Yesterday I “graduated” from the breast cancer recovery program at Full Circle Physical Therapy. It was a bittersweet moment. I am relieved to know I am well enough and strong enough to be discharged, but also sad to be losing the wonderful community and support of my therapists. I have also been taking a pilates class designed specifically for breast cancer patients, and last night I realized that I only have two of those sessions left. This, too, makes me a little sad.
Because I don’t want to lose any of the strength, flexibility, and stamina I have worked so hard for in the last three months, I signed back up with my local gym. I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about going back there, but I went on Friday and again this morning, and it feels right. I know I absolutely have to keep moving. All my doctors stress the importance of exercise to keep my bones and joints healthy, and to counteract the side effects of the drugs I am on.
Tomorrow I have one last (I hope!!) little procedure to finalize, or put the finishing touches, on my reconstruction. After months of agonizing over whether or not to go through with it, I have finally decided to get my nipples tattooed. It’s so weird. I’m one part ambivalent, one part nervous, and one part totally freaked out by the idea of it. I think ultimately I will be glad I went through with it, but right now, in the moment, I have no idea what to think and my emotions feel very fragile. As real as my breasts will look when everything heals, they aren’t real and that can never be changed or masked by surgeries and cosmetic procedures.
My cousin is still in the hospital recovering from her stroke. I know she will have a long road ahead, and while the last few days have been marked by a series of forward and backward steps, I am hopeful that once she gets into rehab she will make some significant progress. I know she must be exhausted and frustrated and if she could talk to me and tell me what’s in her heart, I have a feeling she would simply say she is tired. We both worked so hard after our surgeries to get out from under the pain and the physical limitations and the emotional fallout of this stupid cancer. To suffer this setback is unimaginable to me, and I feel angry and scared and at times overwhelmed by what she will have to rise above.
I am still struggling to accept the things I can’t change. It’s a life’s work, isn’t it?