Life in the Slow Lane

Life in the Slow Lane

Monday, November 27, 2006

One More Day

The day. Finally just a day to go and I will be going in for my surgery tomorrow morning. Weird and wonderful events have been occurring. Last week it was wild wind and rain storms causing a boil water warning that is STILL in effect. Yesterday it was snow. And it is still snowing. HIGHLY unusual for this time of year so all sorts of new weather records are being made. I hope the weirdness does not creep into my procedure. I want nothing but normal there. Unless by weird I mean weirdly healing almost immediately and not having to stay over 3 days. Weirdly healing of my boob so no surgery is needed at all. Weirdly total completion of all my Christmas shopping.

As I mentioned, weirdness abounds and there was a full power outage today at the hospital where I am to be operated on resulting in all the surgery being cancelled. Things should be just fine by tomorrow but I am supposed to call in the wee hours to check if the operating rooms are working. Fabu. Weirdness continues since my surgeon told me I would be in the hospital for two nights but when I got my pre-surgery phone call I was told it would be three nights. THREE NIGHTS!!!!! Oh crap. I am not sure there are enough tranqs in the hospital pharmacy to keep me chilled out that long. Oh lordy. Thinking about two days was bad enough.

Today I am doing laundry, packing my bag and getting out everything Yoshi needs to stay here for three nights with minimal adult supervision. I had better not come home to high long distance bills or outrageous pay-per-view porn charges. The liquor is locked away along with the cat nip and Q-Tips. Gramma and Grampa will be visiting at feeding times and have even offered to sleep over if Yoshi gets too lonely. This is a potentially dodgy situation as they may never move out after sleeping in my fantastically comfy bed. Especially with the built in foot warmer. That would be the cat.

So yeah, I am nervous and scared but I also just want this over with. Just want these next few days to fly by so I can be home in my comfy bed with my purry foot heater. I want to read all the great books I took out of the library and look forward to Christmas and put this all behind me and get on with fun stuff.

Wish me luck.

PS-Opera Gal asked me to put this up. Sounds cool.

The Truth About Christmas

And oh yeah! I have been visiting blogs like crazy and want to comment but Blogger hasn't been allowing me. So know that I have been at yer place but just lurking in the background. Hopefully when I get out of the hospital Blogger will have figured its own self out and I can comment again.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Crush Your Cat's Head Friday-For The Love of The Kitten

Some of you asked for more kitten photos after seeing Yoshi as a wee one in her tragic intervention video. Here you go. Innocence at it's best.
Ah lordy! The ears....

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The Scoop, The Poop, The Skinny, The 411

Well, it is official. I go in for my surgery next Tuesday November 28th. Needless to say I am shitting myself, because, HELLO!, surgery but also because I have to think about getting all my holiday shopping figured out and done before I go in. I am totally uncertain if I will be up to shopping at all before the 25th. People are going to be getting some boring ass gifties this year. If I can'’t order it online then it is either going to be something out of my own closet or made up from surgical gauze and tape.

I am wondering if I should put up my Tree of Seasonal Angst early this year or if that is simply TOO MUCH SEASONALITY for November and just get my parents to put it up for me closer to the big day. I have thoughts of Christmas cards and stocking stuffers and holiday baking when all I should be thinking about is such fanciful things as America'’s Next Top Model. These thoughts are just TOO SOON!

What to do, what to do…

Did I mention that due to very strong winds and rain last week there was a series of mudslides which has caused my city's drinking water supply to become contaminated with such things like dirt and raccoon poop and pine needles? This is called turbidity. What it should be called is turditity because that is what the water looks like. Shit. So we've been on a boil water advisory since last Thursday. I am constantly forgetting and mindlessly rinsing my toothbrush under the tap only to have to boil it to sterilize it yet again. I was afraid to shower in this gunk with my compromised boob and got pretty manky there for a couple days. Germ fears overrode my sense of common olfactory decency. I have been assured that the water will not cause infection and I smell moderately better for it. Apparently it will only give you the runs if you swallow it. It also seems to be giving my hair more body and lift.

Yoshi has also developed a sniffle over the last couple of days. She is sneezing a lot which I have noticed, when she jumps onto my lap, causes her to be covered in a fine mist of her own spit.

An update on the whole Autumn debacle-I have The Shelves back in my possession. She still wants them and assured me she will be getting in touch with me this week when she has the cash. Yeah, right... I plan to be too busy to return her calls. I plan to never sell her those shelves. I plan to avoid her like the plague. Let's just see how she feels when the roles are reversed. *shiver*

The good times; they are a'’ rolling.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Crush Your Cat's Head Friday-A Serious Video

Things have been somewhat unsettled around here for the last few months and as a result Yoshi has slipped through the cracks.

You can see how here.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Flake Magnet

Just got off the phone with Autumn. I think I may need to bathe in Ajax and then rinse off in bleach because I feel dirty. Oh so dirty and not in a good way but in a corpulent pustular sort of way.

Oh, there were excuses. Such excuses. Tales of woe so weep-tacular they made the Titanic look like a Disney Line cruise. It was an excuse-a-ganza. A bullshit-a-polousa.

The Cancer Card was pulled again and that wasn’t the worst of it.

I am utterly disgusted. Here is why I haven’t heard from her nor received my money:

-somebody stole her bank card and withdrew all her money and they don’t believe her and have to investigate her at the bank. This happened yesterday which doesn’t explain why I haven’t heard from her in the last week.

-she fell and broke her nose and has to have surgery on it. Maybe. And this happened a week before she even contacted me in the first place.

-she is still waiting to hear about a possible surgery date for her cancer diagnosis. I’ve heard this from day one and still don’t know what it has to do with anything.


The shelves will be returned to me although she tried to convince me to let her keep them until she got money next week. Sadly she still desperately wants to buy them. The thought of having to deal with her again in the future makes me want to move out. Or barf. Or both.

When I explained to her that I was tired of her excuses she said that this whole thing was embarrassing for the both of us. The fact is that she really didn’t sound at all embarrassed. Not at all. It seemed like this sort of thing happens to her all the time.

And why should I be embarrassed? I’m not the train wreck.

Monday, November 13, 2006

What To Do When Crazy Leaves Notes On Your Door?

Well, I’ve been living here in the new digs for about 4 months now and have found my fellow tenants to generally be a happy and friendly bunch. Everybody has really banded together and there are all sorts of associations one can join if one is built that way. I am not a joiner by nature so the garden committee will have to do without my Black Thumb of Death for the time being. So far, for every holiday, including Halloween, there has been a potluck party one can go to complete with decorations and sing-a-longs. It is very sweet. It is also glaringly apparent that I am a total curmudgeon as I have not attended a single communal gathering either. Eventually when I am over my social angst and feel like joining the masses again I’ll break out my Famous Quinoa Salad and karaoke on roof garden with everybody else. Until then The Hermit shall herm.

So I was surprised to find a note on my door a few weeks ago asking me to call Autumn*, A Fellow Tenant ASAP!!!! at such n’ such phone number. It sounded very urgent and I was frankly a little alarmed since I didn’t know this person having never been to any social function where I could have met her.

And so I phoned.

I quickly learned that Autumn had been down in the basement where the storage lockers are located and had seen in my locker (the walls are wire) some furniture she was interested in buying if I was willing to sell. Well, what do you know? I WAS thinking of getting rid of that shelving as it no longer fit in my new space. Perfect. What were the chances…

Then her negotiating started. I immediately got the sob story how she was on her own and didn’t have very much money and couldn’t afford a lot. Well, I too am on my own and don’t have a lot of money so I could certainly understand her position but, frankly, I didn’t buy into the guilt trip and due to my abject aloneness and extreme poverty I wasn’t gonna just give it away either. But I wasn’t going to be greedy. I wasn’t going to ask very much for the shelving and I was even willing to give her a couple pieces for free. She was very excited and agreed to pay me $20 for two metal shelves and I would throw in a couple wood ones for nothing. I probably could have got a bit more if I had sold my furniture on Craigslist or something but I was glad I didn’t have to have strangers through my place for viewings etc. Yippee! Quick sale!

*insert dark foreboding cello music here*

When I was arranging with Autumn to get the shelves to her I told her I had just had surgery and couldn’t haul the VERY well packed shelving (think Tetris) out of my locker on my own but would arrange for my parents to get them out for her over the weekend. She asked me what was wrong with me and I explained that I was going through reconstruction due to having breast cancer.

Well, what do you know but she was just waiting to get a surgery date to be explored for breast cancer too. I instantly sympathized with her. We had a little chat about our situations, she just starting the process and me coming to the end of it, and she exclaimed brightly that she knew she would be “just fine” because she had a positive attitude and that if I had a positive attitude as well I would have NOTHING to worry about, too. I, the sick, bitter and twisted cancer survivor didn’t tell her what was really going through my mind; “Yeah, right. If it was only so simple.”

So my parents dragged out the shelves and she took them and said she would stick a twenty under my door.

Yeah, she did stick it to me in her own way. I didn’t see any money.

Four days later she called me saying that she hadn’t paid me as she had forgotten what apartment I lived in. I gave her that information again and she said she would get me my money right away as she didn’t like to be in debt to people and ALWAYS paid her bills immediately. However, she had spent the original $20 bill allocated to me on pizza so she would have to get to the bank machine again before she could pay me. She made it sound like a difficult feat which confused me since there is a bank machine located right next door to our apartment’s front entrance. I had my doubts I’d be seeing my skooties any time soon despite her perky assurances that she settled her accounts promptly.

Guess what! I am psychic! Spoooooky! One week later after not finding a crispy little cash giftie under my door I called her to see what was up.

WELL! Poor, poor Autumn had been sick. Very very very sick with a FEVER and everything. She had not left the house since our last week’s phone conversation and therefore had not made it to a bank machine. She was “terribly sorry,” she said. “Ok. Fair enough,” I told her. “If you’re contagious then you’re contagious.” I simply asked her, in the future, to let me know what was going on. “Don’t blow me off.” I explained that after our last conversation she lead me to believe that I would be getting my money within a 24 hour period and here I was a week later calling her up about it. I asked her to keep me in the loop and let me know what was happening and not to leave me hanging like that again.

She promised she would get a friend to get the money to me if she wasn’t able to get out of the house within a couple days herself. “Perfect,” I said thinking our conversation was finished.

Oh no it wasn’t. She then launched into a pity tirade about how hard it was for her since “she was all alone and didn’t have anybody” and that “she was waiting for a cancer surgery date and everything!”

Oh no she didn’t. She didn’t just pull The Cancer Card?!? To a person she knows has already gone through the entire cancer treatment process? Oh noooooooo…

Well, it is four days later and still no cash under my door. I am going to have to get nasty on her possibly cancerous ass and rip her a new one. But I will also give her some advice. Very important information that might help her in the future. Explain how The Cancer Card works. Explain that merely waiting for a surgery date might tweak the heartstrings of an uber softie (only found in a bright fluffy world where unicorns dance in the meadows and poop chocolate nuggets) but does not cut it with me, chemo soaked and overly radiated unfeeling bastard that I am. Hell, I’M waiting for a surgery date myself but am still managing to pay my bills on time. Last time I checked waiting for the phone to ring didn’t count as a disability. Now if she had recounted tales of low red blood cell counts and infections requiring hospitalization and blood transfusions I would have cut her all the slack in the world. Tell me that you are nauseous and dizzy and unwell after a chemo date and I will drop off homemade soup seasoned lovingly with my tears. Even a radiation cracked nipple would have extended her bill payment deadline indefinitely. Now that is correctly playing The Cancer Card. Legit use of The Card. Respectful use of The Card. But waiting for a surgery date? Oh no no no no nooooo! That is insulting. That pisses me off.

No more Miz Nice Kranki. The bitch is back.

*not her name

Friday, November 10, 2006

Crush Kranki's Spirit Friday - Fuckity Fuck Fuck

*Big Sigh*

I went to have my little procedure done yesterday and the surgeon looked and looked at the wound on my breast which had become even larger in the last couple days and said the words I dreaded hearing but somehow knew were inevitable;

“I cannot close it. I am not even going to try. The skin is too far gone. You are going to need surgery.”


I am devastated.

Here are my three choices:

1. Get my boob rebuilt through a very involved surgery called a Latissimus Dorsi Flab.

2. Get the implant removed and the bad skin removed and be without a breast entirely on my right side.

3. Get the implant and skin removed now and have the Latissimus Dorsi Flap surgery at a later date.

I did not get my choice of just leaving things as they are and having no more surgery at all and never having to see another doctor ever again. No matter what I choose I have to have surgery of some type. I am freaking out.

I have a little bit of time to make this decision and this is a great gift as I am now operating purely on anxiety and fear and having to make an important choice while overwhelmed by these feelings sucks. The thought of having more surgery, my 4th operation in the last year and a half, literally makes me nauseous. I only had my last surgery less than six weeks ago. I wish I could put it off for a while but it is one of those surgeries that has to be done very soon. In fact my surgery will bump others from my surgeons’ schedule.

The Latissimus Dorsi Surgery is about 4 hours long and will require me to stay 2 days in the hospital. I will have a few drains to deal with and about a six week recovery. The scaring with be extensive on my breast as well as on my back. You can read about the procedure here and here. Obviously nobody would really want to go through something like that and the whole thing triggers my anxiety disorder in a major way but the alternative is losing my breast and all that entails emotionally.

Interestingly I have had a lot of strange and conflicting thoughts about being without my breast. Part of me believes that if I was not a single gal and was, in fact, in a wonderful relationship where I felt loved unconditionally I might just say, “Fuck it!” and not have the major surgery but go the lesser implant removal route. The fact is that I do feel incredible pressure to fit into the beauty mold. I worry about how future potential boyfriends would deal with my lack of a breast. I know that a superficial guy is obviously not the right one for me but I am also brutally aware that guys are visual creatures and that I already don’t fall into the ideal deluxe package parameters. Do I want yet one more major strike against me? Guys think of their girlfriend’s breasts as ‘theirs’ and I can only wonder that unless a love bond was already there a guy might not want to ‘do without’. Why would they deal with all that when there are other fully boobed fish in the sea? Then I think I sound so shallow and that I should give myself and the male part of the human race more credit. I shouldn’t care what others think of me. Beauty is not all in the boobs.

The fact is that deciding whether or not to have a breast reconstructed is very different from feeling pressure to follow the latest fashion trend. There is a very complex emotional element to this. We are talking about a major part of the female identity. I honestly don’t think I have even ‘gone there’ as far as considering the entire emotional ramifications of being without a breast. I wonder if I am focusing on the superficial aspects because I don’t want to even go that deep. I honestly don’t know.

What I do know is that I am feeling very sad.

The doc expressed his remorse that things went this way as he too was also very pleased with the look of the implants. He assured me it was nothing I did and only that my skin was too damaged by all the radiation treatments. We had a great talk about my anxiety issues and how I say dumb ass things when stressed and he very kindly offered to do everything in his power to make whatever decision I came to as easy for me as possible. I can pick whether I have my surgery in the morning or afternoon. I can have a private room. I can even possibly go home a day early if my pain is under control. He is open to whatever I need. He was very sweet to me.

So no matter what my decision is I am feeling very anxious about it. At this point I am thinking that I will stay the course I started on and get the reconstruction done. I know I could always get it at the later date but that means 2 surgeries instead of the one and probably just prolonging my anxiety. But, fuck, I am really scared. Just scared. And second guessing myself. Even thinking about it…..*shudder*

Obviously I am a complete control freak because as soon as things go off course I am totally thrown for a loop. But when you go through months and months of nasty treatment which is very unpleasant and painful and uncomfortable and frightening and then you see the end in sight and you believe all the major stuff is over and finished with and you can FINALLY think about getting on with things it SUCKS ASS to suddenly find out that is, in fact, NOT THE CASE!

I am trying to keep things in perspective. This is not a cancer reoccurrence. This is not a life threatening situation. I’m going to be ok.

And clearly I must now be eligible for some really good happy drugs.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Seeping Beauty

I know I promised you all a photo of my new hooties (you bunch of pervs!) and I do intend on fulfilling my end of the deal (I am such a ho-bag!). Eventually. The truth of the matter is that I have been experiencing some complications from my surgery which have been very gross and discouraging. I am also a doofus.

The problem is that my skin on my right side (the cancer side) was radiated and therefore somewhat damaged. When I had the expanders in my surgeon was very pleased about how much the radiated skin stretched and how soft and supple it was. Basically he didn’t expect to encounter any problems. Famous last words. This summer, out of the blue, an open sore came up on my boob (and so the gross part begins!). I thought it was probably a skin infection and went to my regular family doc as my surgeon has a long wait time for appointments. I figured if it was something my surgeon should see I would find out then. My doc agreed with me that it was an infection and gave me antibiotic ointment which helped a lot but didn’t it heal up completely.

When my surgeon saw this little sore thingie the day of my implant surgery he said it was a hole in my skin due to the fact that the skin was so thin and damaged it was unable to heal. He cut that bit out so it had new clean edges when I went in for my last surgery and taped it up expecting it would heal up.

Well, it didn’t. As a result I have a bigger hole in my boob since my surgery. It went from under ¼ “ diameter to about an inch long. Then on top of it all this open wound started seeping (high gross factor alert) and I was forced to wear a bra 24/7 stuffed with Kleenex to deal with it. Along with this I have been feeling rather crappy and fluish over the last month too. I am a real mess.

So I called my surgeon’s office and they snuck me in and I had it looked at. The conclusion my surgeon came to is that my skin is just too damaged and thin and unable to do whatever skin does to close up and heal a wound. He said that this is unusual and concerning for him. FABULOUS!!!! I am on nasty antibiotics again and feeling less icky so I might have been fighting an infection. The seeping has stopped, which is nice, but the bad news is that I have to go into the hospital for another procedure this Thursday where, under local anesthetic, he will once again cut new margins and tape the wound up hoping that it heals.

There are good parts and bad parts to this. If it does manage to heal that will be good but I will not be able to have a nipple reconstructed there as everything is too delicate. That means I will be a one nipple wonder. If the wound doesn’t heal I will have to get another very major surgery done where they take skin from my back and bring it around to replace the skin on my front. This is very intense and painful surgery requiring 4 hours in the operating room. However I may be able to have a nipple reconstructed with the new skin.

I have found myself very upset and nervous about this new issue. I guess I just didn’t expect to get through cancer treatment with no problems only to encounter trouble on the reconstruction part. I have had three major surgeries and really don’t want another one. I hate that once again my body has failed me. I just want all this over and done with. I am sick of doctors and appointments and hospitals and all that nasty stuff. I don’t understand why the main implant incision which is just an inch above this wound healed just fine but this little thing won’t. It isn’t fair! I am feeling very picked on by the universe. Fuck, fuck FUCK!

Then on top of this I was a total ass at my appointment and completely embarrassed myself.

One of the many things I have learned over this whole cancer adventure is that I have a very hard time expressing to people that I am sad and afraid. I fall into this very glib and snarky mode when I find my heart and mind are racing over new stressful information or situations. I don’t know if I am trying to be funny or just don’t think about what I am saying and how I am coming off to others. Most of the time I come up with witty one liners but this time I totally bombed. I could say I didn’t know what I was thinking which would be the truth as my brain was just overtaken with thoughts of surgery and infection and blah blah blah. You know what I mean. I was not thinking straight.

So I was standing at the reception desk with my surgeon scheduling this new nasty procedure with his receptionist and I asked him if I could take an Ativan for the procedure. Well, that is what I really meant to ask. What I actually said was, “Can I take a whole shwack of Ativan?”

I should preface this bit saying that since I was diagnosed with cancer a pre-existing anxiety problem has gone through the roof causing bad panic attacks. When I was undergoing cancer treatment by docs recommended Ativan to cut down the anxiety. It really works wonders but in high doses can really zone you out. It is one of those drugs that one develops a tolerance to over time so I have always only taken one low dose pill and only if I was going to appointments etc so I didn’t build up a tolerance and have to start taking more and more for the same effect. I have found that one pill will drastically reduce the likelihood of a panic attack (even though I still feel anxious it just isn’t overwhelming) without sedating me at all. Anything over than that knocks me right out. The reason I wanted to take an Ativan for this procedure is that if I didn’t and had a panic attack I would get the shakes which is something not very cool when somebody is cutting you with a sharp scalpel. What I wanted to know was if taking a single Ativan would interfere with the local anesthetic etc. Pretty simple right?


The surgeon seemed taken aback by my question and said that I wouldn’t be able to drive myself home if I was under the effects of a lot of Ativan. And I said, in a smug and flippant way, “I can totally drive!” What I meant to say was that I can drive no problem if I take one Ativan. I couldn’t and wouldn’t if I took more. He then said in a very angry voice, “That is against the law!” and walked away from me.

So instead of saying I was only kidding (or more accurately sad, afraid and upset) I compounded my stupidity by turning to the receptionist and saying, “I guess he means no?” What I meant to say was, “I would never drive while stoned on tranqs. I am a very responsible and good girl.” The receptionist who is normally the most smiley and gregarious woman wouldn’t meet my eyes and with disgust on her face said, “It is really bad to do that.” And then turned away to ignore me rather than chat for a minute like we normally do.

It was only when I was in the elevator wondering what happened that my brain stopped freaking about my new bad news and I realized exactly what I said. I basically accidentally portrayed myself as an irresponsible prescription drug junkie to my doctor and his staff.


Now I don’t know why I can’t just laugh at my idiocy (it is not like I am never acted like a moron before) and move on. Instead I find myself very upset that I came off this way. I think the issue is that in reality I actually don’t do recreational drugs and I don’t drink alcohol AT ALL. I don’t even eat meat, for crap’s sake. My life is very boring and straight-laced. I would NEVER do anything so irresponsible. It goes against how I live my life.

So along with thoughts of upcoming medical procedures I have wondered if I need to dig myself out of this hole. Do I bring it up again at my next appointment and explain that instead of saying I was scared and upset I incorrectly stated that I basically was a drug fiend? Do I just let it go and pretend I never said anything so assholic?

So that is why you haven’t seen my new tits. Because I am scared and upset and icky and perceived as too stoned to hold the camera straight.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Crush Your Cat's Head Friday-Postponed or Cancelled or Something was such a crappy rainy day and the light sucked and I am all posted out after the whole Halloween costume video thing and the day got away from me and sometimes I wonder if y'all are sick of my cat ALREADY and I just couldn't think of a way to crush her head and BLECH!!!

So there.