Cousin It

A new month is upon us.  But, the last month lingers in my mind.  It’s difficult sometimes to NOT relive the difficult.  Four years ago, I had some aches and pains this time of year.  But, I carried on.  I vacationed in the Bahamas and NYC that summer.  I coached my youngest daughter’s softball team.  I didn’t have time to consider that I might be dying because I was busy living.  Well, ok, we’re all dying from the day we’re born, but we don’t often ponder that.  I had read repeatedly in health magazines that if I didn’t take care of myself first, that I’d be no good to anyone else.  Still, I was taking care of everyone else first.

Twelve months later, I had survived eleven rounds of chemo.  I was told my left breast was, well, killing me.  One of the most basic female attributes…the breast…and mine was diseased, and the disease had spread.  My hair was all gone.  Every last piece of it.  That whimsical part of a woman’s body.  The part she fusses over and flips about, spends big bucks to change the color and style of….gone.  And in other areas…ugghh, I looked more like a little girl than my daughters did.  To top things off, the oncologist decided it was very important to remove my ovaries.  Really?  I don’t have much femininity to hold onto, I thought.  But, I didn’t really have time to ponder this.   Snip, yank, stitch…ovaries gone.  In June of 2009, I was neutered.

So, I live in this limbo land.  And lots of others are here with me, both male and female.  In this land, I am very much alive.  I enjoy everything a woman should.  No, I don’t.  That’s a big, fat lie.  Being neutered is difficult.  Don’t misinterpret me here.  First and foremost, I am very much alive.  I said that already, ya know.  But, things are changing in me that I didn’t want to change.  The spare tire around my middle that I had just lost part of.  Just lost it and kept it away for a bit over a year…it snuck back.   I hate it!  Flashes of heat were disturbing my sleep, and worse…I could be casually chatting with you at the grocery store and whoosh…my forehead, neck, and back could be drenched in approximately four seconds.  Over and over, day after day.  Seriously unsexy!  Beyond unsexy, if you hugged me or rubbed my back, you’d instantly set off a volcano inside of me.  And, like lava, the heat radiated from my side of the bed to John’s…and we have a king sized bed.  There are other things about being neutered that are extremely difficult to accept, but they can’t be discussed on public pages.  These things, of course, are the hardest of all.

And so, I guess I’ve learned my lesson.  There’s always a lesson to learn, right?  Cuz there is always a purpose to the hurdles and pain…right?  I have finally learned to take some care of myself.  It took me a year or more, but I finally got the help of an acupuncturist.  Would you believe that after ONE session, my hot flashes nearly disappeared!  I get them exactly when she told me I still would…when I indulge in coffee. Still, I struggle to completely give that up (refer to previous post).  The acupuncturist is also trying to reset my metabolism.  Sounds goofy, I know, but it’s worth a shot…or a few needles, as the case may be.  I swear my metabolism has totally turned off.  I’ll need to talk to my gynecologist about those other issues.  I guess my point is, we are all surrounded by people that want to help us through life’s transitions.  The oncologist shut down the cancer, the surgeon removed the estrogen makers, the nutritionist corrected the “internal environment”, the acupuncturist stopped the hot flashes.  Everyone played a role to help me feel “normal” again.  But, I had to seek the help each and every time.  Because I have to take care of myself first.  My other point is, there are some changes that just suck.  And the only thing that will change that is your own half empty/half full mentality.  This is the real pro-life choice.  I don’t like being neutered…at least not forcibly, like through surgery…but, I sure do like it here.

So, as I was recently told by a flight attendant, “in the event that we lose cabin pressure (or your blood pressure changes due to circumstances beyond your control), an oxygen mask will appear above your head. …Please secure your own mask before offering assistance to others.”  And, whenever you have the chance, be someone else’s oxygen…

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About nancy5vic

40-something year old cancer goddess (hah...make that 50-something now!!) raising four children and one husband. Diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer in 2008. Love to travel, cook, bake and spend time with my kids and friends. My perfect day always starts with breakfast out...especially fantastic if I'm with John.
This entry was posted in breast cancer, cancer, chemo, health update, healthy outlook, metastatic, nancy ferrato and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Cousin It

  1. yelodoggie says:

    Hey cousin, the neutering may not be any fun, but all those changes were going to happen anyway….just a few more years down the road. Me…every month for the past two years when I’ve had my menses I’ve thought…’really?? When the hell is this crap going to end?? Mom was done by this age!’ Well, this month I got my wish, LOL, and the hot flashes that come with it. They really are weird. I’m intrigued that acupuncture helped you, and I may try that, because I don’t want to go the estrogen route. And hey, I’ve always said, the glass isn’t half full *or* half empty…it’s twice as big as it needs to be!!

  2. nancy5vic says:

    Do try the acupuncture! The first appt is a bit odd, but then it becomes as relaxing as a massage. The sooner you seek help, the easier your symptoms go away. Just a thought…Eastern women don’t get hot flashes with menopause. So any food/herb/tea or lifestyle change you can do to mimic their lifestyle may be helpful.

  3. Annmarie says:

    Wonderful blog as usual! It’s good to get things off your chest. I’m sure I’ll join you in the hot flash zone too. God has a sense of humor you know. Thinning the hair we have on the top of our heads only to have it grow where we DON’T want it! And, don’t get me started on the metabolism, yikes! I could eat a meal and live for the next 5 years off of it just fine… I think my ancestors had to go long periods between hunts, and I got the relic survivor gene. Crap.
    Good thing your husband still finds you irresistible, at the end of the day, that’s all that matters to your ego! ; )

  4. nancy5vic says:

    Thanks, Annmarie. Maybe Survivor will recruit us! And, yes, I have a wonderful man in my life. I’ll let you know if the acupuncture helps the metabolism. So far, I’m not so impressed. It was so helpful with the hot flashes, though, and it is SO relaxing.

  5. Hey nancy5vic, your words are my words. Stage 4 from the get go, ovaries removed, hot flashes, life forcing change, life forcing us to stretch. life forcing a pulling back and a pulling in. Stretch, retreat, despair, hope, depression, anger, shock, big hearty laughs, broken down crying, get up, keep moving. Broken down, broken open. How do I identify the distinction? They are so close…..

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