Funny how perspectives change. Two months ago, I wanted an Apple Watch for Christmas. Six weeks ago, I wanted Bob, the lump, to be benign. And today, all I want is to not stink! I’m 2 for 3, because obviously, this is a cancer blog. But Husband gave me an Apple Watch as an early gift a few weeks ago and today, on post op day 6 (no shave day 7), which also happens to be Christmas Eve, my plastic surgeon told me I could take a shower AND wear deodorant! It’s a Christmas miracle!!!
It took two surgeons seven hours to scoop out all of my breast tissue, a few lymph nodes and hopefully every bit of cancer, and then jam hemispheres of silicon under my pectoral muscles. And the very worst part about all that, it turns out, is the inability to get fresh and clean. (A close second is narcotic-induced constipation, but we won’t go there.)
The problems: 1) not allowed to get my incisions or drain sites wet, 2) not allowed to lift my arms, 3) not allowed to wear deodorant and 4) the dreaded Jobst surgical vest. You see, this madonna-esque (but not in a good way… see previous post for pictorial evidence), hospital-issue vest-bra that I was given, manufactured by a company named Jobst (which is probably run by a Vladimir), has no redeeming characteristics… well none other than securing and protecting my brand new boobs. Due to the nature of its job, said vest fits snugly everywhere including the arm holes, and is thus constantly in contact with my pits. Additionally, it is made of that synthetic material that absorbs odors like a sponge and then time-releases a continuously musky essence. So it does not matter how many sponge baths I attempt, the cycle of stench continues.
Pain? You ask. Yes, I have had some, but it has been controlled to a tolerable level with regular low doses of narcotics. Feeling dizzy and out of sorts for days after a long anesthesia? Yep. But that’s what a newly furnished and decorated bedroom is for. (Another feat made possible by my friend Harmony who facilitated and directed the transition of our bedroom from a glorified storage unit into a soothing haven, pics to come.) A swollen, bruised, uneven and unrecognizable chest? Not knowing the final pathology and next steps, if any, in treatment? Well, that isn’t so great either, however oddly still not as bad as simmering in my own BO and feeling dirty 24/7. I feel like my hygiene and aroma should be one of the seemingly few things left within my control, which is probably why it upsets me the most.
So I nearly cried this morning when the doctor casually mentioned that I could not only take a shower and wear deodorant, but also switch to a regular, medium-compression sports bra instead of Vladimir’s torture vest from hell.
Kids get so many toys and games, some people get gadgets and electronics, others get clothes and shoes, some people even get fancy jewelry or brand new cars with big bows on top. I, however, get to take a shower. And I will bask in that shower like a bar soap commercial from the 1980s and I will be happier than everyone else in the world.