They say you never feel more loved than you do when a loved one dies, when you get married, or when you welcome a new life into the world. I have an occasion to add to that list- when you have a mastectomy.
I. Feel. So. Loved.
And I’m still 2 weeks away from surgery!
The closer I get to “the day” the more I realize how many people I have in my corner. I knew I had friends, but man oh man, do I have friends. And I don’t mean in terms of quantity, I mean in terms of quality. I’ve got a helluva support team.
Speaking of which, I’ve been inundated with comfort gifts. And by that I mean things that will make my recovery a little easier to deal with. A few weeks ago when I went to speak at a fundraising event, one of the other speakers gave me a fuzzy pink blanket that her company makes, to make sure I’m comforted whenever I need it. Today I received the gift of two axillapillas from my long-term therapist (whom I have no hesitations about mentioning, mental health is just as important as physical health, realizing that and making that first appointment was one of the best decisions I’ve made). I walked into my house last week to see a package addressed to me sitting on my table, with the return names being those of 2 fantastic professors over at EMU College of Ed (for those that don’t know, I’m a special ed major at Eastern Michigan University), and I open it to find a book called “Believe” filled with positive quotes and signed by each of my classmates. Katie has ordered me a cushion seat belt cover and a pair of button up pajamas, super helpful considering it’ll be a while until I’m able to lift my arms above my head to get a shirt on. I have a feeling that by the time surgery rolls around, I’ll have everything I could possible need or desire. It’s hard for me to accept all these things, of course, but I need to remind myself that this is the time for me to let myself be taken care of, instead of being the one doing the caring. Quite the challenge for me to sit back and let people help, BUT, I’m working on it. As my grandma told me today, “Kelly, quit fighting it. Let people love you.” 🙂
One thing I’m also working on? Letting go of some control. A challenge, for an independent soul like mine, but I definitely need to let out the reins a bit and let others help. One way I’m doing that (in a way that also gives me a feeling of control) is by creating roles for my loved ones during the surgery. For example, Sammy is in charge of updating my close friends and family via text, Facebook, what-have-you, dad is in charge of handling paperwork and writing down doctor updates, Evan is in charge of keeping spirits up, and Katie is in charge of Sammy, dad, and Evan (making sure they’re eating, resting, etc).
I’ve written all these things down in a journal with a pretty van Gogh painting on it, right next to my pre-op questions (How soon after surgery can I drink coffee? is the first bullet point). I’ve always felt rather silly when attempting to write in any sort of journal or diary, sort of like I’m talking to myself. It’s becoming my crutch, though, as I want to remember all of this, all of these emotions I’m feeling leading up to the surgery, all of the support I’m receiving, all of the questions I have. I want to remember them all.
Right now it seems I’m having a hard time identifying exactly what this emotion I’m feeling is. It’s not fear, anxiety, excitement, or dread. It’s something I’ve never experienced before. The only word that comes close to explaining it is ‘unknown’, which is silly because that’s not a feeling, it’s sort of a…place. Anyways, that’s what I’m going with. I feel that way when laying in bed at night thinking of the silly unimportant details of what that day will be like. Will my hands shake when signing the paperwork? Will I have time to shower in the morning before leaving for the hospital, or should I do it the night before? Will my family cry? Will I cry? Will we hit traffic on the way? Those are the stupid little things I have been obsessing over. I’d prefer obsessing over that, though, than the whole surgery aspect of it (needles and scalpels are icky) and the inevitable pain afterwards.
One emotion I am feeling that I can accurately identify, however, is overwhelmed. With love, support, kindness, generosity, the list goes on and on. I cannot imagine having to go through this alone, and I am so blessed that I don’t have to.
15 days to go.