I live in Missouri with sultry summers so say we’re havin’ a cappuccino or sitting in my swing with a cold beer on a hot summer night swatting at mosquitoes … Sometimes I get my words turned ass-backerds, but I try not to over analyze, just tryin’ on keepin’ it real.
“Raw” as one friend said. Words have always been the way I made sense of my life. I was asked how I felt and looked so I started selfies and diaries of my progress — here is the nuts and bolts of my recovery, the whole shebang.
My diagnosis: Microinvasive ductal carcinoma, nuclear grade 2, moderately differentiated, 1mm in greatest dimension, Stage 1.
My prognosis: Unilateral (total) mastectomy, bilateral reconstruction with anti-hormone therapy.
Nothing ‘pink’ about my breast being amputated. It’s PAIN. SURVIVAL. Emotionally raw nonfiction is the nitty-gritty of breast cancer. This blog spurred my book, which focuses on tons of close ups from six reconstructive surgeries, depression, and opiate-nightmares, Tamoxifen, the anti-cancer drug and death. I walk you through as I recovered amid four years of struggles to rejoin my husband and my family and my dog in our outdoors lifestyle.
Besides four years of physically struggling to get my life back after a total mastectomy, I dove into music and writing (this blog turned into my first self-published eBook). Within days, I was thrown into clinical depression, with painful physical trauma, its evil tentacles transformed my inner defenses into nightmares of murderous rage and terror. I hinged on the edge of opiate dependency despite the idealism of spiritual healing. My dry humor is a relief for some. The book’s selfies (linked to my Google photo album) are all from my iOS5 as true diaries of my progress. There is no censorship; and those pics are more viewer-friendly than Amazon’s digital format, unfortunately for a customer buying my eBook… this blog is formatted for ease, with a modicum of aesthetics in my control.
Occasionally, I offer not-so-politically-correct opinions. There IS obviously, the 1st Amendment at work, all those opinions borne out of deep convictions, reference not to an elephant or donkey, but at times sarcastic as an ass or two. So pardon the tongue-in-cheek inference.
My family heard me cry, my frustration and coaxed my anger through my worst days. I didn’t need to be perfect or strong with them. Their comforting words is how I came to this, ‘the nightmare of breast cancer’. From their compassion for me. I escape in huntin’ and gardening, love the feel of a wood gun stock and dirt between my toes. True gardeners garden barefoot… me. I yearn for the breeze on my face and my grandkids laughter. Grandkids say the dangdest stuff ‘n my dog is my bubbas ‘n the goofy man I’m married to all make me laugh. Nobody talks so stiff-necked as we write in the first draft. I broke all the paragraphs down after I broke down.
Dr. Jew explained the pathology report that my cancer was STAGE 1. Understanding my cancer was not ‘Stage 2’ but ‘Stage 1’ was no less scary, yet that downgrade made all the difference. I did not require chemotherapy or radiation treatments – a blessing…
An abnormal mammogram, mastectomy and reconstruction from October 2013 till now led to sharing my hell with words as the only way to make sense of my breast cancer. Three years of breast reconstruction, dreams on medications, physiological adjustments, medical procedures and monster nightmares, marriage and family issues all in Midwest-mom-speak… NOT as a doctor, but through a retired Hallmarker’s eyes for everyday women.
Prudes beware. I emphasize: this is a woman’s memoir of mature content, for women’s awareness and general info. While much of the text is too mature for a pre-teen’s comprehension, realistic images for your ‘ref’, links and PDF’s are for accuracy. I don’t justify vulgarity for the sake of including naked breast images. This content demanded true to life photos relative to breast cancer; thus, I uploaded my own selfies. Real patients need real photos, real help, so I set aside my self-consciousness for the sake of revealing my own tru-life selfies, along with my nipple tattoos.
Serendipitous hope blossomed in my heart as my body started to heal in my poetry, Sunday diary and ‘Engulfed’. I hold tightly to my belief God heard the tiny prayers I whispered every day to restore my womanhood, sanity, my strength and my motherhood. That’s how it works to get through it, to survive, and to regain my passion for life. I prayed for my compassion for others in the same boat. I put my whole self in God’s hands, boobs ‘n all. I had to rebuild my body. Not my booty but my boobs and my spirit.
Determined to enable other cancer patients to get the truest sense of the emotional upheaval, my redemption and to reclaim my life after my mastectomy. The truth is, after three years, I’m still resuming my womanhood — because that’s so much more than my breast being removed. I hope you’ll pardon the rawness, my selfies and my candor to share this experience to you. Well, after breast reconstruction I HAD to get my sense of huumor back!
This is about surviving — the rigors, the physical pain, the intensity of emotions, the doctors, and and how it all affected my circle of people. I’d rather yak about outdoorsy stuff but this is the survival of the fittest. There are many uncensored selfies (© woman in recon) concise with this context. The MPAA Movie Ratings would surely rate them R, but I promise they’re rated more F for “family” or M for “medical”.
If you just had a mastectomy and are scared, looking for answers, hopefully you will find at least a few answers here. There is no little niche for escape. Being vulnerable is gut wrenching and scary. Here, I share my experiences throughout my reconstruction and my utter despair — it’s how other breast cancer patients feel too.
Nobody knows my pain except another cancer patient — this is a heads-up for those fortunate not to deal with a mastectomy and reconstruction and women who’ve recently begun treatment. The Lord blessed me with a great recovery — many women do not recover. Most of us are average Josephines: neighbors, the boss-lady, your daughter, and myself, and we accept that we don’t get special treatment for a miracle cure. But (and a BIG but) every breast cancer patient is special and deserves the best possible help and guidance through it, as a unique woman.
Like Joyce Carol Oates says, “beginning a memoir is like having a dump truck pull up beside you and tip a couple tons of garbage on your head.”
What’s in my head isn’t garbage but sometimes it felt like it … All women with breast cancer feel screwwwed up. Aside from the not-so-cheery stuff, my goal is to hopefully guide women through their own search ‘for the cure’ and give them hope for remission! At 62, I’m not a professional except somewhat at life.
My mission: Provide other breast cancer patients with real info and hope they too can kick boob cancer’s ass.
© Copyright P. L. Frommer 2017. All rights reserved.