On the eve of 2014, I decided, based on how things were shaping up, that it would be The Year of My Experiments. Namely because of the clinical trial, and because of this new type of reconstruction I felt strongly about trying, called BRAVA.
I was squeezed into the trial in the last minutes of 2013. I think I was the last person enrolled at Sibley. The trial is ongoing, as you know, and shaping up to be pretty groundbreaking. I'm proud to be a part of it.
The reconstruction technique, BRAVA, which entails a space-aged suction bra and several fat grafting surgeries, while fascinating, is something I decided not to pursue. My main reasoning for considering it were whispers I heard about being able to regain sensation in BRAVA boobs. For those who don't know, mastectomied chests are completely numb, something that's troubling not mentioned in surgical consults. But I couldn't receive real confirmation of regained sensation. And the suction bra is something you need to wear 8 - 12 hours a day, sometimes for 2 years. And it's enormous. You can't go out in it. And after two years of being sick and housebound, I shied away from yet another thing to keep me on the couch. (Believe me, I spent plenty of time on the couch anyway. Hello, Gilmore Girls on Netflix?!)
There were other experiments that I didn't expect. I tried out standing up for myself in ways I never have. Saying to people "You don't get to treat me that way," and generally calling them on their shit. And, to my amazement, fire didn't rain from the sky.
I made a move away from the job I've had for ten years, my entire adult life. It's a nice job, and I liked it, but it wasn't enough anymore. So I applied for lots of others, and got one that I realize now is so perfect, so right. I told people that I love that I can't stay with them anymore. And I wasn't swallowed up into the earth.
And I stepped outside my cancer shell, tried on some things I used to do, and found that I wasn't all gone, after all. I finished my novel. I rode a horse.
There is still so, so much to do.