Life In Recovery

It is pretty great not having to go to the hospital every other day, like really great. My days are kind of a blur of video games (Fable), TV shows (Archer, Once Upon A Time, and the League), the occasional movie (Ghostbusters), and books (the Goldfinch). However between the pain and tiredness I’m not bored for the most part.

I had a pretty stressful couple of days after the drains were removed because the top bandage kept bleeding through, but the hospital wasn’t concerned and it’s stopped now, so I seem to be out of the woods for healing. At least I assume I am since it’s been two weeks since surgery and I feel like if something bad were going to happen, it would have happened. Showering has gone from somewhat painful and nerve wracking to normalish showering. Lots of sitting down still, but whatever I guess that will be the norm for a while. I have a binder that I wear to stand and walk that is a wrap that goes around my stomach and Velcros to tighten for support. My doctor told me I should get spanx for the support which is just weird. I mean I get that it’s a medical thing, but it is just a weird world to be living in where my doctor recommends that I get spanx. The issue is that my abdomen is weak because of the tissue and muscle moved for reconstruction so it will take a while to get back to normal there and while I’m healing I have to make sure I have some extra support. Like spanx.

I’m not where I expected to be with pain based on what the doctors said, but everyone is different so it’s just the short end of the stick and not anything to be alarmed about. I am still getting more mobile and taking more walks and doing my slightly condescending PT exercises (in how low effort they are). I mean I know my arm/shoulder is all fucked up due to surgery, but rolling my shoulders does not make me feel particularly athletic or like I’m doing a work out.

I took A. to the drive-in a couple of towns over, or rather he took me because I’m not allowed to drive on my medication, but I told him where to go. He’d never been and I thought it would be a fun way to get out of the house. It was a high schooler’s paradise. Seriously, so many high schoolers. My Mom’s car battery died about an hour after getting there, but that apparently happens a lot and the employees were able to jump it and we just left it running for the rest of the time. Also a brilliant move, going to see The Fault In Our Stars when you have cancer and haven’t emotionally come to grips with that. Good movie (also good book which I read earlier this year pre-diagnosis), but good lord was it a terrible idea to go watch it at this point and time. I can sum up my feelings with “this is unfair”. A. had a lovely ride home with me, I was in great shape.

On a happier note, my first outing outside the house besides going to the hospital was my friend Maria’s wedding. I was pretty nervous about going because it was an hour and a half drive each way and a lot of sitting up which I hadn’t been doing that much of at that point (Friday). I pushed through though and it was really wonderful. She and her husband are both great people and it was as feel good of an event as anyone could hope for. I’ve known Maria since day care and it was really wonderful getting to go to her wedding. I was pretty sore once I got home, but absolutely worth it.

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Did I mention that they got married on top of a mountain?

photo 1

Love this girl. Took off my not so hip support binder for the photo, but still sporting old lady posture.

I also found out a couple of friends from college just got engaged. As a result I’ve had this Robert Frost (my favorite famous Vermonter) quote in my head: “In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: It goes on.” Having cancer and being in Vermont makes it feel all consuming. A. and I aren’t working and don’t have many friends in the area so it really is the center of our lives. The good thing about this means that we can concentrate on getting me better and not having to juggle a lot of things, the bad thing is that it seems like our life centers around me having cancer. The engagements, weddings, and life news I get from my friends have been helping remind me that life goes on. This will end and there will be so much more to my story. It goes on.

On the cancer side though I have a couple of developments. I’ve decided to cancel my port on the 10th. I feel like I don’t know enough about it and my chemo plan hasn’t been determined so I’m going to wait before having it done. I was really gung-ho after getting stuck 7 times for my second surgery IV and I feel like that wasn’t the best time to make a decision and this needs to be something that I have the chance to discuss with my oncologist and that hasn’t happened yet. Another new development is that I’m going to Dana Farber on the 15th to meet with an oncologist for a second opinion who specializes in young women with breast cancer. I’m hoping she’ll have the same recommendation as Dartmouth because that will make my life easier, but if I needed to start treatment in Boston I could. Throughout this situation my main concerns have been living with the after effects of treatment and I feel relieved that I’ll have the chance to meet with someone who really understands what younger women are concerned about getting treated for this. I’m also having a little bit of a meltdown about how excited I am that this is happening. I just feel like life is so fucked up that I’m super excited about meeting an oncologist to talk about chemo treatment. Just one of those fucked up perspective moments in this bizarro world that I’m living in.

I also found out post surgery that I’m stage IIa for those that care about that sort of thing. It’s a good diagnosis, in that it’s early and as already knew, hasn’t spread outside lefty. I am very optimistic that I can avoid radiation and hoping that the chemo can be a lighter dose now that we know things haven’t spread.

Next weekend I’m going to the Tunbridge Fair with my cousin and the fam. Going to go check out live stock, giant vegetables, and junk food. Should be excellent 🙂

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