Friday, February 12, 2016


You've most likely heard the phrase, "It's all relative."  I was reminded of the truth of this today along with the sentiment, "Everyone is fighting their own battle." 

I had my 2nd post-op appointment at my surgeon's office and had the hope to have lots of sutures removed and a green light for my chemotherapy to begin next Friday.  I know, it's odd to think of someone wanting that fright-fest to begin, but I have the dates (including the end date) in my head and have been trying to mentally prepare myself for next Friday so ... I'd like to proceed as planned. 

The appointment did not go as planned.

See, this thing called gravity (Ah, Sir Newton), has been pulling Frankenboob down despite my alternating between a mega-supportive sports bra and corset-tight wrap.  The result is that one of the sutures pulled open and ... well .... open wounds are not good things.  I'm now on an antibiotic with instructions to use wet/dry dressings (a square wet with saline solution on the wound with a dry dressing on top), and have a follow-up appointment with Dr. App on Monday afternoon.  It will really be up to her at that appointment as to whether I proceed as planned next Friday.

Meanwhile, my lymph node incision site is doing beautifully and the sutures were removed today.  Odd to think that a location that had much more movement (and next to my armpit) is fine yet the underside of Frankenboob is toxic.

With my perfectly planned next steps and appointments in jeopardy, I picked up the antibiotic prescription and decided to cheer myself up with a protein rich and delicious omelet at Real Food Café (pretty much my second home these days).  I sat down, grumbling internally over the doctor's visit, my toxic tit, and my possible delay in treatment.  I was frustrated and feeling pretty sorry for myself overall.

I glanced next to me and saw two women having lunch.  The younger of the two was talking nonstop and it was easy to tell that this was a young adult daughter talking to her mother.  I also noticed pretty quickly that the mother had some difficulty in speaking and moving.  After making sure that the server understood her mother's order, the daughter continued telling her mother about her plans for the future - school, work, living arrangements, etc.  It did not appear that the mother's condition was recent although I certainly don't know that for sure. 

The two left before I was finished and three men took their place.  One of the men, pulled the table out so that his friend/son/brother could easily sit down.  It was apparent that the man had both difficulty speaking and a physical disability.  Once seated, the table was replaced and the two men joined the third and proceeded to ensure that the server understood all of their lunch orders.

Honestly, I felt ashamed.  I was sitting there feeling sorry for myself because of a completely treatable medical condition when, in the course of 30 minutes or so, here were two individuals who are living with what appear to be lifelong conditions.  Now, please don't misunderstand me.  I have no idea what either of these individuals think or feel about their conditions ... or even if they think of them as conditions.  But it reminded me that everything is relative. 

Having a "bit" of cancer is a pain in my ass - or, rather, a pain in my breast.  But the tumor was relatively small, it was caught relatively early, and my treatment is expected to be relatively manageable with an actual end date.  In the grand scheme of things, in the many ways in which life and health can smack us upside the head, when I could just as easily live in a place where medical treatments are not as advanced, are too expensive, where even clean water is a luxury, my life is still relatively freakin' spectacular. 

Everything is relative. 

I also found myself remembering that everyone is fighting their own battle.  If you saw me today, you would have no idea that I have cancer, or that I'm ill in any way.  You certainly wouldn't know that I have an infected hole in my breast, or would be grabbing yogurt on my way home to re-stock the good bacteria in my body after the antibiotic kills the good, the bad, and the ugly indiscriminately.  I looked around that diner and started wondering what other people were going through.  What hidden battles waited for them at home, or never left them alone.  Medical conditions, mental conditions, the loss of loved ones, financial difficulties, heartbreak ... the potential list is endless. 

It's so easy to be caught up in our own lives that we assume a nice car means the person that just cut us off did so because he's an asshole, not because he's racing to the hospital to be with a loved one.  The woman taking too long to decide what she wants (IT'S MCDONALD'S - DO YOU NOT KNOW THE MENU?!) is simply an idiot, not completely emotionally bent over a breakup or job loss.

One late breakfast humbled me.  I hope I do better in remembering both how blessed I am and that I've no idea what battles are being faced all around me. 

Now, excuse me while I go replace my soaked dressing - WTH! - with a new one.

Stupid toxic tit! 

Still ... relatively ... not that big of a deal.

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