Today marks two weeks since my surgery and my fourth day out of hospital. I have never been so glad to be home! I wasn’t really conscious of it while I was in there, but now that I’m home, the peaceful contrast is amazing – it is so noisy in hospital! Trolleys clattering past, people chatting in the hallways, let alone the incessant parade of people in and out of my room with meals, blood pressure and temperature checks, medication deliveries, injections, wound dressing changes, cleaners, surgeon’s visits etc etc etc going on every hour of the day (and much of the night too!). So it is wonderful to be home, back in my own quiet space, relishing every little thing like being able to have a cup of tea in my own familiar cup – heaven!
As was expected, I am really, really tired too. So I’m having lots of naps and long solid nights of sleep. Hooray for that!
I have been feeing relieved and just so grateful for many wonderful experiences this past week. Making regular ‘gratitude lists’ is another thing that has really helped me in the last couple of years to get through rough spots. Focusing on the positive is a great way to jolt your mindset out of the gloom and into the sunshine.
Here’s what I’m feeling grateful for this week:
- MY SURGEONS – I have been blessed with two very talented and kind surgeons – Dr Warren Hargreaves was my breast surgeon (who removed all of the existing breast tissue) and Dr James Southwell-Keely is my plastic surgeon (who reconstructed my breasts using my abdominal tissue). Both have been really lovely and caring the whole way through. My main contact now is with James, since he operated on both abdomen and breasts. I saw him every day in hospital and will continue to have follow up appointments with him for some time. I have to say he is one of the most special, lovely people I have ever met. Kind, gentle, compassionate, humble, patient, intelligent, reassuring, a talented surgeon – and handsome to boot! Thank you God for James!
- MUM & BEC – My mum and youngest sister Bec flew up from Melbourne for a few days to be with me post hospital. SUCH a treat! They didn’t let me lift a finger to do any little thing – and even cleaned out the fridge and pantry for us! Practical and emotional support in spades. We spent hours and hours reminiscing together about our lovely Lou – lots of tears and laughter and healing hugs. It was a very special time. I am blessed to have such loving caring women (part of a bigger loving, lovely family!) in my life, especially now.
- CANCER FREE – I know I’ve already celebrated this, but every day I almost quiver with relief that I have no further cancer treatment on my agenda. And no more confronting annual checks with the Sydney Breast Clinic. Good bye to all of that and thank you modern technology for identifying the LCIS in the first place. And I have had no complications from my surgery. I am a very, very lucky person.
- HOSPITAL CARE – While I am glad to be home, I am very grateful for the wonderful care I received while in at St Vincent’s. When Martha was in palliative care at the end of 2011, it gave us a whole new appreciation of the value of compassionate nursing, and I have loved this ad for the nursing federation since I first saw it last year: http://anf.org.au/videos/entry/you-couldnt-be-in-better-hands-cinema-ad
Special thanks from me for the exceptional care I received from Nimar (my regular nurse) and Debbie (the breast care nurse) as well as the rest of the hard working team on the 10th floor. That’s another special thing – my room number was 1027. That gave me a smile every day. Lou’s birthday is January 27! Yes, I was in the right place!
- LOU & MARTHA – I felt my lovely sisters with me every step of the way, most especially through the most challenging times, gently comforting and encouraging me along. After Martha passed away, I found some of her rings, and have never taken off her Russian wedding rings that I wear on my little finger. I’ve read that the three rings represent softness (white gold), resilience (yellow gold) and preciousness (rose gold) and that resonates with me for Martha! So I hang on tight to those whenever I want to feel Martha holding my hand. I also found a ring of Lou’s when Bec and I were cleaning out Lou’s apartment. It was not Lou’s beautiful engagement ring (which we searched high and low for while I was there and could not find), but this other ring was Lou’s so I popped it on with Martha’s rings. While my wedding rings became too tight for my swollen hands in hospital, Lou’s and Martha’s rings were fine and never came off.
Then, on the wonderful afternoon with Bec and Mum this week, where we shared many of Lou’s treasures that I had collected, Bec told me she had one more special thing to show me of Lou’s….. it was Lou’s engagement ring!! I could not stop crying (with joy!) when she gave it to me. So special. We had overlooked it in amongst a drawer full of stationery. Bec found it on a final look through before the remnants were thrown in the rubbish! We almost lost it! I am absolutely delighted to have it with me for every minute of every day now. It is so delicate and so “Lou”! I feel so grateful and honored that my family has agreed I should have it. A genuine gift of love from the heavens!
- THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME! – Like I’ve said, it is lovely to be home, surrounded by so much support and love. My husband has arranged for a home cooked meal service, which is a wonderful, nurturing gift, and Holly and Tom are taking great care of their mum, attending to any and every of my little requests for help. Thank you to them, and to all of my special family and friends who continue to send me loving messages and good vibes every day. It all really does help!
Still a long way to go in my recovery, but I’m definitely headed in the right direction!
With much love and gratitude for YOUR support