Here’s to health and hair

Who has two thumbs, lots of thick hair, and a sunny disposition because she found out this morning that she is back to her pre-chemo weight?

MEEEEE!

I’m enjoying a healthy snack of raw bell pepper after my workout (in case you were wondering what the weird orange thing sticking out of my mouth is). Getting back in shape feels damn good. Today, I did a 2.6 mile run/walk in the glorious 70-degree “winter” weather. Now, a shower.

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Publicity

Go to the New York Times online. Click on “Health”. Guess who that is on the right rocking the bald head? I totally stumbled on this by accident today at work, looking for some articles for my organization’s monthly news brief. What a shock to see a picture of my on the homepage of the NYTimes health section. I’ve always wanted to be in the Times, just didn’t think it would be because of having breast cancer. Still, I’m honored that they thought the photo worthy to represent the whole feature, which you should check out.

It must be said that the photo was taken by the wonderful Rina, another survivor who I met through George Washington University and a photographer.

And in case the page has changed since I wrote this post, here’s a screen shot:

I think maybe all of this publicity is getting to my head (so much so that it’s sprouting hair)!

Back at home and it…

feels so good. By home, I mean I am at my parents’ house in Philadelphia for two weeks to recover in comfort before I have to return to DC for some follow ups. Thank goodness for teaching hospitals that have spring break – because my doctors will be off, it means I get some much needed time away from the hospital and I get to be in a big, light-filled house with my parents, who are wonderful cooks, instead of in my teeny little apartment in DC with an endless supply of frozen pizza. It’s the small things in life, I tell ya.

Today I am one week post mastectomy and I feel great. As I posted yesterday, the doctor relayed the verbal path report she got from the pathologist, which showed all negative sentinel nodes. They are still waiting for something called an IHC report, which, in rare cases, shows some cancerous cells and can cause them to go back over the other tests they’ve done more carefully, but the surgeon assured me this was only in rare cases. So, as I said, I feel great with all the news we’ve been receiving and with my recovery.

In case you want to see what hot post-mastectomy wear looks like, here’s a pic of me (no face included) wearing my compression bra with the post-mastectomy drains pinned to it. Don’t look if you’re squeamish – the drains are filled with red fluid and I’ve got bruises on my lower belly from the heparin (blood thinner) injections they did at the hospital.

And My Boobs Emerged, Unscathed

Well I just got home from my first ever mammogram. I was pretty nervous going into it but I have to say: it was nothing.

Seriously. Here’s the blow-by-blow, for your reading pleasure: First I had to take my shirt off and put on a gown. Then I went into the room where the machine was, and the woman told me they were going to take four pictures. She arranged my breast on a platform and kind of pushed and pulled me around for a second, making sure I was in the right position. Then a plastic plate descended onto my breast, and pushed it flat. It felt a bit strange and there was some pressure, but it did not hurt. When she was satisfied, the tech moved to the computer and told me to hold my breath while she captured the image. This was probably the hardest part, but it was only a second or two until I was done. This process repeated three more times (they took 2 images of each breast) and all together I was in there about 5 minutes. Then I was done. Completely. I didn’t even have to pay a copay!

Now, as others have indicated, the hard part is waiting for the results. I might have to go in and get some more images taken, especially because I am young ang this was my first mammogram ever (they’ve got nothing to compare it to). So we’ll see what happens. I can’t say I’m too nervous – the likelihood of me having cancer at 25 is miniscule – but it’s still a possibility.

After the procedure (if you can even call it that) I went shopping. Yup, I dropped about $150 at Gap and Anthropologie. I considered it a girly reward for doing my girly duties.

Also, I wanted to share this picture. Before the mammo I had to clean the deoderant off my armpits with this aptly-named tool:

For all your memmo-wiping needs
Love whoever came up with that brilliant product name.