As you know, I’ve had all of my treatments and surgeries in Indy up until now. Further, I’ve primarily been cared for in places that cater to breast cancer patients. The offices are decorated in soothing, tasteful colors and usually have a lot of windows to let in plenty of cheerful sunshine. If there’s a TV it’s tuned in to the Food Network or Martha Stewart. The clientele, while mostly older than me, are usually still in pretty good shape.
Contrast this to the small local cancer center where on Tuesday I had my first appointment with Dr Haerr. The waiting area is a big, dimly lit room, decorated in burgundy, hunter green and navy. We’d been there about 2 minutes when Hubster’s cell phone rang—it was 1994 wanting its color scheme back. The perimeter of the room was flanked with sofas, on which those of us not in wheel chairs sat. A TV blared soap operas, and there was a table with a jigsaw puzzle in process on it. The whole place just screamed to me, “You young whippersnappers with your fancy leopard print mastectomy bras think you’re special because you can breathe without an oxygen tank, do ya? There’ll be no daylight shining into this place, Missy! Now sit down and wait for death like the rest of us.” I said to Hubster, “This place reminds me of a funeral home.” He agreed and described it later as “all dark and couchy.”
The people that work there were all very nice. It was amusing to me that they felt the need to assure me that my treatments wouldn’t make me radioactive. Do people really worry about that? I was disappointed to find out that radiation will not give me the super powers I’d hoped to gain, however. The high price of gas was making super hero style flight look really good. I did learn a couple of things, though. First, I am not allowed to wear deodorant on that side for the entire 6 weeks of treatment. The nurse said that the sweat glands won’t be working anyway—and y’all had better hope she’s right. If that weren’t gross enough, she also said I can’t shave on that side. It’s like the Pit Hog came out and saw his shadow, so there will be six weeks of funky, hairiness. Ick. The nurse claims that the hair will cease to grow as a result of the radiation. I really hope so, or I may have to adopt a French accent and pretend I’m an exchange student.
I go back on Thursday and Friday to do my simulation. That’s where they figure out exactly where they are zapping you, and mark your body accordingly. I’ll be starting actual treatments on Monday. Dr Haerr—who I like a lot, by the way—said we can probably cram all my treatments in before Christmas, since that was my goal. Woo hoo!
My prosthesis has a name. I call it my Foob. Short for Fake Boob. As you can see from the picture, it bears a striking resemblance to its Cabbage Patch cousins. The Foob is not silicone—I haven’t graduated to that yet—it’s more like a dense pillow with a bean bag or something in the very middle to give it some weight. It does a good job of filling out my clothes, but I’ll be glad to have reconstruction so that I have something up there that’s actually attached to me instead of riding around in its own little side car.