So, this is one of those “dang, that’s pretty honest” posts.
I need to write about The Stress that comes with this surgery. But, not just the stress on me, but the stress on my family and loved ones.
This isn’t easy for anyone. I’m so appreciative of the love and support people have given me, and in many ways, the gift of “distraction” that people have given my kids. And, yet, the truth is, when all is quiet in the house, when all the company has left and the movies have been turned off, The Stress makes its ugly way into our home.
After 5 days of feeling, well, useless, this Type A and OCD Mama has been feeling the need to get up, get out, move around, and get life back to normal. Of course, my body reminds me otherwise, but that doesn’t mean my brain and heart don’t stop chugging along. I’m getting antsy, in a way that books, movies, Facebook creeping, and even company just can’t relieve. It’s that feeling of wanting to clean the house just after you’ve gotten a manicure. I just want to hop in my car, head to a crowded mall, elbow my way through pre-Thanksgiving sales, and carry arm fulls of groceries into my home. I just can’t. Heck, I can’t even lift a pen to write a damn “Thank You” note.
My kids are starting to feel the stress, too. And, it’s likely a trickle down effect from me. Their routine has been knocked out of whack. And, while Jorge is playing both Mom and Dad to them, they are starting to push buttons, choose to listen when they want to, and pulling the old ‘Oh, Dad said NO, let me go ask Mom who has no idea what’s going on.” And, since having my kids ask me questions actually make me feel USEFUL, I’ve been basically giving them permission to do the opposite of what their Dad has already told them. Sigh.
But, The Stress has really been Jorge’s shadow these past 5 days. “I’m just not sure what I’m supposed to be doing,” he says, amidst the crying that was coming from me, Joli, Jada, and Evan. Just moments before, we were all shouting, yelling, and finally acknowledging The Stress that has hit each one of us. It needed to happen. It was bound to happen. We all said things we needed to say, and we all said things that should never have been said. But, it needed to happen. The Stress needed to happen.
We all ended up, around 11:30pm, crawled into my bed — a place that has been completely off limits since I have been home. No one has been allowed in my room; and no one, certainly, has been allowed into the bed. Before November 18th, our bed was our comfort.Our bed was home base. It was where everyone hugged and kissed “goodnight” and it was where everyone gathered to say “good morning.”
There was no sweeter feeling than having everyone — the entire family — pile into bed. We dried our tears, we all apologized, and we acknowledged The Stress. We talked about how we all felt lonely, how we all felt responsible, and how we all felt ignored and demanded. We all felt The Stress.
What has changed since last night? We’re kinder. We are smiling more this morning. And, funny, the pain that I’ve been feeling as actually decreased a little bit. As I write this, Joli is in my bed with me watching a movie. She finally seems at ease. She finally seems, well, as close to herself as expected during this time.
Thing aren’t the same. My husband has to deal with The Stress of being both Mom and Dad. He feels The Stress of having to both keep the kids away and showing his wife she feels loved. He feels The Stress of both feeling responsible and feeling helpless. He has to deal with wanting to protect a Type A, OCD, “I can do it, I can do it” stubborn wife who refuses to follow directions and rest. He’s delicately trying to balance wanting to help me with making me help myself. The kids are dealing with The Stress of not having Mom, the comfort of Mom, nor the companionship of Mom. They miss nestling into my soft (okay, “flabby”) chest and tummy, sitting on my lap, and just laying in bed next to me. My oldest, in particular, feels she has to play Mom, a pretty big job for a 7 year old.
Frankly, the yelling, screaming, and crying was part of the healing. It helped us to acknowledge the fear, the hurt, the anger and the pain that we are all feeling as a result of my mastectomy. As hard as it was to go through, we needed to give room for The Stress. This road is long. And, The Stress will undoubtedly be a passenger on parts of the journey. But, instead of ignoring it, as we have been doing for the past 5 days, as of last night, we’ve welcomed it along, as a known member of our family. For, by embracing it and welcoming it, we, as a Family, can learn to live with it.
For me, now on Day 6, the pain still is in my drains. I’ve tried to be more creative with my compression bra, taking a break from it every few hours. I’m now wearing a tank top UNDER the compression in order to keep it from directly pressing on my skin, which seems to help a little bit.
Countdown until 2 of my drains come out: 6 Days.
Peace, love, and embracing the stress,