Jane Ballot

Being me in the world

Wednesday 22nd October

Day 16. (The drain is still in.)

5 months since Mum died.

What people fail to either remember, or to warn you about, is that the recovery from a major operation is long, painful (literally and figuratively) and, eventually, irritating. (Especially the latter, I think, when you have to carry half the damn op around with you, or so it seems with this drain.)

I never went into the mastectomy happily and with glee. I knew that it was a major op and I knew what the implications were. Funnily enough, I was not so worried about the op itself, as the aftermath. And how right I was.

I’m pretty sure if the drain had come out after the ‘normal time’ (which is 5-7 days, one doc told me; the other now tells me it’s 7-10 days), then I would feel a little more settled and , possibly, a bit happier.

I would also feel happier if the drain hadn’t blocked so many times. And if my ‘non-boob’ would condescend to at least look smaller than my real boob!

Some of the time, when the drain has blocked, the fluid has accumulated in my ‘non-boob’ and it looks as though I actually have something there. To be honest, the right side of my chest is not flat. There is a tissue-expander in and the muscle has been moved around and is swollen. However, to have the site of the mastectomy looking so big is quite upsetting in a strange way.

Now, the drain is working again. (This after being sucked out on Monday.) My ‘non-boob’ is swollen, though and very uncomfortable. It actually feels as though I am engorged on that side. So, off I went to the doc again this morning and he says it’s all part of the healing. WHY it’s doing this after this time is confusing and rather upsetting. I want to feel, at least, some form of healing before chemo begins, please!

So, I have an ‘engorged’ ‘non-boob’, a really sore drain entrance/exit site and an auxilliary web that pulls under my arm – all on the right. What fun!

As much as I don’t know how to play the martyr and cannot, in good conscience, take to my ‘sick’ bed, I also need to be understood!

And it happened. I tried to communicate that, although what has happened to me is undoubtedly not the worst thing that can happen to anyone, it is still horrible to go through and can be quite daunting and upsetting at times. I wasn’t laughed at, but I definitely was not heard.

Maybe it is my own fault for ‘forging ahead’ through life and doing what must be done. If I can do that, then surely, I suppose, I must be doing well and coping just fine.

And, yes, I am.


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