This has been me for a while. It’s been an interesting journey to remove the wig and allow the world to see me like this. I had much less hair before this photo and I barely dared to look at myself in the mirror but then it got fucking hot, and hotter and hotter and I told myself: ‘dude! What’s wrong with you? This isn’t your fault, just allow yourself some damn air!’
The first time I went bald was to Zumba -yeah, I did go to Zumba with a wig for two months (twice a week). It was awesome but it took a long time until I dared to go bald outside again. I got pneumonia that same night and I kind of laughed about it as I thought of what my mom would say about this: ves! Se te metio un chiflón!! (I don’t even know how to translate that, help!)
I did well during chemo (whatever that means!) then surgery came and here I am: with more hair than before, sort of stiff from half a mastectomy and reconstruction: the bad pain is gone, the creepy disgusting drains are gone and I can finally sleep on my side with the help of huge breastfeeding pillows that leave my husband with a quarter of the bed to sleep on. I’m finally losing the fear of what my body went through, recovering at a slow pace; a bit better everyday.
I wish I could say I did so well alone but I was scared shit-less and good thing that I caught it on time, almost a minute late. My MIL, my right hand, my friend and my mama in Israel, was gone -Argh, that is still such a tough one on my plate-. My neighbors were my complete support during chemo and they all offered to help because that is how awesome they are but they all have young children, jobs, appointments, you name it. I needed help and I made the call to my sister.
I’m sure she felt the same butterflies that I felt. She had never been out of the country, she doesn’t speak English, she didn’t have a passport to travel within a week and a half and so, we started to run. We got her a date, a ticket and an emergency passport thanks to a real angel and friend that I had met many years ago and then she came to Israel.
Airport security blog post is in the works… So many things to say about that…
She got here a day before my surgery, I picked her up at 5am at the airport and we left to Tel Aviv in the evening to walk the ‘Tayelet’ and see the ‘Namal’. She was in shock that we could walk alone at night by the beach without any weirdos giving us creepy looks, we wouldn’t dare to do that back home. I, proudly, explained that this is one of the many reasons I love this country so much, because I feel safe and free to be a woman. I’m street smart here obviously, I know where to go and I know where I shouldn’t go, that’s thanks to growing up in a gorgeous third world country where the streets are getting tougher and tougher everyday.
The next day at 5pm I went into the surgery room, with the peace of mind that – while my wonderful husband was outside trying to control his nerves- my sister and my father in law were in charge of the kids back home. We had reliable help and I wanted to get this shit done and run back home to talk endless hours with my sister. I had never been under anesthesia before in my life and I was sure *I* was going to wake up and remember when I fell asleep and understand what’s going on and where I am. Ha! Silly me! I got asked to rate the pain from 1 to 10 and I rated it a 9, boom! I got Morphine. I do remember waking up at 3.30am and telling my husband: ‘Papi! I got new boobs!’ And then I laughed and my husband mumbled: ‘Chica, go to sleep.’ It took a few minutes for me to go back to sleep because I was kind of laughing at the incident and wondering why I was in this sort of high. No, I didn’t remember getting morphine, I only found out the next day when my husband told me the whole story. Then I saw the many audios from friends in whatsapp and I thought ‘wow, I didn’t tell so many people that I was going into surgery.’ Then I listened to the ones from family, they were all cracking up because I left them funny audios bragging about having new boobs. Talk about drinking and texting! Well… lol.
Two nights later I went home and loved every minute spent at home with my sister. I never saw her do much, we were always talking but somehow the house got organized everywhere she passed by. Do you know how chaotic mornings are in my house? That is with me not having to get ready to leave for work outside the house; we run, yell, stop fights and get out the house fast walking (because we’re always fucking late!) and glad because there are witnesses outside: we are all a bit better and nicer outdoors. But with my sister at home everything ran so smooth that we felt like we had landed Mary Poppins to come and move in with us.
The kids were ready at 7am when I got up. And by ready I mean a thousand times better than my own version of ‘ready’. My girl was sporting an awesome chinese braid, she had shoes on, teeth brushed, bag with lunch and fresh water by the door with the art folder right next to it (yeah that huge fucking folder that I forget every Tuesday!). My boy had his clean glasses on, sports shoes on, he had finished eating (he really doesn’t know how to do that yet!) and he was sitting quietly ready to be taken to his gan: such a weird sight of my 3 year old. Bag ready by the door obviously. I thought: wtf? This isn’t humanly possible, mostly when my kids understand Spanish but don’t really speak it – correction: my 6 year old was suddenly speaking Spanish (to her only, not me), my 3 y.o insisted that if he continued to speak Hebrew she would get it at some point in life. So, yeah, they were very ready.
I thought for a second that maybe she’s trying to impress me but then I laughed at the thought. She’s always been like this. Organized, patient, wise, hilarious, bad mouthed and bad-ass, the one who has nursed so many women back to life, a nurse with no degree, a woman who has her shit together. She got them READY every morning, she helped me carry bags, assisted me in the shower to clean the hole of my drain on the side of my chest (I still want to faint at the thought of it). My fridge is currently cleaner than when I got it out of the box!
When the first drain came off I gave it a day and then we started driving and doing more. It felt good to do more rather than lay down in bed when I knew I couldn’t rest comfortably anyways. She pushed me to do the post mastectomy-reconstruction exercises that made me feel like an 80 year old. And I cooked, like crazy, because I really wanted to. I made two big family dinners within a week because my sister in law had arrived here too and the whole small family felt in very good spirits, the best since Passover.
We went to the tayelet in Natania with the help of one of my best friends when I wanted to inquire about a business move. The damn drain came with us. Other days we drove to Sarona, we ate venezuelan arepas at the shuk, we drove to HaHatzer in Kfar Saba, Yaffo with my family, she went to see Jerusalem, the Dead Sea and Masada. And we went to party the night before her last day here. I drove her and my friend at 4am back home. We had a blast and nothing hurt at the club. My only concern was that I can’t yet manage to wear high heels or use deodorant. Thank God there was AC.
Next night I took her to the airport, got into the long line for check in and we continued to catch up until we were able to and then we had to say goodbye when she was going to enter security.
I cried her a river but I was also so happy and grateful for having had the opportunity of having her at my house, so far from what we both have in common.