"How Are YOU Feeling?"

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I had my 2nd post op check up today since my mastectomy nine days ago. This time with the plastic surgeon. For those wondering, everything is on track and both my doctors are very happy with my progress thus far. I did have to stop taking the narcotic painkillers very early on due to some more than inconvenient side effects, so I am attempting to manage my pain with ibuprofen and acetaminophen. Right now that's a bit like throwing rocks at a seagull while eating a bag of popcorn on the beach. It just keeps coming back and my patience is thin. It's exhausting.
I'm hopeful that the pain will start to subside some over the next week and we can start the next phase. Expansion. You know, because stretching my skin is going to be a walk in the park, right?  Whoever those girls are that purchased enormous boobs for their partners.... I just can't even pretend to understand you anymore. I have reached my limit of compromising my emotional and intellectual well being for my vanity. Already. 

Anyway, no going back now. 

I think the part about this that many people are curious about is how I am reacting to not having two breasts right now. I do have an expander in, but to be clear, it's not expanded yet. Have you ever let your dog tear apart one of those squeaky toys and discovered the hard plastic squeaker mechanism inside? Those things are not stretchy balloons. It's like having a large plastic deflated balloon in my chest. My plastic surgeon did not show me one of these during our meet and greet session and that was probably wise. I'm grossed out by my own body right now. Not because I have a long vertical scar where my breast used to be. Not because my shirt lies flat on one side. I'm grossed out because there's a foreign object in there and because my nerves next to my skin have been severed and I feel nothing when I touch that whole area. It's absolutely bizarre and it gives me the willies and not in a funny way.

A lot of women prepare themselves for this transformation. They read up on what to expect. For the first time in my life I did not over-prepare for the worst. I ignored my impending doom because I knew I couldn't change anything. And every time someone said "You've got this!" I thought, "Lalalalalalalaa."   I have learned that knowing that something really bad is going to happen is quite enough to have on your mind. Knowing the details of How or even hearing a futile explaination of Why doesn't help.  So, the summary of what I thought 10 days ago is "This will really suck, but I will survive."  And I am right. 

It may interest those who are going through this themselves to know that the hardest part of this whole thing so far is 1) Not being able to adequately snuggle with my 2 kids, husband and dog. And 2) Being weak.
How do non-huggers do it? I have one drain still sticking out of my side and my kids find it unappealing. I can't imagine why. It's just blood, now more yellowy liquid! Come give mommy a kiss! 
But also, weakness. Hi. My name is Penny and I am weak right now. I need help getting out of bed. I can't take a full shower so my sister and mom wash my hair for me. I wince with every step. I have the muscle tone of a grandmother and I'm dizzy. My friends are bringing over meals because I can't be trusted to cook one. I talk about being tired and sometimes don't know if I took all my medicine. Yeah. Weakness blows. I don't handle it well. I'm simultaneously overwhelmed with appreciation and irritated beyond speech that I need help at all.

These friends who have brought over food--- Thank you. From the deepest awe- thank you. The care packages, cards, flowers.... I received more flowers now than when I gave birth. You feel me and you care. I know you do. 
For those that have taken my kids away from this boringness while I recover -Thank you too. It's the worst not being able to enjoy these last weeks of summer vacation with my family. I feel cheated. But I don't want them to feel cheated too and these play dates help. 

My sister went home to Alabama on Monday and I cried. She has been such a huge help and I know it was hard for her to be away from her husband and oldest son. But if anything good has come of this it was the joy of watching my nephew, Riley and my kids play together for a week. I hope they bonded, that they never forget those fun days. But mostly, I hope we do it again under happier circumstance. 

My mom is here still and today she washed my hair for me in the sink. I asked her if she knew the last time we did this. It had to be 40 years ago. 

This still sucks. But today is another day to the end of it. I'm still surviving.

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