Everybody! How the chuffin’ hell are you all?!
I was a bit of a misery guts in my last post, wasn’t I? It’s a long story, and I’ll write more about it another time but for now – HELLO, it’s me, WeeGee, and I am back on track….
Surgery. The low-down
As you know, this time last week I had my surgery. It didn’t exactly go according to plan – OF COURSE it didn’t exactly go according to plan – but it was, as far as the surgeon was concerned, a success. He managed to remove all of the cancer which was exactly what we were hoping for. HUZZAH.
The operation took a bit longer than anticipated – the tumour had attached itself to a muscle so (LOOK AWAY NOW IF YOU ARE SQUEAMISH) the surgeon had to shave quite a bit of the affected muscle off. There was also more bleeding than expected, even accounting for the blood thinners I’ve been on since the DVT back in April. It took a long time for them to (SQUEAMISH HIGH ALERT) “stop all the tiny nerve endings from oozing all over the place.”
After the surgery was over, it was BLOODY AGES before I came round from the anaesthetic and I had a hard time of it the first time I woke up. In the end it was more than three hours before I was moved from the recovery room back to the ward. I’m told I was quite entertaining that evening, but I wouldn’t know anything about that.
WeeGee and the Great Big BooHoo
The morning after the op was a difficult one. I’d slept badly for a start and, on account of an extremely sore throat, I’d had nothing but a pot of yoghurt to eat for more than 30 hours. I was attached to all kinds of buzzing, beeping contraptions, and it had finally, properly occurred to me that I was going to be leaving the hospital in possession of one less boob than I’d arrived with.
It must sound odd. I mean I knew I was going into hospital for a mastectomy so, you wouldn’t think actually having had a mastectomy would come as a shock, right? But somehow, it did. When I woke up, there was no denying my right breast wasn’t there and in that moment there was absolutely no getting away from the fact that I was knee-deep in treatment for breast cancer. It took me by surprise and it hit me all of a sudden, all at once – not just the mastectomy but the whole of the past nine months: the diagnosis, the chemo, the clot, the infections, the allergic reactions, the pain, the fatigue, the fear, the sadness – and the absolute fucking fury of the whole thing.
So I cried – and by that I mean I boo hoo’d the most spectacular boo hoo I ever have boo hoo’d in my life. I cried for everything that had happened and for everything still to come. I cried for myself and everyone else. I cried for what I’d lost, for what I’ll not get back, and for what I’ll never have. I cried for my disappeared boob and the lonely looking one left behind. I cried because I was starving and I couldn’t face another yoghurt and I cried because TEA JUST ISN’T THE SAME IN A PLASTIC CUP AND WHY DON’T HOSPITALS OF ALL PLACES KNOW THAT?
It sounds terrible, but really it was okay and, to be honest, much needed. A fantastic and extremely kind nurse steered me through it all. She listened as I raged and dried the tears as they fell. Then, when there were no more tears to fall, she hugged the last of the sadness right out of me. She encouraged me to get up and dressed and, once I was all bright and shiny and new, she brought me tea in a proper cup because it’s true what they say – not all super-heroes wear capes.
And that, as they say, was that. A fresh pair of knickers and a decent cuppa later and it was back on my way: WeeGee against the world once more.
One week later
My discharge came the day after surgery, and over the course of a week I’ve eased myself back into the real world slowly but surely. The drains came out a few days later and, while I was thrilled to see the back of them, the less said about the procedure, the better. It truly was the most awful of all the awful things that have happened to me. And I’ve seen my fair share of awful recently. Let’s never talk of it again….
As I’ve recovered, I’ve been surprised by how well I feel, but frustrated by my lack of mobility. I’ve lost some sensation in my arm* and the nerve pain and fatigue from chemo linger on. Nevertheless, I’ve been up and at ‘em – to a lesser or greater extent – every day. My daily ambles around the garden have progressed into strolls around the block, and I’m mostly managing to keep up with the post-operative exercises prescribed by the Breast Care Nurse. I do have some pain, but thankfully, it’s manageable. To be honest, compared to the pain I had before the surgery it barely even registers so I’ve managed to pack away the Oramorph at last. Huzzah!
There have, of course, been a few more tears along the way. When they come, I let them be and they pass soon enough without doing me any harm. For the most part, I’m coming to terms with it all reasonably well. I’ve spent time in the garden with my nose in a book and found solace there. I’ve painted my nails in the brightest shade of pink I could find, and I’ve eaten plenty of good, fresh food. I’ve booked myself onto the next level of the Blaze creative writing course (YAY) and purchased access to two online gardening tutorials. I’ve treated myself to some very excellent new pyjamas, and I’ve listened to a lot of radio four.
I’ve also started to realise my recent focus has been on getting through the physical challenges of cancer treatment. That was fine. I needed to do it like that because I knew I could only get myself this far in a calm, practical, head on, smash-through-it-but-don’t-feel-thing kind of a way. But now I need some time and space to let my thoughts catch up with the rest of me.
I’m fortunate that I can give myself the break I need without any pressure to get back to work and safe in the knowledge that I will be very well looked after by the truly AWESOME men in my life.
Meanwhile, in other news.
Meanwhile, in other news and just in case you were wondering what’s going on with my hair – I’ve got a full head of this stuff although to be fair, not quite enough to occasion a comb just yet.
That’s all from me for today. Now I’ve got the pain under control, and a few weeks off work I’ll doubtless be able to post more regularly so stay tuned for plenty more nonsense from me. In the meantime, I’ll leave you with a song and wish you a happy weekend when it comes around.
Oh – and if anybody needs me, I’ll be busy being busy,
Love you all lots like jelly tots,
*This may, or may not, be temporary, time will tell.