brca bullshit

Now I just can’t appreciate the mustache joke anymore…

I often walk by two wig shops every day at lunchtime in Old Town. In one of the shop windows, there’s a male mannequin with a wig on his head and a Ron-Burgundy-esque mustache on his face.
I used to laugh with everyone else as we’d joke about how “no one would ever wear a wig like that” or “how ridiculous would that look on someone?”

A few days ago, though, out of the blue, something just gutted me when I walked past and heard a group of young women laughing and pointing at the wigs in the window. It was like I suddenly had a borderline-PTSD flashback to December, when everyone thought that I was going to have to go through chemo.

I remember walking past a wig one day during those uncertain weeks and feeling sad but resolute that if my precious hair (and I do mean precious – I’m not too vain normally, but nearly everyone envies my thick, fine, soft hair) had to go, then I was going to be rocking the neon pink wig I still see in the window everyday.


I even remember how my head itched that day when I thought about covering it with fake hair, and I found myself wondering all of a sudden why they were so funny to people. I just suddenly lost the humor in the situation as I saw my grandmothers wig and my Aunt’s wigs and my cousins’ wigs flashing through my memory – wigs were never funny in my family; they were a coping mechanism, a way for us to survive.

I still see the mustached head almost every day, but since that moment of remembering a few days ago, I have been thinking about the “Mr. White” character in “Breaking Bad” (GREAT show, btw), who started with full facial hair and when his family forced him to go through chemo he shaved his whole head and face…maybe someone like him would like that mustache?
Perhaps to have just a tiny piece of his dignity as he suffers the inhumane suffering and pain demanded by this stupid disease? Really, he’s too badass for any wig or fake mustache, but he was the only example I could think of…

I’m sorry for laughing at you before, wigs. I pretended you weren’t a valuable part of people to me then. I allowed myself to ignore how important dignity and grace are when you are forced to undergo such a terrible ordeal. Honestly, I think I just wanted to ignore the fact that you were almost a part of me.

brca bullshit

Holding a fat baby & carrying a laundry basket – all in one weekend!

I don’t think things are getting *better*, per se, but I think I’m getting much more used to how things are. It helps a lot to have J around every day to help, even if he’s been pretty exhausted and sore himself these last few days.

New coping mechanisms:

  • If I keep moving, often times I can force myself past the fatigue – but God help me if I sit down!
  • If I take my adderrall later in the morning at work, then I am often able to sustain my brain and most times find myself working until the bitter end.
  • I can drag heavy things if I get down low and push them, then sit down on a step and pull them into my lap… thus, the laundry baskets.

Still, though, the sharp pains and lumps and bumps and stitches remind me that things are not really much better … and since next Tuesday is the 5-month anniversary of this stupid surgery, I feel a little depressed that I don’t have an answer by now. My pain doc ordered a chest x-ray, and I’ve kind of been putting it off, because it likely won’t show anything (I know my mother is secretly hoping that they left a pair of scissors in there or something), since x-rays can’t pick up nerve damage or other possible causes of this frequent pain. I’m really trying to hang in there, I really am, but some days are very, very hard.

Now, on to the fat (by fat, I mean heavy, healthy and beautiful!) baby!:

It felt so good to be the baby hog again!

I also had the pleasure of snuggling with his older brother–going to be a heartbreaker, eh ladies?

All-in-all, it was a crazy weekend full of moving/cleaning stuff, potato chips & french onion dip, hogging babies, doing laundry and even some Dogfishead gluten-free beer! Woo!

Occasionally, it is the better strategy to smile and go along with the tide rather than fight the current.


Chicago Milestone

 My J and I on the plane. While flying, I had to wear crazy-ass compression hosiery on my legs, and these silly sock-like homemade lymphodema sleeves on my arms… just in case. I hate that there’s so much “just in case” in my life, but what am I going to do?


Some of my favorite shots from the weekend… lots of fun, lots of laughing, and my first major (well, to me) milestone post-surgery: I got to hold J’s niece B. That was my favorite part of all:

I realized that if someone hands me something heavier, then I can hold it – I just can’t dead-lift from the ground. She was happy to climb into my lap and I was happy to have her… it’s hard to leave such a sweet, supportive, loving group of smiling faces — with any luck, one day, they will be my family too.