Home is where the flowers are.

Home is where the flowers are. (Thank you everyone for sending such beautiful bouquets!)

Recovery is hard. Before the surgery, I had heard that it actually wasn’t too bad, and that chemo was way worse. And maybe that’s right, but that only speaks to how seriously horrible chemo is, because recovery from a bilateral mastectomy is some serious business.

After the surgery on Wednesday, I was told that it went well, or at least as well as planned. This was how the basic conversation went:

Doctor: How are you feeling?

Me: Okay. How are you feeling?

Doctor: Fine. Thank you.

Me: How did it go? Is the cancer gone? Did you get it all?

D: It went well. We won’t know about the cancer until we get the pathology report.

M: Oh. But do you think it’s gone?

D: I can’t say.

M: But do you believe it’s gone?

D: We won’t know for a couple weeks.

M: Well, I believe it’s gone.

Then I passed out from the morphine.

That day was tough. I was supposed to go home the next day but the pain was still pretty horrible. I could barely walk, so I asked to stay an extra night. The next day was a bit better. Still tough, but better.

When I got home, Nate ran around in circles saying “mama,” “mommy,” “mama.” It was adorable. I piled a little pillow fort around me just in case he accidentally karate chopped me. The home nurse came by that day and removed one drain and took off the bandages. That, again, was tough. I’m still wearing the post-op camisole so I haven’t really had to face the scars. I’m not ready for that yet. (I had four drains total, two on each side. Three have now been removed.)

Hide and seek.

Hide and seek.

I am still in a fair amount of pain. But at least I can stand up on my own now. And I know that each day will get a little bit better.

I’ve been shying away from posting a picture of me without hair, but now that I don’t have boobs, the whole no-hair thing doesn’t seem like that big of a deal. There’s some perspective for you!

Me, post-chemo.

Me, post-chemo, pre-surgery.

About Naomi

Writing about health/wellness and motherhood at www.everybodyhearts.com and academia and research at www.tracingmemory.com
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38 Responses to Home

  1. hensleton says:

    Hate to hear that you are in pain, Naomi, but am glad you feel well enough to write and post. I can’t speak from experience, but I think it’s safe to say: IT GETS BETTER! Remember how strong and lovely you are. You are stunning (as always) in your photos, and I can’t wait to see you in person! Much Love!

  2. Jill Fenn says:

    You are courageously honest, Naomi, and so so beautiful !!! I send you love and wish you wellness A.S.A.P. !!!
    JILL & family XOX

  3. Natalie says:

    Naomi dear, you’re a fighter (although I am sure Neil and I would debate the use of militaristic discourse in the context of disease, as we do!). Your resilience and candor are inspiring and I have actually shared your blog with a few people living with HIV/AIDS…and they send you much love and mad respect. Love to you and yours, from me, Neil, and Jack.

    • Naomi says:

      Haha – I’ve actually thought about all the militaristic language used around cancer (battle, fighter, survivor etc.) and sometimes I try to avoid it, and sometimes not so much.
      I’m glad you’ve shared the blog with people who might relate in some way or another.
      Lots of love to you and the family too.

      • nataliekallio@gmail.com says:

        (We all know Neil’s pedantry emerges from genuine concern!)

  4. joy says:

    you actually look quite beautiful. I pray that your recovery goes better each day

  5. You are so beautiful and so brave. xox

  6. Jess says:

    You are stunning, brilliant and brave! Much love, Jess

  7. Virginia says:

    Hair or no hair you are still hot stuff! Big hugs to you all xoxo – glad you are home with your babester.

  8. Linda says:

    I am not letting my fear of ‘not knowing what to say’ stop me. As a woman, wife, mom, daughter, friend (not necessarily in that order), I am deeply touched by you. Through Mitch, I feel like I know you far beyond the little time we spent together when Nate was born. I wish that you were not going through any of this at all; I hope that the worst is behind you. I wish you a quick and full recovery. Sending you much love and healthy vibes. xoxo

    • Naomi says:

      Thanks so much, Linda. I’m glad you posted a comment. Sometimes it’s hard to know what to say, but I think you said the perfect thing. Thank you. Xoxo

  9. Andra says:

    Soooo glad to hear that you are home safe and sound and your sense of humour is fully intact! You have such a wonderful perspective. I can’t get over how endlessly cute that Nate is, and his mom too! Send out signals when you are ready for action!

  10. Christopher Michael says:

    Nomi !! You look absolutely beautiful and buddhist. So pure and angelic. It looks like you’ve already started to inspire with your story and honesty throughout this journey and experience, and the book isn’t even written yet! It’s with love, joy, health and happiness that you radiate in my minds eye. I’m so happy to see you on the road to recovery and can’t wait to see you soon!
    Om Shanti Shanti xxxx

  11. t'ai says:

    that doctor needs to work on his bedside manor. i’m with you, i believe its gone too! i can’t stand that you’re in so much pain sis. not much longer till i’m there to hold your hand. love you endlessly.

  12. kap says:

    Beh, all that hair was just distracting us from how gorgeous your face is. 🙂
    Lots of love!

  13. Chocho T says:

    Naomi, we are happy to hear your surgery was a success. We pray that all your test results come back negative and that your cancer is gone, gone, and be forgotten!!! May you continue to find strength in your family. Continue to enjoy the sunshine, Nate, and Mitch. God bless you!!! xo

  14. Elizabeth says:

    Can we talk about that son of yours? If he gets any cuter, I might just keel over from the adorable. Also, you win the championship of awesome. Even given my own experiences on both sides of the bed, I am limited in imagining how challenging this experience must have been, and by extension, how ballsy you are. (I also feel some ambivalence about the military style descriptions of fighting disease, but when I say things like this, I typically imagine more of an anime or a video game with lots of pretty colors and shouting things like, “FIRE SHADOW THUNDERBOLT!”) And I’d like to echo everyone else who said it gets better. It absolutely does. I can empathize with the fact that recovery from surgery is Not Fun At All, but every single day the light at the end of the tunnel gets brighter.
    Love and hugs,
    Elizabeth (and Adam)

    • Naomi says:

      Thanks, Elizabeth and Adam. You’re right – every day the light gets brighter. Can’t wait to bask in it. lots of love. xoxo

  15. Meriah says:

    I am just going to echo what has been said, you are amazing.

  16. Pingback: The Art of Slowing Down | Everybody Hearts

  17. Franck Deroche says:

    Hi Naomi,

    Sending you some hugs, strength and positive energy from SA. Although we haven’t seen each other or spoken for a very long time, I got news over the years from Kristy. SA is as beautiful (if not more) as when you left. I look forward to seeing you again one day in Madiba’s land or elsewhere, with your family, as well as introducing you to my Naomi.
    Wishing you all the best, je t’embrasse,

    • Naomi says:

      Thank you Franck. It is lovely to hear from you, although I wish it were under better circumstances! I miss SA and the beautiful weather there (not to mention the awesome people!). It would be great to see you again and meet Naomi – something to look forward too.

  18. charlenechoi says:

    LOVE. So much love. For you. And yours.


    Your bravery, courange, and beauty is stunning. I hope you know, there are hoards of us, from near and far, supporting you. We love you. We love you.

    Through the unspeakable joys and pains, you perservere. I am deeply moved and awed by your strength, your honesty, and your clarity though this immensely difficult time. And I am sending much love, laughter, and goodness to you, to Nate, and to Mitchell.

    I’ve thought of you most every morning, since seeing your words these past few weeks. (Thank you for these posts. Truly.) I wish you a full and steady and clear recovery, Naomi. Keep on. And know that you — being an incredible woman, mother, wife, and friend — are very, very loved.


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