Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Welcome Spring!

Finally! My favorite time of year has arrived.  The spring of 2008 was not much fun, since that was when I got diagnosed with breast cancer. I remember getting a second opinion from another breast surgeon and as a I left, she commented: "This is not going to be a good year for you. But after that, you'll be back to normal."

It was true. I was so mad that spring was marred with dozens of tests. I sat in a chemo chair for the first time on April 23. As I leaned back in the Lazy Boy, Joe noted that I was clutching the arm rests and staring at the ceiling like I was about to launch into outer space. That's certainly what it felt like. On May 5th my friend Dawn shaved the last clumps of hair off my head, and I spent the rest of spring and summer with a paisley cotton handkerchief tied on my head. The surgeons even let me keep it on when I had my first mastectomy.

I remember trying again and again to wear the expensive wig that I bought, but sweat would always drip down my face so came up with my Alicia Keyes get-up: A cotton handkerchief wrapped backwards on my head topped with a straw fedora hat and big earrings. That was my signature look into September.

The entire fall was filled with daily radiation sessions, and by November I felt worn down and depressed so the doctors put me on the antidepressant effexor. The good news is discarded all the head coverings and braved my brown pixie hair style.

On the first day of spring in 2009 I had my first reconstruction surgery, which unfortunately went terribly wrong. I was in surgery for almost 24 hours. The doctor was unsuccessful with the tram flap on my left breast because all the radiation tissue rejected the tummy fat graft. I lost so much blood that I had to go in intensive care for three days. I was in the hospital for a week and I vowed to never let myself get that ill again.

So here I am three years later in good health. I have to stay thankful for that. When I forget, all I have to remember those days of being nauseous with no hair, and stuck in intensive care. Thank God for the advent of spring--and my health.

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