Thursday, December 28, 2006

so I'm going to lose this breast all over again. I'd like to say it's a relief, given that its tentative status has kept me partly crippled since April. but it's not. it's a bitch, it's unthinkable, and I HATE that rubber thing. It's the start of summer, and I will be getting around with first a new wound and soft padding, and then the rubber thing all over again. it's more than two years since the mastectomy and the right side of my chest is a worse mess than ever.

as you might guess, I saw surgeon's locum today; a frighteningly young man, who advised me that what I can see through the 1.5cm hole is not muscle but the tissue expander, and that it could pop out all by itself quite easily. which would not be good. so followed a flurry of trying to get into a surgical list somewhere, anywhere, and I now have a date with the knife on Tuesday afternoon next week. happy new bloody year.

after that I will have to decide to a) do without a breast for years, b) use stomach tissue and risk a hernia if I get pg again or c) rip muscle out of my back, potentially compromising my swimming and bike riding yet again. what would you do? the correct answer is d): if you find a lump in your breast, get it checked before it reaches the mastectomy stage. dh was out at his parents' with A today, supposedly so I could work but in the event so I could go to the dr. I rang him at five in tears; at ten to six he still hadn't left there. what part of "your wife needs help and support" does that man not get? anyway I am going to trash the rest of his holiday by getting him to mind A whenever possible over the next few days so I can at least make up for today's lost work, let alone next week's.


Sunday, December 24, 2006

another depressing post, I'm afraid: the teensy tiny hole on the surgical incision line has pretty much gone, because it has been replaced by a gap in my actual skin the size of a penny (American, not the old Australian ones, thank goodness.). What do I mean by a gap in my skin? I mean there is no skin there, just a bit of (erk) muscle visible. and of course this has developed over the past week and gradually curtailed my activities, so now it's Xmas eve and I have no dr appointment, a main dr on leave until Feb, a locum dr on holiday until the middle of next week, a strange burning sensation like I might be getting an infection (I have antibiotics, haven't started them yet), the prospect of surgery, a heap of (paid) work to do that will only aggravate thing but must be done, a rental flat to set up that I can't move things into or clean myself, and a massive bout of despair which is of course aimed at dh who has been working long hours and now is on holiday but has shopping and relaxing of his own to do. and the kid gets short shrift if he comes within a mile of my wound, or indeed bugs me when I'm busy feeling sorry for myself.

so I will almost certainly lose this implant and face a) a three-year, prosthesis-using, wait, potentially, until it's safe to use stomach muscle or b) the strange and not-very-attractive prospect of using back muscle. or of course giving up the baby idea and using stomach muscle and fat, of which there is plenty due to forced inactivity this past eight months, now, or at least in Feb when dr returns (and when I'll have the flat happening and another bout of work.)

fucking radiotherapy. it had darn well better have saved my life is all I can say, to make all this worthwhile.

A: believes in Santa and would naturally believe in God if we told him there was one; came into our room to give me a teddy at 1 or 2 am last night, followed by a visit to ask what my favourite colour was; says "Wow" and means it whenever he sees something cool; still naps in the afternoon at three years old, thank (non-existent) God; is partially toilet trained, but not so much I'd dare leave his nappy off; measures things with a measuring tape and says confidently "thirty dollars"; is a sweetheart and a cuddlepuss and a naughty rabbit and I love him.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

They Mean Well dept: (cancer post)

the people who say "how are you" meaning: has the cancer come back yet? I think I've mentioned them before.

and the people who add "and good health" to the standard greeting on preprinted xmas cards, and then write "hope you have a better year in 2007." hey, 2006 wasn't that bad. I wasn't diagnosed with cancer in 2006. that was 2005.

both of the above are well-intentioned but scream "don't forget about the cancer". as if I could.

new research says that 3-5 hours exercise a week can halve the risk of recurrence. apart from the fact I was doing that much before I got it,3-5 hours a week is my idea of a good time. but this stupid surgical hangover has been stopping me. lately I've been getting up early and doing a 20-min easy bike ride before dh goes to work, and trying to do all my situps, and sometimes even swimming with my right arm. the result? my radiotherapied area has sprung a new leak. my surgeon is away all through January and I don't have TIME to go back into hospital.

dh says if I do he'll manage. my snippy response was to ask why it would take a crisis for his family to get his attention. he's been working until 8pm most nights on a project that never seems to finish. I don't think he has a girlfriend, I think he just has his priorities wrong.

at his childcare centre there is a cook, who is a lovely woman, originally from Vietnam, who makes delicious and healthy food for all the kids and is one of the reasons I love the place - I know she feeds A better than I do. she has two daughters, and the older one, C, sometimes comes to the centre during school holidays; she's in late primary school. On Tuesday I went to pick A up and he had a new toy. I said "that's not yours" and one of the staff told me that C had brought it in for him. On Wednesday I bought a small reciprocal gift, which I will take in on Friday. The cook was at the childcare christmas party yesterday, and I discovered, talking to her and C, that C tries to time her visits to see A; watched her and her little sister play with him for half an hour; and that C had only, spontaneously, wanted to get gifts for A and the little friend of his who's just moved away. There are like 50-60 kids there over the course of a week. and it's my boy who has earned this girl's love. I don't expect anyone else to care, but something about that makes me very happy and hopeful for his future.

and on a related but sourer note: there is one kid who is supposed to be A's friend, but whose mother has always pretty much snubbed me when I say hello in the street or playground. at the party I watched said kid push A over - a full-on, double-palmed straight-armed, premeditated shove, too. A burst into floods of tears; I picked him up (I'm not supposed to lift him, but I had to), went to the kid and gently said: "Can you please apologise to A, R?" He said sorry, but there is glint of nastiness in that kid's eye. meanwhile, his mother was swilling champagne and looking in the other direction. The incident took a full five minutes and she didn't look her kid's way in all that time. so my mind is made up about that lot, I think. someone from my mother's group tried to downplay the incident when I got back to the picnic, still incensed, but I've never seen or heard of A doing such a thing. cruelty just isn't part of his makeup. he was the second last kid to get his gift from Santa and at a time of night when he'd normally be very ratty and due for bed, he sat at Santa's feet (a female Santa, too!) and waited with big round eyes for 25 minutes.

Of course he can be a typical 3-year-old; this afternoon he fell asleep on the way from an unavoidably overlong market excurision and when I woke him (it was 35 degrees outside and couldn't leave him in the car) he screamed and wailed and shouted for ten minutes, until I got his attention with some ice and a blender and chocolate milk. but that and the odd overnight wakeup are as bad as it gets with him. why wouldn't I want another one?

Monday, December 11, 2006

A is now three years and one month and is developing attitude. he says "listen to me, listen to me", "don't snatch" (when I take a toy because he's ignoring me, and sings Wiggles songs with "mummy" substituted for key words, as in "toot toot chugga chugga big red Mummy". in other words, he's exactly like me. his arms and legs have lengthened and he is onto everything we say; I tend to explain what we're talking about in quite adult terms, and he at least pretends to get it.

thank God, though, he still needs a little afternoon nap.

this week's fun was reading an article about company called Fermiscan that has a test for breast cancer it's trying to commercialise, involving testing hair rather than squashing victims' patients' breasts between cold metal plates. so despite the fact the price had gone up fourfold in the last six months, I bought $7000 worth of shares. and hooray, it went up 50% again. I've sold most of them but kept a few, on the principle that even if it doesn't make squillions, it's a fine and worthy idea.

don't think this makes me rich; in the past year I've probably just broken even on share trading. you can never tell which stocks are going to take off like that, and which will tank. it keeps me busy.

Friday, December 01, 2006

mixed emotions dept: for once I got a decent lunchtime nap, probably slept an hour. got up at 1:40 and saw that childcare had called me. no message. turned my mobile on, anticipating that my son was unwell or injured and not quite sure whether I was a) worried b) guilty (for not taking the call) or c) annoyed that my "day off" was about to be curtailed.

turned out they were just calling to grant my request for an extra day's care in late December when I anticipate getting some work. d) relieved. for several reasons.

don't know why I haven't blogged so much lately, maybe it's because he's sleeping less or because I'm forcing myself to work on my uni project and other writing whenever I have free time. there are heaps of thing languishing on my to-do list because I have so little free time that whenever I get some, I feel I must use it to do something really productive, like writing a novel no one will ever read. (cue insane laughter)

and of course there is the "research" for my uni thesis/novella which involves reading lots of pro-ana blogs and cruising around Second Life trying to find someone who's not a newbie or a sex maniac to talk to. the pro-ana blogs are really scary; I was skinny and food-obsessed at 16 too, but these girls are so much more conscious in the way they manipulate it. they set out to get an eating disorder, and when they do, they actively feed it with heaps of images of superskinny models. plug "pro-ana blog" into google if you want to see what I mean. "thinspo" also turns up a few. anyone who says pictures of skinny girls don't make other girls anorexic should read a few of these blogs.

of course it's also about control - teenage girls get so little control over their lives. they think they're in control by conforming to a media image. ironic, huh?

so glad A's a boy sometimes...

he is going well, though dh is working long hours and I get a bit desperate for free time and a bit tired of doing all the housework, and at least once a day I shout at A. that sounds awful, but usually it's because he's actively causing me pain or interfering with something potentially dangerous, after I've told him not to. and it's balanced with masses of hugs and book reading and excursions and play, so I'm not worried that I'm traumatising him. I only draw the line where my sanity ends, really.

finally, vale Greg Wiggle, hello Sam Wiggle. The concert is next week. looks like I'll never see Greg perform now.

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