Breast Cancer, Autism & Home Remodeling – why not?

 

Ok – things are still gross (just want to throw that out there – I’m nowhere near ok with this craziness yet), but bit by bit, they are taking shape, and every once in a while, I feel like this is going to be doable. Most of the time, I remain kind of crabby and wallowing in self-pity, but I have found my way to inappropriate humor for fleeting moments, and for now, I’ll take that.

Yesterday, I got to meet my reconstructive plastic surgeon, Dr. Migliori, and he’s my kind of people. I had heard from my friend Sarah who has traveled a similar path that he was the bomb, and indeed, he really was.  He expressed compassion, he inquired about our children and how they were doing with all of this, he made discussing boobs as comfortable as possible, and best of all, he “gets” that ridiculous humor is going to be the key to me making it to the other side of all of this crap.

We looked at photos of lots of different breasts, which were all different women he had worked with, each with different “case numbers” below them and no doubt hundreds of cancer journey tales both different and similar to mine. It felt strange looking at breasts and envisioning what this process will look like and feel like during the different stages of reconstruction.  I needed to do that, but it was still funky.  Sure, it wasn’t horrific for this mom of 3 in her late 40’s to hear that in all likelihood I will be able to go running in a year without any form of “support” and be rock solid (I’m still frankly dismayed by this!), but I’d no doubt rather stick with what I’ve got and accept gracefully what age, experience and gravity have done to me.  Importantly – because of cancer that choice is no longer mine, and so, I’m trying with all my might to see any hint of faint rainbow at the end of this very ugly storm.

Most of all, he was kind, he acknowledged how painful, icky and jarring it is to be thrust into all of this craziness so abruptly, and he assured me that while he could not take all this grossness away, that he could do his best to help me feel like a new version of me complete with tattoos if I choose. Wow.  He really does “get” this, and I am beyond lucky for the chance to work with him, and with my breast cancer surgeon, Dr. Bretzky.  They team up for this type of project – roughly 1 ½ hours per surgeon, which frankly seems remarkable to me.

After the scheduling teams chatted, they reached out to me this afternoon to let me know we’re tentative for April 4th.  Ironically, that’s my 49th birthday.  They asked if that was a problem for me, and I said no – these rogue cells need to be gone, and that seems as good a birthday gift as I can imagine this year.  Game on.

It’s been a crazy few days filled with ups and downs and kind reach outs and seriously whacky situations galore. My aunts came to town in an attempt to cheer me up despite me sharing what a crappy place I was in.  Indeed, they did get me out into the sunshine, made me laugh, helped me do fun junk with my offspring, and prepare our toes ready for spring.  Sometimes I was a crying jerk, but that’s not that unusual to be fair.  I don’t deserve them.

Sunday afternoon, Ada shared with me that she didn’t want to hug me as she didn’t want to catch my cancer. She also said that Elliott told her I was going to die soon because of cancer.  This caught me off guard, and I tried with all my might to keep it together while bringing the trio up to speed on what we know and don’t know at this point.  Our discussion was honest, and while I can’t promise my kids I’m going to be fine, I did let them know that everything I’m learning from my medical team thus far is positive.  I hope to be here causing great problems for them well into their adulthood.  Come on – they owe me that!  This situation reminded me this needs to be an ongoing dialog done regularly.  Just another new spin on ASD for our family – we’ll just need to keep learning together, and we all have a long way to go figuring out how to do this.

Yesterday, my friend Kris came over and was an enormous help distracting me before my surgery consult apt. Our kitchen/living room area is still completely ripped up/nails exposed floor as we had decided weeks ago to take this opportunity (given to us by our faulty dishwasher last month) to make some additional changes to our kitchen layout.  While this kind of thing overwhelms me anyway, throwing in breast cancer as we prepare for home renovations is just plain crazy pants.  She had me out taking photos of light fixtures, carpeting, and even cabinet hardware, and I only cried a few times.  She easily downsized our giant bag full of samples and craziness into a small ziplock – and that really does rock!  Without her, Elliott and Ada would have bright pink everything.

Today I got to accompany Ada’s class on their field trip to the zoo. It was actually quite fun to just forget about all the ugliness of thinking/planning the upcoming months and just hang out with 3rd graders watching penguins bicker about who got the biggest fish snack.  She loved it, and sometimes it’s nice for me to just recognize how far she has come on days like this where all the kids just enjoyed one another and laughed and negotiated where to go next and which animals smell the worst.  I need to remember this day when math makes her want to resign from school again.

While the field trip was fab, we did have a fascinating exchange at the bus stop this morning. Ada and I were chatting with one of our neighborhood pals waiting for the bus, and out of the blue Ada looked at me and said “Mom, I’m not going to touch your breasts – you know, because of the cancer” – yikes!  Just then the bus pulled up and while our friend looked a bit freaked out, I’m quite certain I did as well.  Just another reminder that we’ll need to find a way to work on socially appropriate breast cancer dialog or our check-out friends at Target are going to be hearing all about my breasts in no time.  Wow.

Most of all, this remains a roller coaster. I have so many thoughtful, heartwarming, and encouraging messages/notes/emails from people that I haven’t even come close to responding in a timely manner and thanking them.  I feel like a big jerk as I hate not feeling like I’m using my friendship skills and manners, but right now, I’m just not able to be on top of things.  Trying to get things – yes, even big-deal-important things – in order before surgery and whatever comes next is stressing me out a lot.  I know I can’t keep up with what I do now, but how the heck can I not?  We will muddle through, I know we will – but I hate that this is all happening, and I can’t help it.  It just blows – and I can’t pretend it doesn’t.  Ugh.

Ok – tomorrow morning is Ada’s IEP. I am less prepared than I’d like to be, but I have faith it will be ok.  Besides, who knows what all these wonderful people have heard from Ada about my breasts?  This could be a fascinating discussion – wish me well . . .

 

 

 

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9 responses to “Breast Cancer, Autism & Home Remodeling – why not?

  1. Kammy, You are an amazing writer! I am sending lots of love and good mojo your way. Kick this cancer like the bad a$$ you are!!

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  2. Omigoodness! You are cracking me up & melting my heart at the same time! God bless you thru all of this, mrs. Kramer! Hugs & love & prayers!!!

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

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  3. Hugs babe! You are going to do this and with humor and grace. Your friends are here to help and support you. I just love your attitude and it is ok to have bad days and doubts. You are one strong MF! As Telly would say, “who loves you baby?” I do!

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  4. Kammy, this is a time where you take, take, take from your friends and family. No responses required. No manners needed. Cross these worries off your list. I am going to go ahead and speak for all your friends and say we expect nothing, zero from you. We send well wishes, prayers, offers to help. You take what helps you. That’s it. (Ok. Older sister lecture over. No wonder Laurie thinks I’m bossy!)

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  5. Praying that your birthday surgery is a success!! I enjoy reading your entries! I am also in the midst of a shit storm…I just try to take it day by day and not think about the future too much…causes me too much anxiety. Stay strong and keep your sense of humor.

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  6. Kammy,
    You are a ROCK STAR, a very funny one at that! Please don’t ever lose the humor, zaniness or caring! You are going to come out of this like a champion! Your whole village is out here, you do not walk, run or fall down alone!
    Dale from Ottertail

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  7. Hi Kammy. your Dr. Migliori sounds like a real peach! His attitude is catching – hang on and ride out the storm. You do have a lot of factors in your favor – your age, early detection and great surgeons. I’m sorry this had to come along during such a busy time, but to take your mind off the boobs for a little bit, I’m saving pieces for your décor as we pack for the move and down the road we’ll get your house back together. I hate moving and we have an awful lot of stuff from several different houses. But my cleaning girls have coming over each week and helping and Karl has been wonderful in moving boxes every weekend. We’ll get there. Our Sturgeon Bay house is ready for sale and all we need is the buyer’s inspector to take a final look. The plumber was over there this morning to get the water going again and he said the house next door was struck by lightning and it’s garage burned up. Yikes, that could have been our place. I’m anxious to get that place out of our hands. I’m glad you’re still very communicative and I read every one of your postings. Much love, Sandy

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  8. Im glad Ada has things under control, at least within limits. She has a good handle on thigs as as long as there’s a red couch. Yes, everything’s just fine, sort of, on the red counch.

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  9. Thank you Kammy for continuing to blog through out this storm! You always make me smile – and I thank you for that – your gift is well appreciated. It sounds like you have a good, solid plan and I hope all goes well. Best of luck.
    Lisa

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