The “return to normal” became such a catchphrase during the pandemic. But we are still not normal and now besides Covid we have to worry about monkey pox! Ever feel like we are living in the twilight zone or something?
Anyway, the return to normal I am referencing is my return to feeling like me and able to do what I used to before surgery and before cancer. One of those returning to normal things is going to be a return to work in a few weeks which I am completely stressing about already, but it will be good to get back to a normal routine.
The other normal is also the return to feeling like myself following chemo and my mastectomy. Last week I began to feel like I am finally getting there. I can lift more things, move my arms more than I ever have since my surgery and I can pick Alice up out of the car and on and off the changing table. I feel comfortable taking up to three of my kids out with me and am beginning to do more than just lay around most of the day.
One of the harder things to resume at a normal level for me is exercise. Fortunately I have been able to walk and have gradually built up to the long walks I was doing prior to surgery. But I couldn’t do HIIT or Pilates workouts like I was used to. Even many of the yoga poses I did daily weren’t doable: I either couldn’t extend my arms to do the pose and laying flat on my back was not comfortable.
But yesterday for the first time since my surgery I tried a non-walking workout. I did a short HIIT workout that was squat and leg heavy since my upper body strength and mobility is still limited. I did a short barre workout and dance workout and felt great to be back doing exercises I love. After these workouts were over I finally got back into my yoga routine or as much of it as I could, which was probably half to 3/4 of the poses I normally do.
I finally felt somewhat back to normal. The hard part is still the fatigue. I still nap almost daily and spend more time than I like laying around but this is all part of the recovery. It’s a combination of the surgery and 16 rounds of chemo and most likely is more from the chemo than the surgery. And the fatigue is one of the things I worry about most when I return to work. But I still get a few more weeks to recover before really worrying about that.
It’s been small steps and a slow process but I am starting to feel like myself. It won’t be easy when I return to work but feeling good and a bit like myself is a good start. I’ve learned to celebrate the small steps or the small victories and this small progress is something to celebrate as I work towards the return to normal.
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