six weeks, sutures, scar and sleep

Six weeks have past since my last surgery, so I can look back and see progress, here are some of my thoughts and observations (sorry if the images are a bit gruesome).

The above picture is of two of the four sutures from the first surgery (there was another near my right hip and one in the pit of my belly button).  Most of the action was on the left side of my pelvis, as that is where the cyst was and where the cancer was found.

Here is the scar from the last surgery, nearly all 20 cm of it; I think it has given my belly a slightly 'upholstered' look!  

At six weeks I'm off all pain killers, the scar is itchy and very tender at times and I still can't bare the thought of any tight or restrictive material on or close to it; I miss wearing jeans!  All of the post-surgical complications, the severe vomiting that put me back into hospital and the colic/stomach cramps that meant I survived on custard and boiled rice for most of a week have gone (thank-goodness).  Now I am left learning to manage the fatigue and the evening swollen belly.  I'm walking further and longer each day and I hope to be able to swim soon; all of the muscle tone I had has gone and I am decidedly wobbly in places!  But I can now cough, sneeze and most importantly laugh without pain, hurrah!

One demon that has reared it's head is night sweats; I knew that as soon as I came round from the surgery that removed my ovaries (and the rest of my reproductive organs) I would be in a 'surgical menopause'.  For the first couple of weeks as I vomited and couldn't eat I thought I had managed to circumvent any menopause symptoms!  Ha, I should be so lucky; over the last 3 weeks the night sweats have increased in number and duration. I now wake every 1.5 - 2 hours through the night drenched in sweat - oh the irony it's almost like having a new born, ha!  I miss undisturbed sleep!  While I can cope with broken sleep, as I spend my days healing and resting I have no idea how I'm going to manage when I'm back at work. I can see that the physical symptoms of the surgery are healing and each day I feel that my body is more like the one I knew before the surgery; some of my pre-surgery fears haven't come to fruition and some I've faced head on and found that they weren't so bad after all.  However, I'm conscious that so far I've only focused on the physical side of the surgery, but there is a whole other side to cancer; the not knowing, the dark thoughts that swirl around my head, the implications and the deep dark cavern that deserves a post of its own. 

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