Sunday, January 8, 2012

Contemplating my Navel

I have been home for 2 1/2 weeks since surgery.  I would like to say that I have accomplished much in that time, but the reality is, I haven't.   I read one book.  One.   I have not even finished writing thank you cards.  I have not had the stamina to exercise except for a daily walk around the block with the dog.  And then I need a nap.  But I have had a lot of time to think about my new body and my life -

- Without breasts I can easily contemplate my navel, which is kind of funny.  I have also noticed that when laying down, my left rib cage is significantly higher than my right.   And when standing, it is now obvious that my gut sticks out further than it should.    Too much chocolate, not enough exercise.  That needs to change.
- I have been humbled by the amount of cards and flowers and food I have received during my recuperation.    Not very humbly, I have been very happy that my daughters have been home to see it.  They seem genuinely surprised that I have a life outside of being their mom, and that, I think, is a good thing.

- I have received a ridiculous amount of "get well" chocolate.   My entire dining room table was filled with chocolate.  (I apparently have a reputation)   And then a huge box arrived from Hershey with cases (yes, cases!) of Peppermint Patties, Hershey bars, Reese's peanut butter cups and a 10 pound tin of assorted kisses.    Not to mention that almost everyone who brought a dinner, also brought some kind of chocolate for dessert.   Not that I am not grateful  (I am immensely grateful)  but I think tomorrow I will call our food bank and see if they want some.   I assume they like to stock healthy food, but everyone deserves some chocolate, right?

- I got a get well card from Daphne's mother.  I never told her about the cancer or the surgery.  It is freaking me out, like she is secretly keeping tabs on me.  But I don't know how.  Or why.   Or why she wants me to know she knows.  I am spending entirely too much time thinking about this.

- I am going to return to work tomorrow - part time.  I can walk there and when I get tired, I'll come home.   Nice to have such flexibility.

- I knew from the beginning that I would not do reconstruction surgery.  A good friend of mine said she just wears a bra and stuffs it with socks, and that was my plan.  But my torso is still way too bruised to even think about fastening a bra around it so I am going to work totally flat.   I think I will be okay with that.

- Flat chested.  Einstein hair.  No makeup.   Should be interesting.

- My two cancer sites have been sent to some testing lab where they will rank the cancer in terms of aggressiveness and response to chemo.  I am trying to prepare myself for whatever comes next.

- I am emotionally adjusting to my new "look" .  I am okay with the flat chest, not so much with the gut, the bruising and the scars.  But what I notice most when I look in the mirror is how much my face has aged this past year.   2011 was a tough year for me and it shows.  Seriously shows.   I have walked through a lot of fire and crawled through a lot of glass to get to a place of healing.    I am hoping for a more peaceful year.

- And I have been thinking about my new year's resolutions/goals/target.  But that will be the subject of another post . . .


  1. When I was in high school, my best friend went through a bone marrow transplant and then she ended up deciding on a mastectomy. She opted for reconstruction at the same time and I remember visiting her in the hospital and thinking she was the strongest, bravest woman I knew (and that was before I had ever had babies and knew what breasts actually meant) and then later she had a second mastectomy without reconstruction and through her journey, I learned so very much about resilience of the human heart and soul and I am blessed to share in it here, with you.

    Your grace is awe-inspiring.

    Good luck tomorrow and may they welcome you with open arms (of which I have absolutely no doubt about - esp if you bring them chocolate. LOL).

    Oh, haha, this reminds me of something that happened in college. I had a new shirt, I was super excited about wearing it out on Friday night, so I put it on and with a lot of fanfare showed it to my roomies. One of them, god love her, said to me, well, at least you have big boobs to camouflage your stomach. So, join the club dear!

  2. I am hoping for a more peaceful year.

    That will be my prayer for you...

    You'll be back to exercising in time, so I wouldn't worry about the gut. It makes me happy to think of you sitting on a mountain of chocolate. :-)

    I don't know what to say about Daphne's mom. I understand how weird that must have felt--but it seems like the thaw has begun in earnest. I hope that ends up being a good thing for both of you.


  3. You have no idea how much I need to exercise and how little I want to. It's not weight either, it's distribution.I have a gut 'that sticks out further than it should'. And I'm surrounded by models and starlets.

    That sounds like a lot of chocolate! I think a food bank would love it, actually. I usually donate cake mixes and icing to food banks because when I was that broke it was super hard to celebrate birthdays.

    Not sure what to say about Daphne's mom.

    I have to admit, I've gone through a very bad three years and I've aged a great deal. Stress is what does it. So all that relaxing and napping is a very good thing ... it's letting your body heal. (And I don't think anyone's worried about a thank you card, except probably, you.)

  4. You look great flat! You have the body for it. And once the doctor gives you clearance we will work on that stamina and gut. Just don't push too hard yet. Emotionally you have reached a place of healing. Now you need to let your body catch up.

  5. Sometimes recuperation consists of simply sitting and (to all appearances) doing nothing. But, you are letting your body heal; and your spirit and your self. This takes time. I'm glad you are not rushing the process.

    When my mom had the bilateral mastectomy, she was shocked at how much her tummy 'stuck out'. It didn't, not really, it's just that everything looked different. It's an adjustment period.

    Daphne's mom... wow. She is continuing to surprise. I hope you can accept her wishes on face value. She has a lot of making up to do, cosmically, and each step is important. Weird, though... how did she know?

    Ok, I'm not surprised by the chocolate but delighted nonetheless. Haha! Cases from Hershey!

    "Flat chested. Einstein hair. No makeup. Should be interesting." ~ Should be Awesome!

    Keep up the navel gazing!