Sunday, August 21, 2016
Tuesday, December 8, 2015
Saturday, August 10, 2013
Monday, June 24, 2013
The last surgery was on June 14. My surgeon swapped out the tissue expanders for Silcone Memory gel shaped implants. They're supposed to be more natural looking then other options. They've been in the US for a year and Europe for about 10. i chose those ones over the saline becayse they look way more natural. It's not the same as just getting a normal boob job. You have nearly zero tissue left there so all you see is the implant. Saline are very rippled and so are some silicone ones. Memory gel are better and this textured, memory gel silicone memory gel shaped ones are the best out now. I hope when I get them replaced in 10-15 years, they have even better ones. My doctor went for an oval shape with medium projection. They're not the real thing, but hey they're pretty awesome and way better than nothing. I had one fake boob for awhile and nothing on the other side. I've practically had it all- none, itty bitty, large, extra large... Now I have a perfect set of Tatas with clothes on anyway.
Healing went well. He used vertical incisions, which kind of threw me for a loop, especially since he cut into my tattoos. I was pretty keen on NOT cutting into them and saving what I had there to feel pretty since my nipples are gone. We briefly discussed some nipple reconstruction details, but I'd have to get more surgeries and tattoo removal since he said that nipple recon was sort of like "skin origami". So if I went that route, I'd have to get my chest tattoos lasered then covered up with something else. It sounds pretty expensive to me. Insurance has to cover the charge of breast and nipple reconstruction for breast cancer patients for life by law, but tattoo removal wouldn't be covered nor would the new tattooing. Decisions, decisions. Although the nipples are purely aesthetic, I yearn to have a normal looking chest again.
That's all cosmetic stuff, which isn't too important to me. As long as the cancer doesn't come back, I'm good! Heck even if it does come back, I'll fight like a warrior again. But its not coming back!
Despite the lingering effects of chemo, I continue on with my life. Oh wait you didn't know that there were lingering effects? Well the toxins can still be in my body for up to a year. Chemo causes brain damage. I have short term memory loss. I screw up my schedule. I can't remember words. Instantly a thought will come, and it slips my mind. My once straight and silky hair has come back as curly as a poodles. I hope that it will come back as beautiful as it once was or I can learn to manage it. It's also not coming in as fast in the front so I have a mullet starting to grow. But hey..... Those are little things, and the little things don't matter..... Remember, it's all little.
Letting go of the past and things that we cannot change has been my mission. That's a difficult task for me especially since I had such a traumatic childhood. The memories haunt me as an adult. In fact, scientists are linking the Triple Negative Breast Cancer to social stress and especially childhood trauma. I'm working on stopping negative cycles, thinking and anger. Let's see how it goes once I'm finally off of the antidepressant that also worked to stop hot flashes from amenopause from chemo. Cancer can be depressing! I'll hopefully be done weaning at the end of the month. Watch out world, here I come.
Life is good. Things are more normal here. They're a new normal. Yet I try not to let anything bother me. Even though it still does, but I'm working on that too.
Sunday, May 5, 2013
Negativity and stress are the worst things for a human beings health. I spent many years dwelling on the past and worrying about so called problems when I could've been enjoying life. After going through having cancer, diagnosis, and treatment, I can't stress how important it is to enjoy life while you have your health. Count your blessings on what really matters. It's not the house, the car, thw diamonds, the clothes, your pocketbook or bank account that will make you happy. It's the friendships, the love, the fun, and family around you.
After months of being underwater, I came up for air during my last chemo. I was put under water again just two days after the last infusion, but I've come back up on top and hoping that I'll stay here for awhile.
How trivial it might sound, but I posess a deeper appreciation of the simple, meaningful things in life. Worrying is a waste of time when there is so much that I can enjoy in the now. Love, caring, happiness, creating art, laughter, sharing and helping others is what matters to me. The veil is lifted, and I experience all of those things day to day. Don't get me wrong. I'm not living a perfect life, but the moments of despair are fleeting these days.
I've lived such a full life. I've traveled and met so many interesting people. I've pursued a career which has been my passion for the past 17 years. Next year around this time, will mark an anniversary of 18 years of tattooing. That will be half of my life. I'm hoping to tattoo at least another 18 years or more.
Being a mother has also changed my focus. My life revolves around my two little ones. I rarely go out without them, but it's worth it. Although sometimes I can't wait to go to work. I see it as a healthy break from them. Seeing them grow and learn has always caused me great joy. I hope that I can instill in their kinds how important it is to seek happiness and love themselves first and foremost.
Now almost a half of a year from my last chemo, my cancerversary is almost around the corner. My last reconstruction surgery for the final implants is June 14. I can wait to see my new chest. I see my oncologist in August for a check up. I think I'll see him every 6 months. Then every year. Then never again.
People tell you that there will be a new normal after cancer. There is. That new normal for me is a much happier and grateful place. Going through the trauma last year, I could still be grateful. It's just different now.
Monday, March 4, 2013
If you didn't know, 3/3/13 was Triple negative breast cancer day. That was the type of cancer in my right mammary. The bad ass kind. The kind they know nothing about, but they're doing more and more
research. Despite my effort not to think about it, it consumes my brain throughout the day regardless if the day commemorates it or not.
Let me tell you what I think about cancer throughout the day every single day. Mostly I think, "fuck you cancer!" Sometimes "why me?" I wonder how I got it in the first place- karma, the environment, smoking, alcohol, sweets, sexual behavior, negative thinking, aspartame, Splenda, salt, drugs, new car smell, vaccinations, BPA, not being breast fed, dairy, too much meat eating, MSG, carcinogens at work, getting tattooed, subpar drinking water, living in NJ, cell phone usage and on and on. I don't know why I keep revisiting those thoughts, but it's tough not to.
The reality is there isn't an answer for that except it isn't genetic. Tests proved that. I'm just the unlucky one that had the displeasure of joining a club that no one wants to join. The cancer club.
Perhaps when my hair grows back a bit more and I finish reconstruction, things will be different. I can't wait to have a new normal beyond chemo and reconstruction. I never thought much of cancer until 6/6/12 when the dr spoke those words on the phone to me. "Tegan... I have bad news. You have breast cancer. " The day that I don't think about cancer once, will be a joyous day. With that being said, it may never happen. Cancer touches everyone and will soon beat out heart disease as the number one killer in the United States.
Before the diagnosis, thoughts of mortality rarely traveled through my mind. I never thought that my own death bothered me, but now I was scared as hell since I have kids. The reality has set in. Wow... Some day I really will die.
Hence a different perspective has shifted. Music sounds better. The sky is more blue. The simple things are highly appreciated. I cherish moments even more with people I love. Happy is happier. The gratitude I feel for every blessing in life is bigger and comes from a greater depth in my heart. I've always been emotional and introspective, and now that's heightened.
As we get closer to my next surgery on Friday, March 8, the nervousness creeps in. The anxiety of anestethia for the fifth time in less than a year isn't extremely appealing. The impending discomfort is unnerving. Yet it's a step closer to putting closure on this chapter in my life.