For those of you who don’t follow Boob in a Box on Facebook, here’s why I’ve been quiet of late. On April 8, quite literally as we were about to head off on Easter holidays, I tripped over in the garage at home and smashed my shoulder into many pieces. I also cut my head open, but the pain of a broken humerus meant that I had no idea from where the ever-increasing pool of blood on the floor was coming. All I knew was the pain in my shoulder, which made me alternately scream and moan. I’ve had a breast cut off, chemotherapy and burns from radiation requiring daily hospital treatment, but nothing, NOTHING, comes close to the pain of a broken shoulder. When the wonderful paramedics arrived, they gave me morphine, but it seemed to do nothing. The ambulance ride to hospital was agonising and continued to scream and moan.
My left arm broken, my right arm compromised by a lack of lymph nodes, the doctors in emergency searched my feet for a vein to give me more pain relief. They had no luck, so decided to risk going in through my right arm, and pumped me with more morphine, then something else, then something else. I started to lose my grip on reality, but the pain was unceasing. I went for an x-ray and the pillow supporting my shoulder slipped off the side of the gurney, and I heard my own screams reverberate through the lead-lined room.
I spent three days in hospital as the orthopedic surgeon contemplated surgery and attempted to get my pain under control. The first 48 hours was spent in the clothes I’d had on when I fell, the pain too severe to risk the movement required to change me. Eventually, the pain was dampened to a dull roar, and I was sent home in a shoulder immobiliser, with five different painkillers and anti-nausea meds to counteract the painkillers.
This paragraph should be all about my slow but positive progress towards healing, interspersed with hilarious tales about sponge baths, but alas dear reader, that was not how the cookie, nor for that matter my shoulder, crumbles. Almost ten weeks on, and I have just been told that I now need surgery to put a plate into my arm to support my humerus, which has not healed properly. The surgery carries with it the risk that the nerves will be damaged and my hand paralysed, but without the surgery my entire arm is useless, so I signed the waiver this morning and will turn up to hospital again next Wednesday, with all my mustered hope clasped hard against me, and trust the surgeon to do his best.
Part of being someone who’s had cancer is when shitty things happen being grateful that they aren’t cancer. I’ve had ten weeks of awful pain, near-constant discomfort and a mindset see-sawing between sad, angry and sad about being angry, all the while with the back of mind mantra but at least it’s not cancer. That was, until today, when the orthopaedic surgeon confirmed that the break was so bad, and the healing so poor, because I have osteoporosis. At 47, my bones are brittle and fragile, thanks to months of chemotherapy, and years of subsequent drug therapy in the form of the gift that keeps on giving, Anastrazole. The cancer’s not back, it’s not cancer, but you know what, it actually is bloody cancer because if I’d never had cancer in the first place I wouldn’t be sitting here typing this blog post with my fucking nose now, would I?
And breathe …
But at least it’s not cancer.