I am out walking again! Actually, I've been walking (more like shuffling) since about 1 1/2 weeks post surgery. I started with a 1 mile walk and I couldn't wait to get home. I went back out the next day and felt stronger so I did 3 miles. That was a big day because I also did a Get Started Meeting that evening. I was exhausted! To be honest, I probably shouldn't have done the Get Started Meeting because I paid for it the next day. I was sore and REALLY tired the next day, so I didn't do much except sleep.
The day after my resting day, Thursday, I walked again. I did another 3 miles. I was tired, but it wasn't nearly as difficult. I didn't walk on Friday, but I did walk yesterday. I did 5 miles at an average speed of 3.4 mph. The walking was fine, except I got hailed on! I think that was the cosmos way of telling me to go home, which I did. I wasn't nearly so tired, and I even went for a little drive later in the day.
The walking is helping me to build my strength back up, but blaring my music in my ears is helping to rebuild my spirit! When I'm out there, I feel like me and all is right with my world. This surgery has taken a LOT out of me, and the hormonal imbalance that I'm battling has been difficult. I keep reminding myself how lucky I am that everything came back benign so I can go back to my life once everything heals.
That is GREAT for me, but I keep thinking about all the people I walk for who are not so lucky. Once they heal from surgery, they face chemo treatments and radiation treatments, and typically more surgery. They don't get to just heal and go back to their life like I do. Going through this has been tough, but it pales in comparison to what someone with cancer goes through.
I had to be operated on by an oncologist because of the threat of cancer. I was lucky, but as I sat in the waiting room waiting for my post surgery check-up, I started talking to a woman who wasn't as lucky as me. She asked me what type of cancer I had. I explained that I had dodged a bullet. This total stranger celebrated with me, and was genuinely happy for me! She was worried for me too. She told me not to take my one remaining ovary for granted and made me promise to have it checked regularly because as she put it, it can still kill me! I never really thought of it that way and I have a completely new understanding of why breast cancer survivors wear t-shirts that say "Yes, they are fake. My real ones tried to kill me!"
This total stranger made me understand that although I did dodge a bullet, I must remain vigilant. I have to go to my doctor's appointments because I may not be so lucky the next time. Anyway, this woman, Therese, wasn't nearly as lucky though. She has ovarian cancer that has spread throughout her entire abdomen. She hasn't had surgery yet because she is going through radiation and chemo to shrink the tumors first. She told me that her treatment is working because the tumors are disappearing. In her words, there are just a few dots left. She asked me what the surgery is like and I told her that the pain from the surgery is NOTHING compared to the pain of a twisted ovary. She hugged me and we exchanged business cards. I have a ribbon on my hat for her, and I was thinking about her today when I was out doing my 5 miles. She can't walk because the radiation or the chemo (take your pick) has caused her to have neuropathy in her legs and feet. She doesn't get her life back because they can't cure her cancer and she will have to have chemotherapy once a month for the rest of her life. She wasn't even upset about that becaus she said at least she gets a rest of her life to have. WOW!
Therese taught me something. She taught me that living in blissful ignorance really is just ignorant, and I am a coward. Well, I was a coward because from now on I'm going to make and keep my doctor's appointments. I will face what I must just like Therese does. I may not like doctors, but it is better than the alternative.
I also have a renewed resolve to keep fighting for a cure for breast cancer. I got just an itty bitty taste of what they go through. I lived in fear of my pathology report. I lived through the fear of the unknown and feeling like my own body had betrayed me. I was lucky, but there are so many who are not, so I'll walk until they find a cure or my body just can't do it anymore. When that day comes, I'll do something else to fight the fight though because I'm in this to END it, once and for all!