Ponder this:

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Things I have learned this week

There is no disguising Tramadol's taste in order to get it down Max's gullet. The best method is a spur of the moment sneak attack and a quick shove of an unadorned teensy little quarter tablet down his throat. Done. Over. No spitting foam and softened diguise material, as he violently rejects the whole mess and flings it two feet from himself where the medication is half-dissolved and useless and I have to wipe up the slop and start over, muttering, "I'm so glad I paid actual money for this medication."

There is something called cat flu, and I think that's what MiMau has.  Husband took her to the vet's office last Monday and saw the vet in the practice in whom I have the least confidence. The vet took a blood sample, said it would be back Wednesday or Thursday and would call. We haven't received a call. A call to the clinic resulted in, "Dr. B. is out until Monday and will call you then." In the meantime, MiMau's perking up in tiny increments, and has begun to be interested in food, although only a kibble at a time, carefully mouthed until she finds a spot in her mouth where she feels like chewing it. I currently have some kibble soaking in the drained juice from canned tuna. We'll try that. Her personality is much in evidence now though, unlike last weekend, and she's drinking water, so I think we've turned the corner. Apparently this cat flu is self-limiting, and there's nothing to be done for it anyway, so we just have to ride it out. 

I'm glad I don't have the daughter for whose birth I longed for years.  I probably would have birthed and raised a daughter with a personality like my own.  I'm guessing that she would have had the same introspective, mulling personality, and she would have gotten herself caught in a morass of emotional turbulence of her own making, and none of my hard-won wisdom would have made the slightest bit of difference. I only got smart after I'd been to Hell and back, and some people just have to do it that way. 

The less I worry about stuff, the better it all goes. It was an absolutely stellar week in Jane's office, with nary an error except other people's, which I, feeling magnanimous and heroic, found and fixed.  It started with Payroll Monday when I got to work late after a doctor visit (pre-op physical physician said, "Get that blood pressure down before surgery!" so off to regular doctor for yet another BP reading and prescription). I bustled into work, pulled together the materials I needed and just did payroll. It was flawless. And angst-free. Imagine that.  Whenever I do something without paying too much attention to it (vinaigrette salad dressing comes to mind) it always works out better.

The prospect of my (next Wednesday) transformation into a Uniboob doesn't bother me as much as other people expect it to. I seem to have friends hovering around, waiting for me to turn into a quivering wreck, and I've been waiting to see if I'm in denial and will, in fact, come to a crashing realization of . . . something.  I think I've truly come to terms with it. Overall, since last . . . what, March? . . . I've had maybe a total of seventy-two hours of "Oh my God!" and now I'm looking forward to getting it over with and moving on. The options presented to me were two:
  1. Traditional simple (total) mastectomy, or
  2. A second lumpectomy followed by five weeks of five days per week radiation treatment.
The third option was, of course, to do nothing and wait to see when (not if) the remaining slightly odd cells would turn invasive. That made both #1 and #2 look quite a bit more attractive.  I chose the first option because I don't feel like making a career out of having breast cancer. It'll be gone, done, over. Much like pilling Max. We'll worry later about whether or not I feel the need for two lumps instead of one.  I'm thinking . . . if, down the road sometime . . . the other one has to go, I'll opt then for two gigantic Dolly Partons. At this stage of my life, the one remaining Natural One on the right and Smooth And Flat on the left will probably appear more similar than one Natural One and one Firm And Perky.  The deciding moment was when the surgeon told me that, even lying down, a new one would be up there, while the other reclined in my armpit. That would be just silly. And exceedingly painful in the achievement. For what?  Or, you know, when I feel the need for more time off from work, I can decide I need reconstruction. I gather recovery from that is far longer than the two weeks I'll need to get over a simple boobectomy (which term, incidentally, Lord Wellbourne tells me he always thought of as a euphemism for divorce). 

I'm so glad I still have the husband I started out with. There have been times when I've wished he were more romantic in the candlelight-and-rose-petals way, and times when I've wished for him to be more this way or that way...  I'm so glad we rode out all that stuff. Now we know each other and while it isn't exciting and heart-fluttering, it's such a comfort to have somebody to see every day who is completely familiar and who says, "You won't be disfigured. You'll have a scar. So what?"  That might be one of those "y'hadda be there" moments, but I was, and it was a pretty significant moment.

Thanks to Hilary for choosing this as one of her Posts of the Week


Anonymous said...

Too much in this deeply thought-provoking post to comment on properly, June, but I want to wish you well for the op, and to say how much I think your approach to the surgery is going to help you afterwards. I haven't been through this major life event, but have been close to those who have. I've also lived with facial scarring after a car crash, and have seen for myself how the very balanced and calm approach you and your husband are taking can help everyone around you too. Good luck; I'll be thinking of you. V.

VioletSky said...

If you really are the type of person I glean from your writing, I would not expect the "quivering wreck", but it is good to know you have friends nearby to help you pick up the pieces if that does happen.

Wanda..... said...

Wishing you all the best June, I would like to think that I would have the same state of mind. Your husband is a gem for giving you that "significant moment"...with him by your side what else matters.

Recycled Cottage & Garden said...

I might have not wanted to lose a boob or two when I was younger, but now I think it would be ok, I wouldn't have to wear a stupid bra anymore. The MAN that invented women's undergarments should have been strangled with them after he was forced to go through life wearing them.
That said, I know you will come thru surgery with flying colors and keep on keepin on.

Carolynn Anctil said...

I love you.

There, I said it. *grin*

You are an amazing woman and I love that you handle the ups and downs of life with such grace, wisdom, and common sense. You're my kinda lady.

BTW, Lord Wellbourne's euphemism elicited a hearty guffaw from me.

Blessings to you and all your assorted furbabies. May you all enjoy perfect health again very soon.

(my word verification: soardred. Fear of flying perhaps?)

Bibi said...

Carolynn,speaking of guffaws, your definition for 'soardred' got a good one out of me ! :)

Mine is 'unwori' which is my mantra for June next week

June,when my Mother thought the most of a person for a particular reason or other she would bellow " That xxxx, she's a God Damn Jewel !!!" and that it what you are !!

English Rider said...

If "Cat Flu" is Feline Influenza Virus, the test results take all of ten minutes (sparkles was tested yesterday, while I waited) and there is a preventative vaccine, which all cats should receive. Either way, your vet is unacceptable. I'm glad your kitty is improving.
Regarding your surgery, I wish you all the best. I saw an interview with Dolly Parton and Tyra Banks. Tyra said how hard it is as a model with boobs, as they flop under her armpits when she reclines for a photo. Dolly was amazed; she had no idea that's what boobs do. It was funny.

June said...

By golly, ER, you're right. I've been running all of these animals to the vet for shots since . . . forever. I would have supposed MiMau would have had the vaccination. If it isn't cat flu, I wonder what it could be.
I'm going to ask that a note be put on all of their folders that I don't want them seen by Dr. B. anymore.

June said...

Anonymous V, thanks for your good wishes. It seems to me that facial scarring would be tougher than what I'm having done, which can be completely disguised. My hat's off to you for remaining balanced.

VioletSky, I'm really not like that . . . the quivery wreckish type, but you're absolutely right that I am fortunate to have friends who are prepared to gather 'round.

Wanda, he's somethin', isn't he? I'm a lucky woman.

Lady H, exactly. If I were even ten years younger, I think it would be much more of an Event in my life. One of those good friends said to me, "Well, what are y'usin' it for?"
There y'go! :-P

Carolynn, I love you too. Because you love me. (I find it keeps the pesky crowds of friends away if I only love people who love me. :-P)
I think soardred must, indeed, be fear of flying. Or, more specifically, maybe, fear of flying in a sailplane. :-P

Bibi, "unwori" is a good mantra. I feel as if I can't claim it, somehow, though . . . I feel as if I should be of Asian descent.
And yes. I AM a "God Damn Jewel !!!" :-P

Joey said...

There is that comfort in having someone with you who has always been there, even if he's not romantic... but he loves you despite all of the scars and flaws in your body.

You are fearless. Never let go of that quality.

You inspire me.

My dog Maddie, who is eleven and on meds... I'm having a terrible time trying to get her to take them. She' down to skin and bones now, refusing to eat. It is breaking my heart.

#1Nana said...

Difficult decision, but the only real choice is the one you made to maintain such a realistic and positive attitude. That will make all the difference in your recovery. GEt well soon and report bsck to us!

June said...

Joey, thank you for those words. About Maddie . . . I know you've tried everything you can think of to pill her . . . is there some other formulation of the medication that you can get from the vet? Next time I get Max's Tramadol, I'm going to ask if I can get it in capsules or something. Or I'll look for empty capsules and put the things in myself. We can't go on this way!
The "refusing to eat" thing: that's hard to watch. I have come to see that very sick animals (including human animals) know when they CAN eat and when eating would feel worse than not eating. When it comes down to the absolute fundamentals of life and death, instinct is trustworthy.

#1Nana, thank you! To tell you the truth, I'm not expecting to be very sick. A few days of pain, for which I'll have meds, and then sitting around in the sun, reading and healing. What's to worry?

Friko said...

All that and humour too, an excellent post.

Best of luck for next week, if the attitude you display here is anything to go by, you'll be in and out in no time. Have a serious bout of fretting, but not for too long.

morningbrayfarm said...

You're such an awesome lady, June. What an amazing post, and what amazing things you've learned and shared with us. Thank you. Hugs.

Inay said...

One of my co-teacher had this breast cancer. And she is now teaching. Though we ask her to really take care of her body. After the operation, the chemotherapy, her will to survive is very strong. And she did survive.
May God be with you. I really love reading about couples who survive the pitfall of their lives. And I think it is not a pitfall. It is a challenge that anyone must win to survive. I know you will do great. God is always watching over you.
Bless you.

Vicki Lane said...

Oh, good for you and good for your husband! With attitudes like this you're going to do great! And what a great role model your are!

Wishing you a speedy recovery!

Bossy Betty said...

I am so impressed with your attitude and fortitude. I am wishing the best for you. Glad you've got that hubby by your side.

Deborah said...

The tone of this post was so casual that I had to read it twice to really get the fact that you've got a very big deal happening next week. I admire your attitude.
As a fellow Fridge dweller, I wish you a speedy recovery (helped along by your excellent sense of humour) and look forward to seeing you back on the shelf soon.
And thanks, June, for offering to help me with my dress-up issues. Never very confident in my taste, I think it would be great to have a personal advisor other than my daughter, who just says flat out 'Nope, definitely too young for you, Debs'

Freda said...

I'm like Deborah and took a wee while to take it in. Every Blessing be with you and yours.

Hilary said...

You have exactly the attitude and strength that everyone should be blessed with. You are a beautiful inspiriation and I have learned a lot from you. I wish you a speedy recovery, dear June.

June said...

Gosh, you're all making me feel like such a heroine. You would all be just like this if you were wearing my size elevens. It is what it is, and y'do what y'hafta do, and that's about it, really. This isn't even the Really Scary Kind of Cancer...it's hardly even cancer at all, really.

(Turning aside with one hand to a blushing cheek and the other waving "bring it on!" :-P )

Barb said...

I love your husband, too - roses only go so far... meanwhile, I'll be thinking of you. Though I know you have strength of character, it always helps to know there are positive vibes. Hope all in your house are soon recuperated.

Joe Todd said...

Thoughts and prayers are with you as we trudge the road of happy destiny.

Dave said...

June, congrats on Hilary's POTW. What a great attitude you have, and well done to your loving husband. Best wishes for a successful op. - Dave

Sueann said...

Beautiful post and wonderful attitude! Life has so many twists and turns, sometimes it is hard to keep up! But you, my dear, are leading the way!!
Best of luck to you and kudos to your hubby!
Congrats on the POTW!!

Jinksy said...

Brilliant post, well deserving to be POTW!

Cheryl Kohan said...

Wow...what a great post! I love "meeting" new bloggers all thanks to Hilary's POTWs and she sure picked a winner in you!

As a former cat owner (and lover) I can identify with the giving meds hassle. I'm so glad she seems to be on the mend.

I'll be thinking about you when you have your surgery. That Dolly Parton bit was hilarious...wish I could have seen it for myself. Your husband sounds a lot like my husband and I've got a winner so I'm happy for you there.

Looking forward to more of your posts. When I get a minute, I'm going to read your blog backwards!

Reb said...

Congrats on the POTW! As a BC survivor (just a lumpectomy) I know a bit about what you are going through. You have a great attitude and a good husband. Best of luck on your surgery.

Anonymous said...

I came here through Hilary and I can see why this post made POTW. I wish you all the best this week and forever!

Hilary said...

Great post, with so much to think about......I applaud your courage and your great attitude, and yes, isn't is nice to have that kind of husband. Lucky you.
Good luck with your surgery....I have the feeling you are going to be just fine.

Kate said...

It seems odd to be discovering your blog at such a time. Like others, I'm quite impressed with how you seem to be handling the stresses in your life.

The only thing I can offer now is a pill-shooter for the animals. I got one from the vet, but I'm sure many/most pet stores would have them.
This link:
shows the one I used. It works beautifully.

Good Luck with everything.

Anonymous said...

Truly deserving of POTW congratulations.

All good wishes for the very best outcome.

Anonymous said...

Great attitude! A close girlfriend had a single mastectomy two years ago, then chemo and radiation followed by a new breast. This year she opted to have her second breast enhanced to match.

Take your time on the decision as to what to do after the mastectomy. Don't let doctors rush you.

Wishing you all the best!

Good luck on being Hilary's POTW!

Cricket said...

Belated congratulations on the potw, with my prayers and best wishes.