Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Cancer seems to change everything

Before knowing that I had cancer, I cared about cancer patients, but I didn't feel a deep connection like now.  Before my bi lateral mastectomy, I tended to almost forget I had cancer until decisions and tests were needed to be made. Now after surgery, it's hard to forget about cancer, but easy to have gratitude.

About two weeks ago, Laura and I took a walk to a nearby high school where they were holding Relay for Life.  I went to this before, but now going has a deeper meaning and connection. The feeling when you enter both makes you want to run or stay - run because you want to forget about it and stay because you know you can't. When my late husband died from suicide, I went to a suicide survivor group and they said this is the hardest group you'll ever join.  Now I have two hard groups but know life goes on from both.

This past Sunday marked my one month anniversary of having surgery.  I'm so grateful to be here writing today and not in a hospital. It feels fast and slow all at once.  I remember a lot about that day but especially how weird it was lying on the operation table with two surgeons and a group of nurses standing around me  waiting and watching as I fell asleep.  Someone in the room held my hand and asked me where my favorite vacation would be, and I said Florida.  They told me to think about that and in moments I was asleep. I had faith in the doctors but nervous of the pain and appearance afterwards. However, thinking about Florida and Disney World helped my fears go away.

Now that a month has passed, I'm beyond grateful for how many things I've regained. I can do most things that I could do before plus being lifted into my wheelchair as before.  As for pain and discomfort, both improved but are still with me. The reconstruction resembles me, but doesn't feel like me yet.  My skin is sensitive to fabrics, and since I move around quite a bit due to cerebral palsy, I always feel it unless I'm totally relaxed.  Sometimes I wish I could just pop them off to give myself a break, but I can't.  I'm hoping that in time, they will feel more natural and less painful.

I'm also grateful for everyone that helped me and my family.  The meals, prayers, and encouragement were so remarkable and not forgotten. Cancer does change everything but not the power of love, hope and resilience. 

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