I just opened the beat-up little notebook where I write down all the movies I see, to ponder what might make my Best of 2012 list. Instead I flipped to a page where I’d written “ovary removal timeline.” So that tells you most of what you need to know about my 2012.
That said, surgery (on the boobs—the ovaries will have to be a New Year’s resolution) went really well. As I’ve been telling anyone who asks how I’m doing, the same genes that gave me cancer and anxiety also gave me flexible pectoral muscles. So while I feared weeks of needing help wiping my ass, the pain was more along the lines of a really rough work-out at the gym, and I found myself saving my Percocet for when I had cramps a few days later. (No more of that once the ovaries are out—woo-hoo?)
Also, and more importantly, four different tests to look for lymph node metastasis came back negative. The cancer appears to be confined to one giant-ass tumor—I’m looking for a point of comparison size-wise, but I refuse to choose a fruit, because all the pregnancy websites tell you when your fetus is the size of a blueberry, a lime, etc., and the metaphoric implications of what grew inside me instead are already too painful.
So we’ll call it a summer squash, which I hate. Or an iPhone. Or a fist and a half. It was unnervingly big, although they say size doesn’t matter…too much. It was something that could have only hidden in my or Christina Hendricks’ boobs.
But it’s no longer in me. So it’s possible that I no longer have cancer, and that’s the story I’m going to stick with, although soon I’ll begin six rounds of chemo to make sure. And I might have to do radiation to make extra sure. Those things are daunting, but I’m trying to think of them as just really grueling errands.
People say losing your breasts is tragic, and I felt fully prepared to be freaked out by my temporarily nipple-less body, but so far I’m not. I’m a little wistful when I think about the old ones, but it’s a general wistfulness for a (slightly) more innocent time. I find my boobs-in-progress tidy and interesting and full of possibility.
People (or at least a recent episode of Modern Family, to which AK and I gave the finger) say that getting pregnant is easy and raising kids is the hard part.
I think sometimes people are wrong. I’m not saying raising kids is easy. But since I’ve spent the past few years wrestling with why supposedly-easy things are sometimes so hard for me, I’m going to take solace when hard things occasionally turn out easy(ish). Maybe chemo will be one of them?
And although the past week and a half has been a little heavier on TLC’s Freaky Eaters than I would have liked, and a little lighter on editing my novel and watching classic films, I’m still taking solace in books and movies. Here are my favorites—not necessarily the “best,” but the ones that spoke to me the most. They, and a few wonderful people, got me through 2012.
|This cover is pretty great. The book is all about shadows and doubling.|
Eleven favorite books:
A Pale View of Hills by Kazuo Ishiguro
The Red Parts by Maggie Nelson
Some Things That Meant the World to Me by Joshua Mohr
Are You My Mother? by Alison Bechdel
The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver
The Magician’s Assistant by Ann Patchett
2500 Random Things About Me Too by Matias Viegener
There’s a Road to Everywhere Except Where You Came From by Bryan Charles
Fiction Ruined My Family by Jeanne Darst
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
Man in the Woods by Scott Spencer
Honorable mention: Heartburn by Nora Ephron, The Infinite Wait by Julia Wertz, Five Skies by Ron Carlson
Beasts of the Southern Wild
Life of Pi
Face 2 Face
The Queen of Versailles
Jeff Who Lives at Home