Thursday, March 25, 2010

Fra-GEE-lay

(Remember the leg lamp in Christmas Story?)

That's how I've felt the last day or so. Not Italian, fragile. I think that I've been so focused on figuring out that I am ultimately going to survive all this, and figuring out what all is going to be involved in that, that I was somewhat numbed to all the bad stuff that is going to happen first. In fact, I think I even said the words, to someone, "I don't even mind about the mastectomy," or "I don't even mind if I have chemotherapy," because I just want to live. And of course I do want to live and I will.

But I do mind about the mastectomy, it turns out. I do mind. Some part of me that had been in a daze since I got this diagnosis snapped out of it last night, and I was like, "Oh what in the HELL." And I felt really sad about it, all at once. Not sad about cancer, not sad about the bigger picture, just sad about that surgery and what it does. And all of Matt's reassurances--that I will always look great, that he will always love me, that none of it is even a tiny bit important to him--as sustaining as they are, those reassurances are not currency in the place where I am sad. In that place, this mastectomy feels like an injury to my four year-old self, and the nine year-old me, and me at fifteen, twenty one--all the little me's that I've carried through all the years and that I still see every time I look in the mirror.

I called my sister and cried about it, and I felt a little better.

Then today, once the day got underway, I was busy and distracted. I went to meet a new gynecologist this afternoon. Or new to me. He went to the same college Matt and I did, though four years earlier, which was a little weird. And I thought he was kind of cute. Really cute, actually. Is that wrong? And whereas I usually get through gynecological exams by thinking of that joke about the old lady and the glitter hairspray, today for some reason, into my brain popped one of my favorite George W. Bush-isms ever. He was talking about high malpractice insurance rates, and he said that because of the cost, "Too many OB/Gyns aren't able to practice their . . . their love with the women." Do you remember that? Oh man, thinking of that made me smile. W, that lovable loon! I wonder what he's up to?

And after the appointment I asked for, and was given, a lollipop.

Tomorrow afternoon we are heading to the mountain house, but I will try to pop in before then. Isn't there some kind of good junk on Thursday night TV? I'm going to go try to find it.

36 comments:

Lisa Lilienthal said...

So sorry you had a sinker today, Becky. I had a hysterectomy a couple of years ago (not cancer, the dang thing was just falling out!) and I felt similarly, like it was a piece of my feminine self leaving me. I still feel that way sometimes, but I am glad that I don't have to worry about it falling out (literally, my also handsome GYN told me, prior to the surgery, "now you may feel your uterus protruding, just push it back up and don't worry") Geesh. The indignity of it all! I am thinking about you and hoping for it all to be quick and peaceful!

Cassie said...

It's hard. These things take time to process. And yet it's all happening so fast. Where is the Pause button on life when you need it?

I'm sorry. And of course I'm thinking of you and praying too.

Beth said...

Things I love about Becky:
-- that she can come up with beautiful metaphors, like "those reassurances are not currency in the place where I am sad"
-- that she can laugh about George W. Bush
-- that she knows that glitter hairspray gyno urban legend
-- that she knows that proper grammar is "try to find it" and not "try and find it"

Oh, and also, she's totally awesome.

Try Flash Forward. It's kinda rockin'.

Amy said...

Oh, Becky. You're so dang amazing.

I second everything that Beth just said, except the Flash Forward part cos I don't know 'bout that.

Seriously, I had to read the "not currency" line over three times because it was so... well, perfect. And the different Beckys through the years. Incredibly evocative of the emotional impact.

Veronica said...

Aw Dude. I am crying and smiling with you through all those emotions and memories. There is Project Runway tonight; I wish I could come watch it with you and eat nachos.

mbaumbick said...

I'm sad that you are sad and feeling fragile. I'm glad that you are going to spend the weekend with your family and I agree with Beth, you do come up with some beautiful metaphors. You know you are always in my thoughts (and prayers).

Kelly said...

The Office and 30 Rock are our Thursday favorites. They were both pretty funny tonight. xoxo

Amy said...

(Also from that movie: "It's a MAJOR award!")

Beck, this was beautifully written. I know that other women who will go through what you are enduring will find this post one day and say to themselves, "Yes! I didn't have the words to say it, but *that* is what it feels like."

Picturing all those Beckys along with you made me cry and though you feel violated, you are still you. I know that they're all still there. (Not in a Sally Field-Cybil kind of way, though. But you knew that.)

Love you. Have fun at the mountains. Oh--this might be good time to tell you that I accidentally brought that Boden swimsuit home with me, so you might wanna take yours. Mwah!

kathy said...

Becky, you are such a gifted writer. You know how to express what so many of us are feeling. I cried when I read your post today. We ache for you, and what you're facing. I know you are an overcomer, and you will face this challenge with humor, faith, and determination. Through your willingness to share so openly and honestly, you're impacting others' lives without realizing it.

Ginny Marie said...

*sigh*

I know.

crazylovescompany said...

Phew! You and your boobs are in my thoughts. A trip to the mountains is a fantastic idea. I'm sending you a virtual lasagna!

Sjn said...

Cancer does that, brakes us down a bit, makes us fragile. And of course you mind. No one wants to have surgery. No one wants to have cancer. But thank goodness it is operable.
I lost my Dad to malignant melanoma because it wasn't operable. That has been the biggest sadness in my life, losing my Dad. He was so young, only 57, and he left us. I guess I was lucky to find out I had cancer after it was out of my body. No pre-surgery worries, if you don't count the concern of losing your uterus and ovaries. I had a TAH along with a "fibroid" removal, only the fibroid turned out to be a sarcoma, a very rare cancer, only 1% of the population of all the cancers. Lucky me. Finding that out, my greatest fear was that I would leave my girls and cause them the same grief that I had experienced losing a parent. I didn't want to do that to them. I wanted to live, to see them all grown and happy, to see my grandchildren and grow old with my husband.
Everything you have to go through will not be easy, but it's all worth it, to live, to be here. You'll still be the same Becky looking back from the mirror. You'll grieve and you'll heal, but you'll still be you... and you'll be here, surrounded by the people who love you.

Marie said...

Sweetheart, I was about to go to bed and I just had to see if you had written another post. Now that I have composed myself just a little, I just want to say how much I've been thinking about all those little Beckys. I have been telling everyone about the 2 yr old Becky who assured her parents,
" I know Heaven. He lives at Marie's house."

Marie said...

Sweetheart, I was about to go to bed and I just had to see if you had written another post. Now that I have composed myself just a little, I just want to say how much I've been thinking about all those little Beckys. I have been telling everyone about the 2 yr old Becky who assured her parents,
" I know Heaven. He lives at Marie's house."

Marie said...

Needless to say, Evan has reminded
me on several occasions that I live with Heaven.
We love you sooooo much and we are still praying. XOXOXOXOXOXO

Mad Woman said...

I've been wondering if or when it would hit you because you seemed so...I dunno...positive about it all. And all I could think was that *I* would be screaming the place down and saying "HELL NO!". But I guess it's all a process. I'm sorry it hit you all at once.

Did the lollipop help?

joyfulmum said...

Hi Becky!
It's Rosemary (Amy's friend from her church).
I just wanted to tell you that we are praying for you (my hubby and I).
We met you briefly when you were here last year and not sure if you remember us but just wanted to let you know that we are praying for you.

love and prayers
Ron and Rosemary

The Dental Maven said...

It probably doesn't help much to know that what you describe is completely normal. My 26 year old cousin just had a bilateral mastectomy 2 years ago for CA. But I hope it helps a little to know we're all here and right behind you all the way, Girl.

btw - have you read "The Middle Place?"

Coffee with Cathy said...

Dear Becky Bloggy Friend -- You. Are. Awesome. You and your 4-year-old self and your 9-year-old self and all your selves. Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing them all with us.

kittenbritches.com said...

so sorry to read about what you are going through... sometimes there is just nothing to do but feel sad. people try to come up with platitudes, and i'm sure everyone has some story about how they know someone who is a survivor, had their boobs reconstructed, whatever, but i think you just need to give yourself the time to feel sad and not try to fix everything right away. it's ok to not be perfect all the time.

Monnik said...

You have an amazing talent for explaining this process. My thoughts are with you during this rough time.

I hadn't heard the GWB quote; that is funny stuff.

Becky said...

Oh you guys. Thanks so much for your comments, they really buck me up. And thanks especially to you new commenters for chiming in, I love knowing who I'm talking to. And you old steadies, I love y'all!

Dental Maven, that book is three bucks at Amazon (!) so I just bought it.

More later guys. xo-b

MommyNamedApril said...

you'll get through this... and in the end? (as my friend who just went through it likes to point out constantly) you'll have fantastically perky boobs afterward ;-)

((hugs))

Betsy said...

Hi Becky!

I am loving your fra-JEE-li-tay and so honored to have a peek into your heart since I really know you. And thanks for teaching me how to put on concealer when I was 15. And for being so freakin awesome all the time.

tears for you...

love, Betsy

Leigh said...

Oh, honey, it's gonna be okay! Everything Matt is telling you is true and it is clear that he loves YOU. Your soul, your spirit. NOT your mammary glands.

And speaking as someone who has a little...okay, a LOT...more boob than she would like: all they're really good for is messing up a decent golf swing!

You will be in my prayers for a swift and full recovery and success should you decide to take up golf.

Keely said...

I read your post last night, and I was amazed at your eloquence and resilience and just general awesomeness, but I didn't really know what to say. So I've been thinking it over, and thinking of you, and I still don't really know what to say, other than, well...I'm thinking of you.

Also, *hugs*.

mmeperpetua said...

Crap, I got here too late to recommend the crap I use to ice my brain of Thursdays: Community and Real Housewives (don't judge).

I also recommend watching the footage of George W. wiping his hand on Clinton's shirt after shaking hands with displaced Haitians. Pondering what exactly is going on there is a good distraction.

Becky said...

Oh Perpetua, I judge not! I love me some RH! And I saw that the hand-wiping thing happened, but I haven't delved into it yet.

And wait a second, Amy-my-sister, did you REALLY take that Boden swimsuit home?!? That has been my hot tub suit for two years! WTH Amy? It's like my whole world has turned sideways, you little sneak!

Jenni said...

Ah, Becky. You are in my thoughts so often these days. I'm so happy you have such a great support network. You have such strength and grace through all of this, but it really is okay to falter every once in a while.

Enjoy the mountain house this weekend.

Amy said...

I didn't mean to, I swear!! Jason threw it in the bag, thinking it was mine. I'll send it back! Just didn't want you to have to do some nakie hot tubbing. (Not that you'd let that stop you!)

missynall said...

Where have I been? I'm just now catching up with all you're dealing with. Ah, Becky... I just hate it for you. Thoughts and prayers your way. I want to run into you at CVS or Target again and hug your neck and tell you everything's gonna be all right. Hang in there.

The Messy Mom said...

Here I thought it might be inappropriate to comment on the writing aspect of this post, but then I looked at the other 30 comments only to see that the line about "those reassurances" stuck in the hearts of so many other readers. AMAZING! AMAZING! AMAZING!God bless you Becky.

everythingisjustwonderful said...

My aunt has had a partial mastectomy, so I can understand crying for that little piece of you that you're going to lose. It's not superficial, really. I don't know if you pray, but I'll be praying for some peace for you and of course that you'll heal & heal quickly! No one should ever have to go through the ordeal of cancer. Keeping you in my thoughts!

Caitlin

Meghan said...

This post did make me a bit misty eyed. I shared a quote from my boss (Sam Wells) with Amy after some of your original posts..."if it can't be happy, make it beautiful." I still don't know what beautiful looks like in a situation like this, but I see your vulnerability, honesty, and eloquence as a step in the right direction. Much love and prayers continue to be sent your way...

Mai said...

Hi Becky - I've heard all about you from my your lovely sister & my friend Amy, and I just wanted to let you know that I've been thinking & praying for your full and successful recovery. Although I've never met you, you seem like such a strong and amazing woman - I just wanted to add all my love and support to you and your whole family.

A Day That is Dessert said...

To say this is all such a big bummer would be the understatement of the decade...I'm sorry you're having to go through it. Chances are, your feelings will come and go (remember Kubla Ross?) - mine still do. xoxox