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.