“You are braver than you believe,
stronger than you seem and
smarter than you think”
Christopher Robin – Winnie the Pooh
Today I should be in theatre undergoing my mastectomy, DIEP flap reconstruction and mastopexy but early this week, there has been a sudden turn of events which put the kaibosh on the last few week’s planning.
On Sunday as I sat at my dressing table getting ready, I noticed a rash on my belly. It concerned me slightly and I thought what an inopportune time for a rash to appear but didn’t really give it much consideration; sure it would disappear. It didn’t, in fact, it rapidly worsened spreading quickly across my whole body. Angry red clusters from nowhere also started to itch in the hottest summer since 1976. I convinced myself I would be fine, took some antihistamines, applied some cream and got on with my day.
On Monday it was worse and by Tuesday it was quite alarming. I saw my GP and then in the evening my good friend Rachel who is a GP with special interest in dermatology came over to have a look. I love Rachel but had never planned on sharing my nakedness with her even though she has seen it all before. She gave me some good advice, I stepped up my antihistamines, bought more cream and got into an ice cold bath. I saw Jessica Ennis-Hill talk about how she prepares for races by getting in ice-cold baths – I think this is as close as I’ll ever get to being an elite athlete – I only lasted 22 minutes and came out feeling mighty sorry for myself.
Wednesday was my day of admission. I was due to go in late afternoon for a couple of tests and then be admitted early evening. I called the hospital yesterday (Tuesday) to tell them what was happening and it was no surprise when they asked me to go in on Wednesday morning for an emergency appointment.
I called Cathy, who dropped everything to take me to hospital in case my operation was cancelled. When I arrived, the consultant took one look at me and said, it’s ok, I think it’s just the sun, it wasn’t until I took off my dress and she held her hands up that she realised the extent of my predicament. What a nuisance! After numerous calls to various consultants, I was greeted by a dermatologist who would give the final decision and his decision, was loud and clear. The risk of surgery was too great; putting knife to skin could cause the rash to spread and who knows the outcome. The plastic surgeon turned to me and said, “I am sorry my dear, it is cancelled”. And that was that.
I felt so blessed that the dermatologist was on hand to see me. Whilst I did not want the surgery to be cancelled, after all, I was in the zone, ready and prepared, the whole family were ready for this day, we’d been working towards it, everything was in place, I knew there must be a reason for God works in mysterious ways, his wonders to behold.
In situations that haven’t quite gone to plan (granted, perhaps not quite of this magnitude), like when we’ve been at an airport and the plane was delayed or the hotel room wasn’t as we’d expected or we were late for the theatre, Mark and I work together to find the good in the situation. So yesterday, after I came home and I was reflecting on my new status quo, I thought it was time for a bit of creative thinking. Here’s my list of why it has been good news that my surgery has been postponed:
The benefits of the delay:
- I will be able to help to look after my dad who has been discharged from hospital this week
- Some women who have breast cancer have been moved to the list on 5th July in my place, having their surgery early – what a blessing for them – their cancer will be out so much sooner than expected – yippee! They are on their way to recovery
- I will be able to take the children out on their last day of term as we do every year
- More time to spend with my family without being partially incapacitated
- A shopping trip with Adam is a must before I go in
- The cupboard under the stairs will finally get sorted!
- We may get to Wales again
- I’ll get to see the sequel to Mamma Mia – hoorah!
- There were a couple of dear friends I didn’t get to see before my operation and now I have the chance to catch up with them – I am so looking forward to Doyley’s tomato consommé
- Look at the weather – need I say anymore! (Rash permitting!!)
- I can lie on my side in bed without the constraints of stitches and more importantly have a cuddle from Mark without him worrying about hurting me
- So many more yoga sessions to fit in and the delicious feeling of being pulled and stretched in different directions – I simply won’t be able to do this after my surgery (initially)
- Walking the dog – given I can’t even lift a kettle with more than one cup of water after my op, walking the dog is a definite no no so I can make the most of it now
- Going back to work as soon as my body is free from contagion!
- I was given a spa voucher for my birthday but haven’t been able to fit it in – I’m going to book an appointment tomorrow
- Many more opportunities now to build up my tummy flesh which in turn becomes boobie flesh – bigger tummy means bigger boobs and given I’m prospectively going from an F cup to a B cup, I need all the extra meals I can get!
- I can wake up a little longer and enjoy the body my mum (and dad) gave me, with all things in the right place and no crystal maze to work out
I have had an update from the hospital today (Thursday) to say despite their best efforts, they have been unable to reschedule my surgery for July and are unable to tell me when my operation will be. I have asked if it could run into August and the nurse gingerly said yes. The difficulty is scheduling a theatre session for the required length of time. I pray it will be soon and that there is a way forward without delay.
For now my friends, I will go and ponder more benefits, the first that springs to mind is The Great British Bake Off, but honestly, I think I’d rather trade it on this occasion for two perfectly formed breasts like iced buns with a cherry on top and a glacially flat pancake of a tummy. If only life were so easy!
Much love x