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Hugs and Kids

I hug. Not a lot, but I do hug. Hugs are good, hugs are comforting. My internist has turned into a hugger ever since I got diagnosed. I get hugs all the time now. The “I feel sorry for you (with a little nod of the head ) hug”, the “You are going to be OK” hug, and  “I am happy this is not happening to me” hugs.  Hugs are different as a mono-boob. There is slight hesitation now.

My kids, however, have figured out that if they want a soft squishy hug they should approach mommy from the right. I think my son feels that loss of my breast when he hugs me.He feels mommy isn’t that soft and squishy (not that I ever loved his characterization of me being squishy after busting my ass in the gym) as before, but happy now that he has figured out a way around it. He told me one morning that he hopes I get my breast back, I told him it will grow back next summer. It’s good to be six and believe that breasts grow back.

Beyond that I don’t think my ordeal has affected him much. He asked his dad for the Friday Steak ‘n Shake runs during the time I was recuperating from surgery and feels satisfied that his demand was met. The 2 yr old only wonders why sometimes my chest doesn’t bounce back.

Having cancer gives some transient respite from maternal guilt. Its like “get out of jail free card” for a mom. You get used to being good enough and feel relieved that at least for now you don’t have to match up against the Pinterest moms with handmade hair barrettes and home made Halloween costumes. It feels OK if your kids’ lunches do not have all food group in them. It helps scare the hyper PTA moms away.

Cancer also helps zero in on what is really important for kids – spending time with them. It also allows you to get away from them to find your quiet space, your alone time. Time to think about your life and death. And then it makes you get up, no matter how tired and hug them some more. The “When I am not there, you will be OK” kind of hug.

So hug someone. Because when you really need a hug and get one, nothing works better than that, not even chemo!

Silicone Lining

Apparently many think getting the news of breast cancer is a moment to rejoice! Why? Because you get “New Perky Ones!” It has been said to me too often, my response (of course, not aloud) is how about I punch your face so hard that you get a “New Improved Silicone Face!” Idiots! I believe in seeing silver linings, I am even excited about skipping long hair color appointments at the salon after I go bald, freedom from waxing, threading and all other forms of torture popularly known to women as grooming. But really, after hearing someone has breast cancer, this the best you could come with?

It is very interesting how people view cancer as an entity, this big black entity that envelopes people. I see it as a disease, a chronic disease that you live with for the rest of your life (or die with). I was in the waiting room to get my stitches out and was chatting up an old lady who was there to follow up on her ear lobe procedure (the earring holes had gotten too big and she had them repaired). She told me, “Cancer loves sugar.” I don’t know why people talk about cancer as if its their pet, or acquaintance. I have never heard this “Blood pressure loves salt.”

You know who else loves sugar, me! and a lot of people I know. May be when fear is overwhelming, separating it from yourself as an outsider is comforting but cancers are your own cells acting rogue. Making it out to be a big black shadow that follows you gives it more power over you. Having cancer, one reality that must not be forgotten, is that you are in charge, even though you may feel helpless and out of control. So here is to fake silicone breasts and the perks they come with! Cheers!

Monoboob

So even though I made an attempt towards immediate reconstruction, it did not work out (never mind the whole week that I feel that I had a pouch of Capri Sun under my skin). So I needed a second surgery to take Capri Sun out completely (They use a thing called a tissue expander which is a saline filled plastic pouch that gets filled progressively with saline until desired size is achieved). Now I am walking around what I call a “monoboob.” I feel like a unicorn , rare and exotic. Wearing a bra now is no longer a house majority,  instead of two yeses there is one yes and one no. Any ways, whats fascinating is that they take your real thing and hand you this fabric fiber filled fake boob. The punch line, please pin it inside because sometimes, it pops out. Now that fake boob has a name. I call it “Jane in the box”.

5 seconds

The diagnosis of cancer, no matter who you are, is scary. However, if for a change you are not, some well-wisher will make sure you are. “Oh yeah, now it’s a lifetime of worry,” and “Exactly what kind of worry are you referring to?” I think. Obviously death. But death is inevitable for everyone, not just cancer patients. It’s true that cancer patients have a heightened sense of shortened longevity, but it is also a helpful catalyst for change. To fix your life, to clean out the clutter, to unload negative forces in your life. Things that people should do anyway but don’t.

Cancer makes you think. Think a lot. The words spin in your head 24 /7. I love the 5 seconds in the morning when I wake up when my brain is still asleep, and I feel, oh, it’s a new morning, then the word cancer creeps in my head. For now, I will keep enjoying the 5 seconds in the morning when I haven’t still woken up to the toughest reality of my life. Good morning, it’s another wonderful day!