And so it was.
Mammogram. Breast ultrasound. Wait.
Breast MRI. Wait.
Panic. No more waiting. Bone scan-heart scan-chest x-ray-abdominal ultrasound-Transvaginal ultrasound (as fun as it sounds). Bilateral mastectomy-removal-of-17-lymph-nodes-partial-reconstruction. Heal. Plan chemo. PICC line insertion. Chest x-ray. 8 infusions of push-me-to-my-limit toxic chemicals over 16 weeks. Plan radiation. Walkwalkwalkwalk. 6 weeks and 28 radiation treatments.
#28 was today.
There is a crispy square on my shoulder, hard to see in the above photo but one of the lesser-affected areas of treatment.
The hardest-hit is under the arm, thus the frequent ‘Cleopatra’ pose, giving it some air. This too shall pass.
(Today, laughing with a good friend who assured me that ‘of course it looks weird’ when I inquired.)
Never again will I hear ‘Chin distance….17.7? Good. Vertical shift….5.5? Okay. Horizontal shift…..8.7 left? Yep. Sup tattoo…9.9? Good.
Never, I pray to the gods, will I hear the whining and whirring and clanging of that radiation machine.
As scary the end of treatment is, I am so looking forward to this next phase, wherein I heal and let my body forget all of which it is all too conscious right now.
I am starting to recognize the person I see when I look in the mirror. I am getting used to comments such as ‘Hey! Your hair is getting…taller?’.
A few days ago there was a video circulated around of a woman facing a double mastectomy who chose to spend the ten minutes prior to her surgery having a dance party in the operating room with the operating staff. It has left me with dancing on my mind since. When I dance I can shake just about any worry off. Dancing connects us with our bodies in a primal way, communicates sorrow, joy, sex, longing, humour, rage, all of it, if we let it. In my mind there is no such thing as a bad dancer.
Today while waiting for my final treatment to begin, a friend who came down to provide support along with my mother informed me that there was a dancehall for sale close to the city, something I found fascinating and totally appealing. I went into treatment with dreams of opening a fabulous restaurant in the woods where people would come to eat good food, drink good wine and dance and sauna. Those who know me know I love to dance.
I actually laughed out loud when the girls in the radiation department cranked the music up for me, as they do at my request, and the song filling the room for my last treatment was none other than Sexual Healing, which is always a great go-to dance tune. And so, with a grin on my face, I closed my eyes and imagined myself lifting out of my body for that last punishing treatment and dancing around that room with wild, albeit somewhat-crispy, abandon.
I am done. 8 months later, this part of the journey is complete.
Bring on the healing.