Smile, Life Could Be Worse

Walking the Boulder Bolder race ever so slowly. That’s me with the straw hat.

She sat me on the preop chair. She handed me the hospital gown, cap, and blue disposable socks. She asked about the list of drugs I take. It is only one drug, actually because I stopped all my supplements in preparation for my minor surgery– bilateral nipple reconstruction. All the while I had been wondering, “Is she a chemo patient working as a nurse.” I could not see well under her surgical cap–colored scarf-life with soft shades of pink and blue. What I see clearly, though, is her lack of eyelashes and eyebrows.

Since I became bald, I notice more and more bald people around me even the old folks who may have lost their hair with old age. Is he or she going through chemo? What kind of cancer is the culprit?

At work, it happens that we get more and more oncology patient with dangerously low blood counts they have to be admitted in ICU–most have sepsis and unable to fight the infection.

“When did you have your last chemo,” my preop nurse asked.

“Last April 5,” I said. She must have noticed, I have some hair growing.

“So it has been more that two months ago. Maybe I will get mine in August,” she said smiling.

I smiled back. I have some hair. I have good prognosis. I have more and more years to live a healthy life with my loved ones. I am strong enough to care for not only my kids, but my patients at work. I have so many reasons to smile about. Last November when I heard my diagnosis, breast cancer, I thought the world would come crashing over me. Now, I am full of hope. Life could have been worse. Life can be worse. I am here and alive.

I have been chosen as a board member again for another two years in my nursing group. I start my new part time job as a home care nurse visiting homebound patients including oncology patients. I have more responsibilities to do in this world. I hope cancer does not get in the way.

Today, I take my kids to the amusement park. They will play in the water park. I will watch as I can’t submerge my body in water yet. I can’t even wear a bra top yet, too constricting to my newly put together-sutured-nipples. I have this gauze/tape on my chests that shows through when I wear a light top. They kinda look funny ha-ha. I guess I am wearing a dark top today.



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