Today I saw my doctor again. I still have a drain in, and it looks like it’s going to stay a while longer. I’ve had a great attitude about the drains this time. In fact, I was proud of myself. After feeling devastated (I know it’s a word I keep using, but it’s really the perfect one) about not being seen for a teaching job interview, I managed to pick myself up and do all the brushing off type stuff. I’ve not allowed myself to wallow and begin a long depression spiral. My drain has been part of this new and improved attitude. I’ve been celebrating the five cc’s fewer I’ve had in output per day instead of lamenting that I’m not yet below thirty. Going in for my appointment, I knew that there was no way the drain was coming out today. Instead, I looked forward to a clean dressing and getting the old tape residue off of my poor, oxygen deprived skin. It was going completely as expected.
Then he said, “Wait. What’s that?”
He went to my other side, my first mastectomy site, and started poking and moving my skin. It felt aggressive. That’s when I knew there was something there that shouldn’t be there. It’s no big deal, just fatty deposits. Normally they’re nothing to be concerned about.
Normally. There’s a word I hate. It’s sort of like that all powerful but- it doesn’t seem like good things usually follow “normally.” My particular fatty deposits have hardened for some reason. No idea why, but they have. So they need to be removed. Once my drain is out and my incision is fully closed, I will have them removed. It’s not a big lrocedure, it’s just more. More pain. More cutting. More trauma to my chest. More.
I’m learning that cancer is the worst kind of thief. Once it steals from you, it doesn’t just go away. It continues to steal from you over and over again. It takes your breasts. It takes your sleep and comfort. It takes swimming with your child in the beginning of summer. It takes your confidence and trust. I feel like every day it takes something new. I won’t let it take me, though. I won’t let it take my persistence or my hope. It may knock me down from time to time, but I will always get up.
Normally, this would be another devastating blow, but today I will look it in the eye and say, “Is that all you’ve got?”