Thursday, July 22, 2010

1 month cancer anniversary

My tears and build up from two days ago, and yesterday were still looming when I woke this morning. I am crying all the time, a small amount of this is probably a result of the hormones--but I have a strong feeling the rest is just me--I am just hoping it isn't for long. Physical recovery--according to the doctors is great, everything is what it is supposed to be. Mentally mixed with physically is not all it's cracked up to be.

Pathology is what it is. I have Stage 3 Invasive Ductal Carcinoma, that not only spread to my lymph nodes, but my femur. The good news is that out of the 8 lymph nodes removed, only 2 came back positive.

Yesterday I was given the okay to take a "regular" shower. As regular as it can be with two drains on each side... As I sit and type this another flood of tears hits my face, fogs my glasses, and rolls down--I am blubbering and doing the sucking in large amounts of air crying, where it hurts down to your toes.

Scott was going to help me and we were going to do this prior to going to my afternoon appointment. I strapped on a corduroy belt from an adorable jacket I can't even remember where is, attached my drains to the belt with safety pins--done and done. Next I took off my pressure bra and the dressings..........................

I looked in the mirror and was frozen, first with fear, then disgust, then a full body experience of disconnect and wanting it to all go away. I wanted to sit on the floor and throw a tantrum dreaming and wishing that at the end I would be me again and wouldn't have to face this, ever. Instead, I handled it the adult way, a full on panic attack and decided I couldn't face the shower alone. So I was in the shower facing the tiled wall with my hands covering my face, and my forehead balanced on the cool/flawless tile..........I kept trying to conjure up the strength and vision of the last shoot I did with Patti in the shower where I was relaxed and full of giggles--didn't happen.

The skin surrounding my scars is tight and feels like chicken (like rubbing olive oil on a dead chicken), portions of it has feeling and other parts are numb--the are parts that have extra flaps of skin and one that has a huge indention. There are expanders underneath so it looks like I have some sort of "breast" though I would be very hesitant to use that word. I cry when I think about it....

I was crying and shaking and of no help whatsoever to Scott. I was in pain both physically and mentally and there wasn't a band aid big enough--my husband was washing me because I was crying to hard to function. Scott was standing outside the tub--we have a shower head that you can lift and move around (a godsend to wash a dog, and apparently a distraught wife). When I turn around I see that Scott is naked, I manage a giggle through my downpour of tears and asked why he was naked (he wasn't getting wet, he was standing out of the shower). "It felt like the right thing to do" was my husband response. My giggle turned to laughter--laughter and tears, and the shakes. My husband, standing their naked, crying (he cries whenever I cry) was exactly what I needed. I finished the shower, stopped crying, and pretty much nipped the panic attack.

We got me dressed---which also makes me cry. I am still pretty swollen, even my "loose yoga pants" give me a camel toe like nobody's business. Also to find a shirt that camouflages the four grenades strapped to by body is impossible, I walk with a hunch and get depressed each time I have to go in public--which seems to be every day for appointments! When I am home I am safe, I see people who know whats going on, I am not embarrassed--when I step outside my front door I am uncomfortable, it is almost not worth the emotional whirlwind...

My husband just got home and gave me a card, another reason he is pretty swell, it reads:

FRONT: To my Wife

INSIDE: I could never thank you enough for everything you do and for all the ways you're such a terrific wife. But on our (and then he inserts his own words) "1 month cancer" anniversary, I want you to know how much I appreciate you and that I love you with all my heart. Happy Anniversary.
"I love you very very very very much and will be there every step of the way hold your hands and milking your drains. love scott, we got this babe."

Tomorrow is our one month cancer anniversary--huh, not sure what the protocol is for that.


  1. wow. I'm bawling. Thank you for sharing this story, what a fabulous portrait of love in the midst of sorrow. You're such an inspiration. Keep writing, and processing, and mustering strength... amazing.

  2. After reading your truthful and raw posts, they leave me strugging to find the words for a "suitable" comment. Besides, I can hardly see what I'm typing with all these tears in my eyes.

    You look so beautiful in the shower. I wish I could have been there with you today ... up until Scott stripped naked ... then again, what a photo op!

    I love you more each day ... and Scott too ... what a man!

    Happy Anniversary! One month of poop behind you!

  3. You are loved. You are loved. You are loved.


    Beautiful, fierce, warrior-womyn. I pray for you, I laugh with you, I cry with you.


  4. I came home after a difficult but rewarding doula day and sat down to "see" how you were doing. I'm sitting here bawling as I process several emotional situations in my head. Scott's simple act of getting naked as he so lovingly bathed you in the shower...pure, raw love!

    Love you Dori!

  5. Hugs, love, smiles, love from the Shelton Barkley's

  6. dori. i love the way they made you. your blog is *the bomb* as will be your new boobs. because you are so unique and beautifull. you inspire me. when i read your description of your operation, i athought, wow. perky boobs for life! my mom was almost killed when she was pregnant with me, she was in hospital for weeks, and they thought she would need a steel plate in her head to hold eyes up. anyway b/c of all this, she needed plastc surgery, this was 1975. anyway and though she is against plastic surgery, she did need it then, and she jokes that thats why she has such a nice smooth forehead to this day, at age 58. so, it ended up kind of nice. i think your story and you are just beyond ..definitely "normaL" and we all want that transcendant beauty in this life right? the beauty you have to walk thru hell to get to. that holy beauty that is set apart, that is real ... moving and profound. like anEXPERIENCE of beauty not just a vison of it. and beautiful :) and that is you inside and out. anyway i am loving what you share, and so respecting of what you keep, and that i cant't get. youre in the center of my pracyer *right now*. <3 xxxooo <3 woman!! you do us so proud. LOVE. <3.

  7. I found your blog through Patti's, I'm a doula in CO and have been reading through Patti's blog and looking at beautiful pictures for the past couple of hours. Anyway, I wanted to send you a link and a "friend suggestion". Your story and your spirit remind me of a friend of mine named Heather, the editor/publisher of a local magazine for moms, and a mom of 4 who was diagnosed a few years ago with stage 4 breast cancer. is the magazine, and Heather Janssen is her name (she's on FB too).
    I will be thinking of you and following your journey!