FINAL CLEARANCE BY RECONSTRUCTIVE SURGEON
The day has come! I have received post-operative clearance from Dr. Spiegel. Tomorrow marks my six-week anniversary of the surgery as well as the standard recovery time. I will return again in two months to ensure the healing continued and that no new issues have arisen.
I’m wondering if it’s possible to be nostalgic for the time spent with them. Dr. Spiegel is a good soul, a rare breed in the medical field. I have a lot of good doctors; actually, I have some great doctors. But, as with every profession, I suppose, there are some people who are gifted and who happened to choose the field of expertise that suits their gifts best. I think of the many people I’ve come across and think, “They would’ve been a good engineer,” or “Man, they missed their calling as an artist.” I am so thankful that no one will ever say that about Dr. Spiegel. It seems she’s missed nothing, and her patients, her staff, her counterparts… we’re all beneficiaries. Four months ago I was terrified. I was navigating a path for myself and had slumped into a weird state of mind. I remember never being able to walk out of that hospital, that medical building, without hiding my crying face behind Ken’s shoulder as we walked. I crumpled up on the floor of the kitchen with my daughter, not knowing what kind of journey I was on. I had spontaneous fits of fear and anxiety that no one could quell. Every day was some weird cross between paralysis and muscle flexing. Every visit with Dr. Spiegel, or Dr. Lim, or Dr. Patel, felt like another step on the gangplank. Probably the strangest experience of all was that I did absolutely no reading, not an ounce of research on breast cancer, treatment, surgery, reconstruction or recovery. Very unlike me, with my mounds of books and papers on every condition or illness I’ve ever had. I put the word, “TRUST” as my iPhone’s wallpaper in a self-programming effort. The most surprising result happened the day of surgery. One short bout of tears between zen zones. I had accomplished what was, for me, the unthinkable. I was about to be a really good patient.
So, here we are, six weeks out, cancer free, and I’m receiving my final clearance from the women who’ve mastered the journey for so many. I am so eternally grateful for every single thing I’ve been through. This experience has given me an understanding of what every day heroes are truly like. They study their passion and perfect their service. They’re jam-packed with compassion and hold valuable the lives of others. Sometimes, they even bring people out of their darkest places. How lucky I am.
The brilliant Dr. Aldona Spiegel, me, and Dr. Spiegel’s amazing and lovely PA, Nicole.