I didn’t know what to expect when I got done with the chemo, surgery and radiation. I was hoping to get back to normal. For the most part I guess we have. We’ve been able to get together with family for birthday celebrations and going away parties and festivals. After taking a year off, I am back to taking care of our wonderful great nieces Nadine and Zoey on Tuesdays. But I have also spent more time at the plastic surgeon’s office than I ever thought I would. It’s funny, when we first met him, I really didn’t think we would be in contact with him so much. We have really developed a nice relationship with Dr. Hijjawi. Sometimes we talk about movies, old trivia games, and dining out.
Most of my days lately have been spent in physical therapy. Since having the expander on my right breast removed, the skin that was radiated has become so very tight. When I first started, I couldn’t lift my arm higher than making a right turn signal. Now I am almost able to get it straight up over my head before I feel any real discomfort.
In the meantime, I noticed a small lump under my left arm (the tumor-free side, where I still have a breast expander) while showering the other day. I brought this up with my plastic surgeon, and he said, “Let’s get you in for an ultrasound.” He thought maybe it was just a stitch where he attached the expander. Last Friday, I had that ultrasound done, and they found that two of my lymph nodes are reactive. Dr. Hijjawi said he has seen this in a small group of women with expanders, so they want me to come back in a month to have another ultrasound and, if needed, at that time they will do a fine needle aspiration. That’s where they extract fluid from the lymph node and have that tested. If the lymph node looks normal, then of course there is no need for the biopsy. So from now on, I am taking advice from the great Warren Zevon: I am going to “enjoy every sandwich”.
I have also been touched by the personal connections that I have made with a number of women around the world. I have new friends from Chicago, Maine, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Belgium, and elsewhere. I have had deep connections with these women. We correspond through blog comments, YouTube, and email, and I can’t believe how much love I have felt for each of them. They have lifted me up when I was down. I would have never thought I could have such a strong feeling for someone I never even met or spoke to. I love this about the Internet — how it can bring people together who probably would never have met. I love all of these women like my closest girlfriends. I hope to meet them someday, so I can put my arms around them and show them how much I have valued sharing some of our deepest feelings.