Thursday, December 15, 2011

For My Age

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.


  1. Skiing may be out for this season, but just think about how comfortable a pack will be without those pesky boobs getting in the way.

    You are surrounded by so much love, and you know that will pull you through. Next week at this time we will start your rehab. Prepare to start working your ass off.

  2. (((8th day))))

    Listen to Ren. She is wise.

    Sending you vats of virtual Nutella....


  3. You are better prepared and stronger than you think you are. I have to believe that Lauren will be watching over you, but the answer is within you.

  4. Been thinking of you every day, my dear.

    And, by the way, you are entitled to a little melancholy.


  5. Yes to all of the above. With extra hugs.

  6. Yes to all the above and a couple of extra comments.

    First, I'm a skier myself and my knees aren't the best either. It's not age, it's slamming down on mogul after mogul as you fly through a course. (And even if you're not a mogul skier, it's still skiing. Like any athlete, sports really do a number on the knees.)

    I don't think your body is failing you. But it can feel that way, at times. I think of it sort of like cars. Occasionally, something has to be tuned up or repaired. Then back to road-tripping.

    A year (or so, it's all very, very vague timing-wise) from now I'm moving east to Western Mass. I expect to meet in Stowe and ski our tails off. Also to have some fondue après-ski.

    Let us know the exact time of your operation (you may have said already and sorry to ask again if so) and I will meditate through it and virtually hold your hand. (I'm on vacation next week, so totally doable.) And I have a friend who is a master reiki therapist and I'll have her do reiki for you. With your permission.

    I, too, am thinking about you and holding you in the best of thoughts.

  7. I have known many women who are in the position you are now, but none have had the humor and grace you continually display. You are indeed entitled to some melancholy thrown in. You are human after all.

    Put me down for virtual hugs, hand holding and marathon prayer.

  8. ren - give me a couple of weeks, I'll be ready.

    Doxy - you should buy stock in Nutella, you will be buying a lot of it.

    Laurie - I hope you are right.

    e - thank you, as always.

    MS - and thank you too.

    Em - I have never skied moguls. I'm more of a gently swoosh skier. I have never skied Stowe either, but would be happy to join you there.

    I will not know the time of the operation until Tuesday afternoon, but I will try to post it. It should be in the morning. And yes, I would be happy for all the Reiki and positive energy the universe can muster.

  9. Knowing the time's not necessary. Don't worry about it unless you want to post it. We'll be hanging with you.