|Swimming four days after chemo. More of my videos here.|
Whatever you're going through, I have three words for you: support support support. It makes all the difference.
For this particularly challenging chemo-aftermath week, I have lined up friends and family bringing food and love and DVDs and conversation, co-counselors coming by with shoulders to cry on, my husband taking the week off to support me in whatever way we decide makes sense in the moment. I asked for all of this (though I think some of it would have come anyway), and I did have to think a lot about what I wanted and who to ask. And, yes, I feel some embarrassment at the riches that have tumbled forth.
Funny how in the midst of crisis, it can still feel embarrassing to have people care about us! As if we don't deserve it, when of course every one of us deserves to be cared for, crisis or not.
Another strange thing: Though physically, I would like nothing more than to stuff my innards with cotton batting in hopes that it would absorb the indescribable acid-lava-pit discomfort in my guts, on the emotional front, my awareness extends to encompass a new layer of aftershock about the mastectomy.
When I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror now before or after a shower, I am brought up short by this pale, hairless, scarred, thinner version of myself. There's a sense of disbelief, of devastation, a loss of innocence. I don't recognize the new me, not entirely.
It's been just three months since the surgery, four since I found out I had breast cancer. Not much time. I wonder how I'll be feeling three months from now? A year? Two years?
Hopefully there will be a long road ahead, and many vantage points along the way.
In the meantime, there is now.