The stress of the holidays is over and I can return to putting my focus on recovery. Like many others, I am sure, I may have put too much on my plate during the holiday's - which is easy to do when you just aren't sure how much is too much. Well, trying to make a potato dish for Christmas dinner proved to be too much. I still have minimal use of my right arm, which is the side that they took all the lymph nodes from. Try peeling potatoes with one arm. Try cutting 5 lbs of potatoes when the pressure of pushing the knife, uses the muscles in your chest. Try lifting 5lbs of potatoes that are sitting in boiling water and need to be drained. Try putting 5 lbs of potatoes sitting in the casserole dish in the hot oven with one arm. Well, who knew that this would be such a difficult task? And that is just one example.
So, now that it has been 18 days since my double mastectomy surgery, I am beginning to understand the new me. AND I DON'T LIKE HER! I am possibly going through those stages of grieving, which would make sense because I will never be 'me' again and I need to emotionally grief the death of the old me. I am now known as 'Shelly who has cancer'. It becomes obviously evident when I run into someone outside of my home. The look on their face says it all... no matter who it is. The good news is that I have come in contact with many other survivors and I know that this is temporary. 2014 will surely not be my best year with the upcoming treatment plan including chemo and radiation, but eventually in years to come, I am looking forward to just being Shelly again.
I have tried to remain as positive as I can throughout this whole process. With only a couple of breakdowns under my belt, I think I'm doing pretty well. One breakdown being the realization that I am now 'Shelly with cancer' and another breakdown was because of the irritation of this recovery process and the lack of information that was given to me prior to surgery... but that's for the next blog.
For those who have experience, please do share it in the comments below for others who may be on the same path. The experience of others has made a tremendous difference in my recovery. Please share.
Photo: A series of photos taken prior to my mastectomy. Courtesy Storybook Photography