Well, here we are. It’s 3.30am and I’m wide awake. Today’s the day.
I got the call yesterday afternoon to tell me to be at the Elective Surgery Unit (a tad oxymoronic!) at 7.15am, and to not eat after midnight or drink after 6am. I’ll have another mammogram to show up the area of pre-cancerous cells, and these will be mapped out with wires stuck in my breast under local anaesthetic. Then at around 10am I’ll be going for a little sleep and when I wake up I’ll have a pert new boob. And there will be no cancer in my body. Now that’s a nice thought.
The day before yesterday, I was in a total pickle. I was finishing off my last bit of client work but finding it difficult to concentrate. I felt very distressed and basically cried all day. So I Took Action, and made sure that yesterday was a pretty much textbook Day Before Surgery.
First stop after the school and nursery run was Erwen, my acupuncture lady, who facilitated my impression of a pin cushion and then unexpectedly did some cupping on the back of my neck and shoulders to relieve tension. This is the thing Gwyneth Paltrow had that year when she showed up on some red carpet with red circles all over her back: glass ‘cups’ are placed on you, the air is sucked out to create a vaccuum, and there’s this weird pulling sensation and then your muscles aren’t quite so tender. And it looks like I have lovebites all over my neck, like some blindly amorous 16 year old has taken a fancy to a worried-looking woman at the sharp end of her 30s.
Next up, hypnotherapy with the wonderful Lindsey Wright, who I did that hugely valuable pre-chemo session with. She’s very good at this stuff. I heard everything she said but was so deeply relaxed I couldn’t really feel my body, and when she ‘woke’ me I couldn’t really remember much, although I know it was chock full of lovely messages about trusting my body’s ability to heal, and the surgery being the start of a new phase in my life.
And thence to Starbucks to meet a fab woman who had the same op with the same surgeon a few weeks ago and is full of praise for Tracey’s handiwork and loves her new boob. She looked completely normal under her t-shirt but wasn’t wearing a prosthesis and you seriously couldn’t tell one was an E cup and the new one was a C cup. Impressive. We sat in the sun and talked and laughed for an hour. I was already feeling really calm and this was the final piece of the jigsaw to prepare me for what’s coming up later in the show.
While I was swanning around getting my head in the right place, my wonderful mummy and Pops took over at home: picking up the children, ironing, doing laundry, feeding the nippers on baked beans and icecream, and sorting out the sleeping arrangements so there’s somewhere for DH’s mum to sleep for the next couple of nights and for them for a couple of nights after that. Just brilliant. They left and my rather fantastic mother-in-law arrived to help DH with the smalls until Saturday.
DD came home with a Silver Award certificate given in assembly for the progress she’s making in reading and writing, ‘especially remembering to leave finger spaces’, which made us terribly proud. She and DS seem ok about the op – they know I’m going to be in hospital for a few nights after a little operation to take out the rest of the bad stuff, and I’ll be a bit sore and won’t be able to drive or lift for a while. And they know they can come and see me, which seems to be the clincher for DD, ‘because then we won’t miss you and you won’t miss us’. Oh, but I will, my darling.
I should be home around Sunday, but it might not be till Tuesday, depending on how quickly the two drains I’ll have in my breast and armpit stop draining fluid. Sounds yuk. And uncomfortable. I have ear plugs – I haven’t been on a ward since DD was born, for one night, and I was definitely not asleep.
The postman delivered some exceptionally nice stuff yesterday, too. Loads of lovely cards, and our old uni friends sent ‘wow’ flowers, which combined with my mother’s day bunches are now filling every vase in the house. My lovely friend B sent a Rigby and Peller voucher to spend on a posh bra when my boobs are the same size and I can start enjoying an unlimited choice of pretty lingerie, which is certainly not the case with mahoosive knockers. How thoughtful is that?! And my school mum friend R sent a card with Blake’s Tiger Tiger poem printed on it, purely because she knew I’d find the ‘fearful symmetry’ line funny, in the circs. She also made me a gorgeous pouch, embroidered with a tiger, to keep my prosthesis in. Again, amazingly kind and thoughtful.
The texts and phone calls full of good luck messages didn’t stop all evening. DH cooked, and I packed my bags. After the last bath I’m allowed for six weeks so the scars don’t get too wet, and then disentangling DS and DD, who had fallen asleep together in DD’s bed with a torch shining in their faces, deliciously, I went to bed feeling very loved, and very zen. My pesky subconscious isn’t quite fooled, though, hence the lack of any meaningful sleep whatsoever. I find the idea of general anaesthetic scary, and this is a pretty big step into the unknown.
Anyway, I’ll see you on the other side, having f%cked caaancer good and proper. Raaarrrrr!