Hello, hello? Anyone hear me? Echo….echo…echo….
Ever notice how when hearing or reading about people with cancer it’s always all with aggressive words like “battling” or “fighting?” And when someone passes from cancer, it’s all “Lost their battle?” I get that the metaphor is All Hands On Deck While We Declare War On Cancer, but I’ve never identified with this descriptive tactic. I’m not a Fighter, or a Warrior, or Battling anything!
The metaphor I best relate to is like pest control. There are unwanted living things in my surroundings (be it ants, or rodents, whathaveyou) and we are trying to figure out the best way to get them out of my house! Where I live. It’s a kindler, gentler semantic but it works for me.
As for me? My “house” continues to be under control. Yippee! Tamoxifen for 19 months and only 41 more to go. I think of my CJ as in specific stages. Year One: Diagnosis and Treatment; Year Two: Coping with PTSD and Reconstruction; and as I approach Year Three: Strengthening and Physical Fitness. It’s amazing how much a toll 8 surgeries in a 18 month time frame can take on your body and mind. I’ve had a lot of “down time”, watched an extraordinary amount of TV, and read countless books. But now it’s time to get off the chair, and get my body moving, now that I am officially and FINALLY cleared to do exercise without limitations.
A quick rewind: Had my last reconstruction surgery in April. Basically we needed to adjust the size of the implants so the breasts were even and proportionate, as well as some further nipple recon. Easy peasy, right? Ummm, no.
In typical “It could only happen to JG” fashion, I developed a complication from the surgery, whereby my incision on my left side (oh lefty! you continue to be a troublemaker!) opened up. Like two inches wide but luckily shallow in depth. So back to Dr K I go, (I have a frequent visitor punch card now) where he instructs me how to care for an open wound. Oh – and I can’t go swimming, take a bath, or get the area wet until it’s 100% healed. Which means showering with a tricky home-made saran-wrap situation covering my left breast.
So I wait. And I wait. And I wait. During this time, only soft bras, no underwire, so as not to re-open or agitate the wound. From May to July, I go in a few times to see Dr K, to check in, and complain about how long this is taking to heal, and he explains to me that my skin/body is a slow healer. So I’ve got that going for me. Finally in August (I’m not kidding – I didn’t go swimming like ALL SUMMER) the wound healed up. Hooray.
So I am officially off the DL (Disabled List) for the first time since this all started. Happy Dance!