In Australia, September marks the start of Spring. I have always particularly loved the month of September. I am a lover of the sun and typically, although we have mild winters in Perth, the sun really does start to shine in ernest in September. Also, the Italian film festival is on in September and while that may not seem like anything to write home about, having studied Italian, I always love the festival. The festival also marks the beginning of a fun time of year as we head toward the festive period of December, at least in my mind.
This September has been busy. I am now nearly eight weeks post my ‘exchange’ surgery which happened in late July. That was a surgery where the air expanders (rocks!) that were stretching my breast skin were exchanged for silicone implants. My boobs are looking pretty good now as things start to really settle down. But there’s a little way to go before I’m completely finished with the reconstruction. I don’t quite know what lies ahead, but a visit to my surgeon in a few weeks will give me a clearer idea.
Now that I’m eight weeks post surgery, I’ve also been given the all clear to exercise. Just in time because I signed up to the ‘Steptember’ challenge with some work colleagues this September. We have to step 10,000 steps everyday to raise awareness and much needed funds for people with cerebral palsy. It’s a movement challenge which is symbolic of the fact that people suffering with cerebral palsy have such restricted/ limited movement. So far this month I’ve stepped 223,000 steps. With 10 days to go, I’m feeling pretty good. If you’re feeling generous and would like to sponsor my team, the Corrs Walkaholics, you can do so here.
My bathroom renovation has also been happening this month. So far the demolition and tiling are done. It’s been a little more involved than I anticipated, but I’m pretty pleased with how it’s all coming together. Next on the reno list is the kitchen. Eeeeppp. That’s one for next year.
In and amongst the stepping and the renovating, I’ve returned to pilates and been working. Yesterday I was part of a flexibility discussion at work – given I work part time and am not a mother, I’m an unusual candidate for flexibility at work. But I have to say that I continue to enjoy the part time work arrangement. Although, in the last few weeks I’ve been contemplating whether it’s time to increase to four days a week. Seems like a big step, but I think it’s one that will be good for me (and my team). I take my hat off to those who have successfully navigated flexible working arrangements in the past. I certainly don’t find it easy to work part time, but I do think it’s so important for my health and sanity to continue trying.
Trying to piece together this new normal life of mine certainly isn’t always easy. And I have to say sometimes it frankly bloody sucks. I feel grateful, every day, for different things. For example last week my friend Sara made me climb the rocks in North Beach. A month ago my body simply wouldn’t have been strong enough, but with some persistence (and grumbling), I managed. Win. I’m also more energetic than I have been in a little while. I credit the walking, but it could also just be time. But while I’m pretty happy and grateful most of the time, sometimes the events of the last two years hit me like a tonne of bricks and I get a bit shitty about just how hard everything has been. My lymphy arm remains a source of constant struggle and every time I overdo things (too much work, too much physical activity etc) I get a flare up which in turn is a trigger for me. A constant reminder that my body will never be the same again (just in case the fake boobs didn’t give it away!).
I suspect that all I actually need is a holiday. But having taken so much leave this for surgeries, there’s not much left over for a break… I am, however, looking forward to four days in Melbourne at the end of October and a work course in Singapore in November. I’m sure they’ll help me recharge my batteries!
In the meantime, I’m trying to think of a fundraising idea for an October fundraiser for Breast Cancer Care WA. I’m thinking a dance class, but can’t quite decide! All ideas welcome…
For everyone in WA, I hope you find some time to relax and enjoy the sunshine over the long weekend.