Yesterday marked five weeks since my surgery, and I am very happy to report that I have just returned from the beach house of my very generous friend, Trent, who offered me the use of his house in Palm Beach for a few days. It was absolutely beautiful – the weather, the house and the spectacular view of the Pacific Ocean from the balcony! I arrived on Tuesday with Holly, and we left today. I can only be away from home for a couple of days because I have to be back to have my dressings changed, but I am so glad we went. There is something about a water view that is so soothing. Last week I was not sure I would have the energy for the drive of just over an hour from home, but it was fine, and once we got there I wished we didn’t have to leave so soon!
I am sure this little adventure was a healing one, breathing in the fresh sea air. Even though I really only sat and looked out at the view, and still had my long afternoon naps, I do feel more relaxed and well rested. It’s been nice to spend some mother/ daughter time with Holly and last night my friend Louise made the drive over to have dinner with me, which was lovely too. Somehow the pain seems to have abated a bit this week. The good days are better than the not so good days. Hooray for a change of scene (and hooray for the very kind Trent!)
As you can see from the photos, the view from the house is spectacular. Perfect viewing for a sunrise. Since Martha passed away almost two years ago, all of us are reminded of Martha at sunrise and sunset, particularly when they are vibrant and colourful. I have been sleeping like a well drugged log (understatement!) since my surgery, but on both mornings at Palm Beach, I was woken by Martha just before 5 am (“have a look Sare, have a look!”) and as I pulled up the blind in the darkness, I could see the tiny cracks of the sun appearing. So I stood on the balcony in my nightie and took photos of the beautiful day as the sun crept up over the horizon. On the first day a pastel sky, and this morning it was deep red. Thanks Marts for the colourful display! Then I went back to bed and slept another five hours. What is that if not divine intervention? Only Martha could wake me from my sleep of the dead – and two mornings in a row, at exactly the right moment each day too!
On Monday this week I went back to see my plastic surgeon, James, for another check up, and he is pleased with how things are progressing. My right breast wound is a bit slow to heal, but it will get there. My breasts continue to feel totally numb, heavy and kind of have a dull ache inside, which becomes sharp if I don’t keep on top of the pain medication. My body is still a bit stiff but much better than it was, and it hurts my stomach to cough, sneeze or laugh too hard! My long scar across my stomach is looking good (according to James. I know it looks how it should but it is not my favorite thing!). I have to start massaging it with Vitamin E cream (which makes me shudder at the thought, given that scars freak me out a bit!) and that will help the healing. The whole area around the stomach scar is still numb too so it does feel weird doing it. It’s a bit bumpy. And each end of the scar feels quite tender. But if it helps, then I will persevere! My breast scars are still covered with dressings so I have not seen how they look (and am in no hurry to either!)
The other lovely thing about going back to see James is that last time I gave him a print of Martha’s “Femininity” painting to thank him for all of his exceptional care of me. It’s always hard with art, knowing whether others will like what you choose for them, but it just seemed like the right thing for James, given that most of his work is breast reconstruction. I am delighted that he loves it and has hung it in one of his rooms. Martha and I are so proud!
So, five weeks along and things are going pretty much to plan. When I think back to James telling me there would be a 12 week recovery period post surgery several months ago, I sort of thought, well, a few months of reading books, lying around on the couch, having the occasional nap and doing a bit of painting – that should be a breeze! So not! I hadn’t taken into account the overwhelming tiredness, soreness, stiffness, pain management, general brain fog and life trauma that accompanies this kind of surgery. Let alone adding in a fair dose of grief for my special sister Lou too. This time has been much more challenging than I’d anticipated. But, as I keep telling myself, it won’t go on forever, and every day I’m getting a bit stronger than the day before. It just feels like it is all taking SUCH a long time! But I’m encouraged by hitting the half way mark next week – I am getting there! And clearly, Martha and Lou are walking with me. All will be well.
Thanks for all of your love and encouragement