Behind the fog

This morning’s thick blanket of fog reminds me more of a Central Coast morning than a Long Island one. It’s been unseasonably warm here, sweater weather still, with a solid week of rain in the forecast ahead of us. I have never really liked the rain.

I’ve spent much of the last few days in bed, knocked out by a stomach bug, which in a twisted way seems like a fitting end to the year. I’m sure my immune system is going to take some time to find its sea legs again — I so rarely catch whatever bugs are floating around, but between the cough that refused to die and this, it’s been a little frustrating. I’ve been amazed at how my body has recovered from the trauma of my surgeries, but I guess everything has its limits.

It’s been about a week since I had my nipples tattooed. Talk about a strange life experience. I’m still not sure what I think about the whole thing. As I was leaving the doctor’s office, the social worker presented me with a “certificate of completion” as she played Pomp and Circumstance on her iPhone. I think I was supposed to be touched by the moment, but all I felt was numb. It seems everyone is anxious to graduate me this month. I didn’t know how to react to her excitement, her genuine happiness that I had completed the final step to my reconstruction. Sometimes it takes time to catch up to where everyone thinks you already are.

Yesterday, I went in for my third Lupron shot. As I was chatting with my gynecologist, she asked me what my long term plan was for adjuvant therapy. I told her this was my plan — Lupron shots every three months to suppress my ovaries so that I can continue taking the Aromasin. I’m not sure how or where I got it wrong, but it seems that Lupron shots are not ideal in terms of a long term plan because of the side effects they put me at risk for. Somehow my doctors are going to have to figure out if/when I’m in natural menopause. But to do that, I have to stop all the drugs so that my blood work will show my real hormone levels and not my drug-induced hormone levels. In terms of cancer prevention, stopping all the drugs is a terrible plan. It’s always something, right?

But tonight is the night before the night before Christmas and I don’t want to think about long term plans or my nipples, or even when I’ll be able to stomach something other than pasta with butter again. My family is safe and warm, and though we aren’t all together, we hold each other close in our hearts. It’s been quite a year, but we have so much to be grateful for — including the dear friends who fill our holidays and remind us that family is not just the people who share your name.

I hope your holiday is filled with light and love, family and dear friends, and that the next few days, at least, will be a refuge from whatever hardships you face. Merry Christmas.

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