The rollercoaster events of the past few weeks came to a conclusion yesterday. Once the decision for me to have a mastectomy was made last Wednesday we began to make plans for the weekend. Being away from home helped, and while we obviously discussed the operation, we also concentrated on having a good time.
The music festival got off to a great start with workshops about the poetry of Lord Byron and it’s musical settings, followed by a day on Debussy. There were evening concerts and meals in our favourite restaurants.
On Saturday night we drank a little too much, and Master took a few photographs of me naked in our Airbnb living room. I don’t know if we will ever show them, but we have a few good shots for ourselves.
Sunday was spent at a study session, learning about classical composers and their music across European and transatlantic borders. Then we travelled home. Driving home in the rain we encountered heavy traffic, but once home spent the evening quietly.
By now we both felt ready to face the inevitable. It was time to get this operation done. The time for commiserations done. On Monday morning I had an early breakfast and then we went back to bed for a while. Snuggled together he stroked and kissed me before bidding farewell to my right breast.
It turned out to be a long day
Although we arrived at the hospital at 12.30, I didn’t go for the operation until 4.30. My son came over to spend the afternoon with us. A slightly surreal but pleasant afternoon passed.
My first ever anaesthetic and operation passed smoothly and by 6.45pm I had woken up. I was amazingly awake and felt pretty good. The first face I saw as I arrived back on the ward was Master’s. A feeling of immense relief passed over me. Within minutes I was speaking to my son on the phone to reassure him all was well.
As I lay in my bubble of post surgery euphoria, I snuck a peek inside the front of my gown. My left breast remains in tact, its nipple still holding the plastic bar I bought for the operation. My right side is flat, the wound hidden by dressings, it’s breast and nipple is no more.
There were 4 of us women in our shared bay, all recovering from surgery for breast cancer. After Master and other visitors had left we lay in our beds talking about our experiences to date. Reflecting on this shared journey. Our nurses were kind and compassionate, encouraging us to talk.
It was a long night
Only one of us slept last night and that someone wasn’t me. The ward was quiet, but each of us had our lower legs encased in machinery designed to prevent thrombosis. The intermittent noise generated by each one seemed to prevent sleep. Added to this, regular observations by the diligent nursing staff and alarms elsewhere meant none of us slept for more than a few minutes at a time. Still the sence of cameradey carried us through to breakfast at 7am.
While the two women who had lumpectomies headed home at lunchtime, two of us remain for another night. I am hopeful of being sent home tomorrow. I faced my bare chest in the bathroom mirror this morning as I washed and don’t relish the thought of seeing my scar. But this has to be faced, and now hopefully the cancer is gone. Difficult days lie ahead for me and for him. But we are facing this together.
You are SO strong, Julie. Thanks for sharing this journey with us ?
You are amazing and I am so glad it went smoothly.
I too am glad it was a smooth operation. I hope the coming weeks and months of transition are kind in the ways you need them to be. You’re amazing.
I profoundly admire your courage and spirit. Prayers for your recovery and to a hope-filled future.
Julie, your calm acceptance is an honour to witness. I will light a candle to send peace to you later. In the meantime, much love x
Your bravery, positivity and openness is an inspiration. I can only wish you positives from here xx
I’m so glad your operation went well <3 Sending you all the love and hugs and crossing fingers the cancer has gone Xx
julie…thank you for taking the time to let us know how your operation went…strong lady indeed….sending you loads of hugs
Thank you for taking time to share this, I wish you all the very very best in your continued recovery xxx
I was so happy to read this post in the knowledge you are doing well. Where ever this journey takes you, just know people here are somehow with you in this, even if it is to offer prayers for your quick recovery and/or well wishes for you continued recovery. <3
Thank you xx
Long time reader. Your optimism is wonderful to read. It would inspire any woman going through this surgery! I believe the attitude you have will serve you well during your healing. I was thinking about you yesterday and today and wanted to thank you for updating. I wish you a swift recovery and not too many other treatments.
Thank you. I guess I am a very matter of fact person who likes to get stuff done . I am keen to get my body healed up but know it will take time
Oh Julie – this was an extremely emotional read – but thank you for writing it – I think you documenting this time in your life will hopefully help you and others who find themselves in a similar position. You are a strong, positive person – I know this attitude will help you – Best wishes xx
Thanks May, I do need to do this for myself first of all as it is a massive hand emotional rollercoaster. Maybe it will help others and if it does then I am very happy about that.
I’m glad the first, difficult step has been taken and went as well as those things can. The positive thoughts continue… 🙂
You are an inspiration . . . best wishes !!!
Xxx – K
Thank you everyone who has taken the time to read and comment on this and other recent posts, it means a lot to me. I don’t consider myself brave or in any way special, I am just trying to navigate my way through this situation as best I can. I will write more soon. xxx
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