Yeah, so, my grandma and I don’t look much alike.
We don’t look similar at all. I’m not sure you can tell we are related by looking at us. She’s half-Chinese. (Yes, I’m one-eighth Chinese). She’s short and thin and has gray hair. She’s 85. She’s had eight kids, which means now she has a ton of grandkids. She’s very religious. She’s definitely getting into heaven. Really, we couldn’t be more different.
Unfortunately now we have one thing in common: matching mastectomy scars on our left breasts.
My mom’s mom was diagnosed with breast cancer in her left breast a few weeks ago. She didn’t have the “good cancer,” either. She was diagnosed with invasive lobular carcinoma. Yesterday, she had a mastectomy. Grandma is strong, and she pulled through the surgery well. I have been thinking about her constantly and sending my good vibes her way, because I know how brutal the recovery is. I know how painful it is. I know how scared she is.
The good news is preliminary results of her sentinel node biopsy are negative for cancer, which means most likely it has not spread. Take that, cancer!
When my grandma was first diagnosed my mom and other relatives peppered me with a lot of questions. Whether I like it or not, I’m the family breast cancer expert now.
I did some research and tried to answer their questions the best I could. David wasn’t loving that I was revisiting my cancer books and websites, because with them the horrible cancer nightmares returned. I suspect those nightmares will return from time to time anyway.
My cousin Stacey called me after grandma’s diagnosis. First me, now grandma. We have a family history of breast cancer now and that’s serious as hell. You can’t ignore it. I have already been tested for the breast cancer gene, and I tested negative. Of course, that doesn’t mean the ladies in my family don’t have the genetic mutation, and that’s what was concerning Stacey. She said she was thinking about getting the genetic test.
“Whether or not you get the test, there are things you, and all the women in our family, can be doing to keep cancer away,” I told her. “Cancer is a thief. It stole my left boob. It can steal your life. You need to put a security system around your body to keep the thief out like you would on your car or your house. You need to lock up your body by eating right and taking care of yourself. Stop drinking milk, or at least drink organic milk. Stop eating meat, or at least eat hormone-free meat. I’m not saying those things cause cancer. I’m just saying let’s not give cancer anything it needs to grow, you know? You don’t need to help it steal from you.”
I repeated this speech to my mom. I have no idea if anyone is taking my advice, but I feel I’m right.
Speaking of surgeries … I’m having another one. Next Tuesday I am going in for my breast reconstruction surgery. The plastic surgeon is going to remove the tissue expander and replace it with a silicone implant. I decided on the silicone, because it feels more natural and comfortable. I’m tired of being uncomfortable. Besides, I’m going to be getting MRIs all the time anyway as part of my cancer screening. I’m confident my new fake knocker is perfectly safe, and it will be closely monitored.
I don’t love the idea of more surgery, but I can’t wait to get rid of this hard-as-a-rock tissue expander and get my very own fake boob. I don’t know if I can properly express how uncomfortable this tissue expander is. Let me try … Take a big rock and put it under your skin on your chest, so the skin is constantly stretching. Oh, and make it stick out a little into your armpit. Sexy, right? David is a lucky man.
This surgery is going to be much less invasive than the mastectomy, of course, with an estimated recovery time of a week to 10 days. Also, this is my favorite part (besides the vicodin): no drains! Man oh man, I hated that fuckin’ drain.
Also, following our usual surgery protocol, David will be updating the Sonia’s Boob Twitter page the day of my surgery with progress reports.