As my mother-in-law darted around, tidying and helping with laundry, she imparted some good, firm bits of wisdom - I am ONLY two weeks and three days out of major surgery. No matter how good I might look, I need time to recover. It's as simple as that. Her diagnosis is "over-do." I hesitate to think she's right, but she has the wisdom of experience on her side. I've got nothin', and a bad over-doing track record to boot. I might well be guilty.
I have perked up since this a.m., and I attribute it to: 1) rest; 2) protein consumption; 3) a vat of hot-buttered popcorn I managed to make myself; and 4) my FIRST REAL SHOWER.
That's the sweet - but there is still bitter there, too. My drain holes are closed enough, says Doctor Dave. I'm still going to take my antibiotics for a few more days, just to be sure, but this afternoon, I needed to be clean. So I jettisoned the Shower Shirt and ventured in. I will admit to you, I was a little scared. Excited, but scared . . . what would the water feel like on my incisions? My abused upper-body? Well, the water on my back was delicious. All the fine scrubbing by a well-intentioned husband cannot replicate the feeling of the shower water, beating on your back.
But the incisions - this is where my "new normal" came rushing in. Because, well, I'm numb. Although I have pressure and weirdness and some swelling and zings and zaps from nerve regeneration, I am numb in a big band around my upper body. I look like I have all my parts, but they are not MY parts, and these replacement parts have no sensation. So when you ask me what it felt like to take a shower, I can say, "It was great not to hassle with the shower shirt!" or "I finally was able to soap myself up because I'm done with The Rash, and boy, did that feel fabulous." But there was some sadness there . . . because I'm not who I was. I never will be the same. And today it hit home more acutely than ever. One, because it was a down-day for me to start. And two, because I feel nothing on my upper body.
Yes! Yes! I hear you now: I am cancer-free. This was the right choice, the only choice for me. I have the best doctors, a great family, things are trending upwards and it's ALL GOOD. But anyone who's been through this knows that sometimes, you gotta have a little pity party. You need to acknowledge that it is hard, it hurts. It just sucks.
So today sorta sucked. I'm clean and my hair is washed, but there are still miles to walk before I'm "me" again. And that's OK. It's a process, I know. I'll get there. Today just felt like a "two steps back" kind of day. Hopefully tomorrow I'll move forward again. Somehow, I think I will.