This third week since surgery, has been about getting back to normality and reality. But also about getting the balance right. I have been overwhelmed by everyone’s responses to these posts. They are essentially for me, a way of recording this journey. But as many people have pointed out, they will (hopefully) be useful to others in the future.
Once the wound drain had been removed and I had got the all clear from the doctor, we returned to our Airbnb in Oxford. The two-week festival of song (Lieder) was still going on and we finally immersed ourselves in it. Finally free of the plastic tubing sticking into my side, on the bra line, along with the vacuumed bottle in a handbag, I could again wear dresses and longer tops. At last it was possible to lie comfortably on my side and even turn briefly onto my right side for the first time. We returned home on Sunday and later, took a relaxing jacuzzi bath together. Sipping Prosecco, and allowing the water to lap around my skin was heaven. After the bath I left all the dressings off as everything appeared to be healed.
Over the course of the week, the area around the wound seemed to be swelling up. A cushion was building under my arm once again. I wasn’t immediately worried about all of this, and anyway wasn’t really sure how it should all look and feel. The worst part was that my new pretty pink bra was too tight. Had I bought the wrong size, or perhaps put on weight. On Wednesday night I discovered that a small area of the suture line was oozing serous fluid. I put a dressing over it and went to bed. Luckily I had a hospital appointment the following day.
The doctor drained about 100mls of altered blood from inside the wound area. Luckily I didn’t feel a thing (a mixture of using the stitch line plus the residual numbness). I was pretty surprised, not to mention irritated that the small bump on my chest had gone. I wasn’t meant to have a baby breast, it should have been flat. He told me that it was likely I would need the area aspirating again. I will, because the area has swollen again. Luckily though it hasn’t spread under my arm. It’s pretty obvious the physical healing process is taking longer than expected. Not surprisingly this is getting me down a little.
Sex, drugs and rock and roll
Since the operation, I have been anxious that G would no longer find me attractive. To begin with he was nervous of the wound and dressings and also of hurting me. He was clear though, that he still found me attractive. During the course of this week we have resumed our sex life and thankfully that has meant many orgasms for me. I am reluctant to get on top yet because my wound area is a bit sore. The gravity pull when leaning forward is quite painful. It is weird that I have had more pain this week than after the operation. I have even resorted to taking a few pain killers (that is the limit of my drug use).
There is no doubt I feel more positive about my body and his reaction to it. He has begun to touch and stroke my right side and that means a lot to me. I don’t necessarily like what I see when I look in the mirror, but I am getting used to it.
Our lifestyle right now isn’t exactly Rock and roll. But we have been able to return to socialising. On Wednesday we attended our local Munch and I caught up with Molly, Sub Bee and others. Thursday my brother visited and we had dinner out. Then on Friday I returned to my slimming group, had lunch with a friend and in the evening G and I went out to a concert. A busy few days indeed.
Until the middle of this week, I was pacing myself well. I have been sleeping well at night and resting between activity. Even while in Oxford I didn’t feel especially tired.
But yesterday I woke feeling exhausted. The emotional energy required to tell people about the event of the past few week is enormous. Doing so much on Friday was in hindsight a mistake and I see that I need to make sure I balance rest and activity.
Feeling tired and emotionally drained made my mood low. I could easily have gone back to bed before lunch. Instead we walked into town and did a little shopping and then had lunch. Afterwards I took a nap and woke feeling much better.
This coming week, I am going to try to work on the balance between rest, exercise and other activity. I have taken on a small piece of work that involves interviewing people by phone, collecting and reading some data and writing a report. It isn’t onerous but it is something else to juggle. There are also hospital visits once again.
Over all, as I reach the end of week 3 I feel well. But recognise that as I increase activities I must take care not to over do things. Or to be too eager to get completely back to ‘normal’ life.