Last week the Captain and I abandoned the dull cold and drizzly weather of January in the UK for the sunnier climes of nine days in Tenerife. And it was just a little bit fabulous. To lounge around in shorts and tee shirts under blue skies and warm sunshine really was delightful. We read books, walked walks, ate masses of fish and even drank a soupçon of gin. Perfect.
We got back on Wednesday to a letter from Surgical Spice. Apparently they anticipate a bed being available for me on the 9th of March for the next phase of my reconstruction. Oo er! I know she said March last time we met, but somehow I had sort of consigned it to the realms of Sometime Never so it came as something of a surprise. I am a bit dim like that. However, I am not sorry. I had a total meltdown on holiday over my unbalanced state. My last minute packing had meant I could not find my mastectomy swimming costume so there was no point in taking my prosthesis. I did pack other costumes but when push came to shove, I could not face the pool. It is one thing to go about unbalanced in a bra, fully clothed, when quite frankly, it is pretty much impossible to tell (for reasons I do not understand but there we have it), but it is an entirely different matter to do so in a swimming costume. And I just could not do it. So the lopping and trimming of my right boob and the plumping and adjusting of my left is coming at the perfect time.
There is, however, the small matter of having a clear mammogram first. Since cancer came to play, I get to have mammograms on an annual basis for five years and I am due one very soon. So, February is going to bring a whole host of appointments as I gear up for yet more surgery. Fun fun fun!
Our week away has been truly splendid. You can see from the above picture that my new mastectomy swimming costume was a triumph. The same cannot be said for the footwear which looks like it would be more at home in Irish dancing than on a beach. In fact, wearing slightly different footwear I managed to get my feet a little crispy. As in burnt. I had duly slathered myself in the aforementioned Neal’s Yard sun cream SPF 30, only my sandals rubs patches off. Which I then stupidly forgot to reapply. Stupid stupid stupid.
I have been more focused than usual on tanning during this trip. I am generally not bothered, given that I have had fifty years on this earth of just burning. However, in that time I have learnt a thing or two and, sandal incidents and stupidity aside, I generally know how to avoid burning now. My usual colour is a shade warmer than deathly. But just a shade. Apart from my cheeks which always boast a ruddy glow. However, given my impending date with the Poison Department (aka Chemo Unit), I fancied at least beginning the process with a reasonable tan. Especially since all sun needs to be shunned unless painted in factor 50. So I have embraced the opportunity for a bit of sun worship.
I will be feeding back to Neal’s Yard re their sun cream – I don’t know if I have had a dodgy batch or not, but everything, and I mean everything, that has come close to it or me while anointed has been heavily stained yellow. I know that sun cream often stains clothing but this has been something else: my towels, my bed sheets (even after showering), my clothes and my beautiful swimming costume all now shades of yellow. This does worry me regarding my tube of factor 50 at home as I will have to either chose my clothes very carefully, not wear it or buy some more sigh.
Anyway, in the middle of all this sunbathing, I have managed to end up with what will become the most stupid tan line in the history of stupid tan lines. On the beach, after swimming, I tend to wear a bandanna to keep my hair off my face. At some point I must have pulled it down slightly. Not much. Of course, the sun chose that moment to bless me with a nut brown complexion. In an instant. So I have a line. And under other circumstances it would never be noticeable. But given that my hair is about to fall out I am going to look more than a little ridiculous. The Captain has offered to dust off his range of wood stains to colour match my scalp in anticipation. Rude.
Somewhat sneakily I have been away in foreign climes these past few days. The beauty of scheduling posts has meant that I have been able to keep posting without drawing attention to my absence. But since the internet over here is really rather good, I am writing to you from the sunny isle of St Lucia. By the time you read this, however, we will be back in the UK, unpacking and getting the washing on. Sigh.
We have spent an amazing week soaking in the sun, drinking in the views, feasting on the food and imbibing in one or two of the local brews. It is exactly what the doctor ordered. Seriously. I checked. ‘You must go!’ he said. So there you have it. I am here on doctor’s orders. Sadly it is not available on the NHS.
Travelling with my falsie has been a mixed experience. I remain euphoric that wearing it is utterly undetectable and renders me beautifully balanced in the chest department. But, it is heavy. And it is only a partial – room for my newbie has to be left. So I can only wonder at the weight of a full sized one. I suspect this is causing me problems as I am still healing. Eight hours wear is enough in one day so I have been going lopsided in the afternoons. After all we are here with friends. They know I am unbalanced and have done for years.
Following a day’s boat trip, the Captain and I were heading back to our room. I had changed out of my swimming costume on the boat and removed my prothesis at the same time. Years of training by my mother kicked in and I rolled my wet cossie up into my towel. With my falsie. This would have been fine. But in his eagerness to help, the Captain decided to take the towels back to the beach to drop in the linen skip. He found the end of my roll and pulled. Hard. Both my cossie and boob flew out and landed on the floor. I’m pretty certain the whole resort know about my fake rack now 😉