I know not when you arrived
Or when I became your host
I know not whether you’ll return
Or pass like ships in the dark.
Your silence is deafening
Any words would be cheap.
For now, I am alone,
Examining this heap.
A lump in my chest and toes in pain
Premature grey all over my crown.
For you another day, another prey
I’m just one of many
Making my way.
Happy New Year!
I know, where did that year go?
You could reasonably assume that given I was ill, perhaps the year dragged a little, but it surprisingly didn’t and that’s probably because so much happened last year. Recap, I had a diagnosis of breast cancer, I had 2 operations, I underwent chemotherapy, as well as having my heart broken and treated badly by others. Work essentially has been the one stable and constant part of my life and all I wanted to do was go back to work and get my mind active as well as earn a living. The thing is you can’t make any plans or participate in social activities if you have no income. So, I am sure you can imagine that by Christmas I was feeling let down by numerous people who had led me to believe that I could rely on them. The whole rug had now been pulled out from underneath me and there was nothing I could do but topple over. As well as all this it’s only been 2 months since I finished Chemo. I am telling this story to whoever chooses to read this blog, not because I want anyone to feel sorry for me but a reminder to myself that it has been a challenging year to say the least, but it is history now and it’s time to take control and move forward.
The reality is this is an illness I had no control over and the whole purpose of our Equality Act is to ensure that people like me are treated fairly. A friend of mine reminded me of how many minority groups I represent which made me really giggle. I practically tick every box going, so now I’m disabled as well!
The hair has been growing back slowly however nobody warned me of the risk of going grey and I am now 70 % grey and this whole process is transforming who I physically used to look like. I am embracing the short grey hair and you know if I’d not had cancer I would not have realised how much short hair suits me. Silver linings hey! My muscles still hurt some days if I have walked and my toes still hurt but the fog in my brain is clearing and I can see things more clearly now.
The next stage of treatment involves further surgery. I met with the consultant who would potentially perform my DIEP surgery, another lovely man, kind and calm. Listened to my concerns and was honest with me about the whole process. So what is a DIEP?
A DIEP flap is a type of breast reconstruction in which blood vessels called deep inferior epigastric perforators (DIEP), as well as the skin and fat connected to them, are removed from the lower abdomen and transferred to the chest to reconstruct a breast after mastectomy without the sacrifice of any of the abdominal muscles.
Thanks to Wikipedia.
I opted for a Diep flap because I felt it was the right option for me and I really didn’t want an implant. Had I had a double mastectomy, I may have gone for implants for the sake of symmetry which I can only achieve with my own tissue in my case. I felt quite anxious that the surgeon who operated on me last year did not perform Diep surgery.
So I was relieved, that I liked this consultant and felt relatively safe. He explained the procedure and made notes to ensure I remembered the important factors and here is one of those.
The consultant informs me that I will have a completely flat stomach, I couldn’t believe it! Of course, he does also tell me that it’s a big operation, 5-6 hours long, I will struggle to walk for 2 weeks and that I will be hospital for at least 5 days and that the first 48 hours is critical and I will be in a lot of discomfort. Recovery time is at least 3-4 months before I feel like myself. But all I can remember when I get in to my car is I’m going to have a flat stomach. Another silver lining!
I laugh and focus on the positives whilst I pack boxes and begin another part of this journey and hope that it won’t be as bumpy as the last. A friend of mine reminded me that last year was about survival whereas this year is about thriving. My landlords is being extremely supportive and I will be moving in, shortly with my best friend. He has been a true friend. Be kind to one another.
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