Sunday, November 30, 2014

My Boob (An Epistolary Thank You)

For the last 3 weeks I was pretty sure I had breast cancer.
Let's just say that if you have a faint red mark on your boob don't Google "faint red mark on my boob" because the only thing that comes up is site after site detailing a highly aggressive (and yes--rare) disease called Inflammatory Breast Cancer. I mean, if you want to grab the URL it's totally available, is all I'm saying.

So I went to my gyno thinking that she would tell me I was being silly but instead she cocked her head and said hmm. Which everyone knows is Doctorese for You Might Be Fucked. But she gave me a 10 day course of antibiotics and said if it didn't go away with that then we would do a biopsy. So 4x a day for 10 days I took antibiotics and 104x a day for 10 days I went into the bathroom to see if it was going away. Side note to whoever walked in on me in the bathroom at work while I was looking at my boob: See? I'm not a perv. And no, my bra wasn't twisted like I said it was, we both know that.

You're never going to guess what happened next...the faint red mark did not go away after 10 days on antibiotics. So I went back to my gyno who then said hmmm. (Note the extra 'm.') She then referred me to a breast surgeon. Of course all of this happened in the stop motion time of healthcare referrals and fear.

Meanwhile, I had a fundraiser at work and another one with a bunch of friends and felt like a lying liar face who was going to have to awkwardly return all the money once I was definitively diagnosed with Inflammatory Breast Cancer and could not go to Tel Aviv after all. It was awful. I was awful. People hugged me, called me brave for my impending stem cell transplant, asked all the right questions, said all the best things and all I could think of was how to tell people I could not stop to stop my MS when I had a cancer with only a 37% survival rate. And then I would go into the bathroom to take more pictures of my boob to compare to the other 100 pictures I had taken to see if it maybe looked a little better. Or was it worse? What about when I lay down? Wear this bra? In this light? Like that.

I had the breast punch biopsy on Tuesday. Which means that my faint red mark is pretty much gone as it has been replaced by a huge nasty bruise and two stitches. And then it was Thanksgiving and I felt not so much thankful as I did fearful and made sweet potatoes after ordering 5 cute cheap beanies on ASOS because either way I figured I would lose my hair.

There's really no chase to cut to here because obviously I am ok. The breast surgeon emailed me on Saturday (bless his heart) to say that the pathology report came back negative and it was just an unexplained mild inflammation. No big deal. (His words.) So now I "just" have MS again. And I "get to" go to Tel Aviv and am "lucky" that I am in good enough health to have my immune system destroyed. And I am belatedly so very thankful for that and everything else: my family, my friends, my bruised boob that means nothing, my pink pajamas with the elephants on them, for chai tea and bell peppers, the sound of the rain as I type this. Sometimes it's hard to love life so much, to be so thankful and know how blessed I am because with that comes a constant fear that it will someday be taken away. But that is a post for another night when I am listening to The Smiths and not "Last Christmas" by Wham.

No, tonight I am thankful for my boob and for you. Because I have such an amazing community of friends--even if I don't know you know you, you are all now my true friends--because on top of everything else I have also reached my fundraising goal. And I don't have to give it back. :)

Thank you.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

In My Own Head (As If I Could Ever Be In Anyone Else's)

So this place, this blog, it's pretty much my mind. Which is why I haven't posted in awhile. I haven't really wanted to hang out with my mind much. I'd rather hang out with a book or any Real Housewife; I'd rather sleep. Truth is, I am so freaking bored of myself and my story, this stuff that's going on. I'm tired of thinking about my health, of talking about Tel Aviv, of being the topic of conversation, even when that conversation is in my head. It seems that no matter what is going on, my mind turns to, well--here, let me show you...

Pretend Conversation You: Hey, what do you think about this whole Bill Cosby thing?
Pretend Conversation Me: I don't know. Reminds me of that time I was diagnosed with MS.
Pretend Conversation You: ?

Let's try that again.

Pretend Conversation You: Did you see Piperlime is having a 25% off sale?
Pretend Conversation Me: Really? I should see if they have any cute beanies. You know. For when I go bald. From the chemo. For my stem cell transplant. You know, the one that is ONLY 45 DAYS AWAY.
It's exhausting. And boring. And that's to me, in my own mind. I can't imagine what it's like for the people around me. So I haven't really known how to blog lately, how to keep the delicate balance of honesty with entertainment, how not to lapse into the sturm und drang of a woman on the edge of something, loading up shopping carts across the www with beanies and scarves, earrings that won't make her look like a goddamn fortune teller. 

Because for the record, here's what I think of that whole Bill Cosby thing: we will never ever know the truth, but the damage has been done one way or the other anyway.What else is there to say about any of it?


Friday, November 7, 2014

The Impending

You know the quiet rage of a gap in the line? Maybe you're at Starbucks in the morning (I'm looking at you Market at 1st), or you're waiting for the bus, and the person in front of you is looking at their phone and doesn't shuffle forward. The gap, it grows. And the widening space sits on your chest, tightens your mouth until all you want to say is fuck--go! (The worst is traffic. The car in front of you just kind of stopped as if thinking about something more important than forward momentum. Do you do it? Tap your horn? Your hand itching to spit out its own manual-version of fuck--go!)

Because this is how I feel all the time lately. All the world a gap in the line, and I want to tap it on its shoulder, excuse me? Push it, really. Go! This waiting. I have my flight reservations--January 2--my hotel, though there are still a million tiny details to get done before I leave...the waiting. It's excruciating, really. The fact that it's all sitting out there just a few spots ahead. Soon it will be my turn, but for now I make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and put away the groceries, just standing here.

Meanwhile, Ozzy has decided he hates buttons. Won't wear anything with buttons which translates to an abundance of elastic waistbands and stretch, like a track suit that never sees the track. If I'm wearing buttons he recoils, then hugs me like a very uncomfortable man hugs another man. Buttons! He says the word with such derision, such absolute moral disgust that it has become my go-to swear word. Aw, buttons! My mouth full of clattering plastic and holes meant to fasten things together.
And so we wait.