All Warriors Have Scars
"Flash me," Dr. El-Eid said as she walked into the exam room yesterday. I complied, and she said she was pleased with my healing. "What do you think?" she asked.
"I don't look at it," I admitted. "My husband said it's improving."
It's true. I have rarely looked at the scars. This person who once thought of becoming a doctor does not like the sight of blood and the trauma that caused it....especially if she is attached to them. Dr. E-E used medical glue to close the two three-inch incisions, so the sight of them and the bruising makes me lightheaded.
Please don't think that the girls—aka Lucy and Ethel—define who I am...especially the one (Ethel) which tried to kill me. The asymmetry bothers me, though. I'm just not too wild about seeing my disproportionate self, my right breast suddenly concave on one side, the skin so yellow and purple and blue and burgundy and teal, the parallel wounds too apparent.\. Given the choice of having symmetrical, sick breasts or asymmetrical, healthy breasts, though, I'll deal with Ethel's being lopsided.
At any rate, the tumor in Ethel was Stage 1A, estrogen-positive, infiltrating ductal carcinoma, When you throw in all of those three- and four-syllable words, it starts to sound serious, and it is. But, the good news is that if I had to have an invasive cancer, this is the best kind to have. The margins were clean, and the lymph nodes were cancer-free. The five-year survival rate with a diagnosis like this is 98-100 percent. Those are pretty good odds, if you ask me.
I will have to go through radiation, and I will have a medical oncologist who will oversee the medication I'll have to take for five or more years. Until I see the radiation oncologist again, I won't know for sure how many treatments I'll have to have. And, until I see the medical oncologist, I won't know if he will put me on Tamoxifen, Arimidex, Aromasen, Femara, or something else. Of course, I have to stop researching all of these "cures" and their side effects before I drive myself crazy.
Of course, that will never happen.....the staying away part. I drive myself crazy all the time over everything.
I keep reminding myself, though, that I am incredibly lucky. Yes. Yes. I do have breast cancer, but I found it in time so that it did not have a chance to grow. Yes. Yes. Ethel looks a little weird, but she's still there. Yes. Yes. I will have to undergo radiation, but I do not have to undergo chemotherapy. Yes. Yes. The monster put up a detour in my life, but it's not a permanent roadblock. Yes. Yes. I hurt sometimes, but I have a wonderful husband who is there to soothe me. Yes. Yes. I am scared and angry and confused and in denial, but I have a lot of people praying for and supporting me, and that humbles me.
If you are reading this, know I am forever grateful for your prayers, your words of encouragement, your friendship, your love. You really do make a difference in my life.