By Kathy Reschini Sweeney, teller of boob truths
It has been one week since the surgeon declared me cancer free and about ten days since my surgery. In the life of a people who have a hard time with the concepts of both patience and moderation, this is an eternity.
So no surprise that I ended up in bed, on pain meds yesterday. It is totally my fault. I over did it - more than once - and I did not ask for (or accept) help. Mea Culpa, Mea Maxima Culpa.
Today's blog is, therefore, a cautionary tale. When your surgeon, a woman of skill and trust, tells you that you need to layoff any strenuous activity - no pushing, pulling, blah blah of more than 5 pounds for at least two weeks, and no return to regular activities for four weeks, you should listen.
You should not assume that since the anesthesia as described is similar to a root canal, that the procedure is the same. You should not assume that since the surgery was outpatient and you had your wits about you when you left, that it is similar to - say, an eye exam where they blow up your pupils and you cannot see for a few hours. In addition, you should not assume that since you took the bandages off in 48 hours, you can resume to normal clothing choices at the same time. That would be absurd and only an idiot would come to those conclusions. Ahem.
This shit is serious. I am an intelligent person. I researched this entire process. I understand exactly what the surgeon did and how much of a divot was removed (that's right, I called and got the exact amount). I talked to pink warriors. I thought I listened. And then my subconscious mind promptly decided that - perhaps as a coping mechanism - none of those things translated to a need to modify my regular routine. I acknowledge that I should be docked several IQ points for this, and will take it up with my subconscious later.
I am also bigger than I used to be, thus the falls are harder. Normally, I just break a toe. This was more like a roundhouse kick to my own chest, which I'll bet not even Chuck Norris can do. (Oh Chuck Norris, why do you have to get involved in politics when you are otherwise the greatest source of humorous homages? I mean, how else could one say: "Superman wears Chuck Norris pajamas" or "Chuck Norris does not sleep- he waits.")
No real damage done, just a day of doing as little as possible and taking pain meds. Neither of which top my list of ways to spend a Friday. One of the reasons why is that it provides the perfect opportunity for my conscious brain to realize that the dark cloud of depression is lurking right outside, looking for a way in.
For example, a week post-op, I decided it was time to start wearing regular bras. For those of you without boobs, trust me when I say that the entire bra culture is a maze of numbers and letters and fabrics and metal and plastic. The quest for the perfect bra is not for the faint of heart (or anything else) and some day I may do an entire blog on it.
Suffice it to say that even though I knew to choose a bra without the kind of metal support system normally found in a highway overpass, it was still a mistake. Big. Yes, I got advice from my survivor friends, but I figured (heh) that since I didn't have lymph nodes removed or even a partial mastectomy, my boob would be different. It is not. I am now in search of camisoles with support. While they help with the surgical issues, they also squish everything in their path, which means my clothes don't fit. I know, boo hoo for me. It's not like I normally dress for fashion week.
Driving is also a bitch and a half because of the seatbelt. In the interest of not encouraging unsafe behavior, I will not tell you what I do in order to drive without screaming. Even then, it's uncomfortable. And yes - there are dozens of people who would be happy to drive me places - many have specifically offered to do just that. But noooooooooo, much like a toddler, I decided I was going to do it myself. Repeatedly. Dumb and Dumber.
So now I am paying the price for my recklessness and have to really take it easy. Do I need to tell you how much I HATE that?! Hate, hate, hate, with the fire of the sun, hate.
It's another cost that cancer imposes. Cancer sucks. Getting a wonderful diagnosis is fantastic, but I lost sight of the underlying battle, and that was a mistake. Never turn your back on your enemy. Like Chuck Norris, it never sleeps.