Saturday, November 24, 2012

I will not let breast cancer take my holiday

A sample ot today's work

I started at a little before 7am and just finished. Yes it took me longer than normal, yes my back is killing, my chest is sore and yes I only made 13 instead of 16 different types of Holiday cookies. BUT I FUCKING DID IT!! Everyone kept saying "You don't have to make cookies this year", "This can be your year off", "Why bother?" I will certainly explain!
First, I am a baker and I love making cookies for Christmas. I have been doing this for so long I can not even remember when I wasn't making them. I have rules- well just one, stay out of my way! So Tom happily takes the kids out of the house all day. My entire family looks forward to my cookies. Cooking for people you care so much about when made with love is such an incredible feeling. I want them to feel that every year.
Second, I had to show myself that even through all that has happened, how I am feeling and what is up next, I can still do this. I realized how tired I was, so I stopped and didn't make the last three. Maybe I will or I won't, I am not worried. I have to admit cutting the bar cookies was difficult, which pissed me off but made me more determined.
Third, yes they drive me nuts and need to get the fuck out of the kitchen when I am bakin,g but when Tom and the boys came home smelled the house it was worth it. Anthony was excited his favorite kind were coming out of the oven, Sam wanted the three layers "so bad", Julian ate an Anise ball and proclaimed them the best, Ben took his favorite split levels to his buddy's and Tom tried at least four saying that this year his favorite was the Anise,  like Jules. This made me feel like I gave cancer another kick. I know to some reading this you are like "She needs medication!", but right now being able to bake all day is huge. Making it to another holiday is magnificent!! I wanted to just be able to do this without stupid dumb breast cancer getting in the way.

Happy Holidays from the Otis Family!
Taken days after my double mastectomy

Anyone who knows me knows I do three things at the holidays, bake a ton of  cookies all in one day (DONE!!), throw a killer Holiday party (next weekend, whoot whoot) and I have to be the first holiday card you get. Yes I know I could have taken this year off I get that. HELLLSSSS NOOOO!! I hope that when some of you (sorry I can not mail it out to everyone that visits my blog) got your mail today it was in there and you opened it. I even wrote on every single card, in pink of course. I love getting and giving holiday cards and I wasn't going to make this year any different. I love the holidays and my OCD ways!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


Funny how a little  breast cancer gives Thanksgiving a whole new perspective. I used to have some snarky comment about stealing land from the Indians, but now I just have thankful thoughts. Ok I still have snarky comments, but I am more thankful than ever. I am not sure how I could ever express all my thanks and how overwhelmed with it I am. I am thankful I had enough breast education to get my lump checked and to pursue it beyond a "normal" mammo. I am so thankful for my doctors who I trust and know they are doing all that they can to keep me alive and focused. I am thankful for all those who support and help STUPID DUMB BREAST CANCER because this is my mission now. I am thankful for every single friend that brought me dinner, a cancer gift, took my kids, held my hand, threw me a party, listened to me cry or was just here. I am beyond thankful for my family who loves me so much and worries with me through all my worries and supported me (and obeyed the "no crying" rule). I am thankful for my babies and all the gentle hugs and the pride they have encountered supporting their momma! I am thankful for my TFO that even through the rough spots he is there holding me and loving me. I am just thankful this year. I am giving thanks for breathing. This Thanksgiving raise your glass to LIFE, SALUD!  ("to health!"in Italian).

My crazy ass Italian Family

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Do you see what I see....

I have been battling with the mirror for a while. Everyone knows what I mean, we see ourselves through this harsh image that is distorted and judgmental. I've been talking to several friends and its funny because none of us our listening to our own advice. Accepting ourselves, our bodies our life and embracing it. I have been struggling all week with these new boobs. Yes they "feel" better than the expanders, but they are not me, no way. I feel scared and tired and changed. I did not enjoy dress shopping the other day and how different I look in clothes, it was very difficult for me. I'm glad I had cookies and milk with me!  I feel like a hot ass mess, a HAM as my good friend Duke would say. I hate the way I've gained weight and can not wait to work out. I am disgusted with these scared, ripped, fake, nippless boobs! But I am alive and sitting here with my family while my phone goes off with friends and other family members worrying about how my day went. I am a breast cancer survivor and those breasts did not define or make me who I was. Yet, I know that is not what others see when they see me. I tell people all the time to look deep in that mirror and see what the world sees, I want to do that!

Yet when I look at this photo here is what I see.....
First, I want to state that when Genevieve sent this I cried ...hard. The symbolism of the blurred chest was profound. The picture as a breast cancer survivor speaks volumes and I know my warrior sisters will agree. I am a woman who is tired and scared. I am stressed and worried that my health could get worse at any moment. That at any doctors appointment, tests could come back with more bad news. I'm dreading another surgery but know that there is no other option. I am battling the beast and don't want to give in. I don't  think "Why  me?" but "This is me".  The crazy thing is this chest is not me any more, it is fake and has no feeling, yet when I look at it I feel so much. I have no feeling about how they look or what they are because they are so foreign to me. I feel pain and stress. I feel overwhelming guilt that I survived, yet power that I beat it at the same time. I see me, the same woman I was, but a woman who now looks at the world in a different light. I see the real side to breast cancer, I see my side of the journey! I am a woman who was not defined by cancer but refined by this battle!

This is what Tom sees......
AM, you asked me to add something here in part, I think, because you thought I would be uncomfortable with you posting this picture. I'm way past that at this point.  One thing I can say about this whole experience is that I've fallen in love with you in a way that seems more awake and urgent than ever before. When you showed me this photo, I told you it was beautiful. Yes, I see the pain and the stress. But I can also see past it and see someone that is so strong and so brave. I see someone whose beauty was not diminished by adversity, but was increased by it. It's a strange thought, but I think the sense of purpose you now have about your life was a gift that cancer never meant to give you. You will struggle through the physical changes and I believe you will arrive in a place that you can feel comfortable with yourself. It's hard for you to look in the mirror now, but it's just as hard for me to stop looking at you. xo 

Monday, November 19, 2012

Doctor doctor give me the news...

I figure if you have to go to see the doctor, might as well see as many as you can! I get to go see my plastics first. I do have to say I love this office. The ladies are fabulous and I am usually in and out! Strange I know but I must not lie, I like going to this office. I am excited for the doc to check my new boobs and let me know how he feels they are healing. I will say that my friend Kristin was right, there is no stuffing these boobs into a dress, what a bitch it was finding one that is just right!

 I am also thrilled because they will tell me when I can get my INK!! Now that puts a large smile on my face. Tom drew these magnolias that are pink and white and have branches that will wrap to the side and cover the drain mark. I figure hell, if I get them soon I won't feel a thing. Plus, I am thinking this is the perfect time for my Dad to get his, anyone else???.

OHHHH and then there is the box of nipples. Did you know that they have a box of nipples you can choose from to stick on for certain outfits??? Oh hell yes I am getting some, I see lots of good times ahead with nipples. Genevieve will love taking those pictures. I also will be getting the OK to work out. I miss working out so much and my partner misses me yelling at her. I am just one workout away from a good mood and shit, it’s been months, so you know what a bitch I have been. I know that I won't be doing wall pushups by Friday but I need something. I feel like a flabby mess. I want shut up and squat, BURPEESSSSS I miss you so.

Then I am off to the breast care doctor, who I also LOVE!! I am lookinhg forward to seeing her new office. Just a checkup so I am hoping for a quickie there too. We will be talking about when she feels I will be ready for the oophorectomy (I just love that word). I know I get December off of surgeries then January it looks like it is back at it. Do you see that this is not "over" with a mastectomy?? The appointments are ongoing as well as the checks. This is why it is so important to love your doctors and the staff; you spend a lot of time there. YOU and YOU alone have to like them not your Uncle Lou's neighbor Lola, their opinion shouldn't matter and they should keep it to themself.

I am going to just enjoy the holidays. January looks too intense for me. I go back to the oncologist for all my "cancer tests". NOT at all looking forward to scans, blood work, needles and results. Then surgery, but we are not talking about that right now like I said HOLIDAY....CELEBRATE!