Catch and Release

The Bait

Last week exactly to the hour, I was ripping across a frozen lake on a snow mobile.  My head nearly exploding with excitement and joy.  If I wasn’t wearing a helmet that fogged easily, I would have screamed at the top of my lungs.  No one knew how incredible this moment was for me and I wasn’t about to tell either.

I was ice fishing in Northern Wisconsin.  No, it was not my idea and I went with a great deal of trepidation. My team at work needed to meet and we turned it into a bonding experience up at the ancestral home of my boss.  Northern Wisconsin is beautiful but cold.  Yes, I work primarily with men and so ice fishing, snow mobile riding and meat were the main attractions.  They didn’t pound their chests with loud grunts but given a few more days that would have come too.

My trepidation wasn’t being a part of this merry gathering.  Up until a few years ago, I was in the fray with the best of them.  Since my mastectomy, my arm has turned into a difficult old woman with 23 lymph nodes missing.  My breast muscle clenches like a tight fist in the cold.  I didn’t know if I would be able to keep up.  If not, I might have to reveal my troubles and face the horrified expressions of my teammates.  I came prepared though and prepped my arm in advance.

I have a Pilate’s trainer who has worked with me since before any of this began.  She knows my arm better than I do. She gave me exercises to do on the sly.  Things that would keep the muscles relaxed and the lymph moving.  Every morning I lay on the bathroom floor and did as I was told.  I am haunted by the possibility of lymphedema and work to keep the fluids moving.

It is one year ago this week since my final reconstruction.  I went from being an F to a small D on one side and the expander was removed on my right for something more permanent. It has been exactly six months since my hysterectomy when once again I faced my mortality.  On my last visit my surgeon said with a smile, “It’s was only precancerous.”  He happily tossed me back into the general public.

My boss and I had to meet for my review.  “You’re the only one who made the full bonus,” he says with pride.  I smile and say, “What else did you expect?”  He doesn’t know I had two operations last year on my vacations. He doesn’t know I faced death or the tears that were spilled as I digested the news.  All he knows is that when a snow mobile was free, I jumped on and took off with the pack.  Catch and release.

This entry was posted in Cancer, Essay and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Catch and Release

  1. fredaschoice says:

    I like this one especially.

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