Today I disgraced myself.  I suspect this whole recovery is going to be riddled with days like today.  It has already been overlong.  The wailing began around 1am.  Or was it 2am?  Or 3am?  Actually it could have been any hour during the very very long night because I was awake for them all.  True I did catch a few zeds in between but they were few, fleeting and ultimately unsatisfying.  My wailing woke the Captain.  He was lovely.  Tender, kind and even uncomplaining.  Despite knowing that my wailing would give him a crap day at work today.

My wailing was not confined to home either.  I had a day trip organised.  Having not been seen by any medical staff since Saturday, I had an appointment with Surgical Spice to review my wounds.  Serious Delinquent had volunteered for taxi duties which gave my Mum both a break from me and the enormous relief of knowing she did not have to negotiate the city traffic.  Visiting hospital outpatient clinics is something she did far too much of not very long ago during my Dad’s final illness.  I am grateful she did not have to do it with me.  No sooner had I seat belted myself into the car and waved a beaming farewell to my Mum, than the wailing recommenced.

The journey and some seriously delinquent loveliness allowed me to pull myself together by the time we arrived.  Obviously we were over early as per, but that gave us just enough time for a rather nice Costa coffee.  Been an age since I had one of those.  At that point, I thought there was an outside chance the wailing was done.  Ha.

At the appointed time we trotted through to see Surgical Spice.  I was positioned on a couch behind a curtain, stripped to waist (this is becoming an almost Pavlovian response to this woman which could be REALLY embarrassing should we ever meet socially) and the inspection began.

‘How are you?’ she asked.  Such a bad move on her part.  More wailing on mine.  Still, the extra moisture helped loosen the dressings so that was a plus.  The upshot is everything is healing well.  Needles were shoved into unspeakable places to draw off fluid and further dressings were applied.  A referral has been made to an allergy expert – hurrah!  And finally, she prescribed me some different analgesia which should help with the sleeping.  The lack of which is the main cause of the wailing.  I came away with extra dressings, a new bra and more appointments than you can shake a stick at.

The rest of day has seen me fit for nothing.  Ironically, too tired to sleep I have just lain spaced out on the bed with Alan Bennett’s dulcet tones drifting into my ear as he reads The Uncommon Reader to me.  Not a bad way to pass the time, all things considered.

The Ladykillers

mrs lopsided

Until I met the Captain, I was unaware of the Ealing Comedies.  Thirty years later and I still only have a rudimentary knowledge.  My ability to avoid education is startling.  What I have gleaned has been largely picked up osmotically through living with a man who loves these films.  The Ladykillers is his absolutely favourite, with the female lead becoming affectionately known as Mrs Lopsided, more due to structural subsidence in her house than to any breast disparity.  I think.  The day we were given the news of my breast cancer and impending mastectomy, the Captain sat in the consulting room with ‘she’ll become my very own Mrs Lopsided’ running through his head.  This was quickly followed with ‘too soon to make this joke out loud??’  He need not have worried.  Ten minutes later I cracked it for him.

Maybe I should be a tad concerned with his vision of me though?  Six years ago, before we knew anything of metal allergies, an accident necessitated the rebuilding of my face.  Much metal was involved.  During that consultation the Captain beamed delightedly, ‘Seven of Nine‘ he sighed.  From slightly scary borg gorgeousness to outdated OAP with starchy moral code.  Oh dear.

Be that as it may, I am now out and proud.  My very own ladykiller singular has been removed.  My new shoubsicle is getting more diminutive by the day as the swelling goes down while my original right chesticle is continuing its headlong plummet south as gravity takes its toll.  With more surgery in the planning to check its fall, I may never be able to achieve my ambition of tucking my boobs into my knickers in the winter for added warmth but I may yet have a perky, if patchwork, rack in my sixties.  Something Mrs Lopsided would be secretly proud of.

Today was not a good day


I had a bad night.  Sorting out my pain control is taking more time than I thought so the night was long.  With little sleep had.  And then I could hardly move when it was time to give up on the pretence at sleeping.  Turns out the plastic coated starch sheeted hospital bed had its bonuses: it moved continually.  One of those new fangled pressure relieving mattress thingies that not only relieved my pressure, it also kept my muscles from seizing up.  Handy.

So I started the day grumpy.  And weepy.  By 10am I attempted a nap.  Just as I dozed off, the plumber working on our One Day Possibly A Kitchen (because I like to do my breast cancer & surgery with building work and no kitchen, how about you?) drilled a hole through mains water pipe.  The Captain was out.  Buying Soft & Comfy bras (mm mmm!) for me.  The man is almost a saint.  But he was out so canonisation will have to wait a while.  My lovely Mum had to scurry around mopping up the vast flood while the stop cock was located.  Of course, the part of the mains severed meant that water to the whole row of terraces was cut off too.  How to make yourself popular with your neighbours.  Now we are a few days back from where the day began on the kitchen.  But hey, it could be worse, I could have cancer.  Ah yes.  That old chestnut.

From then on, every time I nearly napped, the phone rang.  Or the door went.  Or a drill started.  And so on.  But all was not lost.  My fab sister came to see me and that saved the day from being a total right off.  Between us we have come up with a pain plan which should help.  And she nearly washed my hair.  But fortunately remembered about the lack of water just in time.

Tonight I have more drugs.  And am optimistic that maybe I will actually sleep.  This would be good.  I am tired of being tired.  I am tired of waking in a hot sweat that has gone cold, leaving me shivering.  I am tired of itchy skin.  Twitching shoubsicle aside I am hopeful that the drugs will knock me out sufficiently for not only the pain to be a distant memory but for these other irritations to leave me unawares.

Feeling my way

identity crisis

This recovery malarkey is weird.  Anyone who has had major surgery will tell you that.  One minute I feel fine with the ability to take on the world and energy to spare.  Next I am weeping with exhaustion as I shuffle my shawl clad old lady body back to bed for a nap.  There are, however, several things that I am finding peculiar to this experience.

The smell.  Oh.  My.  It is not like I wasn’t worried about this before.  I have already mentioned it on here.  And more than once to those around me.   My surgery has involved my armpit.  I cannot use scented products there or anywhere near any of my scars.  For how long I am not sure.  Pity those around me.  They say they cannot smell anything.  They say all is well.  But they would say that and I am not sure I believe them.  Especially as I am almost knocked out by the noxious fumes every time my left arm so much as twitches.

Which brings me on to my next point.  In order to create my new boobsicle (it is not large enough to be a fully fledged breast yet), muscle has been taken from my shoulder.  Imagine the scene:  my shoulder wakes up one day knowing it is a shoulder; mid morning it is rudely assaulted, severed with sharp implements and finds itself pushed into a mound on my chest; by evening it is expected to think of itself as a breast.  Not surprisingly it is having a crisis of identity.  I was told to expect this.  And it makes me giggle every time it happens.  When I have been using my arms for nothing major, typing or holding a cup or the like, my shoulder/boobsicle muscle (shoubsicle?) begins to twitch.  I have a twitching shoubsicle.  I have not yet witnessed this phenomenon but only my lack of speed in the disrobing department is stopping me.  I really think if it carries on a set of fairy lights and some tassels will be in order.

Easter Greetings


I have made no secret of my faith here.  So it will come as no surprise that today is a very special day for me.  Easter is the centre of the Christian calendar.  The pivot around which all else spins.  Without it, there is no Christianity.

Today I have not been able to attend church.  It is the first time for longer than I can remember that I have not celebrated Easter with friends in some declaratory way.  Very commonly the Captain and I have been boating for Easter so have attended many different churches over the years.  This year I am quiet and private in my devotions.  And I am more than ok with that.

I hoping that Easter’s central message of death and salvation is being quietly mirrored in my body.  I am hoping that my cancer ridden orb has taken all its cells with it and departed to the depths.  I am hoping that new life is now busily growing and reproducing healthy cells as my body heals and restores itself.

Waking in my own bed on Easter morning for my first full day at home was very definitely a special moment.  Happy Easter everyone x

Normal service will soon be resumed


Tomorrow I should get out of here. Tomorrow I should be released. I would like to say that once I get the go ahead you won’t see me for dust. But even I can’t shuffle that dustily.

Once home and not juggling vargaries of mobile internet and mini screens I may allow you a sneaky descriptive peak of the goings on of this week. I promise to keep gory photos to a minimum.

So, how am I?

fire shorts

I could model these shorts. Hospitals are always hot. This ward is kept hotter than most.  I am in a side room with a newly sealed window and extra hot radiator. There is logic to all this. The surgery I have had has a much better chance of success if the newly transplanted tissues are kept warm. The heat encourages capillary dilation and diffusion of the area.  Besides the heat, I am wrapped up with great wadges of gauze. This is all very well but I am melting!  My temperature shot up this morning which I hope is down to all the environmental stuff. I feel ok.

I am doing pretty well. My catheter is out now, as is one of my drains. Both ivs are down and I’m pottering about. All a bit knackering but definitely heading in the right direction.

Ready for the off


I am bathed.  I am packed.  I am attempting to stock up on carbs.  I have decided to allow this photo to sneak in as it is almost not pink and very nearly red.  I am very tired but I guess I will be sleeping a fair bit of tomorrow.  So all in all, I think my loins are just about as girded as they can be.

Just the lopping and trimming to take place.  I shall be lighter by at least a kilo this time tomorrow.  Oh yes, I weighed the offending melon.

See you on the other side!

Tick … tick … tick …


Funny how I cannot sleep?  Must be something on my mind?  Actually, it is not the something on my mind.  Rather the something I need to get off my chest.  Currently I am acutely aware that it has been forty seven days since my biopsy.  Forty seven days since it was decided I had three different types of cancer.  I have been holding onto the relative small size of the grade 3 invasive area.  It had been a source of comfort to me.  Tonight, in my imaginings, it has grown.  It is now the size of a small country.  Something in the region of Wales, I am thinking.  I have visions of cancer cells, built like Welsh miners complete with hard hats and pick axes, stampeding all over my breast, hacking the healthy tissue to pieces, laying dynamite charges and then standing by while the blast takes over.  I am aware this is not rational.  But it has been a while since the totally irrational (yet very vocal) side of my brain made her presence felt.

And so, here I am, at two o’clock in the morning, sitting downstairs in the semi dark, thinking dark thoughts and trying to exorcise them from my head.  Whatever has happened during the past forty seven days, I can do nothing about it.  It is hard to put aside my worries.  I have to hold onto the facts I know: I have no lymph node spread – this is very good; whatever is found on Monday, it has still been found early – this is also very good; I am in good hands – the NHS, my fabulous friends & family and God.

So to try to shut up Miss Vocal and Irrational, I am still reading Psalms.  I think I shall be for a long time yet.  So much feels applicable.  I know it is not what the psalmist intended, but for me, the enemy is cancer.  Those who oppose me are cancer.  Those who gloat are cancer. You get my drift: all opposition is cancer. Yesterday I read the following:

Psalm 35

22 Lord, you have seen this; do not be silent.

Do not be far from me, Lord.

23 Awake, and rise to my defense!

Contend for me, my God and Lord.

24 Vindicate me in your righteousness, Lord my God;

do not let them gloat over me.

25 Do not let them think, “Aha, just what we wanted!”

or say, “We have swallowed him up.”

26 May all who gloat over my distress

be put to shame and confusion;

may all who exalt themselves over me

be clothed with shame and disgrace.

27 May those who delight in my vindication

shout for joy and gladness;

may they always say, “The Lord be exalted,

who delights in the well-being of his servant.”

28 My tongue will proclaim your righteousness,

your praises all day long.