In with the hair…out with the port

The port is gone…long live the port. I must say I was reluctant to have surgery, but not at all sad to see it go. Having a port-a-cath was a great stress/vein/pain saver on the long chemo road, but I’m happy to have the bump off my chest. In an extremely anti-climactic surgical procedure, the port came out in under 20 minutes. After such a grueling ordeal, the fanfare was minimal.

Now I get to get on with it (as so many people seem eager to see me do). My hair is coming back, albeit too damned slowly for me. My eyelashes and eyebrows made a mass departure after the last round of chemo and are now all coming back in at once. For the first, and presumably only, time in my life, I have thick eyelashes. I suspect by the time they’re full length, some of them will have gone and I’ll be back to my normal set.

In the same way, all of my body hair is re-emerging. This is a bit reminiscent of prepubescence, which makes me feel wierd. No period, downy leg hair and back to a size B chest. Hmmm…odd. The adjustment to my post-cancer body has officially begun. I’m certain that every woman who has gone before me has had the same challenges to face. But in America we don’t talk about many things. Taboos and prudish attitudes prevail in keeping most women from discussing with their families, doctors, and even each other the difficulties we face after emerging from surgery, chemo and (for some) radiation. I’ve had whispered conversations with newly found ‘bosom’ buddies about hot flashes, sleepless nights and -gasp- sex. And we really whisper. Noone wants to say out loud what plagues us most during midnight insomnia. We all lie awake, imagining we are the only one, mostly because the books aren’t talking, the websites aren’t talking, even our practitioners aren’t talking. You women who are reading know what I’m talking about. Some of the men may too. I’m a 36 year-old woman, going through rapid menopause. Mmm, mmm, fun.

In happy news, the genetic testing came back negative. Yay! This means that 1) I can stop worrying excessively about my daughter’s future health, 2) I don’t need to go have my ovaries removed (against probable ovarian cancer if the results had been positive) and 3) I got pissed off again. Alright, alright – I know this was good news. I was happy and relieved. I was. Really. But then I got back to, “Okay, so why the hell do I have cancer?”. And I drank half a bottle of wine by myself for the first time in a year and called some friends and griped a lot, woke up with a horrid hangover and got on with life. Fit pitched. Next topic.

I’ve been training with a group called Move Through Cancer. This organization is geared toward helping cancer patients (and their families) get back in shape and stay there after/during treatment. Right now we’re training for the Texas Roundup 5/10k in late April. We get together every week to walk or run and talk about how to improve our health and decrease bone density loss (a real problem for women in early, forced menopause). And it’s nice to be around a group of people who understand that you have to really work to walk a mile on some days and a small flight of stairs can leave you huffing. I’m still debating about whether I’m doing the 5 or 10k at this point. I suspect a decision will present itself the day I officially register. 6 miles still seems like a long way, but I’m getting there.


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