Cancer……….Don’t Ignore the Signs………

You cannot know how strongly I recommend how every single person needs to know the signs of breast cancer……or any cancer for that matter.  For today, I’ll post about the early warnings of breast cancer for women AND men.

This will be a combination of my observations and the signs from the National Breast Cancer Foundation which is where I borrowed this from.

A change in how the breast or nipple feels

(or doesn’t feel.  If you lose sensation in the nipple get it checked out immediately)

  • Nipple tenderness or a lump or thickening in or near the breast or underarm area
  • A change in the skin texture or an enlargement of pores in the skin of the breast  (some describe this as similar to an orange peel’s texture)
  • A lump in the breast (It’s important to remember that all lumps should be investigated by a healthcare professional, but not all lumps are cancerous.)

I have (had) fibrocystic breast disease in both breasts as well as dense breast tissue.  Because of this, I had to have yearly mammograms.  And it’s a good thing because it found the ductal carcinoma in situ in one of my milk ducts.

breast cancer early detection signs and symptoms feels

A change in the breast or nipple appearance

  • Any unexplained change in the size or shape of the breast
  • Dimpling anywhere on the breast
  • Unexplained swelling of the breast (especially if on one side only)
  • Unexplained shrinkage of the breast (especially if on one side only)
  • Recent asymmetry of the breasts (Although it is common for women to have one breast that is slightly larger than the other, if the onset of asymmetry is recent, it should be checked.)
  • Nipple that is turned slightly inward or inverted
  • Skin of the breast, areola, or nipple that becomes scaly, red, or swollen or may have ridges or pitting resembling the skin of an orange

The inverted nipple was my primary worry.  Then, I woke up with blood on my sheets and dried blood on my nipple 3 days in a row. THAT was my wake-up call.  I called my family doctor immediately and she scheduled not only a mammogram, but a needle biopsy, as well.  At the time, I didn’t realize that it was my left breast.  I thought it was the right.  The radiologist, an old family friend, who did the procedure biopsied not only the right one but took samples from the left as well.  He was instrumental in getting the problem brought to the forefront.

After that there were ultra sounds of the breasts which showed more detail and I also had an MRI of both breasts.  Don’t hesitate because of fear or pain.  It’s your life that matters not your boobs!

breast cancer early detection signs and symptoms appearance

Any nipple discharge—particularly clear discharge or bloody discharge

It is also important to note that a milky discharge that is present when a woman is not breastfeeding should be checked by her doctor, although it is not linked with breast cancer.

Yep.  Bloody is REALLY bad.  Do Not Wait.  Go to the doctor immediately.  NO SYMPTOMS DOESN’T MEAN YOU DON’T HAVE CANCER.  CANCER IS A SNEAKY BASTARD AND MOST TIMES THERE IS NO PAIN.

breast cancer early detection signs and symptoms discharge

Questions

If I have some symptoms, is it likely to be cancer?
Most often, these symptoms are not due to cancer, but any breast cancer symptom you notice should be investigated as soon as it is discovered. If you have any of these symptoms, you should tell your healthcare provider so that the problem can be diagnosed and treated.

If I have no symptoms, should I assume I do not have cancer?
Although there’s no need to worry, regular screenings are always important.  Your doctor can check for breast cancer before you have any noticeable symptoms. During your office visit, your doctor will ask about your personal and family medical history and perform a physical examination. In addition, your doctor may order one or more imaging tests, such as a mammogram.

Nipple tenderness or a lump or thickening in or near the breast or underarm area
A change in the skin texture or an enlargement of pores in the skin of the breast (some describe this as similar to an orange peel’s texture)
A lump in the breast (It’s important to remember that all lumps should be investigated by a healthcare professional, but not all lumps are cancerous.)

breast cancer early detection signs and symptoms feels
A change in the breast or nipple appearance

Any unexplained change in the size or shape of the breast
Dimpling anywhere on the breast
Unexplained swelling of the breast (especially if on one side only)
Unexplained shrinkage of the breast (especially if on one side only)
Recent asymmetry of the breasts (Although it is common for women to have one breast that is slightly larger than the other, if the onset of asymmetry is recent, it should be checked.)
Nipple that is turned slightly inward or inverted
Skin of the breast, areola, or nipple that becomes scaly, red, or swollen or may have ridges or pitting resembling the skin of an orange

breast cancer early detection signs and symptoms appearance
Any nipple discharge—particularly clear discharge or bloody discharge

It is also important to note that a milky discharge that is present when a woman is not breastfeeding should be checked by her doctor, although it is not linked with breast cancer.
breast cancer early detection signs and symptoms discharge
Questions

If I have some symptoms, is it likely to be cancer?
Most often, these symptoms are not due to cancer, but any breast cancer symptom you notice should be investigated as soon as it is discovered. If you have any of these symptoms, you should tell your healthcare provider so that the problem can be diagnosed and treated.

If I have no symptoms, should I assume I do not have cancer?
Although there’s no need to worry, regular screenings are always important. Your doctor can check for breast cancer before you have any noticeable symptoms. During your office visit, your doctor will ask about your personal and family medical history and perform a physical examination. In addition, your doctor may order one or more imaging tests, such as a mammogram.

Do NOT assume you don’t have cancer.  As stated earlier, CANCER IS A SNEAKY BASTARD AND DOESN’T ALWAYS CAUSE PAIN.  YOU CAN HAVE CANCER AND NOT KNOW IT.  I had no pain in my breast that had cancer.  The best thing to do is get regular checkups, breast mammograms, do your self exams and try to catch it early.  LISTEN TO YOUR BODY.  IT WILL TELL YOU SOMETHING IS WRONG.

I caught mine early because I knew the signs and let the doctors do their job.  Not one of them hesitated.  They sent me straight to a surgeon who didn’t wait for any grass to grow and it’s been a whirlwind every since.  In less than 7 months I have gone from diagnosis to mastectomy to chemo.

Don’t be afraid.  Be a fighter.   KNOW THE SIGNS AND STAY ALIVE.

 

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Cancer…….The Second Chemo Treatment……..

It’s been exactly one week since my second chemo treatment.

The exhaustion came on a lot faster this time.  I got one good day instead of 2.

The second week of the first chemo I lost most of my hair.  That was frightening.  Pulling out hanks of hair when I brushed my hair out of my face or ran my hand through my hair and came away with 60 or more attached to my fingers is enough to unsettle anyone.  Within 6 days, I lost 90% of the hair on my head.

The nurses and doctors were totally surprised when they saw me.  They were unbelieving that my hair went in the first treatment and so much was gone.

And me, being the odd duck that I am, saved all the hair in a baggie.  Well, at least as much as I could.  It falls out when I’m walking, sleeping, or just brushing what’s left on my head.  It’s weird seeing my scalp through what’s left of my hair.

The “tired” is worse.  The lack of motivation is worse.  I shake a lot and I’m still in a fog.  I can truthfully say I DESPISE chemo brain.  I’m not too fond of the exhaustion either.

The exhaustion has gotten worse.  I walk 10 feet and feel like I’ve walked 10 miles.  It’s just tiring.  The heart doctor I saw this week….did I forget to mention that the poison I’m on (i.e. chemotherapy) would do a bad number on my heart?…..anyway, he wants me to walk a half an hour a day.  It was all I could do not to laugh in his face.  I barely made it from the car to the inside of the hospital for the monthly echo let along walk a half an hour a day.

I understand the reasoning.  I understand the principle.  But I just can’t do it right now.  And, having a chemo patient in his care, he should know this.

Through all of this, and what’s coming,I know that, in the long run, I will come out of this healthy and better for it.

I’ll start walking then.

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Cancer…….the First Chemo Treatment

March 31,2017……….

I have to say that I have the best kids and friends. As a support group, I couldn’t ask for any better group of people.

Tuesday I had my first chemotherapy treatment.  I needed some mild sedation because I am absolutely petrified of needles.  The fact that they’re putting one in my forearm just makes it even creepier.  4 different bags of fluid.  Two are the poisons they’re going to use to get rid of any stray cancer cells.  One is a steroid and I’ve forgotten what the other one is.

They call it “chemo brain” and the infamous “they” aren’t kidding.  You have trouble thinking, trouble remembering simple things.  It’s like living in a fog bank.

So, I get chemo done every 3 weeks for the next 2 months and believe me when I say I am NOT looking forward to it.

The first day after the chemo I felt fine. Even the second day wasn’t too bad. Third day, however, is another story.

Day 3 has been strange. I have no energy, no motivation, I feel like I could sleep standing up after sleeping 10 hours last night.

And it’s continued for 3 weeks.  I’m constantly tired.  No motivation.  When I do something I need to sit down and rest for an hour afterwards.

I know it will be over at the end of May but that’s a long, long time to be out of it.

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Breast Cancer…….Filling Out the Boob

It’s a slow, slow process, filling out the boob.

Now, keep in mind that what’s left is pretty much a double flap of boob skin  left( with a scar up the middle holding it together) after the doctor took out the muscle, fat, milk glands and, of course, the cancer.

A short recap…….Into the middle, and underneath the muscle of where my left boob used to be, a tissue expander is quietly (and painfully) waiting for something to fill it up.  Eventually it will equal the other boob in size and relative shape.  In the meantime, muscle relaxers keep the pain down and help the muscle to adjust to growing a little bigger.

This is the second time the doctor has done this.

At each visit, the first thing the doctor does is use a magnet to find the hole  in the expander where the needle can go in.  It’s a fairly simple procedure; place magnet on skin and move it around until you find the metal.

Talk about a very weird feeling!  Even without nerve endings, you can still feel “something” happening.

With the push of a button on the top of the magnet,  it leaves an “X” on the skin where the its found the permeable hole.

The next step is cleaning the skin with a sterile solution that turns the skin yellow.  You can’t feel it because you have no nerves left in your boob, and that’s just bizarre all by itself.

He, then, inserts the needle into the middle of the “X” and begins injecting the solution into the expander.  It’s a relatively slow process but, when it’s done, you can see the difference in the way the skin looks.  It’s closer to looking like a real boob instead of being flat and lumpy.

It’s 100 cc’s per weekly visit and I have roughly 4 more weekly fill ups to go……providing I don’t need extensive chemo or radiation.  That little detail  will be decided on Tuesday by the oncologist and it will mandate if the fill ups take longer or can be kept to the same schedule.

It’s a pretty painless procedure, when you get right down to it.  It takes about 20 minutes from start to finish and that includes undressing for the fill up and dressing to go home.

With a little luck, and a good plastic surgeon like the one I have, I’ll go through the next surgery to reconstruct the breast sometime in the middle to late summer. And, in the end, I’ll have a new boob and my sweaters won’t look strange any more.

 

 

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The Art of Fascism……

FASCISM:
 NOUN
  1. an authoritarian and nationalistic right-wing system of government and social organization.
    • (in general use) extreme right-wing, authoritarian, or intolerant views or practice.
PROPAGANDA:

NOUN

  1. derogatory information, especially of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote or publicize a particular political cause or point of view:
    “he was charged with distributing enemy propaganda”

    synonyms: information · promotion · advertising · publicity · spin ·

    disinformation · counter-information · agitprop · info · hype · plugging · puff piece · the big lie
    • the dissemination of propaganda as a political strategy:
      “the party’s leaders believed that a long period of education and propaganda would be necessary”
Powered by Oxford Dictionaries · © Oxford University Press · Translation by Bing Translator

Now that we have the definitions out of the way, we can look at how fascism and propaganda work together and who has used it for personal gain while letting a nation suffer.

Since the race for president began, well over 2 years ago, we have been subjected to quite a bit of propaganda and jingoism designed to inflame and misinform the masses.

I can hear you yelling “No we haven’t!” from here.

Yes, you have.

You have listened while one man fed into people’s fears, insecurities and hate the same way Hitler fed fear to Germany after WWI and during WWII.  Propaganda 101…you need a scapegoat to center people’s hate and fear on.

For months you heard trump demonize Muslims.   You heard him spew his hate about them.  He told you that you had to fear them because they were coming to destroy us.  That they were already here raping, bombing and robbing.

He upped the ante when he brought Mexicans into the mix.  We were told to hate them too.  We had to fear them because they were going to kill people, rape women and children, steal everything from our jobs to the things we owned as well as bring in drugs and countless diseases.  He called them “thieves and rapists”.

Now, we have two groups of people, both brown skinned, that trump is vilifying.  Still, propaganda 101, the turning of one group of people into a collective group of Satans.

Next, we have the media asking questions and doing what the media generally does these days; reports opinion instead of facts.

This time, they took it a few steps further and covered trump to the virtual exclusion of every other candidate.  In turn, he vilified them, too.  Calling on his “people” to teach them a lesson.  Reporters had to be walked to their cars by the Secret Service to keep them from getting killed at rallies.

Now, trump just screams “FAKE NEWS”.

Propaganda 101, lesson 2.

Denigrate the media.

Repeatedly tell people that everything the media tells you is a lie.  Tell the public that YOU are the only one who has the truth and the facts they need.  Deny every single truth the media puts out as fake news.  Promote distrust in all news organizations but the ones you control.

Then…….silence the media or force them to turn into shills for the government, printing only what the government tells you can say or print or discuss.

Image result for holocaust museum photo of fascism sign

As you can see by the chart above, ( borrowed from the National Holocaust Museum) the current administration, (and by administration I mean the GOP Congress and GOP president) is currently enacting every single thing on the list.

Lets do it in order…..

Nationalism…….”Make America Great Again”.  This is a blatant form of nationalism designed to make people feel that theirs is the only country that matters and that other countries are inferior.  This was a ploy Hitler used to unite the German people before he started WWII.

Disdain for human life….. The current attitude that all refugees are terrorists fits in the niche.  Trumps recent, Constitutionally illegal ban on immigrants, proves that he has little regard for human lives or human rights.  His  order to ICE to pick up people who have lived here 20, 30 years or more, are not criminals, have never been arrested but MUST be deported disregards families, human rights, and empathy for the individuals.

And let’s not forget healthcare insurance.  By wanting to repeal the Affordable Care Act, the GOP is proving that they don’t care about people, only themselves.  By repealing the ACA they are effectively killing people.  They have no workable replacement, nothing viable.  Nothing that will insure that people with pre-existing conditions will be able to have affordable healthcare.

We’ve already done the third one….scapegoats.  Muslims, Mexicans, the press.

Military supremacy…..it was announced that the military wants to add 6-7,000 new recruits.  This smacks of a prelude to war and what Hitler did with his conscription before he invaded Poland.

The president vilifies the military one moment and, the next, he praises them.

Now, he wants to have 100,000 National Guardsmen start rounding up “illegal immigrants”.  Hitler’s brown shirts were there for the same purpose….rounding up Jews.

Rampant sexism….. blatantly obvious by trumps disrespect for women, his vulgarity about women and his overt misogyny.   The GOP Congress is much the same with their misguided belief that women cannot be trusted to take care of their own health concerns.  Which is absolute rubbish.  That if women use birth control they must be sluts and whores.  More rubbish.

Right now, there is a politician who thinks women are merely “hosts” for babies.  In Oklahoma, women must now get PERMISSION from the father before having an abortion. While, in Arizona a politician calls for women on Medicaid to be sterilized.

This is blatant misogyny.

Obsession with national security…… the immigration ban is the prime example.  Trumps own words condemn him.  He believes that every single immigrant, even those who are legitimately here and have been vetted, is a terrorist out to destroy this country.

Religion in government…..One of the thinks the GOP is trying to insert into the American government is religion.  They’re making laws to  give churches the right to become political action committees which, under current Federal law, is illegal.  It violates the concept of separation of church and state handed down by the Founding Fathers.  It also violates churches being charities and being listed as 501(c)3, charitable organizations that don’t pay taxes.

Corporate Power is protected……Goldman Sachs and Wall Street are now represented on the Cabinet.  Executive orders signed to take away the restrictions on banks and Wall Street that keep the consumer from getting robbed.

Labor power is suppressed…..Right to work is the first thing I think of.  Right to work has been passed in half a dozen states, mostly Southern.  So far, all it seems to do is cut people’s paychecks and have people work longer hours for less money.

Disdain for intellectuals and the arts…..This is one of the first things that seems to happen.  Denigrating education and cutting funding for the arts.  Putting a known education bigot in charge of the Education Dept. is tantamount to letting our children remain uneducated and, therefore making them easier to control as adults.

Also, cutting funding for the National Endowment for the Arts.  These are the first things Hitler cut out as well. He denigrated intellectuals, burned books, and had professors and other educators arrested and many were killed.

Lying about facts goes hand in had with this.  Disdain for facts and the truth, making up lies and trying to pass them off as truth.  All of this is anti-intellectualism.

Obsession with crime & punishment….One word, Chicago.  Trump wanting to send in Federal troops to quell the ‘bad guys” and to take over the job of the police whether the chief of the Chicago police department wants it or not.  Trump has lied about the statistics in front of a whole cadre of policemen from across the country. When corrected, he flew into a rage and kept repeating the wrong statistics about crime in Chicago.

Cronyism and corruption….. Again, one word, Cabinet.  His entire cabinet is full of people who bought their way in by donating to trumps and the GOP Congress’ coffers.  These people are billionaires with no practical experience in any of the positions they’ve been put in.

Fraudulent Elections….. There is absolutely NO EVIDENCE of voter fraud but trump has been screaming about it for 18 months.  He thinks if he says it enough it will become fact.  It won’t.

No, the lies that are being promoted by the new administration are just that.  Overt, outright lies.

Whenever one of 45’s people makes a statement, I double check it with sites that are verifiable and honest.  I fact check it with reputable fact checking sites.

I suggest you do the same.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Breast Cancer……. The Drain

Yesterday was interesting. I was able to have the drain taken out.  After 3 weeks and one day of having the thing snaking around my non-existent boob and having it run out my side and into a container, I can honestly say I was ecstatic to get this drain hose out of me.

My daughter, who is a nurse, had never seen a mastectomy drain taken out.  She was thrilled to watch how it was removed and the way you could see it under my skin. She was fascinated.

Personally, I was glad I couldn’t feel it.

Damn things was at least 2 feet long and was coiled around and under the breast expander.  It ran under my arm and out my side into a plastic oval ball that had to be measured and emptied several times a day.

The relief of getting it out lasted for about a minute.

Then came the insertion of 100 cc’s of fluid into the expander.  I was pretty grateful that I no longer have nerves left in the skin of my non-existent breast. I despise needles and couldn’t even look.   However, my daughter was fascinated…….again.

He used a magnet to find the spot where he could inject the fluid.  Evidently, the expander has a metal ring to show you where the injection site is.  It was over pretty quickly and I never felt the needle.  I could feel the fluid expanding it since the expander is under the muscle. Then, the nurse I bandaged me up and sent on us on our way.

In the car on the drive home, I felt pain in my side where I’m swollen from the lymph nodes being removed, and under my left shoulder blade (for some bizarre reason it hurts there).  When I got out of the car it felt like my side and back had exploded.

So me, being me, wanted to know what the hell was going on.

My shirt was soaking wet on the left side where the “hole” was.  Evidently, the hole kept leaking fluid all the way home because the bandage was soaked through and the bandage wasn’t quite in the right place.  I took the shirt off, ripped off the bandage, folded up some gauze and placed it over the hole and taped up the hole.

It was soaked in about 4 hours.

This morning, the fourth gauze bandage was soaked.  We shall see how long this lasts.

 

 

 

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Breast Cancer…….After the Mastectomy

It’s been two weeks since the mastectomy of my left breast. I still have the drains in and I’m sore and swollen with an occasional sharp pain. However, the incisions look clean and healthy…..as if being sewn back together like a patchwork quilt could ever look good.

The surgery was called a skin-saving mastectomy.  The first surgeon takes out all the insides of the breast and 3 lymph nodes.  The lymph nodes get tested immediately and, if cancer is found in all 3 the rest are removed.

Image result for photo of internal structure of female breast

Then, the plastic surgeon comes in and does his thing.  He lifts the muscle and puts in a spreader to maintain the shape of the breast.  It’s filled with a saline solution and will be filled weekly or bi-weekly with 100 cc’s of fluid until it matches my other breast.

Then the fun begins.   I go under the knife again and they remove the spreader and insert the belly fat into the empty space.

At the moment, I can’t push, pull, or life anything over 10 pounds.  I can’t drive thanks to the medication and there are exercises to keep me from stiffening up.

I learned yesterday, that they found a cancer cell in the first of the 3 lymph nodes they yanked out.  I guess that was to be expected.  Translated, it means I will have to undergo chemotherapy for God knows how long and probably be on tamoxifin, or something similar, for at least a year, maybe longer.  I’ll be talking to the oncologist next week.

But, right now, I need to concentrate on healing.  It will be a few months, and 5 injections into the spreader, before they can do the surgery to rebuild lefty with the fat from my belly.  In all, I get a boob job and a tummy tuck.  Not bad for an old broad.

But that’s for another day.

I refuse to worry about what coming.  The worst is past. The cancer has been removed and I am the luckiest person on the planet.

 

 

 

 

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She Persisted……..

I found this by accident.  When I read it, I was stunned at the accuracy and poignancy of it.  Some of this I have personally experienced, but not nearly as much as my mother, grandmothers, great-grandmothers, and further back, did.

To them, I thank you for fighting for me and women everywhere.

Borrowed from Laurence Lewis and the Daily Kos.

NEVERTHELESS, SHE PERSISTED

The Founding Fathers excluded her. “We the people” was a club for men. They said all men were created equal, but they clearly believed she was not. For more than a century, she wasn’t even allowed to vote.

She was denied an equal education and economic opportunity. If privileged, she was yet held in servitude. If enslaved, she was doubly horrifically abused.

In all walks of life, she was raped and beaten, and usually had no means of escape.

She was denied even the most personal choices.

Her work wasn’t even called work.

Every structural and institutional barrier was aligned against her, was constructed to stifle her, to deny her, to suppress her—and if necessary, to crush her.

She could have given up. She could have succumbed. She could have accepted that this was how the world worked, that this was how it always had worked.

Nevertheless, she persisted.

She pursued every possible means of emancipation and empowerment. She risked her life for others, and she risked it for her very existence.

She was raped.

She was beaten.

She was murdered.

She was told that she hadn’t been raped.

She was told to be silent or she would be beaten.

She was told to take it, all of it, or she would be murdered.

Nevertheless, she persisted.

Even when she finally began to crack open doors, she risked being raped, beaten, or murdered.

At school.

At work.

At leisure.

At home.

In spaces public and private.

By strangers, acquaintances, friends, family, and husbands.

She had to fight structural and institutional barriers, and she had to face the risks of rape, beating, and murder, and that was just to get to and stay on a field of competition where she had not been welcomed, and which was deliberately tilted against her.

Nevertheless, she persisted.

Her strength threatened the weak.

Her inspiration was derided or ignored.

Her artistry was trivialized.

Her genius was belittled.

Her achievements were credited to others.

She was treated as a child.

She was told she was wasting her time.

She was told she was wasting the time of others.

She was told that she didn’t belong.

Nevertheless, she persisted.

She worked twice as hard to make half as much.

She was passed over for promotions that went to people half as qualified.

She was patronized and told what she had earned had been but given to her.

She was told her place was in the kitchen and bedroom.

She was demonized for having ambition.

She was scorned for daring to be smart and tenacious.

She was criticized for having compassion.

Nevertheless, she persisted.

She was told to be sexy, then was called a slut.

She was told to be strong, then was called a bitch.

She was told to be independent, then was told she wasn’t a team player.

She was made to bear the burden not only of her own personal choices, but of men’s, also.

She was told even her own body wasn’t her own.

Her agency, her individualism, her very being made men bristle in anger and tremble in fear.

Nevertheless, she persisted.

She rescued explorers whose names became household words.

She was born enslaved, and helped the enslaved find freedom.

She crawled through the carnage of war, to comfort and heal men suffering from their own monstrosities.

She was kicked to the ground for demanding to be heard.

She was jailed for sitting down.

She led historic movements that made others legends.

She was shot in the head and survived to lead the fight to prevent others from being shot.

She did every little thing, every single day, without thought of recognition or appreciation, because it needed to be done.

She stood up for strangers even when they didn’t stand up for her.

Nevertheless, she persisted.

She gave birth to every one of us.

She was told she was incomplete if she never gave birth.

She was defined by her anatomy.

She was condescended to and derided and insulted and invalidated in so many ways, so many times, that she could have taken it for granted.

She learned to see it in how she was seen.

She learned to see it in how she wasn’t seen.

The history she made was omitted from the history books.

Nevertheless, she persisted.

She never gave up.

She never stopped caring.

She never stopped thinking.

She never stopped learning.

She never stopped loving.

She never stopped demanding what was right, for others and for herself.

In the face of historic disaster, in the face of crushing despair, she rose up and led millions to rise beside her.

She gave people hope.

She never stopped striving to make this a better world for everyone.

And it will be, because of her.

She was warned.

She was given an explanation.

Nevertheless, she persisted.

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Breast Cancer…….Mastectomy…….

(For those who don’t know this, this is my second blog post about having breast cancer.  Luckily, it was found early and my doctors moved quickly.)

 

I am one drugged up human being and have been for the last 6 days.

I got the call Tuesday afternoon, the 24th, that I had to be at the hospital  by 6 a.m. the next day.  Ok, now plans can be put into play.  So, we (my daughter and I) get up at 3:30 for the hour and 10 minute ride in crappy weather with people going to work who have forgotten how to drive in snowy rain.

Check in.  Get in to the surgical area, get naked, get gowned, get the IV,  talk to the doctor, the anesthesiologist, nurses, more nurses and get prepped, and that’s all I remember.  Lol  LOVE good drugs.

I barely remember Wednesday, but I do remember hurting like crazy when I woke up and just wanting to sleep it all off.

Almost forgot…. This surgery had gone from being a double mastectomy to a single on the left side but it was still terrifying to know that, when you wake up, you’re going to be hurting almost as badly as you do during labor.  The reason for this is that they found no cancer in the right one and why do a double if it’s unnecessary at the moment.  Looking back on it now, I don’t think I could have handled a double from the pain standpoint.

The cut  on lefty was done in an upside down T-shape and 2 lymph nodes were taken out and tested for cancer during surgery.  They use a blue dye that shows any abnormal cells as soon as they remove the nodes and put them in the solution.  Both lymph nodes were clean, showing zero signs of cancer.

Now, I wait on the final results, the information from the geneticist to tell me how it happened since there is zero history of breast cancer in my family, and how, and when, lefty gets rebuilt.

Until then, I’m doing a whole bunch of nothing except arm and shoulder exercises, sleeping, eating, blogging, playing games and waiting for the expander to do its thing each week.

Yes, I said expander.  This isn’t over yet, folks!

While I was under, and after the breast tissue was removed, the plastic surgeon (you got it, cancer surgeon AND plastic surgeon whooohooo!) placed an expander under the muscle of my chest where lefty had been. He put 100 cc’s of whatever liquid he’s going to inflate me with inside the expander.  Then, he sewed me up and sent me to recovery.

Each week, or maybe every other, I’ll be visiting the doctor to have 100 cc’s of fluid inserted into the expander.  When it reaches the same volume as my right breast, and my body adjusts to the size, THEN we have the final surgery to rebuild lefty with fatty tissue taken from my stomach to fill up the void.  He will make both breasts even so one doesn’t look massively different from the other and they’re at the same level.

Boob job AND a flatter stomach!  What’s not to like, right?  I’ll let you know how painful it is!

You’re probably thinking “WTF”?  Why go through all of that just to fill up a bra cup?

Truthfully, I have no clue.  One doctor goes on about body image, another doctor talked about the psychological effects of mastectomy, one kid says it won’t be you without it, the other kid says do what you want but it won’t feel the same for you.  Another doctor stressed the cost of the bra that would have to be made to order since I’ll be lopsided.   I’ve read hundreds of opinions on whether or not to reconstruct.  HUNDREDS.

Me?  I couldn’t care less.  My self esteem doesn’t rest in my boobs.  It never  has.  Yeah, it’s nice how they hold up a sweater, big deal.  They were useful when I was breastfeeding  but I’m long past that now.

Psychologically, they’re breasts.  Everyone has them in some size or other and it’s pretty much a useless pair of fatty tissue sticking out of your chest after a certain age.   Do I really need a matched pair for my ego?  No. No, I don’t.

BUT……..The real reason to get reconstruction is, the kids asked me to do it.  I couldn’t care less but, when you love people, you take into account their feelings and do things you may think are unnecessary.

When push comes to shove, you have to take care of yourself.

Do in-depth research on the type of cancer you have.  Read about it.  Ask questions.  Let friends and family rally around you to help.   Find a doctor (or doctors) who treats you like a real person and not a disease.  Be an integral part of the process, not just the person who goes under the knife and is terrified.

Knowledge is power.  The more you know, the less frightened you will be.  Trust me on this.  Research and knowledge are your best friends.  So are questions.  Ask them.  There is no such thing as a stupid question when it’s YOUR life hanging in the balance.

What every single person facing breast cancer should know is that breasts are NOT you.  They don’t think for you, they don’t act for you, the don’t make you who you are.  You don’t need them.  They’re like your appendix.  It’s just there until it decides to revolt and cause you a lot of pain.  But it does not have a single thing to do with  the person you are.  Please remember that.

Your boobs aren’t you.

 

 

 

 

Posted in Current Events, My Little Soapbox, Philosophy 101, Science, Women's Issues | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

First They Came……..Pastor Martin Niemoller

“First they came for the Communists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Communist
Then they came for the Socialists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Socialist
Then they came for the trade unionists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a trade unionist
Then they came for the Jews
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Jew
Then they came for me
And there was no one left
To speak out for me.”

 http://hmd.org.uk/resources/poetry/first-they-came-pastor-martin-niemoller#sthash.NISff7NI.dpufFirst

Posted in Current Events, Fear and Loathing, Freedom, Not So Current Events, Philosophy 101, Politics 101, Quotes | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment