Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Personal Battles

February 2014 - I had so much hair it was ridiculous

The last time that I posted anything to the blog was on June 4th of 2014, and I had mentioned that I was having some personal issues come up, as well as falling into a new fandom. Looking back, I know that I had some issues going on, but I didn’t know that the worst was still to come. So over a year later, I am finally back and this will be moving forward.

At that time I had been dealing with a repressed memory that I had somehow managed to hide in my subconscious for 12 years. And I was having a really hard time dealing with the memories that were horrible. Although I am incredibly happy that I was able to suppress them, if I hadn’t I’m not sure if I would have been mentally capable of getting married or having my three beautiful girls. 

WARNING: This may cause triggers for some people… If you want to skip this portion, scroll past the next two paragraphs. 

What had happened was when I was in college; I had been casually dating a guy from my theater classes. We had just finished watching a movie, and since we had weird schedules, it was in the middle of the night. We started making out, and he wanted to take things further. I was only 19 and incredibly na├»ve about anything sex related, so I told him that I wasn’t comfortable with taking the next step. It was at that point that I told him that I better go home. Before I could fully stand up he grabbed me and pulled me down onto his bed. He then pulled both of my arms above my head and held me down. He told me, “I’m not going to have sex with you until you agree to have sex, but I’m not going to let you go until you do either.” 

I still don’t remember too much about that night, thankfully, I do remember that I was trapped for two or more hours in that position.  He never fully raped me, although I remember getting really close to agreeing to have sex just so I could get away. While no actual sex happened he did violate me in other ways.  It took me months to fully recover from having the trauma of these memories come back.  I was diagnosed with PTSD and I still have issues sometimes, 20 months later. I don’t think that I will ever get over it fully, and I have become super over protective of my girls, but I have mostly recovered.

Now, as I mentioned above the last post was from June 4th, 2014. I had thought that my personal issues were getting better and that I would be able to find the time to get back to this. I had missed dissecting Alias and the weird joy that it bring to me. Unfortunately, 2014 had other plans for me. I can officially say that 2014 was the worst year of my life, and I started the year with meeting Michael Vartan.  I had spent almost all of May in the hospital dealing with a severe kidney infection that required two surgeries, one of them an emergency surgery at 1:00am. Plus they found that E-Coli had found its way into my blood stream. So I was already dealing with a lot. On the plus side, the company that I work for was offering a special leave at the time. It entailed me not working for two years, but not losing seniority, but I also kept my insurance and flight benefits. With all that was going on, my husband (who was only working part time and going to school), and I decided that the leave needed to happen to give me a chance to fully get better. I was approved on June 12th. I was beyond elated, for the first time in 14 years I would have to work.  

The elation didn’t last long unfortunately. June 16th I was sitting in bed and working one of my last shifts before my leave began.  All of a sudden pain shot through my left breast.  It took every ounce of self-control I had to not to start screaming select four letter words to my customer that I had on the phone.  I’ve never been tasered, but it felt what I imagine it would feel like. The pain lasted for months. When I first saw my doctor about it, she thought it might be an infection, but when the pain continued she sent me to get a mammogram and an ultrasound. I wasn’t able to get in for that appointment until July 9th. So I had a few more weeks of constant extreme pain.  After the mammogram and ultrasound, the radiologist came in and talked to me. He said that from what he saw it could be an infection, but it was more likely to be breast cancer. My heart dropped into my stomach, even though in the back of my mind I had the nagging voice that it had to be cancer.  He wanted to do a biopsy, so I told him I was available anytime, and how soon could we get it scheduled. He told me that he was calling my regular doctor to get the official request, but he wanted to do it in the next few minutes. 

The biopsy hurt like hell and you should have seen the bruises, the mass was the size of a softball, looking back it’s still very surreal.  We had to wait about two weeks for the official diagnoses, because the pathologists couldn’t agree on what the problem was, so they sent it to another pathologist who is considered the best in the world. It was breast cancer, but they told me that I was incredibly lucky because even though the mass was huge, all but one small section was in stage 0; the small section was in stage 1. But they believed that they would be able to remove all of it with surgery and chemotherapy wouldn’t be needed.  At that point I met with a surgeon and a lot of other tests were done over the next few weeks. My husband and I talked a lot about my different options, and since I was only 31 at the time, and the chances of it coming back was high, we made the decision to go with a double mastectomy and hopefully avoid the cancer coming back. So we met with the plastic surgeon and scheduled the surgery.

August 26th, six weeks after the biopsy, I went in for surgery. We had joked that since it was our 12 ½ year anniversary, that we were getting started with a new boob package as a gift. We were trying everything we could to lighten the situation. When I woke up, I was in the worst pain I had ever experienced. Although I don’t know what I expected, I knew that removing both of my breasts wouldn’t be an easy experience.  The other thing I found is that your arm muscles are more connected to breast tissue than I thought.  I also woke up to a temporary medical bracelet on my left arm. It said; DO NOT USE THIS LIMB. When I looked around the room, there were signs strategically placed, stating not to use my left arm. I looked over to my husband and asked him what was up with the signs and he told me that the surgery was successful; however they ended up having to take all the lymph nodes out of my left arm. The cancer had spread into the lymphatic system.  When my surgeon came into the room, he told me that I would indeed have to see an oncologist, because I had what is called the HER2+ gene. And that in younger women with breast cancer, it causes the cancer to advance quickly. They removed all they could and that they were still doing testing on my lymph nodes to figure out how advanced it had become.
The video above, I recently found and it was right up my ally. I really have had the best support system throughout all of this.

I met with my oncologist soon after. She told me that by the time the surgery took place, the cancer had advanced into stage 3; also that they would have to be very aggressive with the chemotherapy treatments. In addition, we were told that if I hadn’t have caught it when I did, the cancer would’ve advanced to the point that I would’ve been terminal by Halloween and possibly dead by Christmas. I don’t think that I had ever felt so scared (and lucky) in my life.

The next week was full of all the things that had to be done before I started chemo. I had to visit the dentist, since I wouldn’t be able to undergo any cleanings while on chemo. I had to do a special heart scan to make sure that my heart wouldn’t give out because of how harsh the chemo drugs would be on it. I also had to have a port placed, since my veins were unlikely to hold up against the drugs.  I was to undergo six cycles of the really harsh chemotherapy drugs, one treatment every three weeks. In addition they were going to be giving me another chemotherapy type drug to fight the HER2+ gene. However I would need to have 17 cycles of that one, once again every three weeks. 
October 2014 - 15 days after starting chemo all of my hair was gone
A year later, I have gone through so much, more than I ever thought that I would be able to endure. My hair is starting to grow back. I’m finally starting to get some of my strength back. I’m finally starting to feel up to doing the things that I loved doing before all of this stress happened. Best of all I have my last treatment in two weeks, and I’m officially in remission. (Also I met Michael Vartan again in January, but I’ll do a separate post for that.)

Please know that I am not posting this to get pity comments, (I’ve had way more pity than I would like over the last year) but to let you know why I haven’t been able to post here. I had a lot of grand plans for how I wanted this blog to work. It makes me so happy to see that people are coming to the page and somewhat enjoy my dissecting what I see in Alias. 

As an FYI I have done a few re-watches during the past year and I have a huge list of things that I missed or that I want to include here sitting in my notepad on my phone. Also, my daughter had stated that she had wanted to start watching Alias, and I told her only if I watched it with her. Two things have come from that; 1) it is almost as if I am getting the chance to watch Alias again for the first time, 2) I haven’t been watching it looking for clues and things to try and figure out what I should put up here, so I’ve noticed some things that I completely missed in other viewings. It’s fun watching it through an 11 year olds perspective.
That’s it for my personal crap. I have already started the post for APO part 1. And I am so excited for it, even if it is my least favorite season.  Also I’ve been watching season four and looking for it’s good points and it definitely has quite a few of them; including some of my favorite scenes.

The last thing that I wanted to put out there is I know that currently Jennifer Garner and Michael Vartan have been in the news. A lot of people are saying that Jennifer is turning to Michael in the turmoil of her divorce and that he is in a good position to help her coming off of his own divorce. I just want to remind everyone that all of the parties involved are real people. We don’t know the exact circumstances of what is really going on. I will say that I have never been a fan of Ben Affleck, but I think they deserve their privacy, especially since children are involved. The other thing, I’ve seen a lot of attacks on Lauren (Skarr) Vartan, once again we don’t know what happened, so I don’t think that we should be judging. I will say that I have interacted with her online a few times, and she has been nothing but sweet, kind, and caring. She even contacted me on Instagram (even though she doesn’t follow me) in a private IG chat asking me if everything was okay since she hadn’t seen me on there in a while. I let her know what was going on, and we ended up chatting for close to an hour. I never brought up Michael Vartan, and if I chat with her again I’m not going to. I am truly saddened that these four people (plus three little ones) have to go through all of this.

I set up this blog as a place to talk about how perfect Sydney Bristow and Michael Vaughn are for each other. Even after entering more fandoms than I ever should be a part of, I still believe that Sydney and Vaughn are the best couple out there. I did end up making it more than just their love; I’ve included my own personal stuff, and my crush on Michael Vartan has factored in. I’ve even expounded on more of the episodes than I ever planned on doing.  But I am going to put this out here; Please do not use this forum to comment on how much you hate an actual, in real life person, over things that we have no personal knowledge about beyond what we read in a magazine! However if you want to hate on Sloane, Evil Francie, or Lauren Reed, go for it I will fully support those hatred remarks. 

Thanks for sticking around even in my absence.