FOUR MONTHS ALREADY
What? Four months? Scars are barely noticeable and this is without dousing them compulsively with oil. As a matter of fact I learned that Vitamin e oil is not good for healing scar tissue. Surprised? I was too. But here’s the deal. There is a lot of bullshit out there. There is even more bullshit that doctors say especially when it comes to nutrition. However when you find not one but two doctors who are as awesome as my two doctors, there is no need to sift. No need to take what you need and leave the rest because everything they say, I actually trust. This is a big deal. TRUST does not always go hand in hand with me and the medical profession. As a matter of fact, I have in the past fact checked more with my best friend, Kath, who is nurse extraordinaire when it came to sifting through the bullshit because great nurses usually don’t give out bullshit.
But my Doctors? I trust. “Start taking stool softener one week before surgery.” Did that, best post anesthesia bowel movement ever. Why didn’t anyone ever tell me that before? The endless lists of dos and don’ts I actually followed and here I am. FOUR MONTHS ALREADY, barely a scar, no more tightness around my chest unless I have recently been at the 6:30 am beach blanket boot camp I love to torture myself with. I am starting to feel sensation in my back slowly. I can lie on my side for an entire night with no discomfort and so on.
FOUR MONTHS ALREADY completely back to work, running, exercise, etc because I was fit going in and I have incredible doctors who I listened to because I trust them.
I am not trying to say that this is some silly bar or some ridiculous example for anyone else coming or going to or from this shitty experience. As a matter of fact, I am not an example. I am not a measurement for someone to feel like they are supposed to compare themselves to in the world of breast cancer or breast mastectomies and reconstruction. I loathe the comparison. I am who I am and everyone else is who they are. We are all hamsters on a wheel in some time or place that we happened to land where we land. I just am the type of person who gets shit done and checks that off her list when the time is right. I am an adult child of an alcoholic and we tend to be perfectionists and over achievers in the silliest areas of our lives. For me, it is fixing chaos and traumatic events. So I have OCD super organized drawers in my house and a speedy recovery from a two time cancer diagnosis. Yippee. I’m neither proud or not proud, this is just who I am.
Because I have been writing constantly since February and putting my raw core out there, a strange thing has happened. Many people who have found my writing and then meet me have a deeper perception of their understanding of me than I do of them. It has a one sided vibe because I don’t have any experience of their own truth never having met them or having had a personal conversation with them. This has been interesting because usually a automatic label comes from this. “Wow, you are amazing.” Or “How do you do ‘this’?” It is strange because my writing is my morning meditation and I enjoy the notion of sharing it because I know that life experiences and vulnerability are definite healers. I am not hungry for labels or accolades. I just write because it feels good. When I don’t write, I feel off.
My daily pride comes from my relationships and my growth as a woman from paying attention to my triggers and rather than react, think. This is huge progress for me because I grew up with a total reactor, the kind who flies off the handle when you least expect it and you never knew who or what you were going to get. This teaches a young child to gingerly walk around other people’s emotions and to personalize EVERYTHING. An unintended eye roll or a strange facial expression, a side glance or even a kiss that doesn’t feel purposeful has the potential for a trip south in not in a good way. This example teaches a child that volatility and reactivity is normal. So for me I have spent my life reading about triggers, going to therapy to learn how my own reactiveness is not helpful and how to make the correction. It is not easy to unlearn behavior that is placed in you from birth, but the alternative is not pretty. To have a healthy relationship, these old habits had to get unsewn. It is not a wonder I married young and I married someone who was similarly reactive.
I have found that we can do so much work on ourselves, but the true test is when we are in a relationship. This is when the work comes (or doesn’t come) to fruition. I think our partners and our families are the most intimate connection and this is where I have found the greatest example of triggers. Triggers are that rush of emotion that comes up from your toes and flies out of your head at the speed of light like a tsunami when you least expect it. Triggers are like a personal science project for me. When I feel that rush coming up, if I can catch it, this is the work I must continue to do to improve myself, not fix the other person’s behavior because for us children of alcoholics this is our personal mission. If only he didn’t drink… life would be….. Next thing you know, you are a perpetual critic, not just of the drinking, but of every little thing, and truth be told, this does not feel very good in your spirit.
How did I get here? This almost daily writing is how I got here. The shit just keeps flying out and moving out. Like my crap I got rid of and sent happily to J’s Junk, I am on a never ending quest to remove all unnecessary crap inside and outside. I am sure that the literal removal of my breasts FOUR MONTHS ALREADY ago has had something to do with this and I wouldn’t change a thing. Isn’t that fucked up? How could someone who has a two time cancer diagnosis and a genetic mutation feel like she wouldn’t change a thing? As I write that last line on my back deck in my garden on this delicious steam sunny day, the bright sound of my favorite cardinal starts singing to me. This is what I am talking about, this experience has changed me as all of the cliché commentary that came flying at me at my first diagnosis said. For better of for worse, I am grateful that I used the opportunity to pay attention to my needs and my calling to write. Here I am FOUR MONTHS ALREADY.
Thank you God for this most amazing day. (and thank you ee cummings, one of my poetic mentors for this perfect line that has so often gotten me through a day.)