Cancer gave me a smile today . . .
It’s my four-year anniversary today. Four years ago, I had my last cancer treatment. I was “zapped” for the last time and happily rang the bell. I’ve watched that video today and can honestly say I feel the same elation. Pure joy! It was a grueling 11 months of treatment and to know I had completed it was everything. It’s been four years and my life has continued on post cancer. Cancer is no longer paramount in my life. Most times I forget I had it. Yes, I look in the mirror and see only one breast and I have side effects from the drugs I take but they are just a part of my life now. It’s my new normal. It’s who I am. I have days where the joint pain, hot flashes or chest spasms frustrate me; but in the grand scheme of life – phffft. I still realize that all of it was worth it - the surgeries, pain, recovery, treatments, side effects, all of it, because I get to be here. Simple, end of story.
I’ve been reflecting today on how having cancer has impacted my life. The deep soul searching, lessons learned, finding my strength, the abundant love it gave me and the humor. I tend to focus on the humor. It’s such a better way to remember my journey.
We recently flew to Florida. Like everyone else at the airport, I had to go through security. “Texas” (as big as Texas) the prosthetic, raises concerns every time. I go through the machine, raise my arms, and get told to step aside. They bring over the female TSA agent. “It’s Texas,” I say. “Excuse me?”, she asks. “Texas,” I reply, “my breast prosthetic”. I then pat Texas. Oh, she says. Pat down complete, I’m good to go. Meanwhile, Bob has been stopped for our carry on. He’s looking at me perplexed. The “jellyfish”, I mouth to him. “What?!?” he says. He obviously doesn’t know that I’ve nicknamed all my prosthetics – lol! Jellyfish is my pet name for my swim prosthetic. It looks like a jellyfish and is just as large. I go over to the TSA agent, a man, and say what do you see? (I obviously know but come on I have to have a little fun with it). “It looks like a big blob”, he says. “Yep,” I say, “that pretty much describes my swim prosthetic. Breast cancer, the gift that keeps on giving”. A little flustered and apologizing he says, “I’m sorry but we have to look”. “Not a problem,” I tell him, “It comes with the territory”.
Since, I only have one breast, wearing a prosthetic is a daily occurrence. Let me point out what is wrong with the mastectomy/bra industry. To wear a prosthetic, you have to insert it into your bra. There is a slit on the bra to insert it. The industry must think everyone is an A or B cup as the slit is tiny. As in molecule. When faced with putting in something the size of Texas into it, it’s like trying to fit a camel into the eye of the needle. Get the picture? So today, of all days, I was in a rush to get out of the house. I had washed my sport bra and was hurriedly trying to get Texas into the slit. First making sure it was on the right side. (Yes, I have put it in the wrong side before. Put on the bra and had one gargantuan breast on the right side – lol!). Assuring myself it was on the right side of the bra; I push and shove and fight to get it in the hole. Success! It’s in! I rush to put in on as Bob is saying hurry up, let’s go. I put it on and realize immediately something is wrong. I’ve put it in on the correct side so what’s the problem? I then realize I have a tata under my shoulder. The prosthetic is literally under my arm. So, there I am, tata on the right, flat chest on the left and a tata on the far left under my arm. Seriously?!? I look at Bob and say, it’s going to be a while. Texas is not cooperating. LOL! So today, on the fourth anniversary of my final treatment, cancer gave me a little reminder. Albeit a funny reminder but a reminder all the same. Yes, cancer I acknowledge you and our journey and thank you for the gifts, especially the humor. Cancer gave me a smile and a laugh today. How great is that?
"Laugh as much as possible, always laugh. It's the sweetest thing one can do for oneself & one's fellow human beings." –Maya Angelou