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Thursday, December 9, 2010

It never leaves

My good friend, Heather, herself a cancer endurer, posted this to Facebook yesterday:
Cancer may leave your body, but it never leaves your life.
Truer words were never written. At least nothing else resonates with more truth to me right now.

If anything, I have a history of under-reacting to health issues. Yes, I am that mother. The one who made her son play soccer for several weeks with a broken ankle before I finally admitted that maybe, just maybe, he really was hurt. I'm also that mother whose kid had pneumonia, more than once, and I didn't really think he was all that sick. Earlier this fall, I broke my hand and it took me a week to even think I should have it looked at. Um, that was in September, and here we are, coming up to Christmas and I'm still dealing with the fall out from that injury.

Yet, today, less than three weeks after having my reconstruction surgery, I have a minor ache. I can't even call it a pain. It's just an ache in the area of one of my ribs, right in line with one of my incisions.

Logically, I've just done too much today. It's hard not to, since I have no real nerve endings with which to feel pain in the area of my surgery. When I had my c-section 18 years ago, I wasn't to pick up anything that weighed more than eight pounds other than my baby. And when I did, I felt it. I felt an uncomfortable tugging in my incision. After my mastectomy, I wasn't supposed to life anything heavier than a can of pop (my surgeon's words), and for weeks, I felt it if I did too much. There was that uncomfortable tugging, sometimes painful, but a reminder nonetheless.

However, with this surgery, there really hasn't been much pain. My skin is pretty numb from having nerves cut and removed with tissue during the mastectomy. I can hold an ice cube, for instance, one my chest and not feel the cold. So, when I over do it, I don't feel my incisions. I have one tiny area, maybe about 1/8 of an inch long at the very end of one incision that seems to have some nerve endings. The other day, I thought maybe I'd hurt myself or it was infected or something, until I realized that my incision should feel a little tender when I rub it with my finger.

I'm still sleeping on the couch to prevent myself from sleeping on my stomach. I don't know why. It just seems like I probably shouldn't do that.

I have this irrational--or not--fear that I'll do something...rip my internal stitches I guess, and my implants will migrate to someplace I'd rather not have them, like my abdominal cavity. The internet is not always a good thing, you know? I read about something similar...an implant falling...here. Of course, now I'm convinced that something similar will happen to me if I sleep on my side or my stomach or lift too much or or or or or...

Technically, I'm in the middle of my recovery period, and I have this ache. It's a tiny ache. I'm guessing it's from the bra I'm wearing today. Or that I lifted, pulled, pushed or otherwise over extended myself today or yesterday. I've been dealing with student portfolios, and no matter how much I try, I'm sure I'm lifting too much, even though I dragged my one son out of bed to help me get them to school the other day and had students carry them around campus for me. I cooked today for the first time since surgery. In an effort to spread out the work for some cooking projects I need to have done by Friday, I thought I'd break it up over the course of a few days, but I did get a little carried away today.

So, there is ample reason for a little ache. Here's how little the ache is. I don't feel it at all this instant. My injured hand hurts more while I type.

So, why am I convinced I have bone cancer?

Yeh, right, because the whole cancer thing never leaves, even if the cancer itself does.

Not too long ago, I did a 13 mile run. I had a weird pain in the front of my one ankle after that. I still feel it, but it's not a big deal. And then there's my broken hand. And now this rib thing. This past spring, when I first started running, my hip hurt. I've been x-rayed, probed, palpated...I'm nearly 50 years old. I've spent the last decade or more mostly sitting on my butt doing nothing very active. My body was assaulted with chemo and radiation. And there is no reason to expect that I won't have some aches and pains. The break in my hand wasn't even serious...just a small fracture. My entire weight fell on it. If something were seriously wrong, the break would have been worse (Yes, I've asked every doctor I've seen).

Yet, I'm convinced that I have bone cancer.

I could get a bone scan. But somehow the idea of radioactive stuff injected into my body, especially after all the radiation I've already received this year, freaks me out even more.

Have I mentioned that I freak out about leukemia, too? Yeh, every bruise makes me think I have leukemia.

And then there are the dreams about radiation poisoning...dreams where my hair and teeth fall out.

Yeh, it never leaves even when it is gone.

Stupid Cancer.

1 comment:

lizo said...

I would like to repeat that.

Stupid Cancer.