Last year was tough, as you know (because I keep harping on about it), even when I thought my post op wounds had healed (March) every other month that followed there were complications with them and I ended up seeing two consultants, having further scans and tests. This eventually healed and I was signed off towards the end of Autumn. It has been fine since, I started back to work and within 4 weeks there was another abscess (3rd one) and I asked for my bloods to be checked. They discovered an underlying health condition.
My healed skin is something I already take for granted – the sealed, just body again now, but sometimes I check the scar and marvel. Or sometimes check it and almost cry, fortunately (for me) it isn’t visible to the world, which makes dealing with it an easier process. No part of my 40+ weekly tablet regime has to do with this area of my body which is now sorted. Done. Complete.
My foot is still numb but I take medication to help with the sensations/ neuropathy and have gained both more use, flexibility and feeling each month. The consultant expressed it could be the summer before we can judge how significant the healing is and what feeling or lack of it will remain. I can walk without a stick, I just have to remain mindful of every movement (when I didn’t a few weeks back, I caused tissue damage to the numb foot) and had to use my stick again.
As anyone with long term injuries/ chronic health conditions will tell you, they are draining. They change the person you are and you are forced to adapt. I relied heavily on the support of others and on the whole everyone was amazing. There will always be those who can’t quite understand what all the fuss is about and it has been the hardest lesson for me coming out of it to let this go. There is an immense amount of energy required to get your life back on track and if some people have decided to publicly spurn you, you just need to back away and let them get on with it. It took a while for me to realise this, my natural instincts were to bridge build, I tried. It made me feel worse that relationships had been irreparably unsettled. We have all had someone walk out of our lives without fully understanding why, the impact and fallout is a challenge but takes less emotive energy than trying to find out what is going on. These losses are extremely saddening.
I guess on the back of this current world crisis people are about to experience what it is like to put our changed lives back together again afterwards and I hope this brings with it the compassion and support we are finding in our own communities right now.
My life started back at almost ground nothing after the operation, heavily medicated and pretty much completely useless, I lived downstairs for months, pain was constant (despite Morphine), movement was limited and I couldn’t manage simple tasks like sitting up, let alone hoovering/washing up/ cooking etc.
During this time I injured my back, my body/muscles all being weakened by 6 weeks of ill health. Imagining I was capable of doing more than I could, I had made it upstairs for a shower. I found it so frustrating when I couldn’t manage something. Dressing took the best part of 40 mins and a 1 hour lie down after. Washing hair meant that was the only thing I’d achieve that day.
Mentally I was adjusting to having an idled/medicated/impaired mind that could (fortunately) focus on escapism/ like reading but was not able to work on editing my manuscript which appeared in my inbox whilst I was in hospital.
My whole relationship at home with Mr G (who had to 100% support me to do anything/everything) changed. The dynamics shifted to carer and me to useless. I had limited joint movements and needed help all the time. The list of things I couldn’t do was long. The slightest touch hurt like a huge weight and I became insular both physically & mentally.
My mum drove me to every appointment and there were many tests and consultations in hospital and at various centres around the county, I needed to see nurses three or four times a week. I am hugely grateful that she was able to do this for me, again – without her I would not have managed to cope. She was also the voice of reason and my emotional support throughout the whole ordeal. Thank goodness for unconditional love!
It has been a long, slow struggle to get back on my feet and without the help and love of family and friends and the support of our National Health Service (particularly the wonderful team at Worcestershire Breast Unit) I wouldn’t be where I am, I feel hugely grateful every day.
Our futures are now uncertain and there will be a plethora of difficulties to face, but you will not be alone. It is important, now more than ever to reach out and show some gratitude and love.