On my way into work this morning, I found myself reflecting on this year. With all of the massive highs and incredibly low lows that came along with my diagnosis, it immediately occurred to me that, even if someone were to offer me an exorbitant amount of money, I would never want to re-live this year again. I used to think I’d never want to re-live my high school years, but now that I’ve got this year under my belt (ish), I can say with absolute certainty that I’d NEVER want to live this one over again. Send me back to high school any day. That was small change compared to the hell this year threw at me.
However, as my friends would say: I’m on the upswing now. If you read my last blog post, you know that when I wrote it I had been told by a nurse at my plastic surgeon’s office that I wouldn’t be able to travel home for Christmas because risk of clotting would be too great that soon after surgery. I was incredibly upset about this news for about a week. But, you know it wouldn’t be my life if someone hadn’t told me incorrect information before getting the actual facts. About a week after that phone call, I had a pre-op with my surgeon and he told me I’d be able to travel, no problem. He has people come in from out of state all the time for this surgery and they usually travel back home about 5 days afterwards. He said most of my drains will come out a week after the surgery and that he’d even show me how to take out my last drain on my own if I wasn’t in town for a doctor appointment. I feel like I could give myself an IV at this point, so taking out a drain is nothing.
Now, I can’t tell you how happy I was to get this news, but it was a little bittersweet because I couldn’t help but be frustrated at them for telling me incorrect info to begin with. I was SO upset at not being able to see my family at Christmas. It’s usually the one time a year (with the exception of this year) that I go back to Mississippi. And now they were telling me I was upset for nothing. But I guess at this point I should really be used to the emotional roller coaster. It is never ending.
I’ve said this before, but these highs and lows are what makes a cancer diagnosis so exhausting. It isn’t the cancer itself (at least not my Stage I). It’s fighting with my insurance company over denied claims. It’s waiting around for answers or test results and when you finally get them, living with those results for a while only to be told later that, no, that wasn’t correct.
No, I technically don’t have cancer anymore, but I’m still dealing with the consequences of it. Every. Single. Day. I see the scars on my chest every day, and every day I’m reminded of what this year has done to me and my body. But I still have to live my life like “normal.” I have to go to work and function coherently even when cancer (or surgery, or a medical bill, or a doctor visit) is taking up all of my headspace. I have to figure out a way not to neglect my friends when all I want to do is hole myself up in my house and not come out until all of this is over. I have to entertain and wear out the attention-whore dog I raised who’s energy is nonstop even when just living a normal day leaves me exhausted. (I love him though and wouldn’t change a thing, but my life is certainly easier when he is tired.)
I also have to prepare myself for my next surgery. I remember what a shock it was to see myself after my mastectomy, so I’m trying to figure out how to mentally prepare for whatever is to come after this next one. But I struggle with this because I don’t know if there’s a way to prepare for it, so I want to block it out.
But every cloud has a silver lining. Yes, my surgery date was pushed back, but now I’ll get to go to my book club’s Christmas party (always my favorite party). I will actually miss less time at work and get an extra week to finish things up before the holidays. I’ll get to go home and spend time with my family for Christmas with new boobs and a smaller tummy. And I am super thankful for all of these things.
Happy Thanksgiving, y’all.