March 18, double mastectomy with sentinel node biopsy as a same-day surgery procedure.
My mother died just as I was leaving the hospital. She had been on hospice and quite impatient to be out of her discomfort and on to the afterlife since mid-December.
I have had quite a remarkably quick recovery from surgery and was able to ride to SC to be with my siblings and extended family as we memorialized my mother and began to sort her personal belongings and settle her affairs. Remarkable in that I was able to travel and be at her visitation and funeral and to be helpful in limited ways with the great sorting. But it's also slow and uncomfortable and the limitations are real. I can't lift my elbows over my shoulders, I have to sleep on my back, showers, but not baths, 3 weeks of drains and their need for tending and the discomfort that goes with them. My energy and spirits have been good. I will likely wonder for the rest of my life about the synchronicity of losing my breasts and my mother the same day.
I am back in Missouri after nearly a month away. I am back in my office and delighted to be back to work. The path ahead includes continuing my treatment: radiation therapy to my chest, infusions of monoclonal antibody chemotherapy, anti estrogen therapy, and the lab tests and echocardiograms needed to watch for long term side effects of those treatments. Also ahead is unloading and sorting and finding a place for the furniture and mementos I brought back with me from my mother's home, rebuilding my flexibility and strength after surgery, reclaiming my garden, and rebuilding my business. There are similarities in these tasks--they require patience, persistence, an unwillingness to be daunted by the enormity of the projects, discernment, honesty, and the courage to let go of what is not working. I inherited these qualities from my mother and am grateful for them. May they be sufficient.