Post-Operative Depression

Sitting in therapy the other day, I learned of a fun new thing that I may have been plagued with: post-operative depression. Because, why not? When you think of it, sedatives are a depressant. Anesthesia sedates you so well that you actually keep sleeping while your insides are taken out. (Sorry for that visual if you’re squeamish.) So it makes sense that anesthesia is a pretty heavy depressant. Which helps to explain my current low. It also doesn’t bode well, seeing as how I have a double mastectomy scheduled for the end of this month.

I was low a couple days before my last surgery, and unfortunately I never seem to be that far off from a low. Being in pain certainly doesn’t help. There’s a lot that I want to do that I can’t or have to change how I do it now. Like helping to clean up at the end of the day I have to pick and choose what I do. I still can’t lift my kids up when they get hurt, but if we’re careful they can sit on my lap now. Two of my incisions are healed up nicely, but two look as if they want to open back up. It’s all frustrating. What makes being low now all the more frustrating is that I don’t have any interest in doing the few things I can do.

I have a book I wrote that needs to be reread and edited. I have an outline for another book that I need to finish. I have this blog and another blog I could work on. I have several new books that I haven’t even started. All of this is fun to me when I am not low. I love reading and writing and am blessed that I have several outlets for that enjoyment. All of these are also low impact, which is what I need to be doing right now.

I could technically be doing more, physically. But I need to heal quickly without any risk of injury for my surgery on the 30th. So I’m resting, and getting my writing in when my mood permits. I think a lot of people are surprised that I’m getting this surgery done, but I’m on a timeline for this year. My husband is a teacher and this is summer break. It’s the perfect time for me to have a surgery that requires six weeks of recovery. Because that’s exactly how many weeks I will have with my June 30th surgery date.

But what about next year, or the year after? Next summer we want to move, and I can tell you that I do NOT want to have this surgery and try and move at the same time. Our apartment is small, and while it fits our family now, living here another two or more years is out of the question. The summer after that would be fine, except that I’d be two years older. I have the BRCA2 gene mutation. Which means that every year I have my breasts I am at risk of getting breast cancer.

As it has been for the past few years, I get a breast MRI, six months later I get a mammogram, six months later I get a MRI, six months later I get a mammogram, and so on and so forth. But every time I get these tests done, every time I do a self breast exam, I hold my breath. I hold my breath in fear that something is there. Something bad. I’ve had four biopsies done and have had other lumps looked at more closely. And it’s terrifying.

So I’ll read between lows, I’ll write when I can snag a few minutes, and I’ll take six or seven tries to finish this post just to not have to worry. And these mini-lows are mini. They’re not that bad. Plus, they will end. If I get plenty of sleep and stay on my meds, I’ll get through it. At least, I’ll get through the post-operative lows. Lows are still something I’ll see, but perhaps I’ll feel better once all these surgeries are behind me.

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