Downy Scented Tears

I lay under a mountain of laundry, my world shrunken to darkness and bed linens. I’m shaking in disbelief, betrayed by my body again. This new growth has focused like a laser on my remaining breast tissue.

With two days off, and the kids away in school, I scream, raging against the unfairness of it all. The cancer does not care about my reinvention hundreds of miles away; it has hunted me down to raise the ante.

Drying tears and taking a deep breath; the evil empire has struck back, it is time to go to war.

There and Back Again

Back in another cold room, staring at oatmeal colored walls while waiting for test results triggered by panicked calls to the doctor. An empty shell performs my daily routine at work and at home, while the real me cowers in a corner of my mind. A metal clip was inserted during the biopsy and I catch myself rubbing the sore spot, a tagged animal ready to chew its collar off…

I lean against the strength of my husband as the man in a white coat makes sounds like angry ocean waves crashing against rocks.

The cancer is back.

Stumble

So I’m sitting at my desk reconciling TPS reports when a cookie crumb-off triggers an alarm. Fear banked in a tiny corner of my mind flickers and flares, drenching me in a cold sweat when further inspection confirms a lump the size of a pea sitting above foob. I stare at my phone for an eternity as my brain tries to remember how to make the buttons work. By the evening commute, the brave front I mustered during work is shattered. My husband and I sit in a miasma of unspoken words, hurtling backwards as traffic crawls around us.

Reconstructing a Hug – now available at Amazon.com

I compiled all my posts about my initial brush with breast cancer into ebook form,  now available at amazon.com

My goal was write the posts in a loose narrative structure, and while it maybe a short book, each essay represents my reactions as a cancer patient navigating all the emotional, physical, and psychological baggage.  Well, to the best of my recollection.

The ebook is now available at Amazon:

Reconstructing A Hug: 100 Word Vignettes of a Breast Cancer Saga Volume One [Kindle Edition]
Rozier Mutinda (Author)

Hello New Boss not same as Old Boss

My foob and uplifted boob look spectacular under my work wardrobe. I have full coverage of gorgeous natural curls except for a shock of three white hairs proudly standing to lend me gravitas amongst my cohorts as we are immersed into the company’s KoolAid. Being mistaken for a partner never gets old…

The indoctrination lasts two weeks and while I’m away clapping louder, my boys endure a spaghetti night gone wrong.  The husband, eager to burnish his cooking skills scars them with overzealous salting, unsmashed bits, and pools of butter. They still flinch at the thought of homemade garlic bread.

Illusion

A daily pill remains as the holdover of a previous life, just a thought away. I  graduate and with my degree in hand, the corporate world awaits. I remember coding in BASIC back when twitter was more a sound birds made and less a forum for literal brian frats… I blow away cobwebs from my resume in anticipation of dazzling recruiters; I am amazed by the elasticity of life, its ability to encapsulate the dissonance in my narrative; shaping a new existence where I can once again build a new dream.

On my first day, my youngest packs me lunch.

Flight

Once doctor visits trickle down to months in-between, we run. Away, to begin a new life in another city far off where the boys forget, the husband buries and I put on a brave front. I keep the hair short, a reminder to remain vigilant. Being in remission means pushing the cancer me back into a corner of my mind, and picking up the other threads of my life. Like earning that Master’s degree, which but for one session, I never really dropped out of. After walking my sons to their new school, I return online to finish one dream.

An Ending

It’s Fall in 2009, a thirty-something birthday has come and gone, and my treatment is reduced to a daily pill and monitoring checkups every few months.

I had briefly considered live-blogging my ‘journey’ through breast cancer, but quickly rejected the idea once I found myself caught up in the tornado of sharp needles, horrible side effects, loud machines, bags of chemicals, stitches, fake boobs, and medical jargon. Most my energy was focused inward, with a few spurts left for the boys.

I needed distance to process the life-changing event that had happened to me and my family. And so after a few months of clean check-ups and easier breathing, The Waridi Project was born first as a journal where I documented my feelings as I navigated the various facets that were my breast cancer diagnosis and treatment.

As an aspiring writer, I decided to chronicle my ‘Journey’ as a blog and as a challenge to myself, I was going to limit the posts to 100 words or less to make sure my ramblings would be corralled into concise sense.

A year older, wiser, grayer; my life slowly came to a new normal. I regained weight, my hair grew back, my nails were flushed pink in health and with a dainty bite of the first egg sandwich slathered with Sriracha, the preceding months fade like fog fleeing sunlight.

So I had won a battle, but what about the war?

Distance

In twilight sleep, I peer through lidded eyes as the surgeon briskly tugs out my port. His assistant occasionally hands him sharp implements, while maintaining a cheery natter that slithers in and out of my consciousness. I feel an odd sense of dislocation, emotionally detached from the procedure.

Days after my last targeted treatment, my year-plus tangle with cancer is coming to an end with the port removal. I stare indifferently at the removed device while the surgeon glues skin back together.

Later on, a finger traces the newest scar in the changing landscape that is my battered body.

New Foob

Plastic surgeon pleased with progress of the ballooning expander in stretching my chest muscles and tissue, schedules the exchange surgery. Finally I get a more natural looking implant positioned where nature and gravity intended. He does a wonderful job and gives the other boob a lift as well. After surgery, I get drains again, but this time I deal with minimum fuss. Once I heal, foob (fake boob) and newly perky boob are unveiled and look spectacular under my new wardrobe. Now the cashier at Starbucks will hand me my venti extra hot chai while looking at my face…never mind.