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I Feel Like a Lab Rat

Sunday, January 24, 2010

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So far on my breast cancer journey I’ve had nine surgeries, eight rounds of chemo, three ‘let’s check this out’ procedures accompanied by anesthesia and at least seven ‘let’s check this out’ procedures without anesthesia. The last with anesthesia was an endoscopic tour of my pancreas. This was a precautionary measure because I carry the BRCA2 gene. That means in addition to an increased risk of breast and ovarian cancer, I have a higher than average risk for melanoma and pancreatic cancer.

Do you know what an endoscopic excursion involves? Just as they’re about to administer the anesthesia, they ask you to swallow a garden hose with a light, a camera and a scalpel attached. We’re having some fun now! <PREVIEWEND>

Mind you, I’m not complaining. This isn’t one of those “Oh, they’re spending my money, running all these tests,” because as my wonderful physician Dr. Jim Martin says, “We’re going to watch you like a hawk from here on out.” That’s fine with me but after my recent breast surgery number nine to keep my new implant where it’s supposed to be, by stitching a sling out of cadaver skin to my ribs for the implant to rest in, I am beginning to feel like a lab rat.

Why did they do that, you ask? Because my five-month-old silicone gel implant dropped halfway between where it should have been and my navel. I must say it was an unusual site, ranking up there with the bearded lady in the circus, and rare enough to make my plastic surgeon do a double, no a triple take and ask if I jumped rope or tap-danced as a hobby.

Most days I do pretty well relinquishing control of all of this to God, although there are days I greedily snatch it back and act like I am not running through this crazy maze for nothing! For the most part God has made my fears disappear and for that, I am humbled and grateful.

However, if I may say so, instead of breast cancer surgery Number Nine, I would much rather have had Love Potion Number Nine. “I held my nose, I closed my eyes… I took a drink.” Come to think of it, I’ve done that already.

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Previous Comments
Anonymous commented on 29-Jan-2010 10:16 PM
Somebody forwarded your blog. I love, love, love it. Really good stuff, and I love the way you approach things. You're strong and funny and make me laugh. Thanks
Anonymous commented on 11-Feb-2010 05:16 PM
Interesting that your surgeon used Alloderm after the fact. It's usually standard practice for implants these days... I think it's one of the most wonderful exciting advances in reconstruction.
Anonymous commented on 03-Apr-2010 05:13 AM
you are so brave and the world is happy for you! its so wonderful that some people like you are fighting and not giving up! God bless you! Share more posts! We'd love to read them.

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Anonymous commented on 18-Sep-2010 05:18 PM
Hi Brenda!
You sound so well! What a wonderful website you have created! It is very professional looking and you write beautifully! How are you liking living on the ranch? Not too isolating? We're still living in an apt in north Austin. We're looking for a house, but have not been too successful, so we just switched agents. Hope to be out of here by the spring. Say hay to your handsome James!
Marika (Mary)
Anonymous commented on 18-Sep-2010 05:21 PM
Thanks for sharing such a great site.

Thought you might like this inspiration that came from a nice guy I went out with in High School. Nice to see that some of the guys I dated turned out to be good ones.

Anonymous commented on 18-Sep-2010 05:33 PM
I would love to visit with you about the team that I walk with in the Susan G Komen 3 Day walk for Breast Cancer. I don't know who sent the email to me that had the link for your blog but I love love love it! I can't wait to send it to our team captain D'Lyn. I love how you have taken something that could have crushed your soul and spirit and used it to help others and glorify God! As we say on the 3Day- "we love boobies!!!" Hope to hear from you soon : )
Anonymous commented on 18-Sep-2010 05:41 PM
Dearest Brenda,
Thank you for this gift. AND this seems to be the week I needed it, God truly has it all under control!

My breast cancer last June, was in fact just a "bump in the road" Mama had cancer 3 times, 2-breast and a tumor in her throat. Surviving all and dying at 82 of congestive heart failure. Her attitude was instilled in me.
My hardest to deal with was the death of my son at 52 after a two year battle with cancer. I have so many great days and wham! in the middle of "whatever," I'm consumed!

I'm waiting for some tests (not cancer related, but blood) and will return to Dr next Wed. I remember hearing someone say "If I'd have known I was going to live this long I would have taken better care of myself" So be it.

Your blog is a wonder inspiration and I have survived much of my opps-es with laughter.

Thank you so very much and God bless.
linda hyde

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