears into my heart. Gross. Gross. Gross.

To top it off, I have some keloidal scarring along the tube, so there's a maroon line going up my chest. I care less about how it this point, most of my friends have some sort of scarring. But I simply can NOT stand how it feels. I know the word is over used, but it really is GROSS.

However, by tomorrow night, Portia the port will be gone. She has served me well, allowing 10 relatively pain free chemo infusions and 17 herceptin infusions. However, she shall not be missed.

And I'll have new boobs. Everyone assures me that I will be able to continue to live brassiere free after my surgery heals, and that had better be the reality I face. I do not miss wearing bras. Not. At. All.

And if I don't like these boobs, I can always get rid of them.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Reality Bites right now

I've been really frustrated by my limitations lately.

In general, I think I look pretty good, and that's what people have been telling me. All of my doctors think I'm doing really well. I'm in better physical condition than I have been in years.

Like a lot of survivors of any sort, I think I've reprioritized a lot in my life. It's not unusual for people who have survived car accidents, severe illnesses, house fires, the death of a loved one, or any number of traumatic incidents to "reprioritze" their lives. Or at least that is what I'm claiming.

In reality, though, it's easy to alter certain aspects of my life when I can't focus on more than one thing at a time, can't remember a lot of what I "need" to do, can't keep track of time, can't stay up late, can't multi-task, can't reason clearly, can't read anything intellectually challenging....Basically when I can't be who I used to be, that makes it really easy for me to "take time" for exercise. When I'm doing that, I don't think about what else I should be doing. It's the only time I feel focused.

Indeed, it is the only time I'm focused.

I do believe the longest, most severe lingering effect of cancer treatment has been to leave me with a raging, full blown case of adult attention deficit disorder.

I might even go so far as to use the adjective "debilitating."

I'm barely holding it together teaching this semester. Not only does it take me hours to accomplish the most basic of tasks, such as preparing lessons or evaluating essays, but I frequently forget to do what needs to be done. I've missed important deadlines, for instance the deadline for submitting my Family Medical Leave paperwork for the time I'll need to take off this semester. I can barely manage to plan meals and get groceries (OK, I'm incapable of doing this and we rarely have well rounded meals). I'm always forgetting something I need to do for work, such as grade papers or upload an assignment sheet, or even develop an assignment sheet. I've had huge chunks of missing information in assignments, and I've even managed to consistently forget to assign students basic work. Um, yes. I totally omitted teaching about transitional devices to my weak, first year writers. I'll cram that in next week.

I feel like I have the attention of a gold fish. Heck, since I have HUGE memory deficits, each day is like a new trip around the fish bowl.

When I add this to my vastly decreased processing speed, I've come to realize I'm vastly different than I was before.

In the last week or so, especially as I've been getting more and more frustrated while working with students--frustrations arising because I just can't help them troubleshoot the way I used to and I find myself getting confused while working with them--I realize that I'm not coping with these new realizations very well. Partly, I'm not coping because I'm tired of struggling to cope all the damn time. It's exhausting. Partly, I'm not coping because I'm no longer eating as well as I should be, for no reason other than I've simply stopped exerting the energy needed to plan food. For the first half of the semester, I was planning my (very simple) lunches in advance. Now, I'm just not. Partly, I'm not coping because I'm just not coping. I'm tired of coping.

And I have to admit, that tube of Pringles I just ate were damn good, even though I feel like crap right now.

Perhaps, along with ADHD, a lower IQ, and mental processing deficits, I'm depressed. Probably. I'll think about that. Later. If I remember. After I remember to go to my office and pick up the 60 essays dropped off there earlier today, which I'd forgotten about until just now. At 10:20 p.m. Hopefully, I'll remember to (a) exercise tomorrow morning, (b) pick up those papers, (c) grade them, (d) and to take Tynan to a movie tomorrow. If I'm lucky, I'll remember (e) that I even wrote this entry. Seriously, that's how bad it has gotten.