Wednesday, August 22, 2012

I knew I should have gone back to bed...

Yesterday I woke up (slightly hungover but VERY tired) and headed to the gym for my morning work out.  I had planned on an intense cardio adventure, mostly so I could sweat out my debauchery from the night before.

Tami, my Tamoxifen induced alter-ego, was in a very emotional and fragile state yesterday at the gym.  As I sweated and panted away on the stair mill (OMG this machine is TORTURE for reals) and switched to the spin bike Tami cried.

Tami cried when "I'm sexy and I know it" came on in my headphones.....remembering the night of surgery and subjecting my husband and the poor anesthesiologist to my musical stylings. 

Tami cried when "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger" came on, remembering that little video of the nurses and those kids dancing and singing to the song. 

Tami cried on the last minute of the bike workout, for what possible reason I have no idea.  She just cried.  For the hell of it.  Which kind of makes it hard to breathe to be honest.  Damn her.

So Tami was along for the ride ALL DAMN DAY.  My poor, poor, poor, poor children.  Tami also has a REALLY SHORT FUSE.  And no patience.  NONE. 

Granted the kids are accustomed to me making idle threats and not carrying them out so they just assume when I say things five times like "you'd better not fight or you'll be stuck inside all day" they assume that really means I won't care and they can go about their business.

Tami, on the other hand, Tami steps in and says "oh no you didn't girlfriend!  you didn't just make an idle threat, watch me while I scare the crap out of your kids and send them to their rooms for the day."

Tami got the job done.  Oh me oh my.  WOW.  Brady was so freaked out he passed out asleep in his bed, I am left only to assume that would be his "flight" of the "fight or flight response" to fear.  Kaylee told Tami that she wanted a new, nicer Mom which only angered Tami further.  Talk about adding fuel to the fire.

Eventually I was able to bitch slap Tami and have a calm conversation with my kids.  Lunch went well, and things were going along swimmingly until we had to hit Fred Meyer for some supplies for the back to school ice cream social last night.

Let me just say this, my husband called to figure out our Subway sandwich plans and ended up coming and FINDING ME in the store to take the children away.  He acted like it was to help me out, but I'm pretty sure he knew that Tami meant what she said when she told him she was "so frustrated with these goddamn children that I think I'll leave them here."

Here's hoping today is a better day and Tami takes a break.  I couldn't be leaving for a 7 day vacation with my husband at a better time.  Thank God my mom is coming to watch the hooligans....and I hope she doesn't have a Tami living in her or my kids WILL run away.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Things no one told me about...

I am creating a list of things that no one warned me about, prior to my bilateral mastectomy.  If you haven't had one, you won't be able to relate, but I'm hoping if you know someone who might be getting one soon that you'll pass this information along.  And if you have, please add anything I missed to the comments below!

1.  Your boobs will have no feeling in them.  None.  So you walk around like you have a couple of giant spongy hostess cupcakes on your chest.  Except the cupcakes are rock freaking hard.  This is the only way I can describe this.

2.  They itch.  But you can't scratch the itch because you have no feeling, thus an inability to pinpoint where you need to scratch.  If you do scratch it doesn't help and leaves you with a really creepy feeling.

3.  When you wake up from surgery, your arms will work (kind of) but all the things you took for granted that used to be easy (like wiping your own ass) will be difficult.  For weeks.

4.  Don't think you'll be able to raise your arms.  Ain't happening.  Getting something out of the medicine cabinet is impossible.  Raising your arm to flip off that a-hole driver is also not possible.  Sorry.

5.  Do not, under any circumstance, bend over for a few weeks.  The only thing I've found on earth that is not subject to the law of gravity is my underwear, thus every time I bend over to pick something up, my chest feels like it was going to explode.

6.  You will drop everything, all the time, simply because it hurts like hell to bend over.  They call me butterfingers.  And if you're like me, you refuse help 98% of the time.  But, let's be honest, it is way more fun to complain.

7.  You will probably not be able to dress yourself.  Pulling on your pants or pulling shirts over your head is an Olympic effort for a couple of weeks.  And yes, you won't need a bra so just be ready for the inevitable feel up your husband will want to do when he sees those new boobs of yours (if you go the reconstruction route).  But, you can't feel it, so WIN WIN!

8.  When you go in for a weekly "inflation" (see earlier post about how it is like getting your braces tightened only it's your boobs) save some muscle relaxers for the first couple of nights.  No one gave this tip to me until last week and I was ready to keep my smaller boobs simply because of how miserable the recovery was each week I got pumped up.  Now, I sleep like a rock AND I feel better in the morning.  MUCH better than the "red wine & sleeping pill" therapy I was using before.

9.  The "tissue expanders" are hard as rocks (see above) and stick out in odd places on your body, especially in my armpits.  I can actually see the seams which is both freaky and cool all at once.  They are a nuisance, though, and to be honest the shape of my temporary boobs is just plain weird.  Thank GOD we don't belong to a nudist colony.

10.  Clothing with elastic and zippers are, while not very stylish, an essential part of your wardrobe for the first few weeks.  And let's be honest, you won't feel well enough to go many places so you don't have to be all embarrassed about your lack of fashion sense.  And hell,  you just had your boobs removed, you deserve to wear whatever the freaking hell you want.  Just sayin'.

I'm sure there are more little "hints" and as I am not through with my reconstruction journey yet, there will be more to add.  But these are just a few things that I wish I had known, especially the no feeling/itchy thing.  That is just creepy.  Shudder.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Tami says.....

I love love love having medication to blame for my judgemental thoughts.  Thank you TAMOXIFEN.  Today's rant has been brought to you by the pharmaceutical company Teva.

These are some of Tami's rules for the gym.  One would think that I might stop going because it seems like I get super annoyed whenever I do.  But, that's just Tami.  Amy is always glad to be there and feels like a million bucks when she's done.  Tami, well she just wants to vent.


1.  Do NOT park your freaking motorcycle in a car parking space.  There ARE designated places for you to park your crotch rocket and those of us who actually drive safely would appreciate it if you would use them, and not park your machine in one of the few precious car spots available.

2.  If you go to the gym to chat with your friends, don't sit on the g-damn machines.  Some of us are here to WORK OUT, not have coffee hour.  Seriously, a couple of guys were sitting on the two machines I needed, talking like they were at the fricken mall.  Move your ass please I need to get my sweat on.

3.  If you use the sit up bench, don't monopolize it FOR AN HOUR.  There are other options so other people who can't use their arms properly can actually get a decent ab workout on occasion.

4.  Please don't look at my boobs.  PLEASE.  I know they were smaller two months ago, but I don't have the "hell yes they're fake my other ones tried to kill me" workout tank JUST YET.  But I will.  Meantime, I know your judgemental looks and stop.  JUST STOP.

5.  People who own the gym: Do you not see that 99% of your customers wear their own headphones?  We don't need you to turn up the music so freaking loud that we can barely hear our own.  That's why we have iTunes, so we can listen to what WE want to listen to.  DUH.  I can only take so much Cee Lo Green's Forget You at 6am.  Now if it were the explicit version I'd probably like it more.  That's how I roll.

6.  Flip flops and denim do NOT belong in a gym.  Not. At.  All.  Please, friends don't let friends wear inappropriate attire to work out.  Seriously.

7.  Please, wash your hands after you pee.  PLEASE.  I know that the gym is a cesspool of germs, but you don't need to add to it.  Gross.

8.  The grunting and the dropping.  I have feet WITH TOES and if you are grunting THAT LOUD maybe it's too heavy, and please for the LOVE OF GOD don't drop the damn weights 6 inches from my foot.  I'll kick your ass if you do with the other foot.  I will.  Don't make me.

9.  To the guy wearing the "I'm so old I fart dust" t-shirt.  I love you.  And not in an inappropriate way.  I just love you.  Thanks for the early morning giggle.  To the guy wearing no shirt, who pulled his pants down and exposed his underoos so he could check out his (shrinking) junk and bulging thigh muscles A) GROSS and B) no one needs to see that.  NO. ONE.

Last, but not least, Tami's final rule for the gym:

10.  If you see Tami coming, you might want to cut your workout short.  She's a cranky bitch and she might blog about how annoying you are to her.  And nothing good can come from that.  NOTHING.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The time has come...

The time has come to name the new girls.  I've got two more "inflations", today and next week and I feel that it is the appropriate moment to launch my "name the boobs" campaign on blogspot today.

Looking at the big picture I know that naming my new breasts isn't a very important thing to do.  Worrying about world peace, starving children in third world countries and the actual cure for cancer might be better things to expend my few remaining brain cells on.

But, alas, I'm just so focused on my breasts.  Ever since June 24, 2012 they are all that I can think about, talk about and worry about.

The fact that I am still not able to dress myself properly, clean my house (my toilets officially smell worse than the streets of midtown Manhattan in August) or do a single push up probably has something to do with that.

All that said, part of my healing journey has been to poke fun at things, things that make most people really uncomfortable with.  And that, my friends, that makes it all the more enjoyable for a twisted chick like me.  I love to watch people squirm when they find themselves laughing about something that in the back of their mind they know they probably shouldn't.

Once I made my announcement and asked for suggestions, I was blessed to receive a couple dozen or so names for the twins.  It was so fun seeing the things that people come up with, especially for something as trivial as naming fake boobies. 

And yet, laughter has such healing power that I think just looking forward to presenting the best of the best was enough to make me feel better, even when I thought I wanted to crawl back into some dark hole and pretend that I was really fine after all.

Make no mistake, I laugh, I tease and I joke.  And I hurt and I cry and I can't wait for this to be a distant memory.  But I'm going to do my best to make the best of this situation and laugh the hell out of every second of it that I can.

So please help me choose what has become almost as fun as picking out names for my kids, and vote for your favorite boob names, and for the love of all that is good and holy, please feel free to share this with friends and family. I'd hate to only have four votes, it would be like running for 8th grade class president all over again.  I'm in enough pain as it is, please help a sister out.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Tami is banned from watching the Olympics

My tamoxifen-induced other personality, Tami, is no longer allowed to watch the Olympics.  She's embarrassing.

What happens is not pretty, I'm not proud of it, and I have modern medicine to thank for this: she cries at everything.  EVERYTHING.

Tami will cry when someone falls off the balance beam.  FROM ANOTHER COUNTRY.

Tami will cry when someone qualifies for the quarterfinals in the 200M.

Tami will cry when someone medals in underwater basket weaving.

She'll cry for any and every reason, and some that don't even exist.  She is starting to cost my unemployed ass a lot of money in facial tissue.  INSIDER TRADING ALERT: Buy stock in Kleenex.  Usage will dramatically increase over the next five years.

Tami cries during commercials.  Maxi pads & tampons?  You bet:  Freedom from my period?  I WANT THAT!  Ahhhhhh booooo hooooo!  I still don't have a period thank you to Tamoxifen, but I cry just the same, I mean come ON who doesn't want freedom from their period?

Anyone see that Nike commercial with that kid running along the road, talking about greatness?  A freaking WATERFALL came out of my eyes.  And nose.  Blech.  Why do we make runny boogers when we cry?  WHY?!

Tami cries when little adorable cute as a button Bob Costas tells me we get to see a dramatic finish to some event "after the break."  Tami doesn't WANT a break, she wants to see it NOW!  So she can CRY!

Tami also tends to get her hot flashes in the evening hours.  So that's fun, a giant crying puddle of a human with one hand holding a snot rag and the other one desperately trying to fan herself and remove a layer of clothing.  HOT.  And not in a good way.

I knew that I was in for some fun adventures, but this emotionally draining basket case of a woman who cries when her husband changes the channel, gets hot flashes and stuffs ice cold drinks in her cleavage is really starting to annoy me. 

Thursday, August 2, 2012

The need for a high fiber diet

Yesterday after I picked the kids up from a morning of good, safe, physical activity in the form of Soccer Camp I took them to lunch at McDonald's for a super healthy lunch of cheeseburgers, french fries and Oreo McFlurries. 

In an effort to find more good, clean wholesome fun I took a road trip out to Hoffman Farms on Scholls Ferry Road, waaaaaaaaaaay out there among the glorious, rolling green farms that form a checkerboard of choices for berry picking, organic produce and just plain good old family fun.

Mainly the only reason I chose Hoffman Farms is because I purchased a Groupon for $20 of picked berries for $10 and I like to make jam.  And it was expiring yesterday.  Yes, indeed, I have become the domestic diva my mother dreamed I could be.  Minus the ability to sew.  And craft.  And cook and clean.  But I can make the HELL out of jam.  Just so you know.

We rolled up to the farm and I was kind of skeptical because I couldn't see a lot of cars in the parking lot, and that's usually my barometer for whether or not I think a place is going to be good, same thing with a restaurant.  If I can't get a table, it's probably awesome.

What I THINK is that people just don't know how cool the place really is.  Unfortunately (depending how you look at it) they don't have berries left to pick, they're picked out.  Which for ME was awesome because I'm an instant gratification kind of gal.  I was able to get my $20 worth of berries in less than three minutes out of my life. 

Which was ALSO really handy because the kids came with me.  And OY.  What would have become of their berry fields and the store if the kids had ACTUALLY BEEN REQUIRED to do something, like help pick for example.  Oh the drama.....

Behind the cute little store is an old green John Deere Tractor that has been turned into a playset with slides.  I am willing to bet people drive out there to pick berries and bribe their kids with the ability to play on the slides when they are done if they are good and pick two bucket's worth.  At least that's what I would do, me, mother of the year right here.

EVEN BETTER was the Schultze sitting behind the store.  If you don't know what that is, its AKA a Honey Bucket, or porta potty or, as I like to call it the "outdoor shitter".  They have it under a covered pop up tent thing, and I'm thinking to minimize the stench of hot rotten poop.  It works for them.

THE FUNNIEST thing happened, Brady went down the slide a couple of times, and then started walking all funny, like he was trying to keep a basket of laundry from dropping out of his poop hole.  He even put his little hand back there, ostensibly to keep it from crapping out. 

He made one more trip down the slide and came up to me with little beads of oh-my-GOSH-I-might-crap-my-pants sweat dripping from his little red head.

I could tell by the look on his face what he needed so I walked him over to the appropriately brown colored outdoor shitter and let him in.  What happened next was even funnier.

Let me just say the porta potties don't really have much sound protection.  I could hear him grunting like a strong man lifting a semi-truck.  But that's not even the best part.  He yells, I mean YELLS "Can someone please open the door and get some fresh air in here for me?"

Um, no, I'm not touching that door with a ten foot pole covered in antibacterial hand gel thankyouverymuch.  He just kept at it, and I swear to GOD about four cars full of people showed up and walked by as he was in there crapping, yelling and complaining about the smell.  HIS smell.  Of that he was perfectly clear.

So yeah, I'm thinking I need to give the kid a little more fiber.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

My (revised) Bucket List

Almost a full year ago I checked off a bucket list item: SKYDIVE.  If you're curious, you can see the whole thing here:  Please note that I am about 50lbs lighter now than in the video.  Then again, the camera adds 10lbs, so maybe 60? (I know, I'm relentless). 

Oh yes, and as a side note (if you watch the video) I DID want to vomit when the chute opened.   I can totally handle falling towards earth like a giant pink squishy human cannon ball, but once the chute opened and we went in circles I honestly thought I would lose my lunch.

Taking a skydive was on MY bucket list, as well as my Dad's, though his unexpected passing at age 70 meant that he never took that jump.  So of course I did what every good, smart, SANE, thoughtful and safety-first daughter with two small children would do:  I did it for us both. 

I have some of his ashes in this little silver teddy bear and I tucked him in the pocket of my shoe where my Nike + chip normally goes.  And we jumped together.  And it was perfect.

Fast forward a year and while I worked on my bucket list (hard to top a death defying skydive but I was making an effort) this little thing called breast cancer was just growing, slowly, in my chest.  I had no idea.  I went about my business of adding cool stuff to my daredevil list:  ziplining, another skydive in Hawaii, parasailing, biplane ride, going on the scariest roller coaster ever invented and more.

All the while totally oblivious to the fact that in less than a year I'd be standing face to face with my own mortality in the most real and un-daredevil kind of way.  Ironic, in many ways.  I never once considered that I wouldn't survive the jump from the airplane. 

No, even after sitting through the 20 minute video where they told you all the risks and made sure their message was clear:  if you die during the jump, your family can't sue them because you're the dumbass that decided to jump from an airplane.  Never. Gave it. A thought.  I knew I'd survive.

Ironic that less than a year later, the one thing that made me think about my life and what I wanted and what I wished I'd done and never done was not a skydive, but a brush with death so close, so personal and so very real.  And at first, as happens to anyone in the same situation, I didn't think I'd survive this journey. 

But we, my family, with my husband and children by my side, WE stood up to this challenge.  Unlike that jump out of the airplane, with my family waiting below, this time we took the leap together.  And amazingly, when you face something so scary, so unbelievable, so death-defying with the ones you love, your bucket list starts to look a little bit different.

I crossed off so many things that I would have done alone.  I'm not going to jump out of an airplane again.  I'm not afraid.  Make no mistake.  I will never fear it.  I simply don't want to tempt fate a third time. 

I've kept a few things though like ziplining because we can do it as a family.  I kept the roller coaster on there because I MIGHT be able to convince my whole family to go with me.  I'll play the "I survived breast cancer card" as long as necessary to guilt them into stuff.  Just kidding. (mostly)

I added stuff too, like buy a camper so we can camp with the kids again, they love it and ask to go every summer.  I want to take the kids to Disneyland so they can see the new Cars thingy there.  Both kids just love those movies, and to be honest I do too.

I want to take my girl Kaylee to New York City, she is definitely my city mouse and I think she'd LOVE it there.  I want to go on an Alaskan Cruise with my family (my friends just got back and it looked like an incredible trip!).

Pretty much everything that's been added to my bucket list is something that doesn't require an additional rider on my life insurance policy.  If you know me well, you'll know that that is a GIGANTIC shift from the human being of a year ago, or even six months ago. 

No, to be honest, the only thing I want on my bucket list is time with the people I love the most, making memories and sharing adventures.

It's pretty lonely jumping out of an airplane.  But facing an uncertain future with my family by my side was the most I've ever felt the presence of those I love, including those I've lost, like my Dad. 

And I'll tell you this too: most people who have the chance, the opportunity, to face something like this and survive will have a different bucket list too. 

And I know, with 100% certainty as my Dad looked down from Heaven and watched me jump out of the airplane, he thought two things: what the hell is she thinking and that if he had it to do all over again, he'd simply spend more time with the ones he loved.

Life is your adventure.  Go find it.