There have been no radical changes in the past month, but I do feel like I am inching along in the right direction. As well as taking the Gotu Kola capsules daily, Bas, the lovely man who does my lymphatic drainage massages, is also a naturopath and has made me up an ointment with Gotu Kola, Vitamin E, zinc and primrose oil in it. It seems like my scars are slowly fading with twice daily applications of that. While I am still very conscious every day of my uncomfortable stiff, numb stomach and sensationless but softening breasts, it feels like my old body is becoming accustomed to the new bits. The old is accepting and integrating with the new!
Having read that trampolining is good for lymphatic drainage, I tentatively tried that with our son, Tom a few weeks ago at one of the many trampoline parks that has opened up around Sydney. We had a trampoline in the back yard when we were kids, and I’ve always loved it, so was glad of the opportunity to revisit that! It was fantastic for getting the circulation moving for sure, but also made me aware that my back muscles are really overcompensating for the lack of muscle strength in my stomach, so I have gone back to the trainer I was using before my surgery, Darius, to help me rebuild my abdominal strength. The surgery removed some muscle from the centre of my stomach (abdominis rectus), so we are aiming to build up the oblique and transverse abdominal muscles to compensate for that loss. At this stage, if I try to do a sit up from lying flat on the floor, I can only lift my head, nothing else, which makes rolling over or getting out of bed, or even up from a low chair a challenge sometimes. Hopefully working with Darius will help improve my strength there. My support team of rehabilitation professionals (massage, acupuncture, therapy, training) that I am seeing regularly continues to grow! I can still feel that big wad of scar tissue in my stomach and have the same stiffness and numb zones across most of the front of my torso. It really is not good, but I am grateful for this time to rest and repair and I’m determined to make the best of it!
I have committed to the follow up surgery in June, which will neaten up the scars and fill in any dents from the original surgery with liposuction. Not looking forward to it but I keep telling myself it is nothing compared to the original surgery so I will be okay. This is my chance to have a “do-over”: a light, breezy surgery with a short and restful recovery. That is the plan! I will get myself in a calm head space and get through it okay. I just want to put this whole chapter behind me!
I am also very tired of being tired! It is so tedious and frustrating. (I am quite sure I am the most boring wife on the planet sometimes – my poor husband!) A friend suggested to me that the tiredness comes not only from the physical recovery from the surgery, but also from the emotional stress of all of the changes and losses I’ve had in the past couple of years. I hadn’t thought of it like that but I am quite sure that is true! I really have such little energy for anything other than the most simple tasks. I am still running my online cashmere business, YUM Cashmere, and it is growing steadily, with the wonderful help of trusty Narelle, who works for my husband too. Hooray for her or else the parcels would never get dispatched! I also have my art assignments to keep me going. So I have enough to do and keep myself occupied. But if I do too much or go out for dinner and come home late, I suffer with days of exhaustion afterwards. So I’m avoiding that, and am going gently. Nothing else to be done except heal, heal, heal, inside and out!
We went to Sunshine Beach over Easter. Such a beautiful place with perfect weather. And of course, I always love a morning stroll along the shore line, feeling Martha, and now Lou too, with me every step of the way. It always lifts my spirits. While I was there, I really immersed myself in my art and read a book on Surface Design, and the market for art on commercial products in the USA. Such a world waiting to be explored by me! That has really inspired me to commit to making something of my art. My rational brain wants to get going and start a business today, selling my art on stationery and homewares, but my physical self can’t keep up with that at this stage. So I am surrendering to making this year all about learning and creating, and then, when my strength is back, I will really focus on it and make my dream of combining my art and business skills come true! There is something about my art that is like a magic pill of soothing joy for me. I really love it, and now I understand why Martha always said that art was close to her heart too.
So I am continuing to morph from “old Sarah” (a very busy, stressed, rushed business person) to “new Sarah” (more relaxed, gentle and creative). Somewhere along the way I will take the best of these two personas and become my new self. I think I have been going through a transformation – inside, outside, physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually… you name it! – since December 7, 2011 when Martha passed away. It is quite freaky sometimes to be inside this person who is not the same as the one I’ve known this past 50 odd years, but I do quite like her! Life in slow motion is much nicer I have to say, despite the challenges!
Thanks to those of you who continue to take an interest in my story. It is good to be able to share the weird and whacky world I love in as the months progress. Hopefully going forward it will be less about my breast surgery (SUCH a bigger deal than I ever anticipated!) and more about my new creative life! Let’s just see what happens!