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…