Back to Fancy

I had this big lump called a lipoma on my upper arm. Lipo as in fat. It's a fatty tumor. I had it removed in the early 1990s and it grew back so that sometimes people would think I had a big muscle there. It made me self-conscious. More self-conscious than having just one breast. I can't explain it. Earlier this year at a routine appointment with the breast surgeon, she offered to take it off. I said, Wouldn't that be a waste of your talents? She said no. So I decided to go ahead with it. The guy who took it off the first time was a talented surgeon, but was quite annoying. I remember when I left his office after a follow-up appointment, he said, Now be a good girl.

We must have been about the same age. What was that supposed to mean? I may have asked him that. Or not.

Today was lipoma removal day, and because the breast surgeon was doing it, I was in the breast surgery section of Fancy. While I was waiting I read Harvey Pekar and Joyce Brabner's Our Cancer Year, about Pekar's lymphoma during the first Gulf War. They were also buying a house. I was reading about being in a hospital while I was in the hospital and waiting to be sedated and inside his life and my life at the same time. Many doctors and nurses and a fellow came through and my doctor marked on my arm where she was going to cut. They gave me Versed, the "twilight" anesthetic that knocks you partly out. The weird thing about it is that it erases the experience so you might have been in pain while under its influence, or even awake and aware. All I remember is being in the little pre-op room and then hearing a man telling a woman, jokingly, that he was going to sell her uterus. I mentioned this to a nurse and she said, Oh, so that's when you woke up. Did she explain that someone was getting a hysterectomy? Maybe.

They unhooked me from the IV and a nurse put a bandage over the vein and she stepped out so I could dress and I put my shorts on and suddenly there was blood everywhere. Drops of it all over the floor and bed and I couldn't find a nurse button to push so I went out in the hall, dripping more blood on the floor and a curtain, and the nurse told me to sit down and she used bedclothes to wipe the blood from me and the floor. It was quite dramatic. I felt like a character in a fairy tale dropping rose petals. She held gauze to my vein very tightly then put a bandaid on and all was well. I finished dressing and L came and got me and we took the L to our new home, where D the contractor told us that the foundation (walls made of brick) are damp. L had asked him to check them out after seeing that a portion of expose brick was flaking and powdering off. So we begin the Money Pit portion of our show.

Now I am very sleepy and tired and have an Ace bandage wrapped very tightly around my upper arm. There's a drain bulb that I have to empty twice a day. I recommend Our Cancer Year. It's agonizing and political and emotionally complex and a little bit funny.


Gail said...

glad you're okay and just wanted to say you're a terrific writer! Love the details you included here. Can't wait to read your memoir.

Cancer Bitch said...

Thanks, Gail. We have a mutual admiration society. Gail is the author of Cancer is A Bitch, coming out this fall, not be to confused with my book, The Adventures of Cancer Bitch, coming out in spring. We will try to pair up at some point for readings.
--C. Bitch

Anonymous said...

Have you read TALK BEFORE SLEEP by Elizabeth Berg???? It is a great book.....its about a friendship between 2 women, one of which is dying of breast cancer.

Unknown said...

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Cancer Bitch said...

For now, I'm avoiding books about or by people who died of breast cancer.
--c. bitch

Gail said...

I'm with you cb

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