How it Started.
My surgery was last Thursday. It was a whirlwind of patients, nurses, and doctors.
In the waiting room, I noticed that all the women had zip up hoodies on, as did I. It’s a requirement for breast surgery since you can’t move your arms afterwards. My heart felt for them and I silently wished them well on their journeys. Nurses called us back one by one.
While waiting my turn in pre-op, a nurse started to prep me. I got a surgical gown, non-slip socks, wrist bands, medications, and warmed blankets. I didn’t have to ask for a thing, the nurse seemed to know what I needed. She shut off the lights so that I could relax and breath through the fear. When doctors wanted the lights on for a conversation, she shielded my eyes from the bright lights. She was an angel.
The anesthesiologist stopped by and we talked a little. It was a continuation of the discussion we had the night before. He asked if I had any questions. I did and asked about the nerve block that my surgeon had mentioned. That simple question started a chain of events that changed who was participating in my surgery.
My surgeon didn’t mention the nerve block on my chart and the anesthesiologist wasn’t trained in the technique. The doctors met, and I received a new anesthesiologist minutes before surgery.
As I was wheeled into the surgical suite, I realized that I had an all-women surgical team. I cheered them on and said ‘bye, bye’, as the IV meds took me away.
How It’s Going.
The last few days have been a blur of pain, drains, and pills. My husband, a professional recruiter, is my health care hero. He is maintaining and recording output from my surgical drains, tracking my medication schedule on his phone, and making sure I have everything I need. He is taking good care of me. I can’t express how grateful I am for his care. He is another angel.
I have been a roller coaster of pain and extraordinary discomfort. Sleep has been hard to come by. As I learn to move about without my arms, other body parts are stressed and strained adding to the pain and discomfort. My legs and core are getting stronger by the day.
It’s so weird to feel the nerves activate throughout my chest. I feel shimmers and waves of nerves doing something, but I’m not sure what. The occasional muscle twitch stops me in my tracks, and I breathe through the sensation. I walk slowly through the house, relaxing my body into an upright position. Everything I do takes effort.
My right side, the cancer side, where they removed a few lymph nodes, is more impacted. The first time we undressed me for a sponge bath, we were shocked at the bruising. Large purple bruises up and down my arm. I already sense the numbness that my surgeon told me to expect. My recovery is progressing as expected. I take comfort in that.
The trauma to my body is profound and obvious. I look down and see heavy bandages where my breasts used to be. That’s enough for now. I’m not ready to look at my chest. I have an appointment with my surgeon mid-week. Maybe I will look then. Maybe. I will look when I’m ready.
Birthday Wishes and Hash Brown Dreams.
Yesterday was my birthday. It was a rough day physically but emotionally I felt loved. It filled my soul to receive all your birthday wishes and well wishes. I am grateful to everyone for the good energy.
I woke up this morning and found hope in my appetite returning. It was the first time since my surgery that I felt hungry. With my husband’s help, we made hash browns with lots of butter. I ate them all.
Another sign of healing is a bowel movement, but I will spare you those details. We are celebrating every milestone these days even ones that happen in the bathroom.
Lessons of the Week.
Look for our angels. They will carry us through. From the nurses to my husband and all of your well wishes, I am surrounded by angels that make this journey easier.
Remember to feel the love that people send us. Pause and really feel it. Let it sink in and nourish us. Take in that beautiful energy and use it for healing. The birthday wishes and well wishes were like food for me. Feeding my mind, body, and soul. It’s helping my recovery and I’m grateful to you for that.
Celebrate everything, especially the small things. If we only celebrate the big things, we miss opportunities to celebrate and affirm our lives.
Today I’m celebrating a simple meal, a trip to the restroom, and writing my blog. They are all wins worth celebrating.
Gratitude is easier to carry than fear and pain. No matter what’s going on in our lives there is much to be grateful for. Finding a balance between the yuck and the gratitude can help us through. Cancer sucks, but it sucks less when I focus on what I’m grateful for.
A New Article!
This weekend, while recovering, another of my articles was published at Elephant Journal. Here’s a link.
Thank you for your support. I am so grateful.