Thursday, February 26, 2009

I lived

Well, it went well yesterday with the lumpectomy (I cannot get used to that word!) and the surgeon didn't kill me. The good news is not only that I lived through it, but that the lymph nodes are all clear, which means that radiation should be all that I have to do now and that I shall not end up bald and puking. I am wearing a little flowery tube top sort of thing around my chest to hold everything together. It would be flattering if I were about 50 years younger. I get to take it off tomorrow.

The worst part of the whole experience was getting the shots of radioactive dye into my delicate breast without any anesthetic. The radiologist kept apologizing and I assured him that I knew he was only doing what he had to do. In a bad German accent, I told him that he was only following orders, which made him laugh and tell me about visiting Berlin once. So we got through it, and I didn't glow in the dark. A couple of hours later I went into surgery and then recovery where I was presented with the above little pillow, made by one of the volunteers for breast cancer patients. I came home around 2:00 and iced my chest and slept. Today I am a bit sore but it's not too bad and (prduct placement)Tylenol helps.

So now I guess I will become a Breast Cancer Survivor. This is a bit like being a Recovering Alcoholic. I don't know why they use that label. I mean, you don't say someone is a pneumonia survivor, or a measles survivor. Why always attach that label to someone who has had cancer? It seems to me that it adds to the fear we all have of that disease, since it reminds you that some people can die of it. Well, you can die from a lot of things. You then become identified by a disease you have had. It's almost as if that becomes your identity, the way that alcoholics become defined by their alcoholism, even though that is only a part of who they are. After she had breast cancer, Susan Sontag wrote a book called "Illness As Metaphor." I don't know if that was what she meant, but in a way perhaps she felt defined by it by becoming a "survivor." Maybe we need to think of it some other way.

So let's all remember go get our mammograms every year.


Helen said...

Guenver, I'm so glad to see you are up to blogging today. Wonderful news you had to share with us. I

'm very happy that you are up and about, wearing your little tube top to boot!

Nancy Near Philadelphia said...

I like very much thinking of you gadding about in your tube top. Takes the edge off the horror of this thing.

Such good news.

Word verification: morrati which is a pasta with a very ugly shape

Patsy said...

Oh Guenveur I am so glad to hear you're doing well. And I'd love to see your tube top! Maybe we can go down to the bars this summer to pick up guys, you in the tube top and me with my dandelion,
fluff-ball bald head! I'm glad you won't have to have a bald head and the pukes- I'm handling that part, thank you! My friend tells me that cancer brings out our gallows humor and I'm glad to see that you have found it! Missing you, Patsy

Unknown said...

Guenveur: Godspeed ... I can understand the awake-at-3 am concept and don't understanding the Survivor labeling thing, either, but I'm happy the outcome for you was a positive one (relatively speaking.) My mother is a 34-year survivor of breast cancer -- back then they didn't even have Stage I, II, etc. classifications -- so welcome to the club. You'll find that it's a lot bigger than you realize.

Unknown said...

Guenveur: I have no idea why my post registers as Rodney, when it should be Roger D., but I wouldn't dream of disputing the cybergods. Take care ....