Friday, June 8, 2012

Pre-Op Jitters/Remembering Grandma

So... after 8 months of  dealing this trifling bullshit called stupid Breast Cancer, I am FINALLY scheduled for of this glorious event: Next Wed, June 13th at the crack ass of dawn.  Am I happy? Yes and No. I'm more nervous than anything but I have been waiting for this day for a very very very VERY long time. And I just want to begin the muther effin' healing process already!

If you don't understand what a big deal this is to me, allow me to break it down for you.  I have endured my body through 16 fucking long ass chemo treatments. ALL of them over 3 hrs long at a time. The first 4 chemo sessions which were 2-3 weeks apart were THE most disgusting  I've ever had to ever endure and deal with in my life. Not to mention all this other shit: The switching of health insurance, losing my pretty well paid full time job of over 5 years, a shitty breakup and relationship crap, the addition of a port to my body, the stress of finding a new treatment center, the nausea, the constipation, the insomnia, the drugs, the loss of appetite, the weight loss, the days in bed, the day right AFTER chemo when I would have to drag myself out of bed to get a shot to control the white blood cells in my body...the horrible hair loss, the tears, the pain, the frustration, the loss of my menstrual cycle, the difficult hot flashes... THE FUCKING MOVING of APTS that I had to do in between feeling like shit...the back and forth general bullshit....being sick at Thanksgiving, being sick in the hospital after Christmas, missing New Years and lying in the hospital bed depressed that this was happening...and then during the second half of Chemo- worrying about the constant nausea, the steroids that make you gain weight, the ultrasounds, the catscans, the constant drawing of blood, the going to the hospital every fucking week for MONTHS, and now the continuing of going back every 3 weeks for one fucking year. All the doctor appointments- including the surgeon, the plastic surgeon, the social workers, the oncologist,  radiologists, my 2 PCPS- dealing with constantly driving back and forth to the FREAKIN' Shapiro building....the 50 times I had to pay for parking. UGH. Are you exhausted just reading all of this yet? Besides all the times I've had friends come and the occasional parent, I did this shit ALL ON MY OWN. Drove there when I was sick, Drove back when I wanted to shoot myself.

But most of all - it's the emotions that run in my head daily. I know it's easy to say to someone, "Oh you'll get through it, and you are strong" but this has really tested my fucking strength and endurance. I am still amazed I have not thrown up fucking ONCE. You are talking to a girl that if I even had 2 shots or 1 alcoholic drink, I would throw up. And yet I had the most disgusting mix of cocktails of ALL, and my body took it like a goddamned CHAMP. It's crazy.

Besides having mini emotional meltdowns, and trust me, I have felt suicidal and fucked up at various stages of this, 

 I am a firm believer that all things in life happen for a greater reason- whether happy, sad, or both. I know I have said that in a past post, but it's totally true- in the end it just makes you think about things in a different perspective and it just makes you much stronger. Never in a million years would I have thought that at age 32, I would have to deal with such a life changing illness. There have been many times in my life where I would wish I was sick to get out of doing something, or have like a broken leg to just see how it would feel like. I know this will sound sadistic, but when I was a kid, I used to pound my nose to give myself nosebleeds just to see if I could make myself bleed and then see if I could stop it... I am a truly sick and messed up human I know, LOL, but I wished Cancer was that easy to stop- 'cause TRUST me- I'd like to give it several big freakin' POUNDS with both fists. Repeatedly.

Emotionally, secretly I have been a super wreck over various shitty things in my life that I am unable to control - People not being there, broken promises,  temporary happiness, glimpses of things that could be, but can't at the moment.... restless nights and half filled days, but those are things that I can't change overnight. 

And I NEED TO FOCUS ON ME. In order to heal in all areas, I just have to say FUCK IT. And just DO ME. 
karma is my bitch. And it will rear its head soon. You really see who is there for you and has your back when you go through shit like's almost like it weeds out all the selfish self absorbed assholes and lets you see the light.

Above all, I need to clear my head mentally from all the bullshit. I have to. If I don't, I will forever let these feelings of negativity drag me down. But I am the first to say that I don't ever want to deal with this again. I know that there are no guarantees in life and this will always be a part of the rest of my life from now on, but I REALLY do not, and CAN NOT have this re-occur in my life again. I think I will completely be fucked up if it does later in my life. I'm serious. I will do everything in my power to have a better outcome in the long run. I have seen Cancer slowly drain the life out of my once happy healthy grandmother to someone spending the last days of her life trying to breathe from a tube and looking thin, frail and not the wonderful happy grandma I knew. 

And it scares me. I remember the last time I saw her. It was right around Christmas. Almost about 10 years ago. I never really dealt with death well and I knew my grandmother was sick for a long time. Instead of always being there for her, I pushed  all her sickness away like it didn't exist and  until it was too late. My parents sensed that she was going to pass soon so before Christmas, we all went to the hospital to see her one last time and give her some gifts. I remember I was just frozen in the doorway just staring at her. She just looked so small and sad and covered with blankets I almost didn't recognize her. And it made me feel so sad inside. My dad yelled at me to go into the room to see her closer. I really didn't understand what cancer really was back then and the effect it had. I was just completely clueless. My grandmother had breast Cancer first (then later Ovarian). From what I can remember she only had one side removed but she recovered with flying colors . In fact, instead of having my dad drive her to and from chemo, most times, she insisted on taking the shuttle from her apt (where she lived alone) and handled most of that herself. I remember she was always weak and tired but she still pushed herself to do normal things like  cook us her amazing dinners and try to do family nights with us.  These are the things I remember...and that is how I want to remember her. She was pretty damn amazing. 

But back to that day, at the hospital. I wanted to cry. Somehow it didn't come out right. She saw me and I could see that she wanted to say something to me but because of the tube she couldn't utter the words and struggled a lot. She just smiled at me and blinked at me, but I knew what she wanted to say. I felt paralyzed and guilty that I should have done more instead of being the selfish teenager that I was at the time. I know she wasn't mad at me but I was mad at myself for a long, long time over that. 

A day later, after midnite, the hospital called us to tell us she had passed. (She had Ovarian Cancer and was recovering but it came back  and various other issues so her body had shut down) I heard the entire call but I pretended I was half asleep because I was in shock. I used to leave my room door half opened because I liked the shadow it made against the wall and I could always see a flash of light when my parents passed my door to get to their room, but that night my mom's shadow lingered as she creaked open my door to tell me that yan yan was gone.

I also have never seen my father ever cry in my entire life and that was the first time. 
So did my mom. My brother was really young at the time and he was super attached to my grandmother (she helped to raise him and had a special bond with him)... I remembered that they wanted to soften the blow so they told him in the morning. It was heartbreaking to see my brother so devasted.  It was a tough time. 

I know my grandmother is always with me in I said I am very much like her and I know she is looking out for me and protecting me so far because I feel her presence at times. I often wonder if she would be proud of me if she was still around today. I hope so. I know she was super close to my brother and she would be sooo delighted and happy to see that he followed his dreams and does something he is passionate there really isn't a time where I didn't wish she was here to share in all he good times we've had and to see us grow up into young adults.

Anyhow, I know this is an emotional post but these are the thoughts that are in my head before surgery. The next time I write I will probably be home from surgery and going insane at my parents house....I don't really talk about my grandparents a lot because I don't have any that are still alive and I didn't really know any of them but my grandmother. 

Anyhow.... please give me strength to get through this surgery. I am having my left breast/tumor removed and a tissue expander put in so I can start the radiation a few weeks later then have reconstruction then the right side of my breasts removed as well. Baby steps :)

I will try to be extra strong for you, Yan-Yan/ Grandma Yong <3 I know she would be cheering me on, and remember, I'm stubborn like her, so I will AS SURE as HELL come out of this in one piece....I am, of course a YONG, and we don't ever give up! :)

I wish I can put in a pic of my her here but I don't have any pics at my apt...All our pics were before camera phones and digital cameras so I will post one soon when I find one of her and me :) A project for when I'm home...

X Marks the Spot X



  1. Jen,
    This post (and all of yours) are so touching, heart-felt, inspirational, often amusing, and wonderful. I am happy to call you my friend. Your blog is an amazing literary masterpiece. Keep the posts coming!

  2. Aww thanks girl for all your awesome support :) Everyone has been so amazing! Overwhelming, really! I'm glad it's somewhat amusing and hope its not too much rambling ...i tend to go on and on about stuff sometimes and have no filter...but I guess that's the point of this blog to just let it all out!!!! <3