Missing the Little Things
Something that can be amplified during treatment is how much you miss the little things in life. I think it goes without saying that this makes a lot more noise after you have surgery.
For about ten years of my life, my career was hair and beauty. I was a stylist at a very high-end salon for half of my career, and I was a senior stylist at another salon for the other half of my career.
Right before I was re-diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer, I was having issues with my arm, which turned out to be bone mets. I couldn’t lift my arm past my waist without hurting it, and I couldn’t do a lot of normal life things without hurting it.
I ended up teaching myself to do a lot of things with my left hand, and now, I am left hand dominant.
Right arm sling
For almost two years, not only did I not want to use my right arm, I flat out couldn’t. The day I got re-diagnosed in that doctors office, they put me in a sling, and from that point forward until six weeks after my surgery, I was in a sling.
I am very lucky to have my right arm. I am very lucky to be able to lift it as much as I can now. I am also very lucky to be able to have full use of my fingers, hand, and wrist on my right side.
Something that I think I took advantage of as an able bodied human is the ability to give a hug. For a very long time, I couldn’t hug my kid. I couldn’t even hug my wife. One of the very first goals I had in PT was to be able to hug my wife. I just wanted a full, two armed hug so badly. Also, after that big ol’ surgery, we decided to fast track the wedding plans, so being able to hug my wife on that day was a must.
More goals for PT after that kept rolling on. I wanted to be able to brush my teeth normally, I wanted to blow dry my own hair without having to bend over, and most importantly, I wanted to touch my wife’s face.
I know that last one seems a bit odd, but stay with me here. We cut down a lot of physical contact after I was put in the sling, so there were a lot of things you normally wouldn’t think about that we were missing terribly.
Hard work pays off
I worked my butt off in PT, and finally, after getting out of the shower one day, I walked up to my wife and I said those sweet sweet words:
”I’m going to try to not slap you in the face.”
And you know what, folks, I didn’t! I gently put my left hand up, and then after a few seconds I got my right hand up there! I was able to hold my wife’s face between my hands, and give her a sweet lil smooch.
I cried like a baby.
We both cried and held each other.
That moment will live so clearly in my head, for the rest of my life.
Doing life differently
Even before I was put in the sling, I couldn’t do a lot of stuff. I slept differently, I cradled my arm so that it wouldn’t get hurt, and I had to do a lot of life things differently.
Not being able to show affection with my wife affected me way more than I thought it would. The day that we got married in our backyard, I got to hold her face. I got to hug her, and hug our friends. I also now can pick our kiddo up, give her hugs, and do a lot of things I never thought I would do again.
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