Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Behind the Glossy Picture

Yesterday, Glamour Magazine's October issue hit the newsstands.

I've been waiting for it to go into print because in the spring, I was interviewed for a story they were printing in October about breast cancer, and the decision to get a mastectomy.

It's kind of been in the news a bit. Research is showing that (according to the parameters set) too many women are getting mastectomies and too many women are getting contralateral prophylactic mastectomy - which is a fancy way of saying, that instead of only getting the breast with cancer removed, you chose to get the other breast removed as well. Which is what I did. And maybe another blog post in the future.


Today the article came out. I was sent a PDF file of just this story a few days ago, but I went out today and bought a hard copy as well. I instantly took a photo and shared it on social media. Because, it's what I do.

It's kind of cool to be included in an article that will reach a wide variety of readers. I felt a bit proud about it.

And here's where the irony kicks in.

Today was an awful, horrible, no good day. I mean the kind of day where I fought back tears all day, was too tired to get anything meaningful done, I felt awful.

My iron levels have completely tanked again. So with that comes a lot of no-good, awful feelings. Including (but not limited too): being more exhausted than I've ever felt before, freezing when no one else is, tired, irritability, feeling sad, and having a sluggish feeling. I can't explain how I just in general feel icky adequately. But I do. I want to just crawl into bed and never get out. Of course, the dumb part is it isn't helping the insomnia one bit. It's like the more tired I feel, the harder it is to fall asleep. Because life isn't fair.

Now, I have great friends. And everyone was happy and excited for me. So I had lots of comments - lots of wows! Great job! I was called a rock star, famous, glamorous, a superstar, smart and brave. A few people shared with their friends.

And all I could do? Was cry.

Because I was just too tired. Did they know I didn't get out of bed today until 11? That I had to take a nap at 4? That I barely managed to stay awake that long even? How I didn't even talk to my husband when he got home from work because I just couldn't even handle getting a few words out? How I had trouble helping the 12 year old with math today because all of my brain wasn't firing? How I jumped in to a facebook conversation I shouldn't have and made a friend message me to ask if I was mad at her (and I wasn't)? How I spent over an hour researching iron-deficient anemia and couldn't find one website on how to treat it if you are allergic to iron? How I decided I needed to see a new doctor to help? And how I talked myself out of because the doctor would think I was just lazy or something? How I didn't even pick up knitting needles today and knit because I just couldn't even imagine finding that fun? Or about how I sat on my husband's lap at the end of the night, crying my eyes out? That I cried it wasn't fair? That I told him this sucks? That some days it takes every ounce of energy just to get out of bed? And that how, even when my friends were being, kind and supportive all it did was make me want to cry more? 

No. They didn't know any of this.

I mentioned that my iron levels were low when I found out. I didn't mention that I already knew. I don't need a blood test anymore to know. It's the same symptoms, in almost the same order, every single time my iron levels tank.

I just hate to sound like a spinning record. I hate that I'm constantly talking about the exhaustion or not feeling well. Second verse, same as the first, a little bit louder and a little bit worse. That about sums it up.

I'm tired of it. It's old to me. I can't imagine how it must feel to other people. I want to yell at myself to get over it, get up, move on, get things done. Smile. Be happy. Laugh. Look like life is grand. Like you have a life that would be worthy of a magazine.

But those glossy pictures don't tell the whole story. The one paragraph summary isn't the full picture. It is enough for this one article. This one quote, which I think summarizes one moment well. But there were many moments before that, and many after, and many more to come.

They aren't all magazine-worthy. But they are my moments. I shall try to enjoy being in print for a few days. I'll just have to do it in between naps.


  1. I'm so sorry you have been feeling this way. So sorry to hear you have had to carry those feelings inside of you for too long. It gets too heavy to carry all of this stuff quietly, eh?

    Write it out, write it out as much as you need. And if you ever do decide to visit another doctor, I'm certain they won't think you are lazy. Rather, I hope they have compassion as many of your friends probably do as well.

    I wish you rejuvenating sleep, and more iron that won't hurt you, and whatever else you need today. Good job with the article, and good job with this post. ;)

  2. Hi Brandie. It's been very strange (and sometimes uncomfortable) for me, dealing with other peoples' reactions to my cancer experience. It sounds to me like you've been brave to go public in this magazine article, but ... because it's such a small glimpse into a tiny piece of your world, and doesn't reflect what is often your painful reality ... you don't feel comfortable with all the hoorays and congratulations that have resulted from it. I don't know what else to say. Except that you are a wonderful writer, your blog is fascinating, I wish you well, and thank you for sharing. From Alison (in England).


Seeing your comments makes me smile! Thank you so much =)