Hubby and I were talking about things last night when we went to bed.
Obviously what outsiders see could be what we want them to rather than how things really are, but that’s not our way……….. with our friends or each other.
I read a book many years ago about a woman who had a double mastectomy and her husband tried to deal with it but couldn’t, so they divorced.
She got to know a younger man whose sister had cancer, so he was used to the side effects of chemo, radiotherapy and meds, and nothing phased him. They developed a relationship and things were progressing along nicely until she came to realise that although he loved her in his own way, he was trying to make amends for not being able to save his sister who had died less than a year after her diagnosis and treatment.
Her ex husband then came back on the scene and was thrilled when he discovered she’d had reconstructive surgery and was what he considered ‘whole again’. I thought his character shallow and arrogant, but there you go, it was a book which ended with them remarrying and me feeling let down at (IMO) the trite storyline. I thought this would be the outcome by the end of the fourth chapter, but you know what it’s like, you have to read through to the end to see if you’re right.
When I came round from surgery and was on the hospital ward, the first thing I did was pull my gown away from my chest and have a look.
I don’t know what I expected, but there was a tidy cleanness to the area and I had a shiny white dressing which reminded me a little of PVC roof flashing! I had the drain in place (which wasn’t in the way as such, just an inconvenience), but otherwise I felt fine and was glad Hubby was there shortly afterwards.
As you know, I was discharged the following day and we stayed with MSM until I was cleared for travel after the dressing and drain were removed, which was a week after surgery.
MSM has mirrors everywhere in her house, and they are all at (my) chest height, so no matter where I looked, sat, or stood, I would see myself somewhere.
Hubby cleared down my drain every day, carefully measuring the liquid and both of us kept watch for undo swelling, heat, inflammation, redness, or rashes. He was there when the dressing was removed, much to the surprise, but acceptance, of the nurse and we were all pleased at how well I was healing.
Hubby doesn’t look at where my breast used to be with abhorrence, curiosity, fear, shock, embarrassment or any other of the emotions that I can well understand some partners would experience. He has had enough surgery to recognise unwelcome signs that I might otherwise miss, but overall he is stunned at how well I am progressing when you consider I had my surgery only a fortnight ago.
As we were talking last night, he emphasised it didn’t make any difference to him, I was still ‘His Di’ and he loved me regardless. I know this, and the only real difference at the moment is that he is spoiling me too much by not letting me do a lot but as he says, he wants us to grow old together, not on our own.
For my part, I don’t feel different. I don’t feel a part of me is missing, or unbalanced, odd, or that people are staring. I look in the mirror here at home and see a marked improvement every day when I wash and get dressed. The bruising is fading and the scar ‘puckering’ is flattening. I have a little build up of liquid which is to be expected, and that should be absorbed by the body once it gets the idea that it’s supposed to.
I’ve had virtually no pain, just the occasional ‘spiky’ twinge as the nerves wake up, and some numbness under my arm where they played around with the lymph nodes. It feels like I’ve got a football stuffed in my armpit but apparently that is all perfectly normal at this stage. My SW consultant says she had the same.
I am still the same person as I was on October 28th when I went into hospital. The essence of me is intact and within, nothing has ‘gone’, been mislaid or lost. I’m still here. All of me. The absence of a breast is incidental.
The good news is that the meds I’m on will stop any Humphrey cancers developing anywhere else. It was bad luck that Calcification Dick came along, but he’s sorted now and that should be the end of it. We’ll know next week anyway.
I cannot thank everyone enough for their continued support, good wishes and humour. My friends at SW were glad to see me last night, and are pleased I’m doing so well. Not losing anything at all after three weeks was really funny, but just goes to show how insignificant Dick was.
I’ve got darts tonight. I’m not playing, just doing the paperwork and we’ll see how it goes. If the girls get stuck on double one it’s going to be a long night, but I’ve got nothing on tomorrow, so like today, I can sleep in. I didn’t get up until half past ten!