Anyone who knows me well knows that patience is not one of my better known virtues. I can be really patient with small children and old ladies but sometimes the rest of the world annoys me. I have just completed the first four weeks of my recovery from the lymph node dissection. I have had two other hospitalisations and two other procedures, this has of course extended the time it will take to heal. In my right mind I know that - extra complication equals extra time. Simple. But my inner crazy yells "No,no,no, I am supposed to be better by now." It is the same wanting to be over it that I have experienced in other stressful situations.
So what am I going to do? Silly question. As if I have a choice here. I have to wait till my body heals itself. Nothing can speed up the process. Wait on, haven't I heard that somewhere before? Yes just like the grief process the healing process cannot be hurried. So sit and read, watch TV, play on the tablet, ring friends, let time pass. Try not to get frustrated. Even more do not let frustration dominate my days. Easier said than done.
One of my current problems is body image. Okay I am 70 but up till three weeks ago my legs were both the same size. Now the top of my left leg is swollen a condition called lympodema, a permanent state common when lymph nodes are removed in breast cancer (arms) and melanoma surgery in my case the left leg. It was one of the possible side effects of the operation so not an unexpected event but a disappointment. So the way I look is not the way I want to look. Honestly at my age does that matter, well yes it does. I am a woman. Not that I want to look perfect but I want to look "normal".
I have always had this urge for life to be normal. Other kids stayed in one place surrounded by family that was my definition of normal. We were a nuclear family, two parents, two children, my extended family was left behind when we emigrated and that did not feel normal. I longed to have uncles, aunts and cousins like the other kids. Especially on the special days like Christmas and other big family days. But of course I eventually grew out of that. Now I have to grow past this frustration about body image and let go of the expectation that I am a quick healer and everything will soon be back to normal. Life changed, get used to it..
I read a lot about life changes here, the big one we all have in common, death of a partner or spouse, widowhood, going on alone. But there are plenty of other changes in our lives too each with it's own grieving and recovery process so just one more challenge, one more obstacle to be overcome. I can do this, not happily but I can do it. Go on marking days off the calendar, marking time. I don't like it but I can do it. With a little help from friends and well wishers. And a lot of that rare ingredient good old fashioned patience.
This week another trip to Sydney to do with one of the research projects, this is about the actual dissection operation which is in a way still fairly rare. A quick examination and an in depth survey form to fill in. The information the research team acquires from this will be used to prepare future patients, after all only someone who has been through it can truly understand the feelings of another, as we know about bereavement. Some things you have to experience to know. My experience may help someone else, our combined experience may redefine what is normal. That word again "normal" . I do want something positive to come out of all of this trauma.
A good friend will take me down to Sydney. I am hoping next time to get there by myself. Once the healing has taken place. I can get there quite easily by bus and train, we do have an integrated transport system for traveling to Sydney a lot of locals do that commute every day. When Imam pain free and healthy again it will be possible. I'm just have to keep hold of that vision. Looking on the positive side of life. Some days my cynical self would make a sour face at that remark. Hopefully tomorrow will be different, a more positive day. Usually the dark days come just one day at a time..
Mind you I still want to shout: " Is it over yet?"