I have been distracted and fatigued with visitors and even a couple of outings, so it’s taken me a while to put together another update post. I’m happy to report that I’m still healing really well. I have been managing pain with just ibuprofen and haven’t had to use any of the “serious” pain meds they gave me. I’ve been sleeping fine and napping whenever I feel like it (and since I’m a fan of naps anyway, that’s at least once or twice a day). I’ve been able to go for at least a short walk almost every day (and it felt great to be outside). Most of the issues I’ve had have been on the level of “irritating” rather than “awful”: itchy tape, prickly glue bits, sore jaw and arm, bruised hand, inflamed drain insertion sites, general fatigue. Overall though I’m doing way better than I expected and I attribute that to four things: 1) top-notch medical care; 2) the incredibly humbling and powerful outpouring of love, good vibes and care from all you beautiful people both pre- and post-surgery; 3) being from strong Russian peasant genetic stock; and 4) an optimistic attitude of gratitude (you get what you focus on).
Speaking of gratitude, the unarguable silver lining of this whole experience has been the people. My close friends and family, who have been nothing short of amazing angels of compassion and love (with a special shout out to my mom, who has been there for just about every doctor appointment and even slept over in my hospital room with me). The beautifully heart-filled folks from my various communities: my synagogue friends, my burner buddies, my writer peeps, my faire family, my parent pals. The consistently kind and caring staff and doctors at UCSF. People have reached out with all kinds of support: messages, visits, flowers, meals, cards, smiles, books, jokes, music. Especially now, in these often dark days when the rest of America and the world seems at times to be struggling with their collective humanity and compassion, the people around me have shown that goodness and love are alive and well, and I am incredibly grateful. It’s so important (for both me and the world) to keep hope and optimism going, and all these people have helped me (and the world) do so. I have a huge amount to be thankful for this Thanksgiving, for sure.
A few last notes: I had a post-op appointment at UCSF yesterday where the nurses finally took off my ratty, irritating bandages (yay) and examined all the incisions, and I’m also happy to report that they agreed that everything looked pretty good. They took out my two drains, which was a brief hurt, over quickly, but most of all was a tremendous relief. I finally got to see what had been under the bandages, which was pretty trippy. I’m still all puffy and frankensteined (and glued up), but wow is it weird to have such relatively small, taut, perky-nippled boobs so high up on my chest. I thought they’d be lighter too, because they’re smaller, but they’re not really...just a lot less saggy and long. It’s like someone pulled a string on my back and they just shrank up into me (but unfortunately with a lot more stitching). They look okay, but definitely different, and it’s still throwing me. I want to be more excited about the transformation but I think that will take some time. For the moment I’m still mostly struggling with loss and change. I can’t really get attached to this iteration anyway because it’ll change yet again after the double mastectomy in a couple of months.