In case you are wondering where I have been for the past two weeks, I have been active. I might not have been active on this website, but I have been active. Like many of you, I have been dedicating my time to my day job, exercise that is never frequent enough, napping, and honestly doing “nothing.”
On and off since my breast cancer diagnosis, I have not been sleeping well. When I went on leave to focus on my recovery from surgery, I had more time to focus on making sleep and other basic self-care habits a priority.
After my leave ended, I started radiation and returned to work within a day of each other. Again I had to learn new sleeping patterns as my daily schedule had drastically changed within only a couple days.
Then my radiation ended, and I had to readjust my daily work schedule and relearn new sleeping patterns. It is as if my body does not know how much to rest because it does not know what to expect.
If you couldn’t tell by now, the titles for my blog posts are getting really long. There is so much to discuss in the world that short titles do not seem fitting anymore.
When I first started Unfiltered Snapshot five years ago, you could tell by my earlier posts that it was meant to serve as a place for advice. The first post is titled Are You Really Looking for Advice? The tagline originally was “Raw Advice for Real Life.” That was the intention.
Actually, if you are like many people in my social circles who have been heavily engaged in the active work of racial justice, the last few decades have felt extremely long.
I both am encouraged to see more people fighting for racial justice—especially Black lives—in ways I have not seen in my lifetime, and I also am frustrated that this journey to progress is both so long and mentally and emotionally taxing for those involved. This is why when I saw the NPR Code Switch piece titled A Decade of Watching Black People Die, I thought to myself, “A decade? JUST a decade?” I decided not to listen to it.
I haven’t written here in two weeks. In case you were wondering why, it’s because I got a mastectomy a couple days after my last post. I’ve been adjusting and readjusting to my new body.
If you regularly meditate or do yoga, you’re likely familiar with the concept of the mind-body connection. Well, my mind-body connection is so thrown off. My mind and body are confused. This week, a social worker at my hospital told me that this feeling is normal. She said my mind and body are working to reintegrate their connection to each other.
Prior to my mastectomy, I was so scared of how I would feel when I woke up without one breast after the operation.
After my operation, I woke up with a nurse beside my bed in the recovery room. After a few minutes (or what seemed like a few minutes) of her asking me how I felt, another woman pulled open the curtain around my bed and walked in. This new woman introduced herself as a chaplain of the hospital.
“You’re Regina?” I asked. Yes, she was surprised that I knew her name. I explained that another chaplain had referred me to her and told me to expect a visit after surgery.
Regina asked how I was, and unexpectedly I had a lot to say. My throat hurt from whatever tubes the doctors had put down my throat, but I recall a lot of word vomit. Since it was my first time meeting Regina, I recounted the events of my discovering the lump in my breast, steps I took in my medical care, and the shock I was feeling post-operation. I was surprised how much I had to say. I was feeling light-headed and/or dizzy from anesthetics and medication (and continued to feel that way over the next couple days), but that didn’t stop me from being talkative. I think I was word vomiting because I needed some way of immediately processing everything.