Nope, no one ever said this was going to be easy and no one ever said I had to do it gracefully.
Today was a day where it was very hard to muster up a smile from the moment I woke up. Tears were ready to flow, they just needed the gate opened. I'm very good at seeming strong, seeming brave and being an...avoider. Remember Wonder Woman? I'm not saying that I've avoided any emotional trauma this experience has caused me, I'm simply saying that it's bound to take a toll. So, here it goes, because I want every other woman out there who might be faced with this situation to know...IT'S OK.
IT'S OK TO CRY. IT'S OK TO ASK FOR HELP. IT'S OK TO NOT GET DRESSED ONE DAY.
IT'S OK TO (INSERT YOUR WORDS HERE).
When and if you choose to go through any number of the available preventative or reconstructive surgical options like I have, you've at that moment, made a life changing decision. You've made a big decision that doesn't come lightly. You'll research, you'll plan, you'll interview, you'll discuss, you'll prepare and then...you'll do it. But what about the after? All that work you've done to prepare for that five-eight hour operation is bound to catch up with you. You just won't know when. For me, it was today.
Sleeping has not been easy for me. I lay on my back or slightly reclined and hope to feel comfortable enough to fall into a restful slumber. But I ache. I ache from so much bed rest, but I can't be up-out-and-about for more than an hour at this point without needing to sit down or feeling overwhelmed. My drains hurt with every turn I make in bed or every time my surgical bra hits them. Thank heavens for the 11 hours a day I get to wear a Lidocaine patch around my drain, and the hope of getting the last of the drains removed on Monday. And my chest, while not hurting, feels heavy and tight on top of me when lying down. So, I'm achy and tired. Achy and tired = emotional. Emotional = watch out...flood gates can open at any time.
When it was an appropriate hour of the morning this morning to actually be awake (we're in a hotel room in close quarters), I was already brimming with tears. It only took the act of getting up and getting dressed for breakfast to make the tears flow. I was hot, I was tired, I was sick of trying to hide the drains or finding clothes to wear. I'm tired of living out of a suitcase, of not having friends to hang out with to kill time, tired of eating out and tired of not being able to just say, "hey, let's go here for the day," because my body won't keep up. We're in a place we don't know, trying to think of it as a vacation, but it's really not.
The tears just flowed. My husband says I'm experiencing either anxiety about everything I can't control, or the beginning of depression, which I hope I'm not. I think I'm just experiencing the low after the extreme high. I am SO proud of myself, I kid you not, but remember, IT'S OK TO CRY. I mean every word in every blog post I've written so far. I've had wonderful days and I'm so happy with my results. But there was just something about today. It was just a no-good, very bad day.
|By Pdpics (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], |
via Wikimedia Commons
I managed to get dressed and go to breakfast with my family. Throughout the breakfast, there I'd be, with no reason whatsoever, brimming with tears again. By the time we got back upstairs, I was tired. I slept for maybe 30 minutes, and we spent the next hour trying to figure out what we could do with the kids, where I could be involved. We thought of the Children's Museum which newly opened, but that was A LOT of walking and they hadn't yet received their wheelchairs. We thought of a movie, but sitting upright for 2 hours in a chair I can't get comfy in didn't sound fun. So, we thought of the special theaters with the reclining seats...nope, no one under 18 years old. My husband even called medical supply companies in the area so that we could rent a wheelchair, but no one was open. Finally, we decided the kids would go swimming to at least get some energy out and we'd try to do something again tomorrow.
I don't take my meds prescribed as I'm what you call a lightweight. I try taking a 1/2 and even 1/4 of a pill, and I hate the way I feel. I then get anxious, start to panic and make it all worse. I would take a Xanax, but even that leaves me feeling ill in my skin. I've got to figure this part out in order to help myself, not make it worse. For now, Advil gets me through the days and Lidocaine gets me through the nights. I'm not in PAIN. I'm in discomfort. Once my drains are out, I imagine everything will be so much better. I'll be able to get dressed normally, not worry about the tugging sensation and everything can begin to heal. We'll have two weeks left in Texas (I left myself a large window to recover before the 25-hour flight home) and I hope that we'll enjoy them, together.
None of this is anyone's fault. Everyone is trying to everything possible to help me feel comfortable and get through each day towards a complete recovery. My nurse, Denise, is wonderfully understanding. My Doctor is just a Tweet away. And my husband, he's Mr. Mom right now, plus my after-hours nurse. He's "on" at all times right now, setting alarms in the middle of the night for my antibiotic or Advil or whatever else is needed. He keeps a smile on for me. He's doing all of this without a single complaint. And I love him for it.
So, today wasn't easy, and that's ok. I say one bad day out of nine isn't too shabby. Here's to acknowledging today and looking forward to tomorrow, another day, another start.
* update: that night, I found myself once again not sleeping and crying from frustration at 1am. My husband gave me 1/2 a Xanax and I slept through the rest of the night. Yay!