The Boob Report – Laughter is the Best Medicine

The Boob Report 3

Thank you so much for the support, positive thoughts and prayers. I have been overwhelmed by your kind comments and blog shout outs and appreciate every one of them!

For the first Boob Report, click here.

When it finally sunk in that I have breast cancer, I realized my name would soon have the attachment, breast cancer survivor. When other women have been introduced that way, it has always intimidated me. I mean, what had I survived in comparison?

“This is my friend Janie. She’s a breast cancer survivor.”

I would rack my brain and think to myself, “I’m Susie Lindau. I am a yeast infection survivor.”

The most horrible reality to all of this is that cancer will always be associated with my name. Sheesh! I am a Wild Rider. I am an upbeat and happy person. I don’t want this heavy mantle hanging over my shoulders.

I figure that if I can’t change the fact that I have cancer, I can try to change the way people think about it.

For one thing, my breasts and the subsequent testing continue to have their funny moments.

Who knew boobs could be so funny?

The next step in the diagnosis was having an MRI, but it made me very nervous. I am claustrophobic and had worried about hitting the panic button. I would have to go back and do it again. I couldn’t imagine looking around, encapsulated in the small chamber. My daughter loaded my MP3 player with Muse and the doctor prescribed Valium, so I relaxed.

The morning of the appointment, I jumped into the car and the MP3 player battery was dead. I FREAKED OUT!

After arriving at the hospital, the Valium kicked in. I undressed and put on the gown. (Don’t worry. I was in the examining room.) One of the nurses led me to the MRI and said, “How you lay down on the bed is pretty self-explanatory.”

I looked over at the two huge empty cans plated in copper recessed into the bed and then looked back at her. “I’m sorry, but I am going to have a problem with this.”

“What’s wrong?” She looked very concerned.

I stared back and said, “My humongous breasts won’t possibly fit into these small cans.”

The two nurses looked at my breasts and laughed.

She placed ear plugs in my ears. I lay down face first on a soft cushion and mumbled, “When does the massage begin?”

~~~

The MRI banged in very loud staccato beats. I focused on my second book in The Foreboding series. I don’t know if it was the banging or the Valium, but the craziest idea popped into my mind for the climax of my story. Who knew there would be fringe benefits to the MRI!

A week later, I had dinner with Piper Bayard and Kristen Lamb and recounted the experience.

“While having my MRI, I came up with the best climax!” They both started laughing. I didn’t understand, so I said it again only louder. “I figured out my first small climax, but my second climax is huge!” It took a minute to realize everyone around us was staring. They told me to stop saying the word “climax.”

Oopsy.

~~~

My left breast which is a little bigger is cancer-free while my right one is smaller and has cancer. What the heck? I kept getting them mixed up in the beginning since I couldn’t believe my right breast was small AND it contained a tumor. How could that be?

~~~

At first, my doctor thought I would only need a lumpectomy. I have very dense breast tissue which makes tumors hard to find. The results of the MRI showed a second, but much smaller mass a centimeter away and a third one on the other side of my breast. If the third was cancerous, I would need a mastectomy.

I remembered my doctor’s advice from my first appointment. “If you are a worrier, you might consider a double mastectomy.” I worry about everything!

He told me that the risk of recurrence in the good breast would be 30%. It doesn’t sound bad until you think about it as a 1 out of 3 chance. Hey. I am that 1 out of 10 women who got breast cancer. Out of that 10%, I am in the 5 percentile who have a rare form called lobular cancer. 95% of breast cancer is ductile.

I won’t be going to Vegas anytime soon.

~~~

Days later, when I had my second biopsy, I asked the radiologist about my risk of getting cancer in my healthy breast. He said, “You will be at the highest risk for getting breast cancer again.”

Well it didn’t take a brain surgeon to make my decision and I graduated in art.

I went home and asked Danny about it. “Wouldn’t it be weird to have one really perky fake-out boob and one soft real one that will eventually get saggy and shrink dinky? They won’t match.”

He looked at me for a minute and replied, “Your breasts have never matched.” We laughed so hard, but for the first time, I considered getting rid of both of them.

I would lower my risk and I would have a matched set. Bonus!

~~~

I worried about my sexuality. Why am I in such a minority? I couldn’t think of any movie stars or sex symbols who had openly gone through a bi-lateral mastectomy. I didn’t remember Christina Applegate until days later. I desperately needed a role model. I was 95% sure I would have them both “offed,” but I still needed the results of the second biopsy and wanted to hear my surgeon’s opinion.

The next morning, I turned on the television after Danny went to work. There was Angelina Jolie announcing her elective prophylactic bi-lateral mastectomy. Her specific Jewish heredity has the highest rate of breast and ovarian cancer and her DNA test came back positive for the BRCA1 gene. I had so much admiration for her, I sobbed. I couldn’t believe the timing of her announcement.

The following afternoon, my surgeon said they found pre-cancer cells in the biopsy, but he believed the radiologist probably missed the cancerous mass since it was so small.

I asked him about recurrence after a double mastectomy. He said, “Your risk would be less than 1%.” I would go from the highest risk factor to the very lowest with a double mastectomy.

A double mastectomy it is.

My surgery is Friday May 31st at 9:30 am. I am still praying that my lymph nodes are clear. I will be Wild Riding again in no time!

I had so many questions for the reconstructive surgeon. Nipples? No nipples? How do they do it? Are there one, two, or three surgeries? Is the implant safe? What about the nipple tattoos I had heard about?

I will be in good hands. Literally.

Oh man, you are really going on a Wild Ride!

Am I changing how you think about breast cancer?

Danny will post a Boob Report on Friday after the surgery.

Related posts:

The Boob Report III – Post-op

The Boob Report IV – Coming Out of the Haze

231 thoughts on “The Boob Report – Laughter is the Best Medicine

  1. This is for sure the wildest ride ever! Popped over from She’s a Maineac to offer my support. My Mom was a breast cancer survivor. And a very dear friend went the route of a prophylactic double mastectomy about 2 years ago. Her mother recently passed from her second go round with breast cancer. She and one of her sisters did it at the same time, and one of the comments she made was to take your time with the reconstruction to get the best results. She waited for swelling to go down in between steps, where her sister did not (sorry I don’t know more detail), and she is happier with her final results than her sister is.

    As I wrote over on Darla’s blog, kick cancer’s ass and be kind and gentle with yourself as you go through this entire process.

    Like

  2. Thank you for sharing your story, your humor, your bravery and such a personal experience to help others. Praying your surgery goes well today. Also praying this is the last time you have to face cancer. Thoughts and prayers and with you and yours.

    Like

  3. Pingback: Sending Strength for Susie | Mae's Day

  4. I found your story through Kristen’s blog. You are an inspiration for all of us. You have a rockin’ sense of humor. Love, love, love it! By the time you get around to reading this, your surgery should be over. I’m rooting for no lymph node involvement, no cancer, and I, too, vote for nipples. You’re in my thoughts and prayers today for a quick recovery, and though I don’t know you personally, I’m sending you love and hugs anyway.

    Like

  5. Pingback: The Boob Report III – Post-op | Susie Lindau's Wild Ride

  6. Just learned about you and your boobs on Kristen Lamb’s blog. You are one strong, courageous and positive lady. As you say, the Wild Ride will continue. Best wishes for a speedy recovery, after the drugs wear off. Much Aloha

    Like

  7. Susie, you’re really showing this “C-bomb” who’s boss! My prayers go to you and family. When I read the post about the “cllmax” I howled — so much so that it woke my dog up.

    Like

  8. Awesome. Love your spirit and approach to this. I’ve often thought of myself in the same position — could i pull it off? Humor and up-beatness in the face of cancer? I don’t know, but you’re certainly an inspiration in that direction. Thanks to Roam About for pointing me your way…. And we’re neighbors (I’m in NM) !!

    Like

  9. A fine sense of humor and a realistic perspective in the face of a dire situation. You’re the woman! Praying all went well, and that you’re already on the road to recovery and matching breasts.:-)

    Like

  10. Pingback: A Bulldogs Bark for Suzie Landau. | The Photographic Journey of bulldog.

  11. My thoughts are with you as you go through recovery. You sound like a great spirited lady. Take all the time you need to ask all of your post op and reconstructive questions. Find a surgeon who cares about what your goals are and is passionate about doing a really great job…like an artist, so to speak.

    A friend of mine is a plastic surgeon and through him I have been able to see a variety of different attitudes from surgeons. A surgeon who cares won’t get annoyed if you ask too many questions (which I would if I were having the surgery). I wish I knew the ones from your state…but during the consult, you’ll know when you meet him/her.

    I am glad that you decided to be proactive regarding the double mastectomy…it’s not like how it used to be…in the old days.

    Like

  12. Yanno, you could always have a t-shirt made that says “If you’re staring at my chest, ignore the right breast. He’s being a real SOB”. It’s a little wordy, I know. Okay, I’ll think up something with climax in it and get back to you.
    Blessings.

    Like

  13. A very brave decision – a careful one with the best advice.. And absolutely all best wishes from this side of the world for a speedy recovery and a long, – and suitably wild – future!

    Like

  14. I so admire your courage and the decision you have made. It seems to be the best option for your situation. I have never had this traumatic diagnosis handed to me but lost my mother to ovarian cancer when she was 38. I can only hope to handle such a situation with humor and grace as you are doing. Best to you and your family.

    Like

  15. Pingback: The Boob Report IV – Coming Out of the Haze | Susie Lindau's Wild Ride

  16. Thanks for sharing. You’re so brave. Your humor, your courage is inspiring. I’ve been there. I know the feeling. You have a great guy beside you. We thank God for that. I hope it was a successful surgery? Here’s wishing you quick recovery. You’re in my prayers.

    Like

  17. Pingback: The Boob Report – Bosom Boosting Buddies | Susie Lindau's Wild Ride

  18. Pingback: The Boob Report – Roadblocks and U-Turns | Susie Lindau's Wild Ride

  19. Pingback: The Boob Report – A Sticky Situation | Susie Lindau's Wild Ride

  20. A few years ago, on a flight to Berlin, I was seated next to a lovely woman who, after a few bottles of airplane wine, told me about her double mastectomy performed for the same reason the year prior. “And the best part is, I was an A cup, and am now a very full B!”

    After another wine, she urged me to touch them, to see how real they felt.

    And after another bottle on my part, I did. And it was the best lady groping I’d ever done over the Atlantic.

    Which I guess is just to say, if getting felt up is your thing, you can really make a go of it. And if not, well, you’ve got this. Good luck.

    Like

    • Hilarious! I’ve flashed a few friends, but I still have the hard expanders so no groping, yet!
      I am looking forward to the switch with the soft silicone on the 28th, I have to admit the idea of being cut open again sets me on edge. My doctor wants me to have cleavage and doesn’t like how far apart the pockets have become, so he’ll be working on my “pockets” too. It will be worth it in the long run. Then maybe I will find myself on a plane asking to be groped! Hahaha! It better be by another woman or my husband may have something to say about it!:)
      Thanks for stopping by. I will be blogging another Boob Report soon!

      Like

  21. Susie, I wanted to borrow your picture hear for my upcomiing post on my treatment and how laughter is the best medicine. I won’t post it until Saturday or Sunday. Please let me know if you have any reservations about this. Have a great weekend. ..wherever you are!:)

    Like

  22. Pingback: You have some nerve! | OUR LIFE IN 3D

  23. Pingback: Writer’s Conference Do’s and Don’ts or How to Avoid Abject Humiliation | Susie Lindau's Wild Ride

Leave a Wild thought. Someone may click to your blog!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s