Thursday, December 5, 2013

Here Again......

It's been seven weeks since my surgery. Seven weeks, yet a lifetime. Last night, I slept on my right side for the first time. It was fitful sleep, cognizant of the fact I didn't want to go too far forward and squish the non boob, but it wasn't painful and that was a first. I'm slowly losing grip on the pillow I clutch under Ariel (doesn't everyone name their body parts?) when I sleep on my left side. For the most part, she no longer feels like she is going to rip out of my skin when I lay on my side. It's been an adjustment. I hear women tell me that have augmented their breasts, that the feeling is similar. And normal. And goes away, eventually. Good to know!

This week I am supposed to go and see my plastic's doctor (again) and have my final meeting before my next surgery on the 30th. I will also get to have 3D pictures taken for the blood flow study. I'm still really excited that I am a part of that study. With it, the breast surgeons and plastic surgeons are studying which type of two incisions have the best patient satisfaction with nipple sparing, skin saving mastectomies, and if they can do certain things to support the blood flow to the skin in order for more women who are candidates, can have this procedure. There are guidelines that a patient has to meet, of course, tumor size, positioning of the tumor from skin, non smoking, and a few others. I am eternally grateful that I met the requirements and I hope this study helps bring to the forefront a procedure that other women will benefit from as well. Emotionally, it has been better for me to have my same outsides. I know other women would benefit from it as well, if it's possible.

At the time of my next surgery I will also have a sample of my healthy breast tissue tested. I am hopeful it is not full of lobular tissue like my other breast was. If it is, even though there is no tumor present, there will be and that will mean further meetings and discussions on whether I should have a mastectomy on the left side as well. Hopefully, shortly after the New Year begins, I will know what that route will look like.

I once scoffed at someone who told me this journey would take a year. That next year, in October, my life would be different. I thought, no way will this take a year! Well, I believe that healing will take around that long. Not so much my physical healing, but my emotional healing. This bout with cancer has thrown me for a loop for sure.

On the outside, I am healing. My body is becoming more used to my new normal. My energy level is increasing. In a few short months I can get back into exercising. I am able to take care of my family again. I can lift things and move furniture. I am careful to ask for help. Or to put things off if it strains Ariel too much. I feel it if I have pushed myself too far and I am heeding my body's cues for once in my life.

But on the inside, I think I'm fine.....and then something will come up and I am not fine. I will hear of someone else's diagnosis and I want to crawl into a hole. Someone will complain about something that I consider trivial and I want to slap them upside the head. I see people treating those they love hurtfully and I want to go into lecture mode. Mostly I do a lot of talking to myself. That its ok to cry. It's ok to still be in wonderment that this happened. It's ok to be in awe of God that He healed me. It's ok, well, to not be ok sometimes.

Life is the same, but it is different. I do the same things. I still get irritated at 6th grade math. I still get frustrated with my teen's behavior. Whining from my 1 year old and 7 year old still make my teeth clench. But even though I still get angry, I am quicker to calm down. Less likely to harbor a grudge.  More likely to walk away, or ignore conversations I would have jumped into head first a mere 3 months ago. I am grateful for those changes. A softening of sorts. A wanting to linger with friends to soak up those last few moments of their essence to keep with me always. It's a reflective time and I am learning a lot more about myself, and those around me.

Moving onward is the only thing I know to do. Muddling through this middle ground continues. The 9 years, 11 months, and 1 week of medication I have left to take. And as I tread water here, getting ready for the next step, I wonder.....when will I feel like I have come through the other side? Or will the rest of my life feel like this middle ground??? I'm hoping that one day, before my one year mark, that thoughts surrounding my breasts, fear over new aches and pains, doctor appointments, and constant behind the scenes worry won't mar every day. Maybe then, that will be considered the other side.

Until then, Onward!


Emily Walsh said...

Hi there! I was just reading up on few of your posts and had quick question about your blog. I was hoping you could email me back when you get the chance, thanks!


MotheringBoys said...

I can't find your email but mine is if you want to drop me a line. :) Thanks! Kathy