I'm absolutely shattered but I can't sleep so, here I am, with a cup of tea, tucked up in bed, listening to the rain against the window & blogging.
As of today (I'm saying 'today' cos it's past midnight now), I've been back in Liverpool for five whole weeks. The time has flown over but the same can be said about this whole year so far. I feel like I'm still pretty new to this breast cancer crap & in some respects I am but, I'm almost 10 months in &, just as I feel like I'm getting my life back together, the hospital appointments are starting again.
On Wednesday, I'm going to see a Plastic Surgeon about my reconstructive surgery. I can't really make up my mind as to whether I'm dreading the appointment or looking forward to it.
I say that because it's no secret that I've pushed for a referral sooner rather than later. It's always been important to me to get my 'new' breast as soon as possible. I've said repeatedly that I won't feel 'complete' until I've had this surgery.
But at the same time, I've kinda gotten used to living with one breast. I don't really think about it that much any more, I've just been 'getting on with it' I suppose. Of course, it hits home every now & again; such as times like when I see a really nice top or dress & think 'Oooh, I love that!' & then I realise - cos of the way it's cut around the bust area - there's no way I could wear something like that - at the moment anyway.
Or when I think about future relationships. My 'gorgeous friend' knew all about my breast cancer from the word go so I didn't have to explain anything to him but, I think it's gonna be a totally different kettle of fish if/when I meet somebody new. That will be another story though & I'm ok with being single right now. I do miss male company but I'm so preoccupied with other things at the moment that it's not the be all & end all for me to be in a relationship. I've got so much going on in my life since I've moved back to Liverpool that, aside from looking after my daughter who is settling in brilliantly, I've hardly got time to concentrate on myself, never mind bringing another person into the equation too.
The main reason for 'looking forward' to the appointment is that after I've had my op, then hopefully, I will get some semblance of normality back in my life as in, I should pretty much be able to wear what I want again. And, although my new breast is going to look & feel different to the other one, at least there will be 'something there' rather than having a completely flat, almost concave side to my chest like I have now. It does look pretty strange. I'd be lying if I said otherwise. There's no breast tissue there any more so yeah, you can see the lumps & bumps where my ribs are. I've gotten used to it myself & my scar has healed brilliantly, it's only slightly pink now. Physically, I've healed really well. I still have some numbness in & behind my right armpit & I still have 'phantom breast pain' & pins & needles & the odd ache radiating down to the fingers of my right hand but, I can live with that; it doesn't cause me any hardship or stop me from doing anything that I did before I had my mastectomy.
As for 'dreading' the appointment. Well, there's a few reasons for this.
Firstly, it just reminds me that I've had to go through this shit in the first place. Fucking cancer has robbed me of almost 10 months of my life so far. It reminds me that I'm always going to be living under a breast cancer 'cloud'. Cos I'm a breast cancer patient for life now.
The appointment also reminds me that I'm going to have to have more surgery soon & that I'll have yet another scar. And after the surgery, I'll have an 8 to 12 week recuperation period. I really hate to have to rely on other people to look after me & my little girl. I'm not a very good patient at all. Just ask my mum!
After I've had my surgery &, depending on the surgery I have, I may possibly have to go back to hospital every week for a while whilst they expand the skin of my chest until it matches the size of the other breast. I'll still have to go back to hospital to have a nipple constructed & then, when that's been done, I'll be at the hospital again to have tattooing around the 'new nipple' area so that it looks like the real one on the remaining 'good' boob.
It's not a 'one stop' procedure unfortunately, it's gonna take a while.
As well as this appointment tomorrow, I have another appointment in early November with the Consultant Breast (Cancer) Surgeon at the Linda McCartney centre in Liverpool.
In Wales, I was 'looked after' by the Oncologist & his team but, things are a bit different in Liverpool. Because I haven't had chemotherapy or radiotherapy, I'll be looked after by the surgical team. I'll be allocated a new Breast Care Nurse too.
So, I'm in two minds about how I feel at the moment.
Some days I do actually forget about breast cancer. Not all day cos obviously when I dress or undress in the morning & evening there's a massive reminder when I look in the mirror! But it's not at the forefront of my mind all of the time.
Which is great!
But then I get worried that I'm getting complacent! Even though I'm being as vigilant as I can be! I'm still checking the other breast & the area around my scar, collar bone & neck for lumps or changes. I still have my 'moments' where the paranoia kicks in & I think that cancer is sneakily growing elsewhere in my body. I still have days where I can feel really down about this whole shitty disease. And, I've also still got the pain in the right side of my back & under my ribs that I mentioned in one of my posts a while ago. I've spoken to my new GP about it so I'm having a chest x-ray this week & I may need to have an ultrasound scan on my liver soon too. I guess I'll have to see if the x-ray shows up anything first. Things like this piss me off no end. Some days I feel like I can't forget about it all but, for the main part, these days are becoming less frequent now.
It's just that, with hospital appointments looming, I'm forced to remember what has happened to me.
Like I said then: 'Here we go again'.
Even though I hate the inconvenience of having to attend hospital, it's something that I can't avoid isn't it? I know it's for my own good but it's a pain in the arse & I can think of better ways to spend my time.
Yes, I'm in two minds about all that lies ahead of me but, I would like everything to be 'done & dusted' quite quickly. I'm loving my life right now! I'd like to be getting on with it if you don't mind!
No doubt I'll be blogging about how tomorrow's appointment goes.
In the meantime, I'm gonna try & get some sleep!
Until then, nos da.
Love Chez. xx