The One Breasted Warrior

One breasted warriorI’m still fighting. It hurts physically and emotionally. I am not getting any closer to complete healing or a body that has all of it’s parts in place. I remain hopeful though, hopeful that the cancer does not return. My foolish, vain self marched into the plastic surgeon’s office recently and  boldly stated that I would like to discuss my options for making another run at reconstruction. I haven’t  stopped worrying or crying since that bold move.

“We need to find the root cause of the chronic pain in your chest.” stated the surgeon. “It is most likely necrosis of the bone from radiation. I can order an MRI and we can see what is going on in there. If it’s nothing than we can start with a scar revision, then blah, blah, blah…” He continued.

MRI? That picks up cancer too I thought. Is he looking for cancer? Why do these doctors want to continuously look for cancer in my body?

I had two MRI’s done the following week on two separate days, double the stress. One was to check the left breast that still remains with it’s small but perfectly proportioned implant. The other MRI was to look at my right chest and ribs where nothing remains but skin tact down onto my bones and pain that never stops. Wearing a bra and a prosthesis is an act of a warrior. It is like my shield as I go out into the world trying to fit in with the normal breasted women. It is incredibly painful to wear this shield as it hits right where all of the pain is concentrated. I  dig for a warriors courage just to get dressed for work in the morning. By the end of the day that bra must come off immediately and I greet my son and his friends with one breast. Most are too polite to stare, but they all hug me sideways, as if they are afraid to hurt me or confirm what they see through touch.

The MRI’s came back inconclusive. “There is something on your ribs but we are not sure if it is injury or metastatic bone cancer.” Said the surgeon. “I am going to have the Tumor Board review your case and make a recommendation. Don’t worry, it’s probably nothing.”

How many times have I heard that? “Don’t worry, it’s probably nothing.” News flash to my team of doctors, it has always been something when you go poking around looking for cancer in me. I cringe when I hear those words.

The “Board” recommended a PET scan. Where in the fuck is my warrior Xanax?!

The last time I had a PET scan was right before I started chemo therapy a couple of years ago. This time, I merely went to the plastic surgeon and inquired about reconstruction and now I am having a contrast dye put into an IV that is hanging out of my arm. The tears rolled freely down my face as I was positioned into the machine. “Are you okay?” Asked the tall, dark, handsome technician as he handed me a tissue and waited patiently for me to stop crying so he could start the test. I dug deep for my warrior strength and fell still and quiet while the machine hummed around me searching for cells that are ruining my life and trying to kill me.

The results were sent to the Tumor Board and they recommended a biopsy of my ribs.

I called my oncologist and pretty much said what the fuck?! “I don’t think there is anything to be worried about,” he said. I couldn’t breath. I walked outside of the hospital where I was at work to continue the conversation but my legs were starting to go numb from panic.

“Let me have another radiologist take a look at the films.” He offered. “I will be in touch, don’t worry Trina.”

One breasted warrior 1

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16 thoughts on “The One Breasted Warrior

  1. Whoa! WTH?! Trina I’m saddened to be reading this. I wish there was something I could do. The only thing I can do is to continue to pray for you. Cancer sucks! I can’t stand it when doctors scare the crap out of you & then tell you not to worry. I’m going through that now myself. Xoxo!

  2. Ohhhhhh friend…my heart hurts for you! Sad you “have to” be a Warrior and so thankful you are! Love and strength to you! Xoxo

  3. Just discovered you. We await scan results today to see what is going on with my husbands recurrent Stage 4 colon cancer. I am not in your situation but know a little about the waiting, waiting, waiting for results and the worry that goes a long with it all. I hope these results turn out to be “Nothing” for you. You write beautifully about such a painful subject. My thoughts are with you. xx

      • Hi Trina
        For the first time in a long while, it seems, the news was good. Briefly – my husband has recurrent Stage 4 Colon Cancer. He did 10 of 12 chemo sessions and then last week his liver was in a very bad way and they had to stop the chemo. Either the chemo was causing the liver problem or the cancer had spread – again – to the liver. Anyway scan shows liver is clear. The “tumour” is mixed in with scar tissue and it has shrunk from last time – but they do not have a clear picture of what is cancer and what is scarring. Si that can never say he is “clear”. Anyway chemo is over for the moment, and in next couple of months we will decide whether to do long term maintenance chemo or not.
        I so feel for you – as you say going in for reconstruction and finding out that there are potentially all sorts of other problems. Thinking of you. I am so sorry that you are in such pain – that is just terrible to deal with.
        I have found a site called WhatNext.com useful. One can ask questions etc and find others in similar situations. Wishing you all best and will be following your journey.

      • Thank you, I will thinking of you as your support your husband through his battle. Our caretakers are so so valuable to us patients, and I recognize that it is not easy at all. A hug to you from my heart.

  4. Dearest Trina,
    My heart aches for (with) you during these times of unanswered questions. Although we have never met, we belong to the same sisterhood (whether we like it or not). I will pray for you sister.

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