I just went and re-read the posts to remind myself of all of the details. Strange how some things fade from memory. Or maybe it's just chemo-brain in action?
|July 22, 2010|
|July 17, 2011-Nearly a year later|
What struck me from reading my pre-operative posts is how uncertain I was about things. Understandably so. Everything I did with the feeling that it was a "last" time for doing it. My "last" workout at the gym. My "last" trip to the beach. My "last" time cuddiling with Jean-Marc in the morning. It was a scary time. I'm a big believer in preparing for the worst, and hoping for the best. I was mentally prepared for weeks of being bedridden and in pain. I had not even considered chemo and radiation at that point. It was all about the harsh and brutal reality of having body parts removed. Ugh.
I don't do "sick" very well. And by God's grace, I didn't have to. In fact, I probably pushed it a bit too much to get back on my feet. In the early days, I needed help with the drains and such. It was also difficult to face myself in the mirror for the first time. I'll confess that sometimes, I still start at my scarred reflection.
For the most part, I can say that those things that I was afraid that I would not be able to do again, I have done. This is not a brag list-it is a praise report and testimony to the faithfulness, mercy and grace of God:
- Cuddling/holding Jean-Marc? Check! He's quite the love bug, and it's wonderful.
- Running? Check! Ran a 10k in under an hour earlier this month. Less than a year out of surgery, less than 5 months after the end of radiation treatment.
- Jillian circuits workouts? Check! I'm back to my level 3 Jillian circuit workouts. I've definitely lost some of my upper body strength, particularly on the left shoulder and pectoral area. There is nerve damage there where things were cut. I'm permanently numb on my left tricep and across my chest where the scars are. BUT-I can do push ups, just not as many. I keep at it, and am able to do a little more each time. My body will never be the same, but it is strong nonetheless.
- The beach? Check! I just went yesterday with the kids, my sister in law, niece, nephews and mom. I wore a bikini with my foobies in it.
There have been some unexpected things as well. First on the list would be my lymphedema. Not all breast cancer patients get it. I'm one of the lucky ones. But I am so thankful that Kaiser was very proactive in educating me on the signs of the disease, and even had me go see a physical therapist before the fact. That way, when I did get it, I knew right away what to do and was able to learn to control it early.
My friend was right. Things do look and feel a lot better a year later. Things will never be the same, to be sure. My family and I have been on a journey that has opened our eyes and changed us all, in many ways for the better. It has made us stronger. Looking back and seeing how God has sustained me has increased my faith tremendously. I thank you all for your support and prayer over the past year. It has been a blessing.