I am sitting at my kitchen table typing on my computer, drinking a cup of coffee. My academic paper planner starts in July, so I have my academic paper planner out. It’s July. I am writing down appointments and commitments in this academic paper planner. I have a meeting with my new medical oncologist on Wednesday, and a writing deadline too. Lunch plans on July 17th. Untold chemotherapy appointments that I’ll add when I get them, hopefully within the next week. I like to have appointments.

I am sitting at my kitchen table in a button front shirt, one of two sets of button front pajamas I bought when my surgery appointment got on the calendar. Everything on the internet told me to get two button front shirts, and a wedge pillow to help with sleeping. I have three drains coming out of my body, one on the right and two on the left, and the internet also told me to buy various devices to hold my drains, special cardigans and necklaces and hardware belts. But now, of course, I am an old hand at drains, they don’t bother me at all, they’re pinned to my surgical bra. They’re fine. Nothing to buy here. I’ll get them out in a week or two.

I am sitting at my kitchen table wearing two Natrelle 410 highly cohesive anatomically shaped silicone-filled breast implants, size 560cc, and a PORT-A-CATH POWER P.A.C. implantable access system with power injection capability. I am now a body of machines and devices. When the nurse discharged me from the hospital she handed me a plastic bag of receipts, proofs-of-purchase, for these breasts and this chemo port. I bought them, they’re mine, I can register for their warranties.

I know it’s Monday but it barely feels like it. I think next Monday and then the next will feel more like Mondays, until I’m injected with so much poison that we’re getting through minute by minute again. I took a shower this morning, made my own avocado toast. Nights are hardest. I become convinced that this bruise is blood still actively pooling, that the purpling around my incisions is really a swell of flesh about to burst open. Nights are hard.

This morning, I’m sitting at my kitchen table, drinking a cup of coffee. I scheduled some library sessions for HEOP students on July 30th, asked about hiring processes for our graduate assistant this fall. Maura is coming over to take me on a walk. Maybe we’ll return these library books.

There are restrictions on my port’s flow rate, not to exceed 5 ml/s or a pressure of 300 psi. That’s a condition of my body now.

 

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