Thursday, October 17, 2013

Bye Bye Boobies. Another Open Letter......

Lately there seems to be an overabundance of "Open Letters" to people.   Everyone has something on their chest and it appears they feel better by writing an Open Letter to help alleviate what's bothering them. I, too, am guilty of the Open Letter Syndrome (OLS). As you may recall, I wrote one to the CEO of Kelloggs to complain about the lack of chocolate in their chocolate Mini Wheats.  I can say from first hand experience, this letter got me absolutely no where. No one gave a shit about my diarrhea from eating too many mini wheats in the hopes I'd find more chocolate.  Really, these letters are just USELESS!  Is everyone but the intended target reading the letters and "sharing" them, just to feel good about spreading the "word".

I think someone should write an open letter to people who write open letters.  Just a thought.

Since I am having my double mastectomy tomorrow, I decided I needed to write an open letter to my boobies.  I am never going to see them again. Like ever.  I'm sad, I'm anxious, I'm still in shock about the whole thing, even after all this cancer nonsense.  Yes, it's still shocking and I often feel like I'm talking about someone else when I talk about my cancer journey. Some fucking journey! 

Here goes nothing.....

Dear Boobies,

You and I have known each other for a LONG time.  It took a while for you to grow. In fact, I don't think you ever truly reached your full potential, but that's ok. When I was a little girl, I used to pretend I had boobs by putting these under my shirt, one on each side, perky as can be.

I would prance around the house with my L'eggs eggs, hands on hips, feeling really lady like. And one was always bigger than the other because that's how the L'eggs people made them; uneven, just like real life boobies.  

I finally started growing the real versions of you around 5th grade.  There were no "pre-teen" bras back then so I just went au naturale. This didn't really cause a problem until the city wide spelling bee when I was up on stage wearing a blue terry cloth shirt. The air conditioning was on full blast and you suddenly perked up and out, standing at attention. To this day, I blame you for my dashed dreams of winning the spelling bee crown. Well, screw you because now we have spell check.

Then there was the time during softball in the 6th grade when I was pitching and a line drive hit me square in the boobage. It knocked me right to the ground and my male coach did not know how to handle such an injury. Those painful moments on the mound were the first time you let me down and I realized you could actually bring me grief and so much pain.

My teenage years were sort of uneventful in the booby department.  You didn't grow very much AT ALL and bra shopping was depressing. You were like 2 outcasts, trying to fit in but never quite making it into the cool crowd.

And then came my junior prom night. I wore a dress that required a strapless bra but in true Becky form, I was either too cheap to buy one, or just didn't want you to be strapped in. I thought you should enjoy yourself that night so instead, I placed 2 of these over you and it worked beautifully. That is, until I had to tear them off at the end of the night.  
When I was engaged to be married at the age of 24, I found a lump on you. It scared the shit out of me. I had my first mammogram then. The technician squeezed you and your lump so hard, I fainted right there on the cold hard floor.  She redid the mammo 3 more times and you and I were both not very happy. It turned out to be nothing, but now I wonder if that was really true or was it just the beginning of this whole mess?

Moving right along. I had my first baby at the ripe old age of 35. I desperately wanted to breast feed and my mother would always mock you and ask, "Are you sure you can, you don't have much there. The baby might starve!"  

Then there were the hours I tortured you like a poor cow, hooked up to the breast pump. I can still hear that repetitive humming motor sound it made. And remember that one time it took me close to an hour to pump 2 measly ounces of milk and then, in my sleep deprived haze, dumped it down the drain? 
I sobbed like a baby.  Don't cry over spilled milk I thought. Sorry you went through all that work my little boobies!

For the most part, you had a good life. You were often the butt of many jokes but you were strong and confident and I'm so proud of you for staying true to yourself. You never asked for one of those crazy water bras from Victoria Secrets, or the Wonder Bra, or the Push Up bra. You  were content and so was I. We grew to like each other over the years and I'm grateful that you nourished 2 wonderful little boys who often clawed at you when they were hungry and one of them even bit you a few times.  You took a lot of abuse over the years, both physical and emotional. 

You did your best and that is all any girl could ask for.  I'd really like to thank you for your service and mostly, I'd like to thank you for telling me there was something wrong. When you started looking different with your little dimple, I knew something was up.  You saved my life!

Since then, you've endured a lot between mammos, biopsies, MRIs, surgery, and tomorrow you're going bye bye for good. After all you've been through, you look very different. One of you looks the other way now and is scarred, like it's giving the healthy one the cold shoulder. Well, listen Lefty, don't be mad at Righty because you are both traveling the same road tomorrow   It's ok though. Well, not really, but it has to be.  Making this decision was not easy, but I know you will understand.

And in a few more months, the final surgery will be completed and the New Boobs on the Block will start making their own mammaries with Becky. 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Yes, Angelina and I were separated at birth

Holy smokes, it's been over a month since my last blog. Sorry! Here's an update.

I finished chemo on 9/3/13. I am so glad it's over and now it seems like a distant memory, thanks to chemo, everything is!  Chemo did everything it was supposed to. I lost my hair, some of my eyebrows and lashes and BEYOND, and hopefully, I lost any trace of cancer that may have been running amok in my body. I felt sick for about 7 days after each treatment, lost my sense of taste, was very tired, sometimes weepy, and had crazy epic dreams (like a Homeland episode!). Now it's done. In hindsight, it was not the horror show I thought it would be. It wasn't fun, but thanks to anti nausea meds and no unrealistic expectations, I did ok.  I've learned to deal with the baldness however, I still instinctively try to avoid getting my hair wet in the shower. Oh, and I've gained 25 pounds. I know, I know,  "You have more important things to worry about than your weight!"  Well, ok, pass me the Doritos. 

Now we move on to bigger and better boobs.  I've had about a month to recover my immune system before my double mastectomy this Friday. I've had a busy month with lots of fun and inspiring activities (while also trying to rest and recover). My friends Kristen and Todd had a Casino Night to benefit our Making Strides against Breast Cancer team and we raised over $1400. My friend Michelle and several other Zumba instructors held a Zumbathon for our team and raised almost $2000.  I am in awe of how much my friends and family have all pitched in to help us deal with the Breast Cancer journey/tornado. To date, our team has raised over $10,000! So thrilled about this and I could not have done it alone. Thank you to everyone who has supported our team in any way, big or small!

I've had several speaking engagements too, and for a girl who was petrified of speaking in public, "Now she won't shut up" (in the words of my BFF). I know many people are tired of Breast Cancer Awareness  month already but in a Pink Sister's world, it's always Breast Cancer Awareness month.  This fact was actually pointed out to me today at Providence College by, of all people, a nice young man who was in the audience.  I don't know his name, but I already love him and the way he sat there and listened to my stories, watched me demonstrate a mammogram in action, and laughed at all my "jokes". Can I adopt you? It would be one more thing Angelina Jolie and I have in common.  Adoption and new boobies!

I have officially overcome my fear of public speaking. I never in my lifetime thought this would happen. When this B/C journey began, I heard people say stupid things like "Cancer is a gift!" It used to piss me off. Well, it's partially true. Cancer itself is not a gift. It is rotten and stupid and it robs people of their important people. However, the gifts it brings to you are priceless. I already knew I had phenomenal friends and family but I didn't know just how phenomenal they are. And I've met so many new friends on line  and in person because of Cancer. All gifts that are irreplaceable and precious to me now.

The "Now She Won't Shut Up" tour has begun, thanks to the Gifts of Cancer.