Friday, January 16, 2009

On/off switch

I am certain that somewhere inside me there is a switch with only the on and off positions.

Yesterday morning I felt horrible, and then through the day, it got much better.

This morning, I woke up thinking, "hey, I feel pretty good!" I went to the doctor for my post-op appointment, he declared things a success (I agree!), and told me that he was lifting all restrictions, just to leave out heavy upper body exercise for another week. Go for a run, resume your life, have fun.

This afternoon I went for a run. I only ran part of the way, walking all the way back, but Shep and I went down to Lowman Beach Park and through Lincoln Park to the pool point before returning home.

I'm creating lists of all of the things I'm behind on, determined to catch up: phone calls, email, church stuff, Tessa's school paperwork, thank you cards (so many!), planning Tessa's birthday, catching up with friends, and way too much housework. Oh, and a family meal together tonight.

But I'm also trying to live in the moment. This is it. This is the moment I have been waiting so long for. No more horrible surgeries ahead of me, no more awful recoveries, no more anesthesia. I have some small stuff that can be done to improve my cosmetic outcome when I'm ready, but I'm not ready and I may never be ready and I can live with what I've got.

If I give you a hug, I will not feel rocks smashing into my chest as I do so (and nor will you!). I don't feel like I'm wearing a too-small lifejacket. My back doesn't hurt so much.

And I'm just getting started.

Today I'm not asking "What if." I'm tired of the what if's - enough already. I'm too exhausted just thinking of them, so I'm dismissing them. Healthy denial.

This is the moment. What is that I will do with my one wild and precious life?

The Summer Day
Mary Oliver

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall downinto the grass,
how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Coming back

This morning I woke up feeling pretty much like the night before.

Some time between then and now I started to feel good. Oh HALLELUJAH! I can hardly believe it - I feel so much more human and hopeful.

Even though I went to the doctor for my follow up appointment, and realized that it's TOMORROW. Duh. But since I found myself parked on Broadway, I decided to pop into Gilda's club to see what they had to offer (free yoga for cancer survivors and friends - intriguing!), and then I took a walk up Broadway while I listened to my iPod. I moved slowly, so much more slowly than usual, but I walked a few blocks. I bought myself a cute hat from a store far trendier than I am. I nursed my coffee from home, then refilled it at Tully's. I came home across the bridge, and Heather called, and we met for lunch. I went to the thrift store in the Junction and got myself a new watch to replace the one that had mysteriously disappeared. I felt proud of myself for going second hand when I could have bought a new one, but this means less production, less driving around for me, keeping something out of a landfill, helping the American Cancer Society (the store is a nonprofit run by volunteers).....very satisfying.

So my energy is higher than it's been in at least a week.

Ahhhh, it's good to return.

PS I know, don't overdo it. I know.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Looking forward

Grumpy as I am, I'm filled with ideas about the future.

Tonight I'm thinking about chickens, and gardens.

I think I have a better idea about chickens, and what they need, and how to put together a coop. I think that perhaps April or May will be chicken season. I've been reading books at the library, with more coming, about how to raise chickens. I don't know what breeds I want yet, but I'm looking for breeds good for beginners, good layers, gentle dispositions. And I'd love blue eggs. Anybody have ideas? We will get three chickens, perhaps all different breeds, so that I can have baskets of multicolored eggs and not just at Easter. I've been learning pros and cons of different types of bedding, how to harvest and use the manure as fertilizer, etc.

And I'm dreaming of the second season of my garden. I want to build cloches so that I can have lettuce and spinach and kale and chard more year round. I want way more garlic because five heads didn't last me long at all (especially because they were small). I'll double the strawberry patch because we can never have enough strawberries, and I think we'll add raspberry vines this year in the side yard. I never did plant rhubarb last year, and that will be good, too. Tons of sugar snap peas, lots of radishes, and at least three times the quantity of carrots. And potatoes in the raised bed (just read an article about that). Way more onions than before. And green beans, too.

And oh those beautiful tomatoes. Lots and lots and LOTS of tomatoes.

Vermicompost, regular compost, chicken manure. We'll do it organically, on our little plot of yard near the city, and when I make a salad with things from my garden I will know that it's a good day.

Living in the moment

Okay, living in the moment, being present with life, feeling the power of "now," all of these things are worthy goals, and I am constantly trying to attain them.

But the problem is that the moment I'm in isn't the greatest, and I really just wish it would pass. I feel uncomfortable in my body, I feel muddled from oxycodone (I took one yesterday evening again...sigh), I just feel out of sorts.

I'm dreaming of a world in which I run marathons, write the Hunts Point book, volunteer in Tessa's classroom, have friends over to dinner, walk the dog, read interesting novels, write thank you cards, play with Tessa on the beach.

And instead I'm just here, at home, in my bathrobe, feeling muddled and saddened by the muddled feelings.


Is it a case of "rest and heal" or "get off your sorry a** and get on with it!"? I haven't got it figured out. I'm not used to this version of myself.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Impatient impatient impatient

I have done nothing today. NOTHING.

And so how come I don't feel more energized?!!!!!!!


So yesterday morning I was on top of the world and ready to prove it; yesterday afternoon I hit the wall (couch).

This morning I still feel tired and not refreshed - arghhhhhhh! I changed the day around, so I canceled attending covenant group, I called my mom and asked her to come over this afternoon after Tessa's off school, and I had Ryan drive Tessa and Pascal to school (it was my day to carpool).

I am tired, and annoyed, by all of this. I'm trying to be my new, improved self and instead I am a patient, and an impatient one at that.

Adding insult to injury for all of this is that I am "supposed" to be fully operational at this point (just modified activities in terms of weight and exercise restrictions). An exchange surgery is "no big deal" for many girls. I'm used to being the super-healer, and I don't like being the slow girl. I don't like it at all.

In my own defense, I think it's a lot harder for the body to heal from surgery #10 than it is from surgery #1. And in addition to the exchange, the doc had to remove an awful lot of scar tissue and encapsulation, and that is painful stuff...much more than the "standard" I believe.

My body is just beat up. And I'm feeling it.

So today, my goal is to have a shower. To change my clothes. Now isn't that exciting....argh. Maybe if I'm quiet all day, tomorrow I'll feel a surge of energy that will stick around.

I'm waiting.

Monday, January 12, 2009


This morning I felt like a new woman. To prove it, I took Shep for a walk.

By 2pm I was well aware that I was an old woman, not a new one. A couple of calls, and Tessa's care had been set up, and I took an oxycodone and hit the couch.

Tomorrow will be another day.

On a totally different note - I'm researching alternative areola tattoos; I am thinking of getting a flower in place of what is traditionally there. I don't want nipples any more - I'm just too tired of surgery to even try. And if it's not goign to look real, I wonder if maybe a flower would be better.

Anyone have websites to show me, or any survivors out there have pictures to send?

Sunday, January 11, 2009

gearing up to real life

Tomorrow I will attempt real life, with carpooling, lunch-packing, laundry, and the rest.

I'm going to try to get a good night's sleep tonight!

Baby steps

This morning, I laid in the guest bed reading "Runner's World" magazine. (I was particularly struck by a story of friends who ran together, sharing life's highs and lows and they put in the miles together.)

And then I decided that I was sick of laying in bed, and it was time to get moving. So I got up, poured myself a bowl of home-made granola (man I love that stuff), checked email, and stripped the guest bed. I put the sheets in the wash, moved my reading materials upstairs, and then decided that the kitchen sink was a frightening shade of gray, so I scrubbed it back to pearly white.

Of course, now I'm exhausted. But that's okay. Yesterday I couldn't have accomplished this much, and it's that I'm reminding myself. Baby steps are okay.

Maybe tomorrow I'll even go outside. It'll be a while before I'm logging miles, but I'm feeling very inspired to do so.

Baby steps.


I am dreaming of a world where surgery is not hanging over me.

Is it really possible that I've arrived in that world? That all I need to do now is heal, and then I can go about my life? That I can train for runs, that my back won't hurt from having expanders stitched to my muscles, that I can just move forward?


It's sinking in that this may be my new reality, and I can't begin to tell you how happy it makes me.

Back to the right direction

I feel SO much better today. Impatient to do the many things I wish to do, and feeling pretty good.