About this blog

I was diagnosed with breast cancer on June 11, 2010. As a result of my treatment, I have lymphedema in my left arm. I draw my strength from the Lord, as well as my family's Scots-Irish heritage. Our Graham's were a tough and scrappy bunch of fighters on the Scottish/English border. They came to America and continued to fight when necessary: in the American Revolution; the Civil War; and my brother is a Captain in the U.S. Army. My ancestors settled this country against all odds. My great-grandmothers on both sides of the family were pioneer women who settled the West. Along with that heritage, and the full armor of God, I am walking the walk and fighting the good fight.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


Yesterday, mom and I went to the gym. Yeah! Another 'normal' activity to do for the first time. I was even able to get into one of my pullover workout shirts without too much pain. We rode the recumbent stationary bikes for 45 minutes. I even wore my heart rate monitor to make sure I got into my training zone. It felt indescribably good to sweat. I've always found the bike hard because you can't get away from the work on the legs. They take the full brunt of the work. Right now, they are the only part of me that really can, so its a good form of cardio for me. Even the upright bike is a no-no because of the tendency to lean on the handlebars. After the cardio, I did my upper body stretches. There were no mats in the stretching area, so I went into the room where they teach the classes and grabbed mats and took them to the other area. It was a good thing no one stopped me. I was all ready drop the cancer/mastectomy bomb on them! Look here, I had a double mastectomy 11 days ago and stretching is one of the only things in this gym I can do right now! All geared up for confrontation and there was none. Funny.

After my shower, I felt pretty good. Doing those once normal things without help is such a mood booster. We had plans later in the afternoon to take the kids to see the movie, "Cats and Dogs." So what was I going to wear?

So far, I've just worn the post-surgical camisoles and gone "flat." The camisoles I wear now in place of a bra have little pockets to insert what Judy the nurse at Kaiser called "fluffs." They are little pillows filled with what looks like lambs wool. (Takes me back to the days as a kid taking ballet lessons and stuffing lambs wool into the end of my toe shoes). I thought I'd give them a try and see how they looked. I took a big wad out of each one to begin with-they were just too poofy. I crammed them in the slot and put the camisole on. Then I put a shirt on over it.

Maybe its something I will have to get used to. It felt like I had two pillows strapped to my chest. It was just plain strange. There was no sensation in them. Why would there be? They are pillows! I felt silly all day. I don't think anyone noticed until I mentioned it. But I felt like everyone in the house zeroed in on it as soon as I came downstairs. I showed Eric and he seemed to think it was good. I felt like a dork. It also made me feel fat. I've been working a year to take OFF the padding, not put it back on.

It kind of ties into my 'elephant in the room' post. Everyone knows that I've lost my breasts. To wear little fake ones seems like I'm trying to pretend that I didn't. That I'm desperate to regain what I've lost. But I'm not. I don't mind being flat right now. I'm fighting locally advanced breast cancer-I've got bigger fish to fry than worrying about being flat. I don't want to sound judgmental of other breast cancer warrior who feel differently. This is just me-I totally understand that other women in my situation want to have some form of breasts. Right now, I'm not even interested in thinking about reconstruction. I've got chemo and most likely radiation to tackle. I don't want to consider another surgery and more pain.

This all might change. Maybe after I'm not in post-operative pain I'll want to have that space in my clothes filled up again. Maybe when I have the real prostheses instead of little lambs wool pillows it won't feel so weird.

I'm leaving the fluffies in the closet today.

1 comment:

  1. Tonya you have got your head on straight, u have got bigger things to worry about and I think boobs are just some fatty tissue, and I am personally flat chested and couldn't be more satisfied. It's all about how you feel about yourself, if u don't like em don't wear em. Do what u want and what makes u feel happy and comfy. I think u r wonderful. I will never forget you coming home from college and meeting "Tara's big sister" I always thought u were amazing and such a strong woman and I think the very same thing to this day. Keep fighting Tonya! Love ya-Trish:)