Six days since the op. Mostly spent resting and binge-watching boxsets, reading a book and sleeping. I ventured out on day 4 but was so tired afterwards I spent the following day recovering.
Still, today was the ‘wound check’ appointment. So I got up and dressed, headed off to the hospital where the op took place, for the professionals to reveal what lies beneath (there’s a lingerie shop near us that goes by that name – not sure I’ll be able to buy from there again).
At 9:30 my husband drops me off at the breast cancer clinic whilst he goes to park the car. I enter to see that the clinic is heaving and there are no spare seats in the waiting room. No matter I think, I’m sure people will be in and out quickly. And then it hit me. Sledgehammer like. Every other time I have come to the clinic I have been sent home again – cancer-less. This time I’m the one with the dressing on. It’s me waiting to find out what the prognosis will be in another week. I’m one of the people who I used to look at and think ‘thank goodness it’s not me, poor them’.
I burst into tears.
I’m a 56 year old woman. I’m surrounded by other women, mostly older than me. Not a single one does or says anything. I sit in a corner and try to wipe my eyes with a tissue. I had to ask the receptionist for the tissue. Come on people – where are the hugs? And so I pick up my phone to distract me, load Facebook and see my sister has posted that it’s exactly 15 years today since mum passed away. Not from cancer – she had Alzheimers and we’d lost her some years before – and even though I’d not consciously remembered, at a subliminal level I knew it. It explained the sadness I felt when I woke up this morning.
So after what feels like ages I get called to see the breast cancer nurse, Helen. Helen is fab. Smiley, warm, buxom, maternal. I ask if husband can accompany me and she nods. Of course he can. He’s been fab. My rock.
20 minutes later the dressing is off (goodness that stuff is sticky). I’ve had another cry. I’ve had to lie down because I feel dizzy and faint. I’ve seen the scar from above – and husband takes photos of it to show me later. I’ve been brave and overcome what I think was one of my worst fears – facing up to it post-operatively. My left boob actually looks pretty pert. Bruised and battered and all the colours of a smudged, rain-splashed Jacobean oil painting. But higher than it was – and higher than the right one – so here’s the start of lop-sidedness eh?
The rest of today has been odd. I’ve wallowed a bit. Mum’s anniversary. My anniversary-to-be. But I promised myself I’d also remain positive about this. So I want to think of a song that will lift me up and help me soar. Elbow’s One Day Like This will do the trick. Inappropriate? I don’t care. I love that song and got to see him perform it a few weeks ago.
So I’m playing it loudly now. Nursing my wound. Thankful to be another day forward. And still watching the Spring sunshine and clouds from my window. Sunshine and clouds. That pretty much sums up the day. Sunshine is my husband, my mum, my friends and family. This other stuff is just clouds. The sky is blue above the clouds. Keep remembering that.