Posted by: annnorris | May 27, 2015

Our 26th Anniversary

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Last year, Mark and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary by going on a wonderful cruise to the Caribbean with my parents. Mark also bought me a nice chunk o’ diamond, which I love! It was all very nice.

However, this year, our 26th anniversary, I got bad news – my yearly scans were not stellar. In fact, there are apparently extra lymph nodes in my left armpit that were not there in the scans last June. I also have one node in my upper abdomen that has grown a bit. While this doesn’t mean the cancer is back, it definitely isn’t good news. Next week, I will have a full body and brain MRI, a PET scan and visits with my oncologist and my breast surgeon. My surgeon will more than likely want to biopsy the nodes. I don’t like any of this!

I thought that the removal of both my breasts and all breast tissue assured me of being cancer free, no reoccurrence because there is no tissue in which cancer to grow. I thought removing my uterus and ovaries guaranteed no cancer there either. I thought the chemo was to stop any further spreading of the cancer. I thought the lymph node biopsies assured that the cancer was gone. I thought a lot of wrong crap, didn’t I?

There are a lot of misconceptions that have become my reality throughout this experience. So, for my sanity, here is an earful. Men reading this….you  might not want to read any further. Its about the woman stuff – gross huh?

The first misconception I had was that I was cancer free and this nightmare was over. Wrong!  I’m not sure it will ever be over, or at least not until I am dead. The next misconception is about the “reconstruction”. There is no reconstruction – there is only “Frankenstein” construction. I don’t have “new boobs”, so if you know someone going through reconstruction or getting implants, believe me they are NOT the same in any way as the natural ones and there is NO IMPROVEMENT at all. They have no feeling at all in them – none. They do not in any way look like real boobs either. One of mine is way up high into my chest wall, while the other has pretty good placement. The scars are an ugly constant reminder of the way breast cancer brutalizes your feminine form. Also, they do not feel like real boobs. I can very clearly feel the implants under my skin, even squishing them at times like a wave. Not boob like in at all. Also, sexually, the implants do nothing at all. There is nothing sexy or attractive about them. Why do they try to reconstruct your nipples? Its not your nipples at all but some skin pulled and stitched to resemble a raised bump. Waste of my pain and suffering if you ask me. It gave me the expectations that I might be normal again…I might actually have nipples again…I don’t and I hate it. Then there is the misconception that getting nipples tattooed might give you the look of normalcy. Nope,,,,UGLY! If you are going through reconstruction, and your plastic surgeon suggests that he will do the tattooing – RUN to a real tattooist! There is a reason that your plastic surgeon isn’t a tattoo artist. Would you ask your tattoo artist to do your reconstruction surgery? Same concept here. My tattoos are just purply squiggles in the shape of a circle. Do any of you out there have areolas that look like that? Every single day I mourn the loss of my breasts, they had so very much to do with my femininity and sexuality. Now they are gone. Forever. I would do anything to have them back.

All of that being said, ladies who are having to undergo mastectomies, celebrate your breasts big time before you say goodbye to them. If I were to have a second chance, I would go topless for days!!!

I understand that I am still alive because my breasts are gone. I am thankful for that! I am here to celebrate 26 years with my husband. I am here to turn 50 in July! I am here to see my daughter graduate college! I am here to see my husband and son go on an incredible fishing excursion. I am here to walk on the beach, collect shells and listen to the waves crashing. I am here to love my family, all million of them! I am here to love soccer and to love watching my nephew play. I am here to create beautiful pieces of art. I am here to listen to Steven Tyler scream “Dream On”. I am here to tell my friends that I love them so very much (Becky, Carolyn, Barbara, Laura, Susanna, Angie). I am here to see God work His magic every single day in my life. I am here to tell other friends like Stacey that it is going to be ok. I. Am. Here.

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Responses

  1. Yes, you have a purpose, Ann. You are in our lives for a reason. Knowing you blesses my life. And reading your words, as you bear your heart and soul, gives me a deeper understanding of all you have experienced since your initial diagnosis. You’ve come through that darkness, through that sad journey and back into the light by God’s Mercy and Grace. God brought you through it all. He loves you and knows your heart. His plan is not to harm you but for good. To bring you a hope and a peace. Trust Him. Trust Him today and for all your tomorrows.
    I will continue to lift you up in prayer expecting that our God will hear my petition and bless you beyond measure, with continued good health. I love you, my dear friend and sister in Christ.


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