One-Week Update by Crabby McGrumpypants #Cancer #BreastCancer #Mastectomy #ThursdayDoors #NailArt

I’m not back; I’m just here with a one-week post-op update. Oh, and the door to the surgery center, courtesy of Sara.

Go through here to register.

Go through here to lose a body part.

Here’s another few things I didn’t know about.

  • Apparently, my right boob was where I stored the milk of human kindness, because I feel mean enough to eat steel and spit daggers.
  • Recovery from having a body part cut off fucking HURTS. “Get a mastectomy,” they said. “They’ll give you the GOOD drugs,” they said. They did not give me the good drugs; they gave me Percocet. At least I’m not in danger of becoming addicted. Percocet contains just enough opiod to take the edge off the pain AND to (ladies and gentlemen, do not read the rest of this sentence) make me constipated. I may become addicted to prune juice, but not Percocet.
  • Nobody told me about seromas. Oh, they “told” me about “seromas”, but they said, “Seromas are pockets of fluid that can appear near the incision site.” So I was expecting a couple of dignified, ladylike minor swellings, such as the Dowager Dutchess of Downton Abbey might countenance. But no. Even though I have two — count ’em, two — “drain bulbs” — and let’s just pause for a minute and consider that term — I also have bulges all along the incision and then some. It looks like a weasel decided to use the space to raise its cubs or pups or whatever weasels call their young.
  • They told me not to let the cats snuggle against the incision. I was like, “My cats wouldn’t snuggle against my incision if I rubbed catnip and salmon on it.” And I came home, and Tipper wanted, more than life, to climb onto my sore side and make biscuits. I can’t lift more than two pounds, and suddenly Chickie wants me to pick her up. SHE NEVER WANTS ME TO PICK HER UP.

Sara has been staying with me and taking care of my needs and wants. The woman is a saint.

I see she told you we’ve been making a list of uses for an empty bra cup. We’ll finalize that list and I’ll post it one of these fine days.

The day after the operation, we had our usual Friday night nail party, and here’s the simple design I managed.

The silver-gold base coat and gold stamp are Maniology’s Renaissance. The purple base coat is Maniology’s Baroque. The purple stamp is Maniology’s Toy Soldier, because I couldn’t get Baroque to pick up the design I wanted to use. The stamping plate was Beauty Bigbang’s XL-075.

Thursday doors is under the direction of Dan Antion, photographer extraordinaire and critter daddy. Visit his site, enjoy his wonderful photographs, follow his directions, and enter a world of doors.

A WRITING PROMPT FROM ME TO YOU: Something is more difficult than one had hoped.


I was born in Louisville, Kentucky, but now live in the woods in southern Indiana. Though I only write fiction, I love to read non-fiction. The more I learn about this world, the more fantastic I see it is.

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One thought on “One-Week Update by Crabby McGrumpypants #Cancer #BreastCancer #Mastectomy #ThursdayDoors #NailArt

  1. Dan Antion

    January 20, 2022 at 7:37am

    I am so sorry to hear about the pain and discomfort, Marian. Iโ€™m glad you are home and being cared for, albeit the love youโ€™re getting form the cats may not be exactly what you need. You did a good job on the nails, and I think youโ€™re entitled to some Crab time. We still have you in our prayers (I think you made the permanent list).

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    • Author

      Marian Allen

      January 20, 2022 at 9:09am

      I’m trying to move my post-op check-in to earlier than a week from now. I’m just glad the continuing COVID threat from my many unvaccinated citizens is keeping me away from people. Right now, if somebody looked at me cross-wise, I’d beat them to death with my fiberfill post-mastectomy form insert.

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      • Dan Antion

        January 20, 2022 at 9:56am

        I think I like talking to you from a distance today ๐Ÿ˜‰

        Seriously, I wish you all the best during what I can only imagine is a difficult recovery.

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  2. Michael Hodges

    January 20, 2022 at 8:37am

    I’m sorry this has turned out to be more painful an experience than anticipated. There’s the part where damn it, it HURTS, and then whether you like it or not, there’s the part where I see Marian coming through in the writing, not just Crabby McGrumpypants of the East Hampton McGrumpypantses. So painful and disgusting as they may all feel, the healing is taking place in myriad (and Marian) ways. Harrumph. HARRUMPH, I say!

    The prompt of something more difficult than anticipated, eh?

    I do NOT know why this story springs to mind, but there’s the odd way of it, I suppose, As a kid (20 is still a kid, despite all self-assured conviction otherwise) I was attending the military Presidio of Monterey Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California. Not terribly far from the school was a park with an enormous pond (or small lake โ€” did you know the only difference is size? NO other geographical feature such as streams or anything, he nattered distractedly) called El Estero Pond.

    It was filled with Muscovy ducks, the most unsightly of duck, the black-and-white ones with large bare patches around the eyes, and misshapen nodules all wartlike around their bills… truly the “filthy troll” of the duck realm. And, all troll-like, they shat everywhere. Just everywhere, including the water. Even now as I describe this I imagine an enormous, evil old hag of a duck who lurked beneath the surface, the matronly get of some foul upper-level duck who, all Grendel-like, preyed on the fingers of children ‘neath the deceptive cause of “Oh, I’m just some ducky, feed me bread โ€” A-HA, GOTCHA!”

    “Oh, baby, it’s just a duck, it won’t hurt you.”

    Children know better.

    El Estero Pond was, in sooth, the fowlest of domains.

    We all called it Duck Shit Lake.

    As it so happens, Duck Shit Lake was where our school elected to hold a summer party, Mandatory Fun as it were. Come one, come all! Enjoy the picnic, lest it count off your grade!

    A few of the guys decided to rent canoes, dash about the water some. There were a few short, two-person canoes and they were quickly snapped up.

    As goes the downfall of many a youthful bloke, a girl I liked wanted to also go in a canoe. I wanted to be near her, and she wanted to be near a guy who was in another canoe (or so I would later find out). She convinced me to rent us a craft but the only one remaining was an ENORMOUS old fishing canoe. A fishing canoe is NOT the sleek, darting craft of smaller, two-person canoes. No, it’s built to be sturdy, and as a result is far less wieldy than the 45-lb. vessels. This 20-foot monstrosity weighed well over 100 lbs. and exercised all the sleek mobility of an epileptic titanosaur.

    But she wanted it SOOOO, so bad, please, please, Please Please, PLEEEE-E-EAASE????

    And I wanted a kiss from her, ‘cos… y’know, stupid.

    She got the canoe, I never saw that kiss. Such is youthful life.

    I had to leave a $50 deposit and my driver’s license for the canoe, plus the $25 rental, and off we went to join the others in play and merriment, beneath the California sun on the waters of Duck Shit Lake.

    I could tell you about a lazy, paddling day of enjoyment, one akin to moments seen in old-timey movies where conversations are had, a man in a porkpie boater rowing and wooing a belle who sits prettily beneath a comely straw sun hat. I could, but that would be lying, and while I trust Twain’s admonition to never allow the truth to stand in the way of a good story, what TRULY followed required neither embellishment nor hyperbole.

    You see, the guy she liked decided on a water fight, everyone splashing one another with their oars. I, alas, was trying to steer a battleship in close quarter among cruisers, aided by a helms-person who was afraid of getting wet. In an attempt to flee the very substance of water itself out on the surface of a filthy pond, the pertinent She leaned much too far in one direction โ€” allowing water to come rapidly into the now tipping boat.

    I leaned hard the other way: “Holly,” I cried. “Holly, I’ve GOT this, just stop leaning!” Alas, I only weighed a mere hundred and fifty pounds… as did she.

    My plan was to stop her leaning FAR to port, to get her to simply sit up straight so I could balance while we still had a chance. Her plan was to SQUEEEEEEEAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLL as loudly as possible while kicking at the inrushing water.

    Her plan didn’t work, and as a result, neither did my own. Well into the middle of Duck Shit Lake, our craft overturned and sank.

    She struck out for the distant shore.

    I snagged my $50 deposit with the middle two fingers of my right hand. The defeated warship weighed nearly as much as I, and I rather imagine that far below the surface Grendel’s Mother quackled and wrung her feathery grabbers in meaty glee.

    My friends rushed to help me into a boat, since I was slowly and with much difficulty dog-paddling my one-handed way to shore, the other desperately clinging to that heavy boat. I was able to keep JUST my face above the surface, and would have been perfectly fine… if not for all the people “helping” by getting directly in front of me and offering to lift me out of the water.

    “Come on,” they cried. “GET IN!”

    “He can’t swim,” cried others. “LOOK at him, he’s struggling!”

    “Can’t you swim?”

    “I can swim,” I gasped, trying to NOT suck down brackish, shit-laden water.

    “Then why aren’t you swimming?”

    “MOVE!” I demanded, trying to hold a giant canoe that dangled from two fingers in the utmost prow, trying to tread water, and trying to make my way to a shore that was still a good fifty yards off, all while people got directly between myself and that much-coveted landfall. Helping, you see, while I was unable to explain to them all that was happening.

    El Estero Pond tastes like liquid hell, in case you wondered.

    Eventually I felt the canoe dragging the bottom. Soon after, I felt the sucking, mucky combination of mud and sand attempting to pull off my footwear. i stood, waist-deep in water, leaning on my knees and panting. I was a farm boy, an insanely strong kid; but all that effort felt like it got the best of me.

    All around me were people, some lining the shore to watch the spectacle of this idiot who apparently couldn’t swim (there were overt jeers aplenty), several disgusted Russians who wondered why I appeared to be so helpless in the water while refusing assistance, and those in canoes, still paddling around me, demanding answers.

    When I dragged the canoe up from below the surface, the Russians looked impressed, while the only American question on anyone’s lips was: “Why didn’t you just drop it? Are you stupid?”

    I could have made that swim in a quarter of the time were it not for all the “assistance,” and I was definitely tired and cranky. And I stank.

    And thirty feet away She was seeking comfort in another man’s arms following the needless ordeal she’d caused in her panic.

    Ain’t that just sump’n, I tells ya. BUT we live, we learn, right? Because if we don’t learn, we probably don’t live all that long.

    I hope your day is a good one, as pain-free as possible. And I hope you got a laugh out of this stupid story, LORDY me, I’ve laughed at myself enough for this one over the years!

    If I could go back, I’d go talk to myself:

    “Kid,” I’d say in an Arlo Guthrie impression, “KID, ya gotta listen to me. No, no โ€” quit lookin’ at her, kid. Look at me. Right over here, look at me now.

    “KID, I want you to walk away from this here canoe rental. I want ya to walk right on over there where I’m pointin’. Listen to me kid. Go get yourself a burger and have a nice, dry day, one that doesn’t end with you slowly pullin’ apart all the paper in your wallet, layin’ it out all over your bed to dry, and havin’ to go buy a new wallet because now yours smells like wet leather somebody shoved up a duck’s ass.”

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    • Author

      Marian Allen

      January 20, 2022 at 9:07am

      What a great (if soggy) story! If Charlie were here, he would laugh SO HARD at the Grendel’s Mother duck, and applaud your knowing it was the Mother who was the bigger badass. He was stationed at that same language school, probably 20 to 30 years before you; I would love to ask him if he remembered Duck Shit Lake. I’ll wager he would have done. And you know the one question I have to ask you: KID, HAVE YOU REHABILITATED YOURSELF?

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      • Michael Hodges

        January 20, 2022 at 1:44pm

        Marian, despite all that I previously genuflected I was inspected, detected, neglected and rejected, an’ all kinds of mean, nasty, ugly things.

        But I have indeed rehabilitated myself. I mean… **I MEAN…***

        What I mean is that these days when the topic of romance arises, I have learned the value of a good burger and a sunny day! An’ I reckon that there means “rehabilitated.”

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        • Author

          Marian Allen

          January 20, 2022 at 2:59pm

          Sara and I want to know if you’ve read THREE MEN IN A BOAT, TO SAY NOTHING OF THE DOG by Jerome K. Jerome. Your romantic adventure reminded each of us of that prize tome. That’s my desert island book, so we’re paying you a compliment!

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          • Michael Hodges

            January 21, 2022 at 9:48am

            I never have. After years of NOT reading (an extended period of stress nearly killed me and took away all non-essential things… you know, the icing of life) I have been recently pushing myself to recultivate the habit. I find it’s helping me reawaken, a literary boost to the soul. You may have just found my next item on the to-read list.

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            • Author

              Marian Allen

              January 21, 2022 at 2:16pm

              I doubt you’ll enjoy it as much as Sara and I did. The humor is right up my alley. I read it to Sara before bed when she was young-but-not-wee, and we followed the route on a map of southern England.

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  3. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt

    January 20, 2022 at 11:50am

    I hope all the laughing didn’t hurt!

    Everything will eventually get better. Meanwhile, why not better drugs, at least for the worst of the pain. I bet if they had to experience the pain of their patients, they’d get a lot better at dealing with it. I won’t tell you stories. I’m still mad.

    Thanks for the update – was worried about you, checking to see if there was anything new.

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    • Author

      Marian Allen

      January 20, 2022 at 12:59pm

      I got an appointment with my GP tomorrow, since the surgeon’s office hasn’t returned my call. Maybe they’re out of the office on Thursdays? At the moment, it’s not painful unless I move the wrong way. The main problem is the bulges, some of which are tender and some of which are numb. At least the pathology report finally posted, and they got all of the cancer. Sentinel nodes are clear. So, yay!

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        • Author

          Marian Allen

          January 20, 2022 at 2:58pm

          The surgeon just called me back. He’s out of the office, but he got the message and called me. He’s working to get me an appointment with his nurse practitioner tomorrow. Relief is in sight!

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            • Author

              Marian Allen

              January 21, 2022 at 2:14pm

              He told me to apply ice and wrap in an Ace bandage, both of which helped. I saw the nurse practitioner today (1/21/22), and she said everything is proceeding properly. They gave me two large bandage to replace the little ones I had at home and showed me how to handle things so the drainage drains better. They offered me more Percocet, but I’d rather just take straight acetaminophen. It’s really more discomfort than pain — all bulgy and sore. Now that I know all is as it should be, I can face it and brace it.

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  4. circadianreflections

    January 21, 2022 at 3:22pm

    I hope you find something to eat that helps offset the effects of the pain meds and you’re out of extra fluid and pain really soon!

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    • Author
  5. acflory

    January 22, 2022 at 5:10am

    Marian Allen! You made me laugh out loud with your grumps, especially the bit about Tipper and Chickie. The one thing you can always say about cats is that they’re contrary little beggars. I wish I could offer something helpful other than prune juice. When I had my hysterectomy, they sent me home with neat little saches of Movelat. And yes, like the name it was supposed to make you, ahem, move. Maybe see what your pharmacist can recommend? Just until things settle down as I know you always eat well.
    I’m glad you’re not back but left us a funny post anyway. ๐Ÿ˜€ -careful hugs-

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    • Author

      Marian Allen

      January 23, 2022 at 3:07pm

      I love prune juice, and I can’t usually drink it because it, you know, works, so this is kind of a treat for me. For a given value of “treat”.

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      • acflory

        January 23, 2022 at 10:43pm

        -giggles- that must count as the oddest silver lining in the world, but hey…it’s something good, right?

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  6. janiefranzJanie franz

    January 23, 2022 at 5:31am

    Marian, we’re all with you as you go though this. But your sense of humor, even though you say you are a grumpy pants, shines through this. I did laugh a couple of times as I read but I also sent you love. I wasn’t told about seromas. But I did has lumps around my incision for my hip replacement. After about a month, my PT showed me how to massage the muscle around it. I still have to do it three months later. I just hope your seromas resolve soon. Big visual hugs.

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    • Author

      Marian Allen

      January 23, 2022 at 3:11pm

      Thanks, Janie. I can massage the seroma, but the hematoma is too sore to mess with. Patience seems to be the key, so I’ll just have to pretend I’m back in the old days of public internet, with one hour a day of access on local bulletin-board dial-up connection, waiting for my mail packet to unload.

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  7. Oddment

    January 23, 2022 at 6:32am

    I hope a corner has been turned and the worst is over. I’m so sorry to read of what you’ve been through, and I send lots of hope from my part of Indiana to yours.

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  8. Debbie Lueders

    January 23, 2022 at 2:02pm

    I am SO sorry that you had to go on regular pain pills (Percoset at that!) rather than the neat little dissolvable pain patch under the skin like I had. Next time come to Cinti for surgery! Hopefully there won’t be a next time. Glad your report was good. Hang in there my little roomie! Love and Hugs.

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    • Author

      Marian Allen

      January 23, 2022 at 4:10pm

      Thanks, Deb! Percocet is bullshit drugs, but I can’t take Aleve or aspirin because I’m deathly allergic, so….

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  9. Brenda's Thoughts

    January 24, 2022 at 1:26am

    I’m so sorry to hear, Marian, and hope your pain levels subside soon. Those rascal cats, but so glad you have someone there to care for you!

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  10. bikerchick57

    January 26, 2022 at 10:15am

    I hope, as I type this six days later, that you are feeling better, Marian. You may feel mean, but you haven’t lost your sense of humor. Kindness is merely taking a short nap and will be back soon, if it isn’t there already. Aren’t cats funny? They do exactly the opposite of what you want them to do, so they are either mind readers or naughty jokesters. I am sending you hugs and love and the hope that you heal quickly without more weasels and gallons of prune juice.

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  11. slfinnell

    January 27, 2022 at 10:32am

    I am very late this week visiting but I sure am sending prayers up for you! Gently hugs virtually!

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