Surgery was on 10/2 and this past week has been a daze of pain medications, rest, and not much else. In the process of navigating this week, dear friends have brought meals, checked in, driven, and then I lost my phone and got appointment dates mixed up and felt sheepish all around. Apologies.
Here’s what we know: the surgeon thinks he got all of the tumor, and part of one rib was removed. Part of my latissmus dorsi muscle was also removed, and I’m going to have permanent disability in my right arm. I already feel some numbness, some difficulty moving. Thankfully I can type and write with some small difficulty but it can be done. My lung capacity is slightly impacted but this should change with physical therapy. Walking 1/4 mile tires me out, but dad gum I’m walking the block. I’m adding a few more steps each day. Slow but sure.
Triple negative breast cancer has a high risk of recurrence. That is a fact I must face squarely. But we’re hoping this surgery gave us some extra time – months, years if we’re lucky.
In the meantime it’s back to enjoying the basics: coffee, my fam, my cat, wonderful friends, colleagues, community, this beautiful Bay Area autumn weather, and healing slowly. Sitting in the sun. Reading good books. Naps. Letting the body heal itself. I must learn to be kind with my currently limited capacity, and rest when the body asks for it. I’m at about 35% of “normal” right now, and even getting clothes on requires a level of contortion and new sensations that cause pause.
Sadness comes and goes. Yet another body part carved up, yet another loss. This is the truth of chronic illness – each shift and change is a new normal. I try to remind myself that I can walk, talk, see, dance, eat, drink, laugh – most of all the things from before. But I also refuse to pressure myself, or anyone, with the tyranny of positive thinking, which often does not allow space for grief. Grief is as necessary as breathing, creates space for truth and healing, and must not be hurried.
I honor it, as much as I honor joy.
6 thoughts on “One Rib Part Removed, Not For Adam”
I’m so glad to hear about you back from surgery… been lurking here and waiting. Please do enjoy all the little joys you so nicely write about. I thinj of you and wish you much precious time with your daughter. Really, I am at a loss for words. Wish you oeaceful and healing autumn time…
Thank you JaBoo! One day at a time. Your support means a great deal xo.
Pink Stinks, you are an extremely talented writer whether you are expressing whimsy, pain, or the quiet wonders of a walk on a beach. It’s a gift that you share with us – and one that takes us closer to having not only some understanding but also helping us to see, feel, or experience things that might otherwise escape us. Thank you.
LikeLiked by 1 person
I’m troubled by people who push to move right to positivity in the face of grief. Grief is necessary and even healing. And there is such a medical domino effect with cancer treatment, that it’s hard to know when you can just catch your breath. (I had some nerve damage in one of my reconstruction surgeries that has left me with pretty bad neuropathy in one foot. A surgery might help but that can’t happen until I’m completely done with chemo.)
Wishing you peace through this adjustment and loss.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Secret Agent and Magellan, thank you both so much for the support.
You have sacrificed so much – TNBC is such a greedy, filthy god.
I hope your recovery is going well. Update us when you can.