Those of you who know me know that I like words and playing with them. I had an aspiration today. Until I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I’d have thought of an aspiration as a kind of goal, an ambition. When I use that word to describe what I experienced today, it means “the act of removing a fluid” (as defined in Dictionary.com). But I’ve had another aspiration, one of the goal type, for a while. That’s been to go to Savannah to see Sahkanaga. Tomorrow I’ll get on the interstate to do just that, right after my radiation treatment.
My aspiration today will make that trip more comfortable. I had the node-removal site aspirated about a month ago. While the seroma in my breast did not fill back up (or not enough to cause problems), the seroma at the node-removal site did. It got really big and has been uncomfortable for a while. My radiation oncologist decided last week that it would be best to have it aspirated, but we decided to wait until just before my Savannah trip so that I’d have more days without radiation after the aspiration. We wonder if the radiation makes it fill more. I think it does – or has. So today I saw my surgeon again. I was hoping that I didn’t have another record-setting aspiration in front of me. The surgeon drew off 150 ml of serous fluid. That’s three times more than he drew from the node-removal site seroma last time, but less than half of what he got from the giant seroma in my breast last time. Though it was a lot, it wasn’t record-setting. So far, the pain from the aspiration is about the same and maybe even less than the pain from when it was a big knot under my arm. I’m grateful to have that knot gone, and I hope it does NOT refill, at least not a lot.
So God willing and the creeks don’t rise, I’ll be in Savannah at this time tomorrow. Along with being in Savannah and seeing Sahkanaga, I’ll get a break from radiation treatments so that my very red skin can heal some, plus I’ll get to spend time with John, the movie’s writer/director/producer (and his sister), and I’ll get to see some of my cousins and two aunts and an uncle and some “old” and not-so-old friends. It will be a full and happy and healing time. I’m hoping that my energy level is high enough for me to enjoy being with lots of people, but I’ll have to be mindful if I feel tired. I’ve learned that I need to listen to what my body is telling me, even when I don’t want to hear it.
Yesterday I had an outing with a friend who lives near Mentone, Alabama. We went to the Wildflower Cafe, and I was struck with the flowers out front. So here I am, sans hat. You can barely see the fuzz growing on my mostly-bare head. I do have some gray and white hair coming in. No eyebrows and very few eyelashes, though. I did have a hat, but it made too much of a shadow for the photo. So you get to see me in all of my baldheadedness. I’m just so grateful to have the energy to be out and about some, visiting with friends, enjoying spring. Even if I don’t have the energy to do everything I’d like to do and have to rest a lot, it’s so good to be able to stand for a little bit and to walk a fair distance – and not to have to find the nearest parking place to where I’m going. Heck, today I even parked in the farthest-away row at Hutcheson! That’s progress.
It feels good to have one aspiration done and another about to be fulfilled (instead of unfilled). I’m looking forward to being on the road again and being back in Savannah and Effingham County. And today was my 23rd radiation treatment. That means I have only 10 left. I’m almost at the end of the treatments for the breast cancer I had diagnosed in September. Eight months of pain and tiredness and just getting through each day – almost over. Though I’m more grateful than I can put into words, I also hope I don’t forget what I’ve learned and lapse into “normal” life. That life for me did not include the daily awareness and appreciation I have now. I don’t want to lose that. I’m pretty sure I won’t lose it in this return home to sandy soil, live oaks, piney woods, and Spanish moss. Two aspirations in two days. Could I be more blessed?