Thursday, April 2, 2015

Spring Forward

"It's been a long hard year, 
But now the good times are coming
And we should be feeling fine.
But it only reminds us, as our fortunes are turning,
Of the passing of the time."
- Wendy Waldman "Prayer for You"


The clocks have changed, the sun shines higher in the sky, but the temperatures still dip to uncomfortable levels. The first purple flowers of spring have popped in the front garden, but are surrounded by the detritus of winter. The back deck beckons, but a pile of snow still stands with fortitude in the middle of it.

The purple harbingers of spring
Spring in the Northeast United States has been hard coming this year - after a long winter, it's been a laborious spring.

The stubborn snow on the deck
I, too, feel mentally frozen, stuck in the snows of coping with cancer surgery. I feel stuck on October 20, a sunny day with autumn foliage turned up full blast. That was the day I had a double mastectomy to remove the malignant cells that had invaded. The next six weeks, I was in the weeds, mostly housebound, mostly in bed, determined everyday to do a little bit more. The season changed to winter without my even noticing. I've felt cold ever since.

My scarred chest has remained undercover in long sleeve shirts and sweaters. It is hard for someone to notice any difference. But taking off my shirt at the end of the day is still a jarring experience. Tissue expanders have created breasts of sorts, but they are hard and unwieldy. I have visited the plastic surgeon's office every other week for the last four months to fill the expanders. It is a painful process, but designed to create a capsule for the permanent implants to come. For now, my breasts are sort of an odd, lumpy shape, with a certain Barbie-doll quality to them.

I have dreaded putting on the spring clothing I last wore when I had breasts.But last week I pulled out a sleeveless, scoop-neck turquoise dress that had never failed to make me feel good. While the smaller bust size made it a little lower cut than it used to be, I looked - pretty! And my husband certainly enjoyed the low-cut part.
Our front garden in full bloom, May 2014

I had the last fill of the tissue expanders last week. The surgery for the implants is scheduled for later this month, with nipple reconstruction to follow. I'm nearing the end of this part of the journey.

I saw my first robin yesterday. The thaw has begun.

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Please enjoy this song from one of my favorite singer/songwriters, Wendy Waldman. It's from her 1976 album, The Main Refrain. I had it on vinyl and enjoy it today as much as I did when I was a teenager..