I wonder how many women are walking around with this disease and don’t even know. I’ve been reading and hearing stories of women who go in for mammograms in their forties, when they’re told to, and find full-blown cancer. How many of us, though, don’t go in for mammograms? How many of us find out we have it before we’re even old enough for mammograms? How many of us simply can’t afford to get help when we’re diagnosed?
It took my husband’s urging to get me into the doctor’s office in the first place. What if I hadn’t? I’m endlessly surprised how this could be happening to me when I feel so good, and I know that I’m not alone. And it scares me. It makes me sad.
We spent a good part of yesterday at the hospital. We had five different offices to visit; we brought home reams of paper and signed our names many times. Everything went smoothly, though. Kaiser is the model of efficiency. I now know what to expect, I think. I will probably be allowed to go home on Friday, which, right now, seems highly unlikely. I think I’m scared to ask for more time, should I need it, because Kaiser is so efficient and businesslike that I’m afraid of being kicked out before I’m ready. Dr. Yee described the procedure and the pain level thereafter and everything that happens when I get home, but I still feel unprepared, somehow. I feel like I’m getting a final exam on the first day of class. Am I missing something?
I think I’m most especially daunted by the whole concept of the drains coming out of my wounds. Frankly, when they showed us the video on how to care for these things, I wanted to faint. I started to cry, and I could tell that the nurse who came in later could sense my fear. She said she’s had them and said they really aren’t that bad, but the notion of bodily fluids in a bulb scares me.
When I’m not scared lately, though, I feel the need to laugh at totally inappropriate times. Ryan and I were having a serious conversation about bras and reconstruction, when I saw in my head a tweet: “RIP Jen’s boob, 1972-2012.”. Suddenly, I was laughing, and I wonder what Ryan was thinking. I’m caught at such odd times with the urge to laugh. I want to crack jokes sometimes, too, but when I’m in polite company, I’m afraid of them thinking I’m being weird. Or worse.
We did get to have a little fun recently, though. Ryan got the idea to commemorate my body as we now know it with a photo shoot. He heard stories of women sitting for boudoir photos before their mastectomies, and he asked me about it, and I thought it was a great idea. He asked friends of ours in the photography world and our friend Lisa pointed us to Rita Coury.
On Friday afternoon, we went to Lisa’s home, which she graciously lent to us for a few hours, and Sarah Pacheco, of Sarah la GLAM, spent her birthday working on my makeup. We had a great time. Rita is a true professional and a great person. After a sometimes scary week, I’m really glad we did it.
I hope Rita and Sarah know how much it meant to me. A little dirty, guilty part of my brain has always wondered what it would be like to be a Playmate, and for a couple of hours, I got to be one. Sort of.
For a bit, I wasn’t facing surgery or bandages, and it was just fun and exciting. In a weird way, by being a pretend sexy 50’s movie star, I felt courageous.