The healing continues …

IMG_2208.jpgIt’s now two and a half years since my first surgery. Time for an update on my body’s healing process. I feel like long time readers of my blog must be thinking, “Isn’t she over all of that YET?!” Don’t worry, I feel like that too! One day I hope there will be nothing to report on my body front.

One of the main reasons I set up this blog was to share my story with those who may be contemplating, or travelling, a similar path, and to help those around them to understand what it is like to have this surgery. What I’d mainly like people to know (and what I wish I’d known myself!) is that it just takes a really long time to heal. It DOES get better, very slowly but surely. And there are things you can do to ensure you heal as best you can.

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The body beautiful – 18 months on

FullSizeRender[1]I said I’d update on where I’m at with my healing progress six months ago, so here’s the latest on my post surgery body, 18 months after my double mastectomy and muscle sparing TRAM reconstruction surgery.

Overall, I’d say I’m progressing well. I’m still really conscious of my tight stomach and numb torso each day, but it is WAY better than it was. The stiffness is less, the discomfort is reduced, my general feeling of well being has much improved. Still a way to go, but I definitely feel like I am “getting there”.

I had my final check up with James, my plastic surgeon last week. He is really pleased with my physical progress. I didn’t expect to, but I cried when he asked me, sincerely and kindly, how I feel about the breast surgery now. It just brings up so much sadness for me. As James says, I’m healing well on the outside, but have a way to go on the inside.

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Mighty Martha – 3 years on

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Martha on Rainbow Beach ~ 2000 (pre breast cancer)

Today it is three years since Martha passed away, over there to heaven, out of her tired and painful body. I do remember that day with sadness, but as the years have gone on, it has become a day to celebrate too. I know now that Martha lives on in a new realm with Lou. They’ve run their life races here, and now I feel like it is time for me to pick up where they left off, make the most of my life, and celebrate the creative spirit that has awakened in me since Martha passed away.

December 7 will always be important – time to reflect on Martha’s life, and celebrate the person that she was to me. I don’t think either of us ever really knew or understood the connection that we shared. I loved her, supported her and honored her while she was alive, but now I can see more clearly her most special attributes: brave, independent, expressive, creative, kind, vulnerable – a truly beautiful soul. Those of you that knew her well would agree I am sure! She wasn’t perfect, none of us are. But the thing that I love and admire most about her now is that she was true to herself all along.

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Two steps forward and one step back

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Oh I thought my next post was going to be such a positive “YAY! I am nearly there!” one … and I AM nearly there. On the weekend I did my first “proper” walk, around Cremorne Point (my favorite and surely one of the most beautiful urban walks in the world), which took me 90 minutes, rather than the usual hour. But I did it and I loved it so hooray for that. I’ve also stopped taking any prescription pills since about 10 days ago and am only taking a few over-the-counter pain medications a couple of times a day now. I’ve finally dropped the afternoon nap too, in an effort to help me sleep better at night. That seems to be working well. Two months today since my surgery and yes, I have made so much progress since then.

That’s all the good stuff!

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Silver linings … and more girl talk

"Soar high" by my sister, Paula

“Soar high” by my sister, Paula

I received a lovely email yesterday from an old friend, in which he said:  “I’m sure you’ll look back in a few years and reflect on this time as one of enormous growth and a period which has given you such a different and important way of thinking. I guess that’s often the beauty of challenging times and this silver lining comes to us all a bit later on. Life is an interesting old journey isn’t it?”

Well, it sure is! I think I have learned more in the last two years about how life works than I have in the previous fifty! And yes, one of my learnings is that in hard times there is always a reason for them, and a lesson (or two or three or more!) to be learned.

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Girl talk (aka “how my body is healing up”)

"Femininity" by Martha 2004

“Femininity” by Martha 2004

This post is mainly for us women, especially those who have had, or who are contemplating having a similar surgery to mine. I don’t mind at all if you men read it, but I’m just alerting you that this is the “Sarah’s bosoms” update for anyone who is interested. It’s light weight but I don’t want anyone thinking “Whoa! Too much information!” And no, there are no photos of my breasts! I’m happy for anyone and everyone to read if interested, just giving you the heads up on what is to follow!

Anyway, two and a bit weeks after my surgery, here’s how my body is going …

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WITH GRATITUDE …

begin each day with a grateful heart

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!

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MASTECTOMY and RECONSTRUCTION – how does it feel from the inside?

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Here I am at Day Nine post surgery. And now planning on going home tomorrow- yeah! When the doctors told me there would be a 12 week recovery period post surgery, I thought they were being a bit ridiculous, but now that I’ve been through it, I think I will be taking every minute of that time to just lie around, pamper myself like never before and let myself heal, heal, heal!

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Slowly, gently moving forward

This is one of my favorite quotes which inspired this painting of mine earlier this year. And I guess it best describes how I’m feeling today. Very tired, very sore but also confident that I’m headed in the right direction!

I think for most of this past week I have just been a physical & emotional wreck. Functioning, passing all the key milestones but just feeling like I have been on some sort of scary alien planet!

However, today is another story and I’m feeling like I’m coming back to being me. Dazed, battered, bruised but underneath it all, still me! Energy levels are still v low, so special thanks to my husband for keeping you all updated.

Anyway, a week down the track from surgery things are slowly coming back into focus & I’m getting into the swing of the (v busy!) hospital routine. Hoping to be home by the weekend but no pressure. Just taking each day as it comes.

Bring on the pain relief, bring on the healing & being on the peace!

With much love & thanks for all of your messages. I’m reading them all but no energy to respond. I will get there!

Sarah
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HALLELUJAH!!!

Hello my lovely friends.

I have VERY GOOD NEWS!!! Have just received the pathology reports – ALL CLEAR. NO CANCER. NO FURTHER TREATMENT REQUIRED!!! As expected, but I can not tell you how relieved & happy I am to have it officially confirmed. All is well. My husband was with me when we received the news this morning from my surgeon. Hooray for that!!

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