Well, it’s almost two years later and, things are much better now. It was too depressing to document the chemo, surgeries and so so many doctor visits but there are a couple of things I do want to talk about before I, hopefully, move on from this subject – for good. Firstly, I cannot share enough how grateful I am that I took the time to go home and do more research about my surgery before having my mastectomy. I left the plastic surgeon’s office believing an implant was the best option for my circumstance. After talking to multiple people and having time to conduct more research, I discovered that the better option, for me, was a diep flap which uses my own tissue to reconstruct my breast. On stating my desire for this type of surgery, I was informed that “yes, I was a great candidate for this type of surgery but would have to go elsewhere as it required a micro surgeon”. I was stunned. I believed I would be guided toward the best care possible but apparently it only goes as far as what is available in our current location. I was extremely grateful to be able to stop the original surgery (the day before it was scheduled) and set up the alternate one with different doctors and am so grateful that I did so. Although not the right choice for everyone, it was absolutely the right choice for me.
Secondly, I found out how loyal and amazing my friends truly are. I always knew they were pretty good but they really went above and beyond. One, in particular, Lisa, turned up almost every day during chemo to walk with me around the block – whether I felt like it or not. Just having her company, I believe, made a huge difference and although I was not always able to get all the way round, some days we hung out longer sitting outside on the doorstep. I know it was a huge commitment on her part but I felt it helped my recovery in a big way.
Many of you know I run booths during the Fall season and those who met me during the Fall of 2015 may have noticed there were a lot of extra people hanging around. Friends – who turned up to help because I couldn’t lift, let alone guarantee being physically capable and, in one instance, there at all because I had just got out of hospital. With Vanessa (another friend) and Jim (amazing hubby) taking turns because they knew how things set up, my other friends pitched in to help by rota to make sure I was able to cover every event. WOW!
Even my overseas friends were amazing. Bearing in mind that I have been out of the country for 27 years, when I go home I still do try to see many of my old friends. This year however, because of surgical complications, I was unable to travel or get around too much, but as I was there for such a short time, didn’t want to announce to everyone that I was battling cancer. Not knowing why I wasn’t showing up as usual, my overseas friends made the effort to come to me – at which point I told them as it was obvious something was up lol. Almost every friend went out of their way to see me, even though I was not making the advance to see them this trip. I feel very lucky to have such an incredible group of people who care about me.
On the bright side, for me if not for her, my Icelandic friend broke her leg the same week I started chemo. We spent the next three months chatting on Face Time which was convenient for both of us – she for mobility and me for bathroom runs. As we both recovered she (Alfhildur – you’re going to hear more about her) decided she wanted to walk across England for her 50th birthday completing (or at least doing bits of) Waiwrights Walk, 192 miles from coast to coast. A plan was formed! It seemed like a really good idea at the time but now it is mid December, her birthday is next year, and it’s time to start planning and maybe do some training. It’s going to be Lisa, Alfhildur and I and none of us are capable at this point to walk more than a couple of miles – so the challenge is on. More later…..