A simple question

It is once again October and the Pink is flying.  Breast cancer awareness visually pushed into the forefront for all.  Put aside the millions being made by the CEO’s running the charities or those behind the merchandising of all of the apparel and take it for what it should be, a moment to step back and recognize that awareness, testing and early detection really does save lives.  So instead of a long-winded post rehashing my own story or one looking at so many strong women who have fought or are currently fighting this awful disease, I ask a simple question, when is the last time you had your mammogram?

If you would like to buy a pretty pink sweatshirt, pen, baseball bat or energy drink with the special label go right ahead but I ask you to go one step further.  If you yourself are due to see your doctor and have your scans get off your butt and make the call and schedule your appointment.  Today and all month-long as you interact with those women closest to you, remind them to do the same.


Clouds are clearing the sky is bright

my-cosmic-valentine-a-very-special-dayToday is a very special day for me.  The sun is shinning, the sky is blue and the temperatures are low, the makings of a wonderful day.  I got up early showered and did the normal morning routine.  Next I prepared for yet another doctors appointment this time a follow-up to the endometrial ablation done July 19th.  This may not sound very special but indeed the day truly is.  Why you may ask?

SmileThe appointment went well, things seem to have gone well and all pathology benign thankfully.  Good news for anyone leaving a doctor’s office but for me much more.  See, for the first time in over 2 years I do not have the next surgery plans in the making.  I do not even have a doctor’s appointment scheduled.  I almost feel as if I am forgetting something since I have nothing to schedule or follow-up on. My life and my check book have been consumed for so long and now a breath of fresh air.  Not so fresh for the check book yet as there are still outstanding bills but we are close.

When I say consumed I thought maybe a quick recap was in order:

June 2011 Needle guided ultrasound biopsy leads to full surgical biopsy due to abnormal results.  More abnormal results found leading to the rest of the year spent with oncologists, genetic specialists, mammograms and breast MRI’s until decision finally made.

July 2, 2012 bilateral prophylactic mastectomy and DIEP flap reconstruction.

August 2012 Breast revision surgery

November 2012 Further reconstruction and revision.  Also in November the ever interesting colonoscopy and the memorable first pelvic ultrasound.

January and March 2013 further pelvic ultrasounds leading to the ablation in July.

Doctors appointments, follow-up appointments, blood work, scans tests and calls. In between it all worry, pain, tears, looks of pity from others and stress on the family. This has been my life for more than two years. I will be honest, today I have felt a little out of sorts.  I can not explain why.  It is almost like the medical issues have “defined” me for much of the recent past.  Maybe I am a bit reserved afraid that if I get too happy about it something bad will happen.  I am sure it will pass…as the reality sets in, doctor free.  I look forward to the future, with nothing planned except maybe a Disney trip!

Normal? maybe I am a wimp.

I am home and sitting for the most part comfortably.  I use the term loosely and for the first time today.  I consider myself to be pretty tough with a high pain threshold.  Child birth, a c-section, multiple surgical biopsies and the massive bilateral prophylactic mastectomy and DIEP flap all added to my ability to handle more than my fair share of pain.

Why do I list this?  Well everyone heading into today gave great feedback on the procedure.  I actually know many people who themselves have had it done and the universal feeling is a wonderful long-term result and most agree that there was minimal pain involved.  As I went into the surgical center today I went in very calm and felt confident about the next few days.  Then an interesting thing happened.  My doctor came in and talked about any pain over the next few days will be nothing more than that of “normal menstrual cramps”.  After the first breast revision surgery last summer, my surgeon at the time talked in a similar way about how pain-free things would be.  I remember the awful throbbing and sever pain.  After calling his office for stronger pain meds I remember him saying that yes it had been a big surgery.

When my doc today sounded the same, I decided to be a bit more proactive and asked if I would be sent home with any pain meds.  She seemed totally taken back and informed me that she did not even have her script pad.  I quickly looked at my husband who went to the internet on his phone to find a phone number to the drug store for something to be called in.  I told her that I would rather have something and not need it than have to hunt her down over the weekend.

This brings us to the point…THANK GOD I DID!  At the hospital they talked about the fact that I have a retroverted uterus and the extremely thick lining which to me was like whatever…what it meant was the most intense cramps I have ever had!  After some Tylenol with codeine and perception Motrin I have finally reached a point of calm.  All I have to say to the doctor is normal cramps my ass and thank-you for bowing to my request for meds!