While I’ve learned that I have the potential for great mental strength, I have also learned what my kryptonite is; I am a squeamish mess.
As a young child I would run screaming from the doctors office when the nurse walked in with the needles.
When I had chicken pox in 1st grade one of the little scabs surprised me by turning into a little bubble and I nearly fainted.
When I had my lip stitched up after a soccer collision, the feeling of the string in my mouth sent waves of nausea through my body.
Needless to say, I don’t deal well with uncommon physical disturbances to my body, no matter how insignificant.
I had a lumpectomy and sentinel node biopsy on Wednesday morning. The surgeon said everything went well. Best part of all is that the cancerous lump is out of my body. I’ve been resting at home, not really pushing my body in any way, even though I was told I could resume activity yesterday (non strenuous). I’m not in pain, just uncomfortable. I could probably easily go for a walk, take a normal shower, go for a drive, make some food, etc. But I’ve gotta tell you… the small bandages covering my incisions feel like a straight jacket. Even though they said I could, I think it’s probably best that I don’t raise my left arm above about a 50° angle from my body and don’t make any sudden movements.
But before I get into more of that, let’s go back to Wednesday morning…
It’s a good thing that they make you go in for surgery first thing in the morning because you’re just too damn tired to really care about anything. I didn’t care that I had to go to the women’s center to get four injections of radioactive dye into my boob. I didn’t care that I had a surprise mammogram. I didn’t care that the nurse at the hospital blew out my vein on the first IV attempt. I just didn’t care. I was ready for them to knock me out so that I could wake up on the other side of step 1 to this whole ordeal. I remember being wheeled into the OR and listening to some music that I enjoyed. They gave me the oxygen mask and the next thing I knew I was waking up somewhere else.
I opened my eyes to a blurry new room and thought, “I made it. I’m still alive.” I actually thanked God for keeping me safe. I’ve cultivated a new relationship with God in all of this. I’ve dodged so many bullets that I can’t help but feel and see things in a different light.
It took a while to sweep the cobwebs of anesthesia out of my head. Once I got home I went straight to bed and stayed there for about two days while I rested the nausea away.
I had my first post-surgery shower last night and my squeamish nature got the best of me. It was my first time undressing and seeing my reflection in the mirror. I could see the swelling, the bandages, the initials on my boob where the different doctors signed their work. I know it really wasn’t that bad, but everything looked foreign to me and I was immediately nauseated. That’s not my body. Brian helped me shower quickly, avoiding the bandages and swelling so that I could cover back up and pretend I didn’t see it. I’m sure my comfort level will improve soon, but not today.
On top of that, as soon as I got home from surgery it was time to begin fertility treatment injections. Surgery happened to line up perfectly with my menstrual cycle so that egg retrieval can happen before the next cancer treatment begins. Since I can’t inject myself, Brian has the lovely job of injecting me near my bellybutton with hormones because I’m just too squeamish.
I look forward to the day when all of this can be behind me, but for now I just need to find the mental armour to deal with what comes next.