And as the days passed (and very quickly I might add) it seemed I could feel an end to this turmoil. There was no reason to believe the cancer had spread or would come back.
Oh sure, there’s a chance and that is always in my heart and mind, but for now all seemed to be ok.
It was during this radiation that I experienced the final side effects … continued hair loss (now under my arms, eye lashes, etc.) and there was always constant fatigue. I was becoming used to the afternoon naps or even sometimes in the mornings.
This was late summer, I had created a comfortable area on my covered back porch. I had lots of books to read, painting, and gardening and for the first time in a long time I was able to enjoy myself … if even in small doses. I cooked for my family everyday, filled the freezer with soups and stews. Shopped a bit for a fresh new look to return to work. I was very tan, but had gained a few pounds and was apprehensive about my appearance. I just wanted to be Patti again, I knew she was gone forever, and at the very least she would have to re-invented.
I knew that when this was over I was to expect another period of recovery and then I should resume normal activities.
Normal activities … I honestly couldn’t remember what normal activities were anymore. But I was ready to try. Radiation was finished by the end of August, I took the month of September on Dr.’s instructions to rest and planned to return to work October 1st.
By the end of September my hair was returning. Still crazy short, stubble actually, it was nearly completely gray. Not gray really, more silver; a nice mix of my natural dark strands quickly being overcome with absolutely white strands. And it was curly, the curls of my youth, I vowed to never take advantage of my hair again. I wouldn’t abuse it, I would buy good products and never would color it again. And I still get compliments on my hair, and I always thank God for it and remind people that it is brand new. Brand new; from the folicle out. So how can it not look good?
Still this feeling wasn’t enough to keep me from the fright of returning to work. I can’t really explain it except to say that I was scared. I so wanted to disappear into the throng of government workers and not be noticed, but knew I would be.
My return date as October 1.
National Breast Cancer Awareness month!
So much for hiding.