Monday, May 10, 2010

Puberty In Reverse

Today is a big day for me, a very big day.

And why is that?

Because I, yes, even I, am going to the grocery store. Woo-hoo!

I haven’t done any shopping of any sort for almost three weeks, and really haven’t even gone out in public in that period of time. (I’ll go back to church for this first time this coming Wednesday.) I think that it’s not just been a matter of physical recovery for me, but emotional recovery, as well. I’ve flitted around the edges of depression over the past couple of weeks and have had to treat myself gently in order to find the road back out.

Which is not to say that from here on out, it’ll all be hunky dory and easy peasy, or any other phrase you can think of that denotes, well, hunky doryness and easy peasyness.

There are a few different emotional/physical challenges that I’ve climbed over and I know there will be more to come.

The first visible, physical trauma was the day I took off the dressing from my surgery. You can read articles all day long, and hear stories of people who have been there, and even see pictures of post mastectomy cases; however, nothing really prepares you for the first time you see it for yourself. It’s a severe jolt--physically, emotionally, mentally.

And then a few days ago while in the shower, I finally managed to slowly unstick the (ouchie) bandages that remained in place underneath the dressing. And when I had finished that uncomfortable task, I stood in the shower and just cried. Because to look down at what was once a feminine, familiar landscape and to see what looks very much like an act of violence—well, it’s a bit much to handle.

But I’m handling it.

And I’m handling the ongoing pain and discomfort and the oddness of how it all feels, and the challenge of trying to figure out which underpinnings I can wear to restore my outer shape to what it should be so that I can go out in public without feeling self conscious. (Sarah, with her wonderful, wacky sense of humor, calls my condition “puberty in reverse.” Gotta love it.)

And speaking of a sense of humor, Steve and Sarah and I have found a new level of things to smile at in regard to this whole experience. We’ve realized that tip-toeing around the delicacy of the surgical area is just way too much work so we’ve come up with a few phrases and inside jokes which help to release the tension and dilute the trauma and make us smile instead of cry.

And that’s a good thing.

I am very thankful to say that our family has been thoroughly spoiled during this recovery time by the ladies in our church who have dropped off a total of twelve delicious meals for us. (They had another week of meals lined up for us, but we started feeling a big guilty about our embarrassment of culinary riches and told them to hold those meals for another lady who will be having surgery soon.)

So I feel very blessed in that regard, and I feel blessed because I don’t have to have chemo and lose my hair (as well as my breasts). I feel blessed that I’m not a single mom with young children and that I’m not the only breadwinner in our family, which might force me into going back to work before I felt ready. I feel blessed because I was diagnosed with cancer just a little over a month ago and I’ve already been declared “cancer free.”

Treatment is done. Breast cancer scares (of which I have had many) are behind me. Reconstruction is all lined up and ready to go and in 6-8 months, I should start feeling fairly normal again. (Whatever normal might be, by that point.)

So those are the thoughts I’m thinking today. Traumatized thoughts and thankful thoughts, all rolled up together.

Oh yes. I’m also thinking about the exciting grocery store outing I’ll embark on after picking up Sarah from school. You know you’ve gone through something really extraordinary in life when going to the grocery store is an accomplishment and an adventure.

Who knows? Maybe I’ll stand in the middle of the soup aisle and break out into song.

Or not.

______________________________________

I had written earlier that Nathan was driving home from Florida today. Unfortunately, he called this morning and told us he is sick; it looks like it will be another day or two before he is able to make the 13-hour drive home.

Also, there was a question asked about the recent recipe I posted concerning “borders.” In order to clear that concept up a little, I had my highly efficient, lovely graphic artist (AKA Sarah) make up a little diagram which I’m posting here, as well as with the actual recipe.

casserole

And speaking of Sarah, they had Sixties Day at school last week; here is her outfit and her “love and peace” signs. Ain’t she cute?

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6 Had Something To Say (Just click here!):

Anonymous said...

This one was hard to read. :( You come to realize there are so many levels of trauma that you have and will go through before this is all over. Still keeping you all in my prayers and Hhope Nathan gets well soon. That just might cheer you up a bit, having both babes at hom eunder your roof!:)

Anonymous said...

OOOPS! I forgot to tell you it was ME! Dana in SC
I dont wanna be Anonymous!

MN Mom said...

Did you hear me exclaim out loud when I saw the paisley print Sarah is wearing in the cute photos? I had a print exactly like that many decades ago - how fun to see Sarah wearing it.
Becky, I rejoice in reading how well you seem to be doing. Acknowledging your changes and accompanying emotions is very healthy. You are still you, and being cancer-free is such a blessing.
Sorry to hear that Nathan isn't feeling good, but driving for 13 hours sure is best done at the top of one's game. I am sure he is very anxious to get home to see you.
Have some shopping therapy and some chocolate!
Liz

Sue G said...

Cancer free. How wonderful.

What's it like, I wonder?

Sheri Hawley said...

Only an offspring saturated in humor could come up with such a great statement! I'm so proud of you, dear friend. Praying daily and thanking the Lord for your friendship.
Sheri

tylersmama said...

Cute pictures Sarah! Bekcy, not ever having had a double mastectomy, I cannot even imagine how it would feel to look down and not see any...ahem...woman parts there anymore. I know it has to be so hard to feel like "yourself" these days. I just love Sarah's sense of humor though...puberty in reverse! You are doing so wonderfully with all of this (even if you feel like you aren't) and I am so impressed and proud of you!