Today I am feeling a little bummed. Not depressed or anything, just a little melancholy. I think it started when I got a lovely card from a friend that said "I'm sorry you're sick."
Sick? I have not really thought of it in those terms. I am very rarely sick. In fact, most people are surprised when they learn how old I am because I stay pretty active - back packing, skiing, kayaking. If anything, its my sun damaged, weather beaten skin that gives my age away. True, over the years, I carry less weight in my back pack and more ibuprofen. Getting up from a skiing wipe-out has become an aerobic activity in and of itself. White water kayaking has given way to being content to explore the tributaries of calm mountain lakes.
Last year I tore my meniscus. I wish I could say I did it skiing a black diamond course at Lake Placid. Or hiking a steep trail in the High Peaks. But no, I slipped on a wet leaf. Not very glamorous. That injury and the following surgery took away my entire ski season last winter and also the spring/summer backpacking season. And I wasn’t very pleased when a doctor told me that my knee joints were pretty worn out. But that I was in great shape - for my age. For. My. Age. How effing depressing is that?
Next week I will have a bilateral mastectomy. I am generally feeling okay about that, yet some things are niggling at me:
- I had hoped to go skiing at least once before the surgery. But no. We have had no snow and the temperatures are so warm, ski resorts can’t even make it. Very unusual weather we’re having.
- Although gravity has certainly done its dirty work, my breasts are still pretty perky. It will be sad to see them go.
-Everything I normally do to keep my PTSD at bay will be impossible for me for the next few weeks - exercising hard, sauna time, being outside, sleep, etc. I am deeply concerned about how I am going to manage the symptoms.
-I appreciated the suggestion that I ask if Martha could be in the recovery room with me as, the thing I am most terrified about this whole ordeal, is coming out of anesthesia. Unfortunately, Martha is having a great deal of difficulty with this whole cancer thing, and would not be the right choice. Lauren, my therapist, would be the right choice. I am missing her something fierce.
- I recently found out how much volunteer work Lauren did which breast cancer patients. Really? Let’s pour a little salt into that wound.
- Martha will go to her niece’s for Christmas Eve. I will sit at home, draining my chest.
- Every year, the day after Christmas, we do a traditional roast beef and Yorkshire pudding dinner with Martha’s best friend and family. That is now being postponed because, really, no one wants to see me sitting there, draining my chest. Including me.
I keep looking at this card saying "I’m sorry you’re sick. I will never forget how kind and helpful you were when Rob was sick. If there is anything I can do to return the favor . . ."
Rob, younger than me, had cancer and died within one year.
So today I am feeling a little melancholy. Next Wednesday I am having my cancerous breasts removed on the same day, in the same hospital, where 20 years ago I watched my oldest daughter being born. It just seems surreal to me that that much time has passed. That my body is starting to fail me. That I am starting to feel old. Well, at least old . . . for my age.