Friday, July 3, 2009

Cancer Lite

I missed two days of blogging and the great thing is (besides the break you got from me) that I missed two days because I was just going about my normal non-cancer-person life and pretty much forgot. More and more I am able to forget I am a cancer patient. Sure, I still check in with the radiation folks (more on that in a bit) and get my intimate time with The Machine (which is not nearly as sexy as that might sound!), but my energy is back, I'm not in any pain, I'm busy at work and it's summer--my favorite time of the year. Plus this week was all about Chris (his birthday Monday night) and Forgotten Grapes (practice wine tasting event Wednesday night).

I've noticed lately that I have this feeling that I've had "fake" cancer, or cancer lite. When I talk with other patients or hear other stories, I frequently feel like everybody had it worse than I did. I mean sure, chemo is a bitch (wait, let's use a capital letter there--chemo is a Bitch) and I'm only a few days away from 7 months of treatment, but it could have been worse and many people I've talked to have had it worse (funny thing about cancer--you meet a lot of other people with cancer!). Sort of puts things in perspective for me--so I apologize for any complaining I did (I hope it was at least mildly amusing). I wondered too if maybe this is why I didn't have any major epiphanies--my cancer experience really wasn't one that brought me to my knees (figuratively of course; it does continue to make me walk funny on my numb foot, and I've fallen up the stairs more than once and I'm sure it will happen again, but that's entirely different).

But then, after work today I went shopping. I thought I'd buy a nice new outfit for my Survivor party. Although I've been trying to watch the budget (yeah, thanks, Cancer!) it seemed like a Survivor party was grounds for a new outfit in anyone's book. Plus I still had a $50 gift card from Christmas (right, yeah, again, I've been busy...). Oh boy. Bad, bad idea. As every woman knows, the dressing room in any department store anywhere, no matter how nice the store is otherwise, is always, without fail, the singular space in which you look your most horrific. They're always like funhouse mirrors guaranteed to add 15 pounds of pure cellulite, turn your skin green, spotlight that your bra and underwear don't match and are looking shabby, and instantly shrink any clothes brought in that are supposed to be in your size down to some size that you haven't see since high school, no matter what the tag says. Okay, so now have that experience when your right breast is glowing red, you're mostly bald, and you actually have gained a few pounds (not just the funhouse mirror ones). Do I need to tell you no dress was purchased? Lots and lots of cute dresses, but from what I saw I needed to find the mumu section and mumu isn't really what I had in mind for my return to civilization. I may have to force an epiphany. I'm fat. I need to not be fat. Hmmmm. Motivation anyone? I realized I even did the "not happy with my weight" shoppping. I bought shoes. Women with weight issues buy shoes and purses and get nice manicures and pedicures and avoid trying on clothing. (So guess where you'll find me next? I'm sure my nails will look great at the party). Maybe there isn't any such thing as Cancer Lite after all.

In brighter news (pun intended), my right breast is apparently not really as red as it could be (unless you are looking at it in a dressing room mirror, and honestly there's so much more to be horrified by in that experience you'd wouldn't notice the breast if it was flashing neon red lights). According to my radiation therapist--and have I mentioned how wonderful, kind and professional they are? And that they have great taste in shoes? (they read the blog now, so I have to be a giant suck-up since they control a giant radiation machine pointing lasers at me!! But really, they are pretty darn wonderful)--I am handling the radiation really well. The doctor said so too. So even though my skin has begun to itch, it's not really looking too bad. And in super exciting news, I only have 2 more full radiation sessions and then the last 5 are the "boosts" that target the incision area (I like to think of this as a boob boost; really, who wouldn't want to think of it that way?). That means the area that has been most affected (a section on my chest where I stupidly got sunburned a few weeks back) only has to tolerate two more sessions. Over before we know it.

In the meantime though, I got to sleep in this morning (no radiation) and I've got two more days off to enjoy. July 4th is my favorite's always so much better than that holiday formerly knows as Christmas and now known as Jimmy Buffett's birthday. We'll be sitting on our back patio with friends enjoying hot dogs, hamburgers, chips, potato salad, watermelon...all the usuals, and Chris's famous Blue Radley lemonade and blueberry vodka drink, while watching the fireworks across the skyline (we can see at least 3 different shows from our backyard without traffic or the noise of the fireworks--which works well for Seamus and Harold).

Happy 4th of July everyone!

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