The very first woman that I personally knew with breast cancer , Diana, passed away on Monday. Cancer finally had it's way with her.
It's all very surreal. We were acquaintances. She was a hairdresser at the salon I go to. Diana was tall and lithe with the most beautiful white-grey hair that made her look like a silent movie star - not older. One of those 50 something women that I want to be when I grow up. She was always upbeat and laughing at something. I wish I'd known her better.
She had the same type of reconstruction I did. The TRAM Flap. When I was diagnosed Diana was so generous with her time and energy. She sent me cards on a regular basis just to let me know she was there if I needed to talk to someone.
She offered to show me her nipples. Is it insensitive to say that I wish I'd taken her up on the offer? If I'd have known at the time that I couldn't just Google "reconstructed nipples" and have the internet drop a plethora of mouse-eared nipples on my laptop with a simple click of a button I'd have had her with her blouse up in a heartbeat! Damn the internet and it's inability to give me nipple pictures that aren't pornographic, anyway!
She gave me real life advice about the reconstruction. I like to translate all surgical recovery times into Stella Time. That is to say that when I am told that recovery from surgery will be 3 days in the hospital (mostly unconscious) and 6 to 8 weeks of no lifting over 5 pounds, no lifting hands above my head, etc... what I hear is "I should be home from the hospital in a day and a half and back to normal in 3 weeks because all others (especially men) are whiners and my Dr. is a man therefore prone to theatrics. Besides, I am Super Woman/Mommy. Nothing can keep me down for long. I have work to do." Diana let me know that the 6-8 week period is in fact, real. Boy was she right!
She was great! And I didn't even know she had gotten sick again. The guilt. I'm sad.