Yes, really it was!
Finally, after 9 weeks of nothing I got out and just danced.
I have a very funny recording of my plastic surgeon giving me permission to dance and saying that there is nothing I could do at this point that would delay my healing.
At this point, it is what it is. Everything is actually healed, it is just that the skin has not yet closed. Because even though in the end the skin let go and caused the wound to open more than it was originally, everything underneath the skin is healed and nothing I do or don’t do will cause things to ‘open’ or be worse.
In fact, the activity may be beneficial as it increases circulation to the site and promotes healing. Even wearing a bra is beneficial as it will lift the ‘noob’ up off of the chest and allow air to get at the wound. At this point, the plan is to keep an eye on it and see how it progresses healing on it’s own.
So, I bit the bullet and took the opportunity to go to one of social dances I usually attend tonight and see how it went.
It went great. Truly and completely. My mind is still trying to process everything. I didn’t stay long, and I certainly wasn’t dancing steady but the main thing is that I danced. And I wasn’t really holding anything back. I even did a jive.
Certainly I tired quickly and surely I am definitely out of shape, but there were some interesting positives too. I am definitely lighter on my feet, faster, and have a lot more control of my momentum. In a lot of ways, things are almost easier because it takes less effort to do the same things.
The funny thing that happened (well maybe not fun for my partners) was that I kept accidentally stepping on my partner’s toes in Standard–because I am not use to being so close without my belly between us. That is going to take some getting used to for sure. I have no idea how that is going to translate to dancing standard with Boss.
He was at the social dance tonight and we got to do a rumba to try it out and it went really well. It even attracted the attention of some of the people I usually dance with, which surprised me, although I am willing to assume it was more that I haven’t danced in so long.
I can’t even begin to explain how much just a little bit of dancing has completely lifted my mood. It is such a profound difference after so much time and so many complications.
Speaking of complications…
There is a small storm-cloud on the horizon. Monday my surgeon is going to insert a drain back into my abdomen because of the amount of fluid that is collected there. Unfortunately, on top of everything else I went through on the weekend, by Sunday night my belly had filled back up with so much fluid my pre-surgery pants will barely do up, and it hasn’t drained since. I feel like my skin might burst open if poked too hard.
The small silver lining to that is that my surgeon is going to allow me to dance even with the drain–provided what I do doesn’t pull at it and interfere with it. It’s actually good for me to be active with the drain because firstly it encourages circulation of the fluid (instead of just collecting as I sit), and secondly it forces my body to adapt to my regular activity as it heals. I will have the drain until the amount draining is below 30 ml in a 24-hour period, or the amount stalls and stops diminishing. To give you an idea–during my surgery when the attempt was made at closing the wound, the surgeon drained more than 300 ml from my belly.
So jive is probably going to be out for a while (I can see the ‘bouncing’ being a bit of an issue) and it’s going to take some adapting to figure out how to dance while supporting the drain, but with a little luck (and I am due for some!) my body will adapt, the amount draining will decrease rapidly and I can have it removed. Social dancing will also be off limits as long as I have a drain, so I am very glad to have had the chance to dance drain-free tonight.
For both the wound and belly issue–if they don’t resolve on their own–I am facing surgery to fix them. For the wound I may need a skin graft to cover the gap in the skin, and for the belly it may be necessary to stitch closed the gaps left by the removed tissue to keep fluid from collecting. I am cautiously optimistic right now that neither measure will be necessary.
My return to work has also been delayed another 30 days, although that also has the do with the potential return to hormone therapy which will be discussed with my oncologist next week and how I might react to that if that is what is decided.
All of that aside, I have finally scheduled my first lesson back for Wednesday and a tentative plan for when my lessons will be from there. Boss and I are meeting on Tuesday to discuss goals, and figure out a plan of action for getting me back in shape and moving me forward.
After 9 weeks, it is such a relief to know I have at least something to look forward to, and that there is indeed light at the end of the tunnel–even if it is way off in the distance. It took almost all week and a lot of introspection and thought but I am finally beginning to rally myself together and pick up the pieces of my life.
One day and dance at a time.