The only way I can describe with no exaggeration is I felt like a gator chomped onto my whole chest, tits an’ all and spewed me out! Then the doctors miraculously sewed me back up. And bein’s I ain’t no southern gal I am terrified of gators! Now seeing this monster gator often-called, a Rougarou an’ its gaping jaws, I don’t want to mess with THAT!
Even grossed out my man with the visual of huge gators ripping my boobs ‘n body into bloody shreds, in a murky swamp churning over … cancer is that f-u-c-k-king monster. An evil horriffible ravenous-fucking-eating-machine-monster! It invaded my breast and viciously tore apart my womanhood worse than any woman’s nightmare.
Cancer is tactless. Cancer doesn’t give a damn. Breast cancer disfigures your body — just like that gator. Doesn’t care who you are, how much money you got, your skin color, your accomplishments, etc., etc.. I begged for God’s mercy that it will not kill me now. Its danger shook me to the core. It truly gave me nightmares.
That dag-blasted gut feeling had come true … and at times it has been like dealing with the wrath of an EF4 tornado and those damn monsters ALL at the same time. I couldn’t fight it dammit! The burden of the physical pain of major surgeries was rough but I could not underestimate the emotional jolt of losing my breast.
Easy for someone opinionated to say, “ahch! it’s not your legs or arms and, you’re not dying”. But this disease is the evil freight train out to run over an’ destroy all women. Did I dare say how I feel? This shit went very deep — I wasn’t sure I could and stay on an even keel, or sane, or get relief. I had to take a deep breath and accept that not everyone in society is capable of being sympathetic, not their fault, how can they know my aches and pains, my feelings about this unless they too have had breast cancer? And I sure as hognails would not wish that on anyone. Couldn’t always put my finger on it but I was learning. Searching for answers in the midst of reconstruction was not always a relief.
Being a Midwest country gal raised with a tough suck-in-yer-gut determination, I thought I willed myself to heal, promising my grandchildren “I’m good”. My healing mode brought me back thru my own upbringing from noncommittal status quo, into the deepest belief in my core that trust in God is the only way to one’s own ability to survive. After the mastectomy, for me, it was so inherent, so inexplicable. All I did was ask and the Lord gave me strength, once belied as I felt HIM beside me, as I’d imagined my mother too as I lay in the hospital bed with Valium in my IV. Or was it Morphine? Don’t remember.
I made a few calls to the nurses in those first weeks for nothing more than moral support. Texting and friends’ online support with instant emails gave me a sense of security that can’t be undermined. Reassurance was unbelievable, such a comfort. Yet I couldn’t ignore the battles raging. You take a hit. And like in football, it is a tremendous loss. My goals have always had a more logical rationale. That went down the tubes. It took weeks to wear on me, to sink in but later after my mastectomy I cried at any moment without obvious provocation. I hit bottom hard. Instinct kicked in and I knew this wounded dog needed to lick her wounds in survival mode. But obvious wasn’t the thorn in my side, as mere looks would presumably seem to be my top priority …
In those first months my daughter had gone AWOL. Our relationship tanked — the first time of serious, bitter heartache not in my control, the umbilical ripped. I won’t apologize for feeling damned about more months of discomfort, so I was stuck on the belief. Unresolved issues and lack of maturity drove an anvil into our relationship, deeply wedged into both our hearts. My mind closed. She escaped to North Carolina in desperation to salvage pieces of her life. There’d be no reconciliation as several months went by what felt like an eternity without her or my granddaughter.
We all have our own secular beliefs indigenous of ol’ Uncle Jesse’s family ways to divert sickness and being-strong-as-an-ox or too-tough-to-get-sick routines. Most of us can’t circumvent certain illness. Breast cancer is that illness. I could not dodge the bullet of BC. Every woman — everyone fears breast cancer.
And sometimes facts just suck. Many more months passed anticipating, my surgeries all took priority over any gardening and love of outdoors as I sorted through my my boob was really amputated. I only partially regained the stamina to do some yard tasks, occasional dog walks. It was July before I even bought my fishing license because I was too worn out to go. I had to fight like hell against no stamina, gaining weight (kinda lost that battle) and to regain my strength. My self image was in the pits. Rebuilding my strength after a mastectomy I knew I was on my own because nobody could do strengthening exercises for me or eat right for me either.
At times my expectation was more too stubborn than cautiously realistic. I constantly pushed too hard, especially to resume my outdoors lifestyle. Hunting after surgery proved just how darn muley I can be. But the dreaded gator had a choke-hold on me, had me by the throat in its death roll… even though I had a lifetime of ‘death rolls’ with surgeries and emergencies that go hand in hand with everyday life … I was not in the least prepared…