It hit me yesterday that I am heading fast towards the next stage.
While I’m out of the acute recovery stage, I’m hardly out of the (recovery) woods. Full recovery – if there is such a thing – is more in the region of six to twelve months, as I understand it.
I now see my surgeons less frequently. Now it’s about rehabilitation with my speech pathologist and physiotherapist and that’s going well. And yet, to my knowledge, there still looms the possibility of three further surgeries over the next six to twelve months. That’s surgery by my plastic & reconstructive surgeon to remove the excess soft tissue in my cheek, surgery by my oral & maxillofacial surgeon to remove the titanium plate in my jaw, and surgery by a dentist (to whom I’ll be referred at some stage) to do something about teeth. The odds, certainly on the surgery to remove the plate, look to be shortening because you can feel the corner of the plate under my skin and it’s beginning to stick out.
Recovery has been the focus every day since the surgery. Well, a focus: on days when Alannah is home, like today, I have barely done my recovery work. I’m doing my speech exercises as I type. I’ve massaged my neck dissection scar once. And I did some raises on my tippy toes each time I waited for the kettle or microwave. Hardly stellar. It’s amazing how hard it can be to do it all.
And when recovery is a focus, time passes slowly. It’s not unusual for someone to express surprise how fast the time has gone since my surgery. It’s been 8.5 weeks, almost two months since 1 August. Believe me, it’s much slower when you live it each and every day.
Now I find myself at a place I never expected to be. I don’t know what I’m meant to do next. In some ways, I am ready to return to ‘real life’. In other ways, I am not. And yesterday, it all caught up to me.
I’m not sure what I want to say yet. At least nothing coherent. It’s still whirling around in my head a bit.
Two things I do know. First, it was only my second low day since I returned home from hospital and that’s not so bad, really. Second, it’s not the end of the world and I just have to figure it out.
Yes, this was not a place I ever expected to find myself. I like to have a plan, to think a few steps or months or years ahead. Suddenly, I can’t picture myself in two months, let alone two years. I have to make some decisions very soon on various things without the big picture or perhaps I need to imagine a new big picture.
Like I said, nothing coherent to say yet. But I’ll get there and I have a few ideas brewing already. First step: I’m going to sleep earlier to try to crack this continuing fatigue and it’s already past 9.30pm. Good night.