My recon changed my everyday home life. You know, the boring stuff: housework and chores we all have to do unless there’s a maid or kids in the house to split the load. Not in THIS house.

 First I put on comfy clothes, then got moving. A little.

Being a neat freak … light, very light vacuuming really helped ease muscle soreness once the initial surgery pain eased. I mean VERY slowly and I did not move any furniture. Who cares how long it takes? It’s baby steps. Recovering from reconstructive surgeries, house cleaning had to wait since my torso was so very sore. Honestly, that isn’t a gripe, just felt like I’d had a baby again at 59, so I sure wasn’t going to push myself so hard being nit-picky about my house — wasn’t worth it — I’m not a real neat freak anyway.

All of you O.C.D. mastectomy patients, just close your eyes to some clutter and dust collecting on the shelves till you’re strong enough to sweep and vacuum (unless someone shows sympathy and helps you clean house).

The summer heat 2014, was merciless. I harvested only enough ripe veggies that I could carry one handed. By fall, I let Mamma Nature blow those leaves. I said nope, I really didn’t need to sweep leaves off the patio. And once wintertime hit, shoveling snow was my husband’s task. That’s hard enough when you’re fit and strong.

I know it’s not so fun, but I washed windows in moderation the next spring, a light-handed swipe of mirrors and cobwebs did help rebuild range of motion in my arms. Just who splatters all the little toothpaste splats on the vanity mirror anyway? Later, as time goes you will build back strength to do chores on your own. Ohh gee, fun. Folding sheets and towels was a strain for me. My husband took over that portion of the laundry. Most grateful. Just be patient, enlist help or don’t bother being so darn tidy. That’s not as important as getting your rest.

It’s a simple fact. Most of us don’t have the luxury of post-surgery physical therapy. I experimented with various moves in my comfort zone, didn’t take but a few minutes of straining to figure out what my body’s range was. Not far.

weight gain …  

Ladies, ya know it’s gonna take a few months, maybe a year or two before you hop back on the 4-wheeler or just an easy roll on an 18-speed or maybe even …shakin’ for dear life in the coolest roller coasters at 75 G’s: 204 foot high  MAMBA at Worlds of Fun in Kansas City.

Gives me stomach shivers just to watch! Sso give yourself time to heal — chill out, mind the doc and you’ll be kickin’ it again before it’s ‘Miller Time’. Don’t stress out so much, life’s too damn short not to hang out or with worry on your back. Unless they all got whisked away in a tornado, all your bros and sisters will still be ready to partaY, pat ya on the back in a big-sweethearted “hey, how’s it goin’?”

Mind you, I am the eternal optimist, just presuming you gals who really love fun and gettin’ together, will be right back at it, come Hell or high water. That’s what real life’s about and you who’ve gotten rid of cancer, getting back on your feet is call for big congratulations! Don’t be shy about it either.

About any weight you gain… Speaking of, I hate to admit, but I ballooned thirty pounds in the months after my mastectomy. I was shocked at myself; nonetheless, I was told it was okay and normal. But I didn’t like it one damn bit and started to diet. My self-esteem had suffered enough losing a boob, then I had to lose weight. <sigh> I’d always had a fast metabolism. A mastectomy changed all that.

By later April, I busted out all my jeans. Reality check again. My nurse practitioner tried to console me there is a hormonal shift, affecting my metabolism now. I was still sore and so tired. I wanted to play like the rest of y’all. But I knew I had to play it safe — take it easy. I had to work myself into ‘play’ a little at a time. My daddy woulda been proud, I took my time, darn patient for an ol’ Irish gal.

get out … Missouri winters are normally just too frigid cold to take a nice stroll in December. Ya gotta walk fast to stay warm. That’s no fun unless you truly love jogging — I do not. Winter is beautiful, but that one was bitter cold. I’m talking zero and below. And snow that crunched-under-yer-boots-cold. Many people walk at the Independence Center mall for winter exercise. I couldn’t bear it and I couldn’t bring my dog. You see the excuses I made.

I waited it out — the following spring I knew that walking outdoors would help speed up my metabolism, hopefully shed pounds, at least I’d get back some of my energy. I began to walk my dog on my street. My neighbors knew me; they waved Hi and I stopped to chitchat, a welcome break from the monotony of winter. At first, I only had stamina to walk two houses down the street and back to my house, but I grew to look forward to those mini walks. I forgot my pain for a moment. Plus, the walk helped to regulate my system and refreshed my mood. And my mood really needed a booster (not in a pill or beer bottle). I don’t swig a beer so much as when I was young, but I knew what y’all were thinking to boost my mood … Not a tee-totaler, but an occasional beer wasn’t sittin’ too well with me, on Hydrocodone. I put the cork in that for a few months.

The spring air smelled so so good, I could not stay home. Within a month, Sasha and me walked two blocks to the Truman Library and another month passed we walked to the neighborhood park, watched the kids play. Sasha loved it! She trotted slightly ahead of me, wagging her fluffy tail, knowing exactly when to stop at the curb. She was a joy to have with me.

I was easily worn out but kept walking, sitting down to rest, walked a bit farther, making a little more progress every week. It took me all through spring and summer walking farther; enabling me to set a faster pace by the end of the summer. I lost 4 pounds.