Monthly Archives: June 2008

Same As It Ever Was

[This post is the exclusive copyright of KillerBoob.]

So here I return to you, now having officially returned to work! It’s a somewhat surreal thing after 2 years out (in a completely different lifestyle) and I think I’m going to talk quite a bit about airline stuff in the near future and I hope you don’t mind. If it gets a little much/boring, please let me know. In particular, I’m probably going to bitch a lot for the next 2 months and I hope you’ll also let me know if I’m turning into a sourpuss, but you’ll understand below…

First off, I am happy to be back. That’s important for me to establish sincerely. It’s a great milestone, especially considering the physical demands of my job. While I’m a little tentative about feeling I can do certain things, I then do them successfully and am happy for the flash of my old self (well, the parts of my old self that took a hit, mainly my physical one). Work is the thing making this possible since I often have no choice but to attempt the thing in question. (i.e. Remember the bag-lifting issue? It’s tentative, requires caution, and I have to pack as lightly as possible since I have no choice but to hoist my bag on the plane,  but so far so good…)  And I do generally really like my job. That’s why I remain in it, even though I have other, more traditional options, professionally speaking.

Anyhow, the reason I’ll be bitching a lot for a while is because – firstly – you all know how much I went through to get back to work, and to do so at a favorable time to me in terms of initial scheduling I could handle. I packed up most of my entire life in Brussels on about 3 days notice, even leaving the apartment unfinished (with my dear helpful-as-always friends to help finish up in my absence! Thanks in particular this time to Sarah B., Flor and Andrea) so that I could squeeze into training in June – even though it was a little early for my return after surgery. All so my schedule would work out in a certain way according to the rules.  (It also turns out that I had been misinformed; I could have comeback in July with the same outcome.) I squeaked through training…only NOW to get completely screwed by some esoteric scheduling technicality (one so random that it took the union 2 days to figure out what happened) that dumps me on the worst possible scenario through August. So why did I work so hard to come back quickly? I could be in Brussels now moving the remains of my furniture. Already I’m shaking my fists at scheduling…in this way it’s just like I never left. (Ahhh, the “good old days”.)

As of now I am looking at having to wake up almost every day between 3-5am through August and possibly into September, even on my days off. It’s just not sustainable. At some point, that will have to be worked out by some calling in sick (legitimately, for fatigue). There’s just no way around it as I am already exhaused only 3 days into it! But for now I have no choice but to soldier on and make it the best I can. Come September or October I can get back to a normal, more humane schedule. I will focus on the light at the end of that tunnel!

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Filed under life, this time THIS year, work

Welcome to America!

[This is the exclusive copyright to the author of Killerboob and my not be reprinted without permission.]

It just so happens that I am tired, hungry and poor. How fitting.

My trip here yesterday started early, as there were planned demonstrations all over Brussels to protest the gas prices (some unions want government subsidies on fuel). Not a bad day to leave, especially as we got out before they started and had no drama. My flight was full but pleasant and my commute down to DC from NYC was surprisingly, shockingly easy. I even spoke to another flight attendant who said “this commute is easy as pie”. I’ve never before heard a commute called “easy as pie” or anything like, so I am very optimistic with this decision on that front.

This morning I got up and went out to buy a Starbuck’s mocha and scones for breakfast. It seems a fitting American update to my usual European breakfast and I felt happy as I did so. While in general I dislike Starbuck’s (burnt coffee and too ubiquitous), their mochas hit the spot and, as Belgium has no Starbuck’s, the cafe has a bit of momentary cache for me, although I’m sure that will wear off shortly. I’ll enjoy it for the moment.

I continue to heal well, though I have a stubborn spot that is painful, particularly when I sleep. It wakes me up often during the night and even lying on my back becomes sore after a while. It’s the same spot on both sides, though one side is much worse than the other. I’m sure it will get better soon though.

Tomorrow is training, so I must go prepare. Just wanted to say hi and let you know how it’s going. Oh, and a question: does anyone have a good oncologist to recommend for me here in the DC area? I don’t even know where to start!

I’ll also mention the copyright notice is on here is because I have discovered that one of those internet “pirates” (or whatever you call them) has gotten to my blog and begun a comprehensive cut and paste posting of my entries, without so much as a mention that it is not his/her work. So, just like my friend WhyMommy did when she had this problem, I’m going to try putting a copyright on the posts so that if they’re taken, that should go along with it. Hopefully it stops soon.

[This is the exclusive copyright to the author of Killerboob and my not be reprinted without permission.]

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Filed under breast cancer

From 0 to 100 mph

I’m leaving you a hurried post today. As hurried as I actually am!

Instead of the relatively relaxed week of apartment closing and other affair-tidying here in Brussels…I now have to do it all at breakneck speed. Work (again) completely lost the thread of my bureaucratic situation and I had to go through the “when to set training” dance all over again. The result is that the trainings I was planning on at the end of the month are no longer available. ONLY Thursday is open, they told me. Thursday or wait until July and have to do 3 weeks unpaid re-training (instead of 2 days) as I will have just passed the 2 years out of work mark. Gaaah!

That’s a little fast. I don’t even have my follow up with the doctor until today. But I don’t want to wait until July, so I took it and began scrambling like a mad woman to do all the things I had planned to do this entire week, by tomorrow. Of course, all of this has required the never-ending generosity and help of certain, tireless(!) friends, and proceeds on the assumption that Dr. Fab won’t put the breaks on my speedy work return when I see him today.) I leave on Wednesday now for America! How very sudden. I don’t mind as I’ve dragged it out for a while, but leave it to work to yank the rug out of one’s schedule and send it into a tizzy. (The real downside of my job is THAT.)

I did manage to beg and plead my way into a cancellation slot in a class on Friday – so at least I have 1 day to rest in DC before moving on to training, instead of the 12 hours to arrive home, kiss my fiance, run certain immediate pre-training errands, sleep and fly several hours to training. Whew!

So off I go to finish emptying out my furniture and cabinets…

I can’t leave without mentioning the little leaving drinks party my friend Amy threw for me yesterday afternoon. It was just as I wanted – small and intimate and relaxed with some of my favorite people, some of whom I don’t see often enough. The spread was incredibly gorgeous (and yummy!) and my other friends were all so happy to finally meet the multi-talented Amy, whom I spend lots of time with but many had never met. I will be lucky to have such wonderful friends in the US!

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Filed under breast cancer

The Judgement

[This is the exclusive copyright to the author of Killerboob and my not be reprinted without permission.]

My friend Imstell (who writes one of my favorite blogs out there, BTW), has asked a very important question. What do I think of the results?

So I’m just popping in to cut the suspense. (I have an evil urge to stop writing right now and post with that hanger…) God Bless Dr. Fabre!

This dear, kind doctor is so wonderful that he came to visit me in the room after I woke and he told me, “I actually tried with a larger implant, but it just wasn’t right. It was too tight, so you did end up with the ones we originally chose.” This surprised me since I did not communicate (nor much feel) disappointment when he selected the smallest ones for me. But he apparently remembered that I had at least originally expected to chose something slightly larger and took it upon himself to try and meet all my wishes, as unimportant as they were. Isn’t that nice? Anyway, with the final result discernible, I must say I think they are pretty much perfect. Okay okay, so there are ways in which reconstruction will never 100% mimic the ones we’re born with, but even imperfections are a part of nature. I’m sure no one will think twice but me (unless they’re thinking, wow! Those look freakishly great 😉 ).

With a shy hand over my mouth and a Japenese girl’s giggle: I admit I can’t wait to try on all my clothes. As someone who is about to move house and is terrible at tossing (donating) things she doesn’t much wear, I am doubly excited about the excuse to do so, though it will surely affect few items. Shallower closets, here I come!

Oh, and did I tell you they’re perfect?

[This is the exclusive copyright of the author of KillerBoob and may not be reprinted without premission.]

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Filed under breast cancer

Quick Changes

So 48 hours ago I thought I might never move again unaided. 24 hours ago I decided to stop taking my pain meds and see how it goes. I took one regular Tylenol yesterday evening and that’s been sufficient. Movement is of course still limited. I still have to be majorly careful and controlled, but ability returns in leaps and bounds. Generally I move like a weeble-wobble: when I need to get up from the bed or sofa I manage by sort of rolling onto my side and up from there in one smooth motion, hands clasped to my torso just to be sure everything feels supported. I’ve got the hang of this! Last night I tentatively slept on each side for a little while.

My charming caretaker Ed left just a while ago to return to England. He thoughtfully got down anything I might need from high kitchen shelves after he’d gone, all done even before I woke (with the aid of a lovely cup of coffee delivered to me). I told you he was good at this.

Now it’s quiet here, the way a house is when all of the souls suddenly leave, save one. It’s strange and still again in a snap, in a way that makes you the tiniest bit sad even if you’re happy enough to be alone. But a day of readjustment will shake the normal texture back into my afternoons. And in just 12 days (or so) I’ll be living in another country. I’ll be busy until then; I’ll take this little rest where I can.

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Filed under breast cancer, life, reconstruction ("upgrade"!), recovery, surgery, this time THIS year

I have an update for you

And that is to say, well…come closer. A little closer. This should be right in your ear. Ready?…

OOOOOuch!

First of all, remember that little bit of nausea that took me away yesterday? Well, I have been reminded of a great trick I learned during chemo: if you’re gonna’ get sick, head for the tub, not the toilet. Having my head in the toilet only makes me want to be MORE sick. And with the tub, you’ve got a fresh supply of cold water right there. Handy!

That has passed as the anesthesia and its effects have faded away. My night was otherwise fine. I slept well, but when I woke up this morning needing a bathroom break I thought I might never manage to get out of bed again. Wow does it hurt! But I did manage and I’m making my way through the day with the help of my BIL Ed really has the knack for taking care and is good company to boot.

It feels like….imagine the worst, most painful deep bruise you’ve ever had (because I guess that’s essentially what this is!). It feels like that, being pressed, from my belly button to just below my shoulders. Front and back. When I sit still it doesn’t really hurt, but then my muscles get cold and it seems to hurt more once I move again (like regular old sore muscles after a workout).

Still, I’m happy and managing. So happy to have the movement that I didn’t after the last surgery. I think this hurts as much, but freedom makes a difference. And every day will get better.

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Filed under breast cancer, life, reconstruction ("upgrade"!), recovery, surgery, this time THIS year

They’re Here!

Today was my surgery and “they” have finally been received! It’s all very exciting. I’ll jump up and down when…well, once I’m able to. Right now I can barely stand up and down. For a preview, look above. (Ha – I wish! 🙂 )

I won’t stay here long as I’m pretty sore and tired, but I just wanted to drop an update for all the wonderful people waiting to hear and following the final result.

The surgery went smoothly. In an unusual move for me, I went in pretty ignorant. I figure after my last surgery, what’s the fuss? I’d go in, go to sleep, wake up in pain, which will eventually go away. And that’s pretty much how it happened. It does hurt quite a lot, but at least I can move around, which I couldn’t do after the big surgery.

Anyhow, for the moment I really must go (a little nausea, a little fatigue, etc.) but I’ll be back when I can. Hopefully tomorrow. See you then.

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Filed under breast cancer, reconstruction ("upgrade"!), recovery, surgery, this time THIS year