The last two weeks have been a blur of doctors’ appointments.
Routine mammogram. Call back mammogram. Ultrasound. Cyst biopsy. Ultrasound biopsy. Cancer diagnosis. Stereostatic biopsy. Breast surgeon. Choices - lumpectomy with lymph removal and constant monitoring or bilateral mastectomy. Run around get all the reports. Second opinion. Breast MRI. I think I am FINALLY done with all the tests.
I have decided on the full mastectomy. I am really tired of being in pre-cancer mode. And I’m really good about this decision. At least mentally. Physically I am in panic mode as I really don’t do medical things very well. Great attitude, poor execution. I pass out. A lot. I have a horrible, terrifying time with anaesthesia. Pain meds make me nauseous. So I am trying to get myself psyched to get through it.
Unfortunately my closest support systems are falling apart. My sister calls me every day to boost my spirits but ends up in tears and hangs up abruptly. My mom is wringing her hands and offering to come up to take care of me, which I keep politely declining because, in reality, she will just become another person Martha has to take care of. And Martha, who is always my rock, seems to have retreated into a mystery place.
When I first told her about the cancer diagnosis, she gave me a quick hug and then went back to ordering some car part on the computer. She asked me to make whatever appointments I could later in the day so she could go with me (she works in a school). But then something has come up every time and she doesn’t go. She had a call into our family physician (she is asking for anxiety drugs which she has never taken.) And I asked her when he called if she could ask if my last pathology report had come in. He called her. She forgot to ask. I have actually stopped talking to her about my concerns as she looks like she is at the end of her rope.
I’m not sure how to help her. Tonight Peachie comes home for a week. On Sunday we are going to go see Beanie in her dance recital. (Really she’s in college, shouldn’t I be done with dance recitals?) We have decided not to tell the girls until they are both home for Thanksgiving which will be on Tuesday. And where Martha says we have to present a strong front and not worry them, especially as they go into their final exams, I am more of a let’s all cuddle in bed, have a good cry, and then map out a plan. I had thought I would ask each of them to do a little thing that could help. Beanie could go buy me some zip up sweatshirts that have been recommended to me. Peachie, who is studying physical therapy could research some exercises I should be doing to make the surgery easier.
I don’t know. After going through PTSD therapy hell because I buried all emotion for far too long, I hope I’ve learned something about dealing with stuff straight on. But I live with the stoic, German, ex cop who is great in an emergency because she just does what has to be done. Not so great when it comes to emotional stuff. Never talks about emotional stuff. Never. Ever.
So that’s where I’m at. My head is in a fairly good place, my body not so much. Martha has put up a protective wall, and I don’t know how my daughters will react. But friends are already lining up to help with food, transportation, chocolate. (Still need to find someone who has the stomach to deal with those drains I will come home with)
If I have learned anything from my past, it’s that I am strong enough to face a challenge. With a little help from my friends. Well, with A LOT of help from my friends.