June 11, 2007 § 10 Comments
For traditional meds, there’s the BIDMC, conveniently located near Fenway Park and Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts. Free parking for chemotherapy treatments. Healing and heart, but you must know where to look. Avoid the cafeteria, and avoid any doctor who underestimates the power of nutrition, exercise and the role of humor and compassion in healing. Thank you MJH and Hester.
On the Trip Advisor scale, my mastectomy was a perfect 5.0
I started training early. I worked out with a personal trainer, a physical therapist, and saw an acupuncturist. To release tension I’d get a massage. To gain muscle mass I’d use weights. I even took Merengue lessons. I moved as often as I could and consumed generous amounts of fresh fruit and vegetables. Cancer treatments are challenging, not unlike an Iron Man or Triathalon.
The procedure I dreaded the most, turned out to be the least debilitating of them all.
I had braced myself for feeling wounded from such a visual casualty. I feared waking up to a different me. I expected pain and anguish. Instead, I felt calm and peaceful.
I pushed the button releasing the next dose of the morphine drip.
The recovery room looked a lot like the pre-op room. Maybe they were the same room. I expected everything to be different. I expected to feel miserable. I felt good. I expected anxiety. I felt relief. I expected some amount of sadness, and there was none of it.
Turns out I am not my left breast. I am something else. The mastectomy had been daunting. I was sure some critical part of me was embedded there, some part I couldn’t afford to lose. I was wrong. I can’t help but wonder what part of me removed would actually change me. Then I decided not to go there.
Eventually I braved a peek at the site of all the hoopla. My left side looked like a super model with a boo boo. I was bandaged, flat chested and boney. Just another new look for me to try on this year.
I spent the night in a private room, they brought in a cot for Marty. He was on standby, ready to help, ready to unplug the IV when I needed to dash to the bathroom. I had trouble keeping down watermelon, even water defied gravity. In between my perfect bullseyes in the sink, I woke up to enjoy how quiet it was in the room, to enjoy how utterly the same I felt, and to push the morphine drip just one more time before dawn.
The next morning, my head was a little cloudy the sky equally obstructed. All that grey made it easy for us to sleep in. I had the option of a second night. I considered it. It was so peaceful there in Riesman 1268. We read and napped. We brought in some food. The food stayed down. The afternoon was lazy like a late checkout at the W. We left after 3p. The service was great. Still, I’d take Marty by my side over a team of nurses on the floor.
Next stop radiation.