Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Cancer Road. Comments on Your Comments.

Edited to add: Buff just e-mailed me the link where you can get the "Old Guys Rule" t-shirts. (There was a question about that in the comment section.) Here is it is! Thanks, Buff.

I know I haven’t talked much about my breast cancer journey recently so here’s a wee little update.

My next appointment with “Dr. Brings-Me-Pain” is on Monday; thankfully (as far I know), this should be a non-hurting appointment. From what I understand, he just wants me to come in every month until the exchange surgery so that he can be sure that everything is looking (and stretching) the way it should.

I’m planning to ask him if he’s able to be flexible in the scheduling of the surgery as far as moving it forward 2-3 weeks. (Among all surgeons, the average wait between the last saline fill and the exchange surgery seems to range between six weeks and four months.)

Obviously part of the reason for the delay is to let everything stretch that needs to be stretched, i.e., the skin and chest muscles. (And no, that is not such a fun process.)

In my case, the nurse said I was “ahead of the game” as far as having plenty of extra skin; as a result, it’s not really having to do much stretching. However, I am really aware of chest muscles stretching, especially when I lie down or turn over in bed; there’s a deep ache in that area which comes and goes at strange times. (Which I guess is a good thing; it means something is happening.)

Ideally I would love to have the surgery before Sarah goes back to school. Even though the replacement surgery recovery won’t be as difficult as the mastectomy recovery was, it would still be nice to have someone in the house with me for a few days afterwards to fluff my pillow, soothe my fevered brow and bring me chocolate bars. (And lots of pain killers.) Since I won’t be in bad enough shape to summon family members from afar, a little part-time nurse would be ideal.

So we’ll see. If the plastic surgeon is adamant about waiting the full three months (even though other surgeons wait half that long), I could always kick and scream and throw something to try to change his mind. Apart from that, however, I suppose I could always choose to capitulate. Or else, I could absquatulate! (See yesterday’s entry for your new vocabulary word.)

I’m a part of a wonderful discussion/information forum at a Breast Cancer site which has given me all sorts of helpful information about this complicated journey. A good number of the women on the site wrote that they really looked forward to the exchange surgery but then were depressed after it was done. I guess the surgery represents the finality of the whole process and reminds them 1) that their old breasts are truly gone forever and 2) their new breasts will never be able to take their place. It’s just another layer of the cancer grief that has to be worked through. Of course, other women aren’t depressed at all so maybe I’ll land in that group and be known as the “The Happy Post Exchange Lady!”

On a humorous note, I read on the site about a t-shirt some of the ladies wear that says, “Yeah, these are fake. The real ones tried to kill me!”

Gotta keep a sense of humor!


Questions and Answers From the Comment Section:

Anonymous asked, “What is Snowy’s middle name?”

Okay, you all have to promise not to laugh at this answer. His middle name is, er, Studmuffin.


Well, it’s not actually on his birth certificate, but it is the name our family chose when he was handed to us as an 8-week old ball of fluffy, white cuteness. Snowy Studmuffin Smith. It just suits him, doesn’t it?

Anonymous asked, “Where did you get Steve’s 'Legend In His Own Mind' shirt?"

Actually, I don’t know the answer to that question since the shirt was a gift. I just know it was from a shop here on the Outer Banks.

Jodi asked, “Will a visit with Victoria be happening this summer?”

Since the girls now live 6 1/2 hours apart instead of 3 1/2 hours, visits have gotten a bit more complicated. The two girls would love to see each other, though!

Randee said she just realized we lived near a family whose blog she follows, Confessions of a CF husband.

Randee, yup, we are indeed about five or six miles away from them. We met Nathan and Trish a few weeks ago and they are as wonderful in person as they are on their blog.

Lesley asked, “What’s your favorite ice cream flavor?

Hmmm. I don’t really have a favorite. I guess I would have to say that anything with texture or “chunks” would be high on my list. I love butter pecan, or ice cream with bits of Heath bar mixed in or any other sort of chewy, chocolate-y addition. Just plain, smooth, creamy ice cream is not something I like. (And if you want to hear something strange, I sometimes break up saltine crackers and stir them into plain ice cream. Salty, crunchy and smooth—all in one dish. Yum.)

Stacy asked, "Does Sarah like to cook dinner other than desserts?"

At this point, she’s pretty limited in that area. (And that’s my fault; I need to get a Cooking School going here at the Smith House.)

She has made Pigs in a Blanket (with hot dogs and crescent rolls) and various Hamburger Helper dishes. She’s also very good with getting a meal together if I have a pre-made casserole in the fridge. A couple times when I got home late from a doctor appointment, I called her and she got the casserole in the oven, cut up some fruit, made a vegetable, set out some bread and had everything on the table when I got home.

However, in the interest of making her future husband a happy guy, I do need to start some more intensive cooking training.

Mary H. asked, What classes did Sarah choose for her freshman year?

So far, the only thing that’s different from last year is that she added Chorus to her line up. However, her selections aren’t yet finalized. We’re still waiting on the results of her neuropsych testing since the person who grades the test was out of the country a few weeks. When we receive those results, we’ll have a better idea of which direction to head academically. At this point, her 8th grade teachers have actually recommended that she take several Honors courses in 9th grade; I’m a bit leery of her doing that for her first year in High School but we’ll see!

And as far as the other Smith Sibling goes, I had a couple questions about Nathan:

MN Mom asked, “How is Nathan doing?”

Mary H. asked, “When is Nathan coming back to visit?”

Nathan is doing well although he still hasn’t found a summer job. (Thankfully, he does have a job lined up when the school year starts.)

This job thing is actually starting to get a little bit ridiculous; the poor guy is halfway through July already! He’s had several interviews in the past few days and is just waiting on answers.

I think what may need to happen is that his mom might just need to drive to Florida, knock a few employer heads together and say, “Look. Just what IS your problem, dude? (or dude-ess.) This kid is the best employee you will ever have and if you don’t hire him immediately then I will, um, I will . . . .”

Hmmm. It seems as though my knowledge and usage of scary threats is just a tad rusty . . . maybe I’ll just let Nathan do his own thing. Without me. Sniff.

As far as when he’s coming back to visit, it might be a while. Once he does get a job, he’ll probably need to work it right up till the time school starts in mid- August. So it could be that the next time we lay eyes on the College Dude might be Thanksgiving. Which would mean a 7-month period of time without seeing him. Which is the longest I’ve ever gone! Which I may not be able to survive!

He turns twenty-one on September 18, but since we have the choice of either giving him a generous gift for that big birthday or traveling down to FL to see him, we’ll probably opt for the generous gift and just stay home and send him happy birthday thoughts in absentia.

You know what?

It’s really tough when a kid grows up and turns twenty-one and can’t come home and has his own life and a girlfriend and a job and college classes and friends and responsibility and car payments and, um, a real life.

But you know what? It’s also really wonderful when a kid grows up and does all those things because it means that we’ve done an okay job of getting him to this point in life and he’s finding independence and stretching his wings and getting ready to be a real grown up and make me even prouder of him than I already am.

So. That’s the Nathan Scoop. And just because I’m writing about him, I thought I’d share a couple of vintage pictures of him and me before a special event at his High School.

Before getting ready to go.




And here is the mom of the College Dude (who was, at that time, the High School Dude) letting said Dude know that at any time and in any place, he should never forget that she can take. him. down.

Or not.


4 Had Something To Say (Just click here!):

Anonymous said...

Good luck with getting your PS to move up the date. I was 7 weeks, 2 days from final fill to exchange.

And. I do, indeed, own said t-shirt. Love wearing it - definitely causes double (or triple) takes. :)

Stefanie in St. Louis

Shannon said...

I LOVE that t-shirt!!!

My hubby has one that he wears to the Breast Cancer Fund Raising walk every year that says "saving second base" I found one this year he doesn't know about yet that says "save the ta tas"

Anonymous said...

a link to the Old Guys Rule t-shirt......

My hubby has a couple of these...usually buy them in touristy areas, like OBX! :)


Catherine said...

Nathan? Where in Florida is Nathan? Is he back at school taking summer courses? Is he going to be a senior? It seems like he just started college.