Wits & Tits - Post Boobie Cancer
Obgyn sent me to imaging, where I had mammogram and ultrasound. My Obg sent me to a surgeon for a biopsy. That was on 4/20/2015.
On May 8, 2015 I found out the diagnosis. I had a second biopsy after they found two more masses underneath - and lymph node swelling up under my arm.
I had preoperative chemo starting July. Chest port went in the day before it started. 16 rounds of chemo, finished November 11, 2015. Exhaustion, depression, agitation, numb fingers and toes and upper right arm, insomnia, emotional, nausea and hot flashes - but able to eat. Carrot smoothies and pesto and pasta a lot.
Chemo over but targeted therapy infusion treatments every 3 weeks till August 2016.
February 2016 on Super Bowl Saturday I had the mastectomy with immediate reconstruction (meaning tissue expanders aka "Barbie Boobs" with 50ccs of saline).
Two months later the inflations begin - 50ccs of saline each week or two until I am the size I want. Close to before, so probably 500ccs.
September and October - severe back pain, indigestion, can barely sit up or sleep, feeling delirious and unable to function properly. Two trips to ER.
Now I have a caregiver through Medicaid - just in time for 7 weeks of radiation from mid January 2017 to March. They had to deflate my left side to spare it from the radiation beam which only targeted the right side. Radiation burns crept up on me and were like the worst sunburn imaginable plus plus.
I am getting the left side re-inflated now, and after some more tests and follow up visits I should get a healing break until the surgery to replace the tissue expander "Barbie Boobs" with naturalish gummi bear implants that have cohesive silicone inside. and get nipples. and get those nipples tattooed. My cancer surgeon does it all, integrating plastic surgery techniques and creating a better process to stay in touch with patients through the reconstruction instead of sending them to another (plastic) surgeon. She is awesome.
Physically I have held up well - and I do my best mentally and emotionally too, but it is extremely challenging. Concentration is returning now as well as comprehension. The loss of identity was not entirely unfamiliar but it is intense.
I have applied for temporary disability because my energy is too erratic to work right now. I have found relief in meditation (many kinds), writing (also tiring though) and most recently qigong.
I currently have food stamps and Medicaid - and through the generosity of cancer organizations like The Sam Fund (for young adults with cancer - up to 40), Orion, Red Rose, have been able to supplement the food stamps and also get help with personal supplies, and even pay some rent during this time. And even get acupuncture funded.
Transportation through friends and the American Cancer Society, as well as non emergency medical transport and now paratransit. And friends who let me stay with them.
I am grateful to have a virtual village of support of all kinds. I could especially use help to make the most of this time by telling my story, continuing to heal and build good new habits and practices for my life going forward.
I truly believe there is something to the wisdom of the "new person doesn't need the old disease" - and so am reexamining my life and habits to adapt in a healthy way.
To continue telling my story, I could use better equipment - I would like to be able to share more in real time including video and pictures, and also art work that helps me heal and release old beliefs and ideas in a creative, loving way.
I also have some novels to finish editing - and my macbook battery is "vintage" and restarts my computer randomly. It's also heavy.
An iPad (the 9inch one - rose gold because pink!) with the external keyboard and pencil- and maybe a microphone for my podcast! I am serious about this but I need help!
Also an iPhone would be great and even cheaper - and I could use it for video and photos - and writing out in nature. I have been inside a lot and I would like to be around more green and do some qigong in the park - possibly with others.
Mindset and nutrition and gentle movement is so important to my healing. The plan is to pay this all forward in spades ... I feel the time I have is my gift to really understand this experience deeply and be able to share the information and inspiration with others.
More details on my journey as well as wishlists etc. can be found at www.mikohargett.com (which is due for an update!)
Thank you so much for your help. In the spirit of full disclosure I am also a cannabis advocate - it has helped me continue to get good nourishment, sleep, keep my spirits up, or just be able to relax inspite of sensory overload and emotional roller coasters. I make healthy edibles using juice pulp and cannabis coconut oil. It is a godsend.
Priority for the funds will go to nutrition first - then equipment. I might update the amount as well.
I also want to thank everyone for their patience with me during this time.
Thank you for helping with my reconstruction. I am forever in gratitude. <3
I may also be setting up www.mypinkplanner.com for those I know well who would like to stay abreast of more details (haha, abreast :P) and possibly help me stay organized through the next leg of this journey.
Muah and many wishes for peace, joy and dreams to come true.
You know, there is a special gift that comes with trauma that I would like to nurture as I believe it heals us. But why does believe have lie in it? Seriously, it’s strange.
Intensity is another account I am rich in, sometimes. Yet other times I could not mind less ~ with the horses galloping, stampeding in my mind, I feel like being easygoing about stuff as I gallivant around with gods and goddesses and minions through life. I like to experience spice and variety in my witchy life. Haha.
Are people over witches now? If you’re rich could you buy a witch?
Myrrhy Christmas to me? I have had a lot of healing going on (deets later) with essential oil regimen to detox and reveal my new self ... rubbing hands together gleefully - but could use your help! This month I can qualify for a free bottle of frankincense (retail $93) that has helped me so much already mentally and with energy and reducing pain... (I used and shared one bottle in a month) - if I spend ($250) - which is getting me started on a cellular renewal regimen and detoxing, helping my thyroid and digestion so I can get more nutrition from my food etc. It is a lot and I will put more on my blog - but your support is greatly appreciated.
Gotta run ... battery on red lol - love you guys (and gals) (and pets lol)
If I don't catch you before then, Happy Merry New Year to us all as well.
The ringing in my ears was getting quite bad - it's a side effect of Effexor, the anti-depressant / PTSD medicine that helps me not feel too much awful that I can't focus.
Sometimes I think that if I was not in such a challenging place in every way - that I would not even need them.
But in the spirit of accepting what is - and knowing the value of breaking up painful patterns chemically as well as organically ... we decreased my dose by half and then added an old "friend" - Zoloft - but in a much smaller dose - trying it for two weeks.
Going to get re-evaluated is quite an excursion - all the moods and energy in mental health places reminds me of the Twilight Zone sometimes - we do what we can to love our bodies in whatever way makes the most sense. I look forward to seeing more animals there one day - occasionally there has been a ferret but animals are the best at reflecting and modulating energy organically. Emotional support animals. Perhaps I should get a bird that repeats what I say. Lol.
Smiling on my organs, accepting my emotions and following intuition, including ruminating thoughts of old reactions and disturbances ... it's a process that is made better by lots of love and joyful human interaction.
Each day is a set of practices that connect together into a flow directed by the alignment of personal vision and core values -
That way without any significant advantage, we can edge, inch by inch, towards victory - towards allowing the grandness that is our original nature, to shine through us without words, and to do what all our efforts have not been able to do nearly as well so far; love honestly and wholeheartedly, without reservation each moment we remember, and forgive ourselves for the pain our bodies have endured and the heartaches; and remember the peaceful acceptance that we all share when we remember that life is as we see it and experience it for ourselves; our life comes from within, projecting a physical reality that is in alignment with our position and our purpose.
Going forward I want to include a new kind of generosity - and celebrate the gift of health in a way that is more personal than insurance and paperwork - remembering that before all the technology there was life, there was movement, there was connection;
Lately I have been setting up a new practice for myself - one that includes more laughing, more touching, more loving.
Life and karma is a result of little decisions, big awareness and even bigger acceptance - nature always honors our truest feelings... the words just show what we know about that truth.
My mind has been some kind of battle zone for awhile - some kind of overflow from my heart - so many compromises - so many times I shushed myself to my hurt - so many times I put away a skill or knowledge because it hurt to be who I really was -
I think that sometimes we forget that the parts of us we don't use tend to atrophy - it's the economy of the systems that preserve life and contribute to survival - what we do not use, we tend to lose -
The workaround is not about time or resources other than focus. It's about reducing everything to its simplest and most relevant, and then beginning a practice that starts from the core of our being to support that which supports us.
We are the cure we seek. How much love we allow to flow through us - and how much humility we can tolerate - will allow us to see things we did not see before,
And heal ourselves. Just by opening our eyes and accepting the entirety of each moment and our role in it and surrendering to the greatness of who we are.
Heart intelligence focuses more on the what and allows the how - using all our resources - to flow into our lives as best as we can allow it.
Gratitude and joyfulness - genuine and from the heart permeates our tissues and bones and blood because it acknowledges the incredible goodness that is within and therefore, without us -
The suffering purifies us of what is superfluous - what served to get us to where we are at - and transmutes all that we see as tarnished and shifts past fear and judgement into a reality where belief and faith is the predominant energy - humility and the pursuit of knowledge that speaks to our cells and our senses and makes it easy to know which way to go to do the best that only we can do.
I'm still in process - I find myself in a very new place again - thinking very carefully about my commitments and who I surround myself with when I am at low ebb.
It's been 11 months since radiation - which was an incredibly strange experience that is just fading for me - I see how far I have come and what challenges I have been able to meet - and that in spite of all the mental, physical, emotional stress sometimes - that with nature at my back I am glad I can rest in the knowledge that life proceeds as planned, and what I do not know now, I will learn, and with that new knowledge, continue to grow.
It's been awhile since I wrote a long update. There are some things on my chest that I feel I need to share to set a new tone for myself - but this is enough for now -
Physically I am learning my body better and accepting my restrictions. I hear it'll take me about 2-3 years estimate to fully recover - but it's a lifestyle, not a race just yet -
Slow is smooth, smooth is fast.