Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Clawing my way back to normal

You know it's bad when Suzy Sunshine checks outa here. Suzy was hating life for a stretch there and disappeared, but Suzy's coming back. And although Debbie Downer's taken up residence in Suzy's stead, I see her fixing to pack her bags, and I'm not sorry to see her go.

What's changed? Well, Sunday I phoned in a Bra 911 to a good friend. She took time out from her own family on one of the more gorgeous days of the year, on a long weekend, no less, to drive me to that bastion of frump and fit; Lady Grace Intimates. Some of you might not be familiar with LG. It's not where you go for sassy, sexy bras that impress, but these ladies know their stuff. I knew I needed a bra change, STAT. I looked up a few choices on the LG site and called their Waltham store to see what they had in stock. They had one that would work and could order the one I really wanted, so my Savior drove me across bumpy hill and dale to get relief.

Marlene met me - she was the one I'd spoken to on the phone, and by the number of times she called me "honey" and "dear" during our 5 minute conversation then, I knew I was going to be well taken care of. She is one of their certified post-mastectomy fitters. Calm, resolute, reassuring . . . well, you'd wanna hug her if you could hug anyone. She measured me up (still same size, even though I feel like a marshmallow, so that's reassuring) and whisked me off into a dressing room with a potential replacement bra.

So . . . so far, the only people who've seen my foobs are my docs, nurses, husband and daughter. There are many women who're open about showing their reconstructed breasts - I'm not one. I think that it's because I have my own outside parts, so really, aside from shape and size changes, these really still look like me. And as unabashed as I am about posting on the 'net about all this, I draw the line at flashing the goods. Anyway. It's hard to try a bra on without flashing the goods, so there was this brief awkward moment in the fitting room with Marlene, where I realize I'm going to have to get waist-up naked, and I said tentatively, "You want me to take this old bra off? You'll be able to fit me better." And she smiled gently and said, "I will. I do if you're OK with it." I said, "If you're not going to fall over backwards, I'm game," and she replies, "Honey, I've seen. it. all."

Off went the bra, hitched up into the new one I got, and we inspected the situation. This is the ugliest thing I've ever worn, but it's FAR more comfortable than anything I've worn post-BMX. Sold. She snapped off the tag so I could wear it home. She ordered up the super-comfy one I want and told me to make sure she or Roseanne, the other certified post-MX fitter was around when I came back to try that one. "We know what you're going through and we know how to fit you best." And how. By the way, Marlene is 3 years out from chemo for ovarian cancer (the "silent killer" it is a Varsity-level cancer). We knocked on wood together. She gets how shitty all this is. Makes me want to hug her more.

Anyway. The new bra has made me more comfortable the last few days. I still can't wear it to sleep - I'm too swollen for that, but my swelling has shifted and changed, so while I'm still quite uncomfortable, especially in the evenings and at night, I'm less afraid of lymphedema. I also sent out a distress email to my old lymphedema physical therapist, who emailed me back last night. She reassured me that there is a huge range of post-surgical swelling that's normal, but said yes, I should be checked out. I'm calling her secretary this a.m. to make an appointment.

And tomorrow is my follow up with the plastic surgeon. My intrepid husband is going to ferry me there. He's been on the front lines with this and between my list of questions, his sharp mind and ability to recall the progression of the swelling, we'll get to the bottom of this.

Today, I will rest more, and walk more. I'm finally feeling like I might have the energy to get into a book. Yesterday I watch a mindless but fun chick flick in the a.m. I am taking it easy, but have relished being able to do more for myself and my family. This morning, I got teary as I mixed Lilah's pasta with basil pesto and loaded it into her Thermos. I am clawing my way back to the mundane, everyday tasks of living, raising my daughter and caring for my family. It feels so. damn. good.

So I urge you all, today and in the days going forward, to take a minute to give thanks for what you've got. It can be trying, or boring, or downright awful to be you on any given day, but it could probably be worse. I know it could for me. So today, I'm giving thanks for small improvements, and for all the other things that are going so well in my life. Join me.



1 comment:

  1. I think that is a fair point, to always make sure to give thanks for what we have. I have appreciated how candid you are with all these posts, both about what you are going through and the emotions that come with it. Thank you, as always, for sharing your story.