Letters

During the bouts of cancer diagnosis and treatments, Rachel writes e-mails to keep her friends and family updated on her thoughts and spiritual walk.

Funky not pretty

January 29, 2005

Am feeling pretty good. Last week I was in a fair amount of pain but I’m all about the drugs so it was manageable. My drains, to remove fluid from the surgical site, were removed last Friday which was earlier than normal so that was nice. This week I’m feeling well and my biggest problem is tending to overdo it. Not that that would surprise any of you. Don’t worry. Neil’s all over me like dirty shirt to take it easy. I got in trouble yesterday for driving.

 

My surgeon had said that my recovery this time would be as good or better than last summer. In some ways it has been – I have more mobility, sooner, than I did last time and am less tender although I am quite numb across the surgical site. Feeling will, apparently, return over time. Hopefully after the pain has all subsided. The surgery was, of course, on both sides so in that regard I think it’s going to take a bit longer to recover because I can’t use one arm to compensate for the other – like last time. Still am not able to pick up the kids which is the most frustrating to me…and to them, but they have been great through this. Quinn understands that “Mummy has two ouchies” while Kate is happy to get cuddles from Grandma. Thankfully they are both walking and great helpers when it comes to getting dressed, eating by themselves, coming when you call, etc. It would be tougher, I think, if they were any younger.

 

I have an appointment on Monday with my oncologist to discuss hormone therapy. Basically there are drugs they will suggest that I take for several years (likely 5) in order to reduce my chances of recurrence. There is also the possibility that they will want to put me into menopause – probably with drugs rather than surgically. The goal is to reduce the amount and activity of estrogen in my body because the cancer I had was “estrogen receptive” which means that it stimulates the cancer to grow. I’m not sure how I feel about this. I haven’t gotten any statistics from my doctor yet and that will play a big factor in my decision. Although I say I’m “all about the drugs” there is a part of me that is tired of having my body poked, prodded and poisoned. Not that these drugs would be poisoning (like chemo) but I just don’t want to put anything else in my body. I just want to be left alone. Hardly a rational place to be making decision from. Anyway, please pray for wisdom. I know I’m more emotional than logical about it right now.

 

Also, for those who are praying, there is still the risk of infection and my body rejecting the tissue expanders (and later the implants). It’s not rejection like an organ transplant but more my body creating a hard coating around the foreign object. If that happens, now or any time over the coming years, I will have to have the whole procedure again. I really don’t want to go through this again when the kids are small.

 

For the next few months I’ll go in every couple of weeks to see the plastic surgeon and he’ll add more saline to the tissue expanders until I’m satisfied with the size. I must admit that it’s a bit strange to be choosing the size of your bust. These are not usually things one has control over. Of course, I’ve consulted my husband for his opinion. He, in all seriousness, said, “Well, not any bigger than Pamela Anderson.” Excellent.

 

Up to this point, the whole cancer look hasn’t been too hard to handle – except when I want to look pretty. From a D cup with long blonde hair to flat chested with fuzzy head and sparse eyelashes and, well, let’s just say I struggle to look feminine. In the midst of one of my Fashion Meltdowns, Shaila suggested the mantra “funky not pretty” and I’m trying to work with it. Thankfully I have a sister who’s wardrobe is filled with namebrands I’m too old (and uncool) to recognize so she is keeping me hip…and happy. Thank goodness too for false eyelashes – best 11 bucks I’ve ever spent.

 

So that’s it for today. I’m less emotional, thankfully, as I hunker down to recover from this surgery – with a few blips here and there. Just normal – whatever “normal” is. I’ll maybe send an update after my appointments next week – for all of those who are interested in “Baywatch: Behind the Scenes” – until then and always:

 

“To the King of ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever.”
(1 Tim. 1.17).

 

He is so good. I am so glad to know Him.

 

love,
rb

ps.”…funky not pretty. funky not pretty. funky…”

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