Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Scar Project

If you haven't yet, please go take a look at and support the brave women of The Scar Project.  These are professional photos of breast cancer survivors under 40.  It's not a walk or a pink ribbon, it's reality and not for the feint of heart. Some people say they see sadness in the eyes of these women. And there's some of that yes, because we do lose a lot of our identity in this process and it can be hard to overcome that. I find myself struggling sometimes with the way I look one week out from surgery, but I also realize that now is not forever. I'll look completely different one year from now and I just have to be patient with the process. That's probably the hardest part for me - patience with myself.

What I see in this project is strength, beauty, courage, wisdom and humanity. It takes a lot of guts to accept the way we look afterwards and show it to others - to show people reality. That’s what I see.
I can accept the way I’m going to look when all of my reconstruction is over, but I’m also going to embrace everything that makes me feel beautiful again, including tattoos encompassing my scars. They’re a part of me now and I intend to make them mine in whatever way I can.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Surgery hurdle cleared!

Today is Thanksgiving and I have so much to be thankful for! I wasn't sure there would even BE a Thanksgiving, but some awesome friends brought over enough food for ten people and we've had a royal feast today.  I'm so completely grateful for the people I've come to know and love over the years.  I'm very, very lucky.

I'm a week out from surgery now. Dr. Moore (my plastic surgeon) saw me yesterday and says everything is healing wonderfully and I should have the drains out the next time I see him on Tuesday. He seemed to feel really good about my progress and the one nipple I got to keep (the left). I've only been a little grossed out when I happen to feel around one night and could feel the crinkliness of the not-yet pumped up expanders under my skin. Blech. But my tits are going to look great once they're all done and that makes me pretty happy.

I'm off the Lortab as of yesterday (thank the gods), walking around (up to a 1/2 mile today), getting up and down the stairs, and bathing and dressing myself. I still have a lot of muscle soreness and getting myself out of bed in the morning is hard, but I'm impressed with my recovery and abilities probably more than anyone else. I have a pretty low threshold for pain so I thought this would just kick my ass for a good while. I've had some crap days and some crap hours, but for the most part I'm in very good spirits and I feel pretty damn good. I'm surprised by how strong I am physically; how tough I am mentally; and how resilient I am in every way.  This is not entirely news to me, but it's nice to have hard evidence!

Next up is a follow up with the PS, then a follow up with the surgeon on Dec. 12th.

ETA:  I'm knitting today, y'all!  YAY!!!

Friday, November 11, 2011

...and we're back!

My trip to London was awesome and amazing.  I'm so glad I went!  If you'd like to see pictures, my Flickr album is here. Forgive my derp face. The sights are worth it though.

The surgery is the 17th (Thursday) and I have pre-op appointments with my surgeon, the hospital, and the plastic surgeon on the 14th (Monday). I'm not looking forward to any of these, but alas, they come next week anyway.

For those of you asking about helping out, the Lotsa Helping Hands site is up and has a calendar function with meal sign ups for now. We'll add chemo dates when I know them, in case you want to join me for IV fun times!  The wish list is linked there too, along with Carrie's Paypal (carrie.coker AT for anyone who would like to donate to purchase meals or medical expenses/leave, etc.  All the offers of help have been really touching, and I'm so honored to have such wonderful friends!

I'll update again after all the Monday appointments, as I'm sure they'll be fascinating and full of Sharpie marks on my chest.  Woo!