June 20, 2013

One small step

On Monday I saw my radiologist about the pain I'm having underneath my breast. I know radiation therapy can do permanent damage in many different ways so I was pretty upset about this to begin with.

My doctor examined me (big ouch) and told me I still have some fluid in my breast. That would explain why my breast and scar area are still very sensitive. She wasn't sure about the rib, so she decided to do a photo and make sure nothing was damaged. Luckily the photos came back clear and showed nothing of that matter.

The cartilage between the rib cage can become very sensitive after radiation therapy and chemo and by overuse or over-stretching of a muscle that area can even become infected. It hurts. It takes a long time to heal. Wonderful!

Yesterday I had to go to work to sign some papers because it's almost a year since I called in sick. A lot of things have changed, some mistakes were made with my contract. Things I'd rather not break my head on right now because they seem not important. Departments have moved, people have left. It was weird. But I know I have to jump back on the horse sooner or later. And it all starts with baby steps and visiting and catching up with everybody.

One colleague was totally in shock and teary eyed when he saw me. Another one just walked by me because he didn't recognize me. These situations are so god damn awkward and uncomfortable. But when I'm in a good mood, really it's a little bit funny as well. It's so weird that it's me that is making them feel uncomfortable. Little ol' me. Okay so I don't feel the same person but I'm still Ciel. Your colleague. I get their emotions. I understand it. Cancer is a scary word. I try to be open about things, explain things about treatment and that usually calms people down.

I know I have to visit more often just so they will get used to me. So they won't have any questions any more. But it's hard and confronting.

I broke down crying when I talked to the girl who is now my boss and who I also share an office with. I know it doesn't matter and it's okay for them to see me like that. As an introvert this is a big thing for me. So we talked and cried and talked and cried and it was good. It was another step.

I don't know when I will be able to go back to work or move back home, I just know right now would be way too soon. Sometimes I feel guilty about this. That I can't tell people when I'm coming back. But it just doesn't work that way. Healing needs time. Healing won't set a date. But revealing your feelings is the beginning of healing.

Let's finish with some positive news:
  • The nurse said my scar looked really great and it's because I'm a non-smoker. So there you have it your reason to quit. 
  • I shaved my legs for the first time in like 8 months! 
  • My eyebrows, eyelashes and hair seem to be growing a little bit faster now and I can definitely see progress! HOORAY!


  1. Hey Ciel,

    Wat fijn te horen dat er kleine stapjes gemaakt worden! Dat haar...door de herceptin (is me verteld) groeit het wat langzamer dan bij mensen die geen herceptin krijgen, maar er komt een moment dat er ineens een groeispurt komt! Mijn haar groeide in december al weer een heeel klein beetje tijdens de taxol en het duurde tot Mei voor ik de boel enigzins bedekt had, maar de laatste weken gaat het ineens keihard! Net als je denkt dat t noooit meer goedkomt, is het er ineens...
    Wel balen dat haren op andere plekken sneller terugkomen:( Hoewel wimpers en wenkbrauwen toch wel heeeel erg fijn zijn!

    Ook ik heb nog last van vocht en de bestraling. Schijnt erbij te horen, maar wel heel naar. Ribben komt vaker voor heb ik gehoord..balen:(

    Laat je niet opjagen! Werk is maar werk...Alles op zijn tijd...

    Wel echt fantastisch dat je scan goed was! Gefeliciteerd met de goede uitslag! Ik moet nog en vind t toch wel spannend hoor...

    1. Ja die groeispurt klinkt fantastisch! Kan niet wachten! Ik koester elk haartje :)

      Ja ik moet mezelf de tijd gunnen! Het is niet niks wat we allemaal in ons schoot geworpen krijgen! Thanks Lot!

  2. Even if it takes ages to heal, I'm glad your doctor was able to give some clarity around the pain. Sounds like it was all kinds of emotional going back to your workplace, but it's awesome that you were able to share that with your office mate. I'm glad to hear that. Also, high five for smooth legs! :) That's a nice bit of normal. ~Catherine

  3. dear ciel,

    I am so glad you got reassurance about the rib pain - must make you feel so much better knowing more about the healing process. and you did such a great job describing all the emotions you experienced when you visited your workplace; I bet your very honest and eloquent words will resonate with others and help them feel they are not alone. keep writing, and keep feeling better and better. oooo, I remember when I didn't have to shave my legs for ages - and then I did! I was so embarrassed to discover I had obviously hairy legs while wearing a dress and off to a party. thank goodness our hosts had the lights way down low!

    love, XOXO

    Karen, TC