On Being the Canvas

Okay, I am sitting here, covered in scribbly lines of black. I am Abstract Art (as opposed to being abstracted, which is my normal state**).

Yesterday morning I went to the plastic surgeon, who whipped out his Sharpie and went to work drawing dashed lines and interesting star patterns on my breasts. Which wasn't always comfortable, as he got at various bits by twisting my girlish bits around rather extremely... but that isn't why I started to pass out. And it wasn't anxiety about the coming surgery, either, as he solicitously assumed.

It was, as my brother-in-law so poetically put it, the longish period of 'huffing the Sharpie fumes'. I'm still a bit woozy.

I know this because as my PS warned me, these lovely 'cut along these dotted lines' were swiftly fading away by nightfall - considerably before any cutting was due to happen. Of course, my PS was thinking they would fade with baths and two days of accumulated skin oils. But I am Special, so 8 bathless hours or so seems to do the trick.

So my husband - a dear, dear man but NOT an artist (he failed 'scissors' in kindergarten, and hasn't gotten much better since) - had to try to trace the PS' artistically drawn lines, which he sort of did. I didn't pass out this time, but this was partially due to heightened anxiety and partly due to my preparedness for the rapid action needed to snatch the marker out of my loving spouse's hand before he accidentally directed Friday's surgeon to cut off my right arm.

I woke up this morning, and soon became aware of two things.

1.) You know those drawings of the old naked women with their breasts hanging down to their knees? Well, weight loss and newly-acquired menopause have arranged things so that when I am laying on my back and leaning slightly to one side or the other, one breast is smooth and familiar, but the other acquires a sort of, um, crushed-velvet appearance on one side that is not what one would normally think of as sexy. I mean, what one would think of sexy if it didn't have great black wobbly marks all over it. Well, if it didn't have great black wobbly blurry marks all over it, and charcoal-gray smudges everywhere else.

Anyway, it occurred to me that as of tomorrow, I will not have to worry any more about becoming the old woman with the scary dugs hanging down to her knees. I will have to worry about being the old woman with the saddle bags hanging down to her knees, instead. Yay!!

2.) See the above bit about the smudges and blurriness? Well, that is the bit that the PS hadn't predicted. Which is that during the night, my lines not only transfered to my bra... they also transfered to my arms and hands and the other breast, and everything else they touched. They also sort of ran a bit, like badly applied lipstick. So now the entire upper half of my body is covered with gray and black smudges, lines, and blotches, and the breasts are sort of a uniform gunmetal color with big vaguely-drawn lines on them.

I'm afraid to take a bath, for fear of washing the lines off entirely... but not anxious to go into the surgery room looking (and smelling) like an enthusiastically made-up chimney sweep from an amateur production of "Oliver Twist", either.

So I have to trace over those lines again... and again tonight, and again tomorrow morning.

Assuming that by then the lines will be visible against the background color...

**(Read some good books, improve your vocabulary. Or go the lazy route and look it up in the dictionary - that's what the internet is for.)


The Hits Just Keep On Coming

Okay, this is just a sort of mini-whine, but jeeeeeeeez...

Ever since my diagnosis, my fasting blood glucose levels have been been raised by a good 20 points or more, which is Not Good. In people with bad insulin levels/insulin resistance levels, stress hormones can significantly raise blood sugar - and even with the low carbing, my system has not been able to compensate, especially since the surgery (which also is a stressor that tends to raise blood sugar levels).

This morning I went to my pre-op exam, and my blood glucose was at 126 - which officially puts me somewhere between serious pre-diabetes and diabetes outright.

The silver lining here is that I was given a blood glucose meter, which I am using to see what exactly is going on as far as foods, supplements, and habits that either support or sabotage my efforts to control the glucose levels.

So far I find that a small amount of jicama played havoc, but that bacon and chicken with herbs are fine and evidently so are asparagus w/mustard sauce and blueberries w/yogurt.

Also Scott seems to lower my blood sugar - possibly by lowering my blood pressure, as well?

Well, at least that's how I choose to interpret the coincidence of his arrival home from work and an hour later getting my lowest reading of the day!

(No, you can't have him, he's mine...)


Envy and Blind Optimism

I JUST (about 3 minutes ago) got a call from surgeon's nurse, so now I have a surgery date - the morning/early afternoon of the 27th. Both girls going. I am ignoring the 'surgery' part, and instead paying attention to the 'no gap in my shirt placket, and now I can wear pretty necklaces' part.

Of course, I don't have pretty necklaces, and my neck is too thick (fat) to wear most of them anyhow, but the point is that if I wanted to and could find ones long enough, I could wear them without highlighting the fact that the rather-too-obvious bits are heading swiftly southwards.
And did I mention that my shirts won't gap any more? And I'll probably go down at least one shirt size... yay? Oh, and if I lose (a lot) more weight, I'll be able to wear the kinds of dresses I like without looking quite so silly (as long as nobody looks at the ankles).

In any case, I am determined to see the silver lining. I'm not losing the girls, I'm gaining... ummm... I wonder if I could get the plastic surgeon to draw the dotted lines in celtic spirals? That would be pretty cool.

See all the wonderful benefits to having cancer? I bet you want some, too - but you can't have mine, you have to get your own. So there.



I went to see my plastic surgeon today, in preparation for the coming mastectomy. He is a lovely, lovely man - well, at least, he is a man who is currently blissfully in love with his new baby girl, which means that he is a contagiously happy man. Close enough for me...

Anyway, he was very supportive and encouraging, and told me that he thinks that my original instincts were spot on for someone in my particular situation. Mom and I were both reassured, and I think are both feeling more comfortable with this month's treatment plans. It doesn't hurt that I have a friend whose mastectomy was 'designed' by the same doctor, and she has nothing but good things to say about the results of her surgery and the good doctor himself. Thanks for the recommendation, Annie!

AND I got my DEXA scan results. More good news - my dad not only handed down his genes for giant feet and blocky hands, but also his genes for heavy bones. I always wanted that lovely delicate build that many of my friends had - but I am giving that envy up for good. I LOVE my solid peasant ancestors, thank you very much! Even my hip with the cancer in it has a T score on the positive side of 0. So whatever treatment I decide on for that, I will be starting from a great baseline - Yay!!

It was a Good Day.

Tomorrow, taxes...