I know I was supposed to post pictures and tell you all about the trip to New York City, but that’s going to have to wait. Tomorrow is my surgery and I feel compelled to write what’s on my mind.
Maybe I’ve just forgotten the emotions and anxiety before surgery – and I’ve had plenty to be considered a veteran. The listing of my past surgical history always takes up more room than the medical forms allow for. But for some reason, I am much more agitated today than I think I’ve ever been before a surgery. Except for maybe my mastectomy while there was still a chance I didn’t have cancer.
I’m fairly certain one of the reasons for my apprehension is the skin issues I still have. My rashes seem to be fairly well under control, but a new one popped up just yesterday. And as for the blisters, I don’t know what to think. Every time I think they’re going away I find another one or two and we still don’t have a definitive diagnosis.
And all this started with my reconstruction surgery in December. So I can’t help but worry this surgery will just start something new. Then again maybe all my skin issues are strangely related to my ovaries and once they’re removed from my body my rashes and blisters will miraculously disappear. A girl can hope.
Another emotion I’m feeling right now is anger. I’m furious that I’ve been put in this position because of a stupid mass of mutant cells that decided to take up residence in my left breast. Those cells have turned the lives of myself and my family upside down. Even after all this time we’re still “suffering” the effects. Breast cancer has become an epidemic so I’m hardly alone. It makes me mad for all the women and men who have to deal with this disease.
I also feel as though I’ve been gypped. Like the little girl I was who would let most everyone have their way while I stood back and waited patiently for my turn. I’ve been waiting for my turn for two years now.
When I had surgery and then went through chemo I knew my “baggage” was temporary. The hair was going to grow back. The blood counts would come back up. My energy would be restored. I’d lose the weight I’d gained. My family would be reunited. My breast would be reconstructed.
Once the house in Arkansas sold and the kids and I made our move to Pennsylvania I thought reconstruction would be the end of my road. Before my diagnosis, I liked taking a bath in fragrant bubbles and slathering delicious smelling lotion all over. I liked wearing something special for Todd and I liked what happened when I did. That was just one aspect I wanted back after the reconstruction.
Between surgery and treatment, the effort of gussying up alone was too much. Then when I was feeling better I still had the image issues. A woman can feel only so sexy when she has only one breast. That is to say not at all – at least in my case.
So I thought once the reconstruction was over I’d have a better self-image. I’d lose the weight I’d gained and I’d get back my regular life. Todd and I would get back the intimacy we’d been forced to forfeit. I was looking forward to buying new clothes. Clothes that would flatter my new figure. Maybe a couple new nightgowns and a sexy, but modest sundress to wear on our date in Hawaii.
Instead, I ended up with at least three different skin issues and severe bleeding problems. Tomorrow I’ll go in and get the bleeding problems taken care of. Then I’ll have several more weeks of recovery, but I do know I’ll feel better when all is said and done.
That leaves me with the skin problems. I know that they will eventually go away as well and maybe THEN I can get back to the business of being normal. Well, my new normal. But normal nonetheless.
So I’m still the kid holding the rope while everyone else gets a turn to jump. I want to jump so badly, but I’m trying to be patient and wait my turn. Even though it seems to me a couple of the kids have had two turns already.
It sounds so silly as I read it, but that’s the truth of it. What probably sounds even sillier is that, while I hate what we’ve been through, I don’t think I would change it. I’ve seen God work in my life and the lives of my husband and children in ways I never would have imagined. And honestly, if any of this has brought even a little bit of glory to God, then it’s worth it. When I put it that way, it all doesn’t seem so very bad.
I’ll be back in a few days to tell you surgery went swimmingly and I didn’t say anything embarrassing while on drugs. Or off drugs. I hope it won’t be a lie.