The Journey Continues - Part 5

Healing Comes in Many Forms. 

This past week I’ve been focused on healing. My body is painful and stiff. I breathe through the pain and relax my body. My range of motion is still that of a tyrannosaurus rex. I can cook a little but only with a lot of help. I washed my own hair yesterday. It felt like a win. Each day I feel a little better. I am healing.

It’s time for me to do some internal healing as well. My body has changed. It’s time for me to get to know it and learn to love it again. I remind myself of what my body has been through. My husband called me a survivor. I’m still integrating what’s happened.

The First Follow Up. 

I’ve had two follow up appointments with my breast cancer surgeon. In the first appointment we received the news that my cancer had not spread. It was the first good news we had in a while. I’m hoping this means that my upcoming treatments will be…easier.

Then, my surgeon unwrapped the bandages on my chest. She appreciated how I’m healing. I’m glad for that. This was the first opportunity for me to see myself after surgery. I wasn’t ready. I am allowing myself time to adjust and integrate.

The Second Follow Up. 

In my second appointment, my surgical drains were removed. I hated those drains. I’m squeamish about wounds, bandages, and drains. It was a relief when they were removed, and it gave me another opportunity to look at my wounds for the first time. This time I looked. It felt like a big step to me. My first step towards acceptance of my new shape.  

I chose to have the surgery I did. It was a conscious choice and I new what the outcome would be. That doesn’t mean that it’s easy to accept the outcome. To see myself in this new form. It’s important for me to take my time and learn to love my shape again.

I’m still swollen and very bruised. My reach is limited, and I’m still restricted as to what I can lift or carry. I took a shower and washed my own hair yesterday. It was a big step forward. Healing is a slow and uneven process. I don’t worry about setbacks and I celebrate, or at least acknowledge, forward momentum.

I will continue to heal and, as I do my new shape will evolve. I am determined to accept and love my new body through this painful healing phase. If I can do that, it feels like a win. When the pain is strong and I feel stiff and woody, I remind myself of what I’ve just been through. And then I breathe through the pain and try to relax my body.

I think of all the other breast cancer patients, survivors, and thrivers. They all had their battles, their own wounds to bear, their own tears and fears. I understand a little of what they’ve been through. My heart aches for them….and myself. I also gain strength from them.

Lessons This Week.

Do what we can in our own way, in our own time. No one knows what our body feels like but us. When I told my doctor that I wasn’t ready to see my wounds, my new shape, she honored that. I was grateful she understood. Eventually and in my own time, I looked and started healing my self-image, my body image.

Healing takes time, energy, and understanding. No matter how much we want to move forward, our healing will take place in its own time. We can’t push or force it. As much as I would love to be up and running and doing the things I love to do, I can’t yet. I will give myself time to heal inside and out.

Even when we choose our path, it can still be difficult to accept where we go. I chose my surgery and knew what the results would be. It’s still challenging and requires a different kind of healing.

Our spiritual practices tell that, as humans, we are all one. I remind myself of this collective oneness when I have any thoughts of self-pity. I’m not the first or only person to have breast cancer. There are many people who have had similar experiences, survived, and thrived. I am not alone. We are not alone. We are one. 

Be well,