It’s May 9, 2015 at 9:36 am. I intended to still be sleeping right now but life doesn’t always work out that way. Instead I’m sitting outside in the rain with a cup of coffee watching Penny sprint back and forth through the grass while my boyfriend is sleeping peacefully inside. At this time on this date in 2014 I was having my first surgery, my mastectomy. On that day and the days leading up to it I didn’t cry. I didn’t cry when I woke up and saw my breasts gone, I didn’t cry when I had to say goodbye to my family before they wheeled me back. Today though? I cry. My therapist says it’s grief. Not grief because of my missing breasts but grief for the person I was. I feel a motherly instinct over that person, I want to protect her and hold her. She was so innocent and had no idea what the next year would bring.
Don’t get me wrong, I’d do it all over again in a heartbeat. I’d do it a million times if I had to. At the time going through the process of the surgery and recovery I didn’t think it was that bad. Hindsight? That shit was HARD. Pain, restricted movements, the emotions (which I honestly didn’t start to feel until much later), the toll on my family. I grieve for what I went through even though at the time I didn’t want anyone’s sympathy.
That surgery (and the subsequent ones) aged me. I’ve never really been my age, I think I came out as a 25 year old woman. Even after my mom died I was never really a child. This process has aged me more than that though, more than the years after my mother’s death, more than my high school graduation or 4 years of college. Now is when I have to learn not to plan for the future so much. Now is when I have to take it easy and let it happen. For a long time I would plan because I had to, because that’s the only way I knew how to live. I did everything I could to make myself feel like I wasn’t vulnerable.
Funny thing is, I feel more vulnerable now than I ever did when I still had my parts. Is this what it’s like for everyone else? Is this life? It’s gonna take some getting used to.
I’m excited for it though. I’m hoping I can begin break down some walls and enjoy life as a ‘normal’ person. I don’t think I’ll ever really be my age but I think I’m okay with that. Be patient with me as I learn to live, please. This is a whole new experience for me.
What a difference a year makes.