Almost 8 weeks ago this journey began. Tomorrow marks the next big step on the flip side–the return to work. Time has passed and both my body and mind have made progress towards a healthier place. Although the journey is not yet complete, I have several take aways from my time at home:
- Time heals, be patient: On July 27th I left work with the anticipation that I would return in just a few weeks. When post-op week 2 ended both drains were “supposed” to come out. However, one drain remained for an additional 4 weeks due to an infection. I had no choice but to sit, to rest, and to heal. There was nothing I could do to accelerate the healing and I felt helpless and useless. But time passed, I became more comfortable, gained strength, and learned that one of my lessons on my journey is the value of patience.
- Family is the root of all happiness: In the last eight weeks I have spent more time with my sister than I have since we were children. We have talked, texted, snapchatted, or visited almost every day since our surgery, though she usually ended up angry with me because I insisted she eat or rest. But as I think about tomorrow, I know I am going to miss her. Since during the day I will no longer be a short 5 minutes away, we will have to figure out how to continue our lunch and fro-yo dates. I’ve also had the best caregiver ever. My husband has been relentless in making sure I’m rested, well-fed, and comfortable. I am thankful for his protectiveness and unconditional love; from providing his shoulder while I cried when the pain was unbearable to insisting that I sit when I wanted to start moving about prematurely. And, I’ll continue to look forward to a daily message from my my father…a quick “good morning and I love you” to my sister and I. Mom has, as always, been there for anything and everything we needed…I’m thankful she has been able to fill in the gaps, even when we didn’t know the gaps existed.
- Daytime television holds a wealth of knowledge: Because of my time at home and my friends Judge Judy and Judge Marilyn Milian of The People’s Court, I can now tell you that you DO NOT enter a courtroom without copies of your lease, contract, receipts, text messages or pictures that support your side of the story. I can provide you with the name of several personal injury lawyers, advise you on the many products available to reverse your aging, or share your local options for assisted living…just give me a call.
For those of you who have not seen me since I left work, I’m going answer the questions I know you have but don’t want to ask as well as provide you a few tidbits for you to avoid an awkward surprise:
- Question: I thought you had a mastectomy? (as you are glancing awkwardly at my chest clearly not understanding why it appears I have breasts)
- Answer: I did. I appear to still have breasts because there are expanders in my chest preparing my body for implants.
- To those friends close enough to offer a welcome back hug: Don’t squeeze. The expanders are like two bricks beneath your skin and have the same feel and flexibility. I’m used to it but it will catch you by surprise.
- To anyone: Ask away…I’d much rather you ask me questions about my journey than to wonder. My sister has said more than once that given the choice of chemo or this surgery again, she would choose chemo without hesitation.
- To all: Know that the journey continues. I return tomorrow with the hope that I will be able to give to you all with the same passion as before I left. But, in the back of my mind there is still the uncertainty and fear about the next step that will sometimes occupy my thoughts.
Until the coin flips again…