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Recovery: One Month Gone By

Updated on June 12, 2009

No More Belly Button

Twelve stitches and no more belly button. My waist-to-waist scar is nearly healed.
Twelve stitches and no more belly button. My waist-to-waist scar is nearly healed.
I was getting worried I might be getting an infection
I was getting worried I might be getting an infection
Dad visits and sleeps most of the time
Dad visits and sleeps most of the time

It's been a month. Really?

 It's hard to believe it's been a month since my big surgery (bilateral mastectomy and TRAM Flap reconstruction). And what they said would happen, has; by the end of the first month, I'm walking around my house. The more I walk, the more hunched over I become, still, it is good to be able to walk around more.

What I truly miss, aside from not feeling pain all the time, is being able to walk without effort. I keep having dreams about mundane tasks. I dream about taking a brisk walk and how good it feels to do so; picking up objects that weigh more than a glass of water and not feeling like I just pulled stomach muscles out of whack; reaching for objects on a top shelp and actually reaching them easily and without the pain of feeling like I'm ripping something out of the side of my body.

I keep having these nightly images of what I'm going to achieve the next day and invariably, I end up sitting in my throne, holding off from taking pain killers for as long as I can stand it before taking a pill and feeling drowsy and watching movies. Most of the time, I don't even have the drive to finish writing a story and then assume whatever I'm writing currently is utterly boring crap because I'm not doing anything! I'm bored sick and this tends to play on my mind and send me into a minor depression.

I say "minor" because, no, I'm not going to kill myself. I'm just bored and want my body to be better. Anyone who knows me, knows I'm not one for sitting still and doing nothing. I'm one of those typical Americans who doesn't know how to sit still without accomplishing or creating anything. I feel guilty if I just sit and watch television. I'm usually one who does other things while the TV is on; I might be painting a picture, crafting, sewing, writing, designing something on my computer or in the physical world. Sitting and doing nothing is definitely not for me.

"Just relax and take it easy. Allow your body to heal." That's what everyone says I need to do and they are right. I just don't have to like it.

Still, I can't believe a month has already passed! That also means, in another month, I'm going to be that much closer to feeling mostly myself again. In another month, I'll be back to driving my kids around to all their activities; something I never was all that enthusiastic about having to do. In another month, I'll be closer to feeling like I can go camping again and enjoy some summer fun.

In the interim, I'm going to keep thinking about all the stuff I want to finish while I'm stuck in the house, sitting on my throne.

I'm back to changing the dressing on my non-belly button. As you might have noticed in the photos, the dressing that was supposed to remain on my belly for two weeks following my last surgery and until my next appointment, began looking rather gross; bloody and soggy. We called the doctor and they said to change the waterproof dressing.

Alas, the non-belly button looks pretty cool. It wasn't gross and covered in green goo like we were afraid it might. Instead, it was dry and on the road to recovery. Now, 12 stitches later, I currently look like Frankenstein with all my scars (which my sister says don't even come close to all the scars she has) and I look forward to the day my son returns home with his friends who want to see my non-belly button. Yippee, I'll be a side-show freak for my children and a quandary to a coroner some day in the future (many, many years from now, I hope, because I'd hate to go through all this shit just to get hit by a bus or something).

My parents came over yesterday to help with a driving task for the kids. My dad (pictured above) sat in a chair in that sleeping position most of the visit. When he was awake, he asked how I was feeling.

"There's constant pain all the time. It's getting better, but it's always there," I told him.

"Joey, I've been in pain the past 30 years, but you don't hear me complaining about it," he responded.

Yes, dad, I know you don't complain about it, but you did ask how I was feeling and I did have a surgery that makes me feel like crap. If you don't want to know, don't ask.

I'm still not getting out too much, although Mark tries to get me out for lunch now and again. I turn it down more often than I should because going out tends to tire me out for the rest of the day. I've had a few short visits from people, and even those can be tiring, but very welcome.

Okay, enough for now. I've got to watch Bill Maher. Enjoy your weekend!


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    • valeriebelew profile image

      valeriebelew 7 years ago from Metro Atlanta, GA, USA

      This reads like a journal. I can't help but wonder for what you were operated on. I hope you continue to get better and better, as I can imagine constant pain, and not being able to do that much, is frustrating. Good luck with your recovery. (: v