Thursday, April 12, 2012

Kittelberg's kancer kronicles

As you may have guessed by the headline, yep, I have cancer - breast cancer, to be precise. And yep, I've decided to purposely misspell it in my headlines and related hashtags. If you follow me on twitter (@Lori_writes), the hashtag is #kancerkronicles for the sake of brevity, and for the sake of avoiding the racist-looking triple-k.

I've been reading Kris Carr's Crazy Sexy Cancer Tips - which I highly recommend to women living with cancer, particularly young women - and she talks about misspelling cancer as a middle digit to the disease. I figure that's as good a reason as any to misspell something. Normally, I'm a spelling nazi so this is rather liberating too.

Why I'm blogging about kancer
Anyway, I've gone back and forth on the whole idea of publicly blogging about this. Ultimately, I decided that I'm going crazy without writing. All the books tell me to journal, and I figure if my writing can help someone else who is living with breast cancer, then I'd be a jerk not to make my writing accessible. So here goes.

Adios, armpit drain
Today is a rather big day for me. After two weeks and three days, I'm finally having the drain removed.

The drain consists of a tube that is running from an incision in my armpit to the lovely bottle pictured. I had lymph nodes removed, so the drain helps to get rid of fluid that would otherwise build up in my pit, along with some tissue.

You can see some of the aforementioned tissue floating in the bottle. It's been there for a while, as it's too big to fit through the exit when I empty the bottle. Charming, eh?

If I had needed more of my breast removed, I likely would have two drains. So I guess I should consider myself lucky with my only-child drain.

Words open to interpretation
Because I'm an overachiever, I completely believed I would be rid of the drain a maximum of one week post surgery. After all, another book I have been reading said most women have them for "a few days" post surgery.

As a writer who strives to use clear, plain language, I should have known better. My "few days" means three, max. Apparently my body disagrees and thinks it's two weeks and three days. Damn.

Everyone's a snowflake
And that's likely the most difficult part of dealing with this whole breast cancer thing right now. Everyone is different, so there are no definitive answers when it comes to healing.

I might be able to do chemo on my lunch breaks, then merrily skip back to work afterwards. Or I might feel like puking my guts out for a "few" days after each treatment. I might lose my hair. Or I might keep my hair, but get diarrhea or constipated.

Frankly, all this uncertainty is a pain in the ass.

21 comments:

  1. Fuk Kancer! glad to see you writing again.

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  2. Awesome - I am glad you are sharing your experience, Lori. This is something many of us ladies face and we face it in isolation and in silence.

    Kudos to you. I, too, give the middle digit to kancer.

    -Melissa

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  3. And p.s.: YAY re: the drain! That's on accessory I hope you can throw in the trash once and for all.

    Heck - why not drive it straight to your friends at the transfer and landfill station? I think they'd be happy to have it.

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    1. A ceremonial trashing of the drain sounds awesome!

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  4. Luv u, werk wife. Mis u @ lunch. Each snoflake is diffr'nt! Hope u b the quik heal type.

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    1. Miss you too, work hub! I'm hoping for the 'quik heal' too.

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  5. So glad you started this, I think it is great. Glad to hear the drain is gone, as an accessory it was questionable. :) Maybe they need to offer a variety of colours?

    Kirsten

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    1. Yes, different colours, maybe even fancy covers for them. I'll bet you could whip up something spectacular :)

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  6. With all my heart, I wish you didn't have to write this, Lori, but as you do, I hope it helps you heal and helps other women feel less alone.

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    1. Thanks Christine, me too on all counts!

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  7. I am glad to see you writing Lori!

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    1. Thanks - it felt really good to do it, so I know it's the right decision! And thank you for encouraging me to do it.

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  8. Yes, you are a Warrior. And an incredibly fashionable one, too. That blaze of red lipstick says f*ck kancer loud and clear.

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  9. :( krap Kancer. This makes me mad. But happy to see you writing.

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    1. Thanks, Mary. Am hoping it leads me back to writing for pleasure on things other than "the cancer" as my husband likes to call it.

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  10. I'm glad you are writing about it. It does help--but the really remarkable thing will be when you look back and see how f-ing brave and awesome you were--and that it's over.

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    1. I have to admit, I'm really looking forward to the "it's over" part - something I'm guessing you can identify with!

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  11. Hey. Just checked in when I saw your tweet. Dude. I see by the most recent post that you've got friends and people around you. We've never met (as you probably know) but I can walk with you here. I can rally a troop of real or virtual strangers if you need it. You are not alone.

    And how do people cope if they don't write? You gotta write. (I know, they probably draw, or dance, or photograph things..but I write)

    To your continued healing..and your soonest arrival at the 'it's over' part.

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    1. I'm building my circles right now, supporters and warriors (I prefer the warrior to survivor, warrior implies a more active effort to kick kancer ass). I welcome troops to both circles, virtual and real.

      Funny enough, I wrote articles on young women with breast cancer several years ago. At the time, there was a support group that met. Seems all the support is online now, which certainly has its advantages, but it would be nice to connect with women in person. So if you have anyone out there, please feel free to pass on my name!

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