Empress of the Universe

Monday, April 23, 2007

Smelling the Spring Flowers

Today is day 5 post-double-mastectomy-breast-cancer surgery. It is difficult to remind myself that life is good. This is a horrible disease, a painful antidote, a life-changing event over which I have very, very little control. Not easy to accept for a self-admitted control freak.

I have been so tempted to name this post "Tits and Pussy." I figured it would likely generate a lot of readers, many of whom would have been so disappointed by the content. The tits part, I think, is self-explanatory. For almost two months now my breasts have been the centre of my universe. For five days now, the centre of my entire being. The pussy part might be a little surprising to some. It seems that our cat, Chia, cannot forget that I have saved her life twice in the past couple months. Since I came home from surgery last Wednesday, she has not left my side. If I dare leave my bed without an attendant, she follows me, tattling at the top of her lungs to anyone who'll listen. In telling a story to my mother yesterday, I pretended to cry. The poor cat started to panic. It took hours of petting her with my one good hand to convince her that I was not in any danger. Most people have a guardian angel - I have a guardian cat!

Believe it or not, it has been wonderful having her here for comfort and love. Most of the burden of caring for me has been on the strong shoulders of my wonderful husband, Ljuban. After all, he's been my primary care-giver, drain-emptier, pee-assister, hair-washer, tea-maker, up-and-down-the-stairs-runner, with much-appreciated assistance from my Mom and daughter, Shannon. But it's been the cat who's been there to make sure that I've adjusted my pillow properly, have my left arm elevated, am covered and warm even though the windows have been open on these beautiful summer-like spring days. She's the only one who knows if I've been crying, hurting, grimacing, shifting position by degrees.

She's been my loyal companion through countless episodes of The Munsters. Yes, The Munsters has (have?) been my escape through this recovery. My brother, Joe, lent us the box set some time ago where it sat largely ignored on the DVD pile. What better way to not think than to immerse yourself in the antics of America's first ghoulishly funny family? Once I am well, I probably won't watch another episode again as long as I live (I hope), and I'm sure I shall quickly forget them all, but these past few days and very long nights, they are my refuge. It takes far less commitment than watching TV. If I fall asleep I can quickly rewind to my last conscious memory. It generates only a few belly laughs, a few more chuckles and is incredibly well-written, well-acted and wholesomely entertaining. I have enjoyed watching the evolution of the writing and production teams, the characters, costumes, budgets over time. Since there are credit courses in university on shows like Seinfeld (I don't get it) and The Simpsons (ditto), there should certainly be critical analysis courses on The Cultural Evolution of The Munsters.

I'm sorry if you haven't heard from me. I have written very few emails since it takes a lot of energy to sit up and type at my computer. My left arm is very numb, and seemingly feeling numb-er the more the medication wears off. It is even more difficult to find the energy to talk on the phone.

I have a lot of thoughts although very few are coherent. Far fewer are interesting at this time to anyone other than me.

I have been blessed with an abundance of spring flowers, thank you dear Friends! Our bedroom is quite colourful and lively, so much so, that we have started spreading the bouquets and arrangements throughout the house.

Today I ventured out for a "walk" -- it was my first time downstairs and a few steps beyond our front porch -- to enjoy the spring flowers now blooming in our gardens.

Instead of focusing on my pain, misery, feelings of despair, today's post is entitled "Smelling the Spring Flowers" because it is positive, optimistic and hopeful. And probably more family-appropriate than "Tits and Pussy."

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