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  • Writer's pictureAja McDonald

Starting to prepare

Over the weekend I had time to think about something that was mentioned to me. I was made aware on Saturday that most breast cancer patients that undergo chemotherapy experience hair loss or completely lose their hair. This got me thinking… does this bother me? If so, why? And how do I take charge of this situation? After giving it some thought, I was due for a hair appt on Monday so I thought, fuck it… lets go for the style I know I like and chop it off. I won’t be able to shower and wash my hair the same while I am in recovery and having longer hair will just drive me nuts during it all.

I looked up a couple photos that would help me show my hairstylist what kind of style I’d like and let her have fun from there. I am so happy I did it. I had something new to look forward to and enjoy the week before I have surgery. Even if I don’t lose hair, I am happy I was able to do something for myself that can make it just a bit easier while I enter the unknown realm of surgery and the recovery process.

I still didn’t know what to expect this week as I have one last MRI tomorrow and figured I would find out more information then or closer to the proposed surgery date. Being that I haven’t wanted to read into this too much (as we all experience things differently), I wanted to just take things in moderation. This morning I decided to research what to expect when healing a mastectomy. I was surprised there wasn’t as much information as I thought there would be. Sure, there’s websites and charities with links and contact information. But what I wanted was something a bit more personal. Something to get my head around what I should expect when preparing myself and my home for what’s to come.

I was so thankful I ran into Kelly Bee Recovery and her shared experience on her website. I learned that it would be good to have button up shirts, zip up sports bras and even pillows to help support a comfortable night’s sleep.

Now, I know this may seem like I’m over-planning to some, but to be honest I just like to consider options and just be open minded on what I may need to prepare for if certain situations arise. I may come off as over-the-top organised and maybe even to some a bit OCD. But one thing is for sure, I have always welcomed spontaneity to sprinkle itself right into the mix so the aspect of adventure is always there. Creativity at it’s finest.

I know I will not be a fan of trying to put a T-shirt on with limited movement and I sure as hell don’t like wearing bras, even if I don’t have much to put in them anymore in the near future. It’s still all about comfort when it comes to this gal. So I shopped around a little online for cost-effective options and found a button up top and zip up sports bras on Kmart.co.nz. I was even more excited that I didn’t have to spend a lot of money, and I also could afford this wee shopping experience (thanks to donations my mum sent to my PayPal on behalf of friends and family overseas).

As I carried on with my day at work, I was joking around with my client that I hadn’t heard much yet from my surgeon on what comes next. I warned her that I wouldn’t be surprised if I got a phone call right in the middle of her tattoo appointment. Sure enough, a phone call surfaced a couple hours later and it was my surgeon’s assistant acknowledging what comes next and book a pre-admission appointment for Thursday to go over everything.

I felt so relieved. Now we can get things moving forward. I have that last MRI and then I can get my head around what to expect as of next week. I still have work and most bookings have remained as normal for the week. But I feel so much lighter being able to go to work, communicate with my workmates and be a part of a studio I love so much. I don’t have to hide who I am and I can just be me carrying the strength I’ve inherited over time from so many stories shared, lives known, and energies exchanged.

Each day I have taken it as it has come. Since my diagnosis, I honestly feel that I have had one down day which was on Monday. With so many amazing messages and people reaching out, it’s hard to try to remember what you have told someone or even know how much anyone may know by now when you have put your situation out there for all to see. This time it is not just a simple experience I share one on one while I design your dermis. This time, it is in the moment… as it is happening. And anyone in the world can see. I have had friends from the past pop up and send me a message. Family reaching out to my parents in hopes to send their thoughts and support. But you know what is the most interesting part of this is for me? I finally have a medical situation that is taken seriously and caught with the right timing (unlike my whiplash/concussion 2020 extravaganza), I now have control in healing myself and can just sit back and relax. Take the time I need to finally heal. Even though I’m at a risk of not affording an unknown amount of time off, I at least know that I can rest for the first few weeks guilt free. Thanks, husband ❤

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