Yesterday I drove for the first time. I only drove about seven or eight blocks to get to my lymphatic massage appointment. I was nervous but looking forward to gaining back my freedom. Unfortunately, I’m afraid my freedom is going to have to wait a bit longer. As I hadn’t driven since just before my surgery, I was feeling a little anxious but confident that I hadn’t forgotten how to drive. I got into the car, positioned my oversized chest pillow into place and then tried to close the door. It is my left side that has experienced all the “trauma”. It’s the left side that had the cancerous tumor and the left side that had the lymph nodes removed. So it’s the left side that is weak and has the most pain. Therefore, reaching out to grab and pull close a heavy car door with my left arm was brutal. I hadn’t factored that into the driving part of my adventure. Nor had I factored in that with a giant, flannel, thick, stuffed pillow wedged between my chest and the steering wheel, I may have a difficult time maneuvering the car. On top of that, I didn’t think about what I would feel when I turned my chest to do a shoulder check . The sutures and stretched skin felt like they were being torn apart every time I had to look over my shoulder to change lanes. Also, I discovered that when you rotate your shoulders and chest , the tissue expanders don’t really move with you so they push down on your ribs a and apply more pressure on the taut skin above. Not a nice feeling in the least.
By the time I got to my massage I was in a lot of pain. And although the massages help with breaking up the swelling, they in themselves can be painful especially when pressure is being applied under my arm. The whole time I was on the table instead of trying to relax all I could think about was “fu#k, I don’t want to get back in that car again!”
Of course, I did get back in the car, and I did manage and survive the drive home, but it wasn’t without a little fear and anxiety as to what the journey was going to do to me for the rest of the day/week. It is frustrating wanting to make more progress than I feel I have done. It is frustrating having to rely on so many people to help and support me. It is frustrating feeling good and confident one day and then feel like you’ve had the rug pulled out from under you the next. I have a lot of other appointments to deal with and I will get back behind the wheel but the next time I will do so with my eyes wide open and prepare myself for the pain it may cause. I will ease my way back with short journeys, install a strap on the door to help me close it and maybe take some tylenol before I start the engine to ensure my motor keeps running. Today I am staying in “park” but very soon I will be shifting into “drive”.
President of As You Like It Marketing & Communications Inc. Award winning speaker and author. Breast cancer fighter and blogger. I’m sharing my journey…the good, the bad and the ugly. Hoping to help anyone else that has been touched by breast cancer be it you or someone you know or love.