Anniversaries provide an opportunity to step back from life’s hectic distractions and reflect and learn from the past. It gives a chance to focus, recognise and accept the significance and part of the process of recovery. Keeping busy with the every day normal routines, responsibilities, relationships is great and healthy and part of normal life, but sometimes it means that in being swept along perhaps you don’t get the time or headspace to deal with thoughts and emotions which then keep bubbling away and erupt when you least expect it.
Reading that paragraph through, I sound like a slightly self righteous self-help book but I promise they are my own words and it is what I’ve found to be true over the last few months. Today is one of those chances to give myself a bit of space to reflect. A year ago today I had my surgery – right side mastectomy and complete lymph node clearance of my right chest wall and arm. I had finished chemo a month prior, I was bald with just a few tufts of baby hair, weak, scared, and felt utterly worn out, battered and bruised. I was stepping from a treatment and team of staff I knew, to the unknown again.
The month I’d had ‘off’ between chemo and surgery I hadn’t rested as I should. Instead I’d fought on through feeling atrocious, trying to maximise my time with Tilly and regain a little normality. I also cooked a ton of food to fill the freezer. Although I didn’t admit it, I was doing so incase something went wrong in surgery and I didn’t make it through. I just wanted to make things a little easier at home if that was the case. I wrote farewell letters too which remain sealed and unread. Strange what your mind makes the priority in stressful times.
The difference between me a year ago today and the me today is huge. I am SO much better, I look so much better. The recovery is very much on going and there have been a few set backs over the last few months. The aftermath of treatment is hard, much harder than I ever expected. The readjustments required of both body and mind are enormous. But I am happy to mark this day and realise that though sometimes it feels like it’s one step forward, two steps back, I have made a lot of progress in many areas in the past year, and fingers crossed it’s set to continue.