Last night, while applying Bio Oil to my thymectomy scar, I realised something. When figuring out how long ago the operation took place, I counted that this week is the six month anniversary. This made me both happy and sad.
Reasons to be happy about the six month anniversary
1. Back to full fitness
Although I had to take six weeks off any kind of exercise after the operation, and was told to build up slowly, I now feel as fit as I did before it. Getting to where I am now has taken a lot of effort and discipline as the first months back were really tough.
The operation leaves you with very little chest strength, as part of the procedure is breaking the breast bone and the muscles in that area feel weak. However, I’m back chest pressing, doing press ups, failing miserably at pull ups and lifting weights. I feel I may be a little less strong in this area but that’s probably natural considering the trauma inflicted on this part of my body.
Last week, I managed to do my first 1,000m row in under 5 minutes and I was able to move up from 0.5km speed runs to 0.5m yesterday. Each step forward makes the struggles for breath, constant achy pain and easily fatigued muscles feel like a distant memory.
2. My scar is healing
One of the things I wasn’t prepared for after the operation was how visibly angry the scar would be right in the middle of my chest. To me it looked like plastic surgery gone wrong – a botched attempt to extend my cleavage by Dr Frankenstein. The thymectomy scars I had seen on people in the Myaware support groups had been healed for years and didn’t prepare me for how a fresh one would look.
However, I noticed last night that parts of my scar are very faint now. Having Bio Oiled at least once a day (although often the recommended twice), it was such a relief to see large parts of it starting to turn silver. I can’t wait for the angry red to disappear completely.
3. My symptoms are relatively mild and predictable
Apart from on special occasions, like when I get my period and when I over exert myself, my symptoms have been relatively mild and stable for the last six months. This is one of the selling points used in favour of the operation and I hope this stability continues.
Reasons to be sad about the six month anniversary
1. I’m not in remission
Although the chances are slim, I truly wanted to believe that I would be in remission by six months. Sadly, the reality is my consultant is talking about increasing my immunosuppressants to try to get the symptoms down and I’m still on a higher dose of steroids. I wanted to be better by now and I’m not so this is the ultimate disappointment.
2. The memories are fading
The details of my time in hospital are diminishing in my mind, which is sad as I found it to be quite cathartic. While many people hate the hospital environment, I was very lucky to have a largely positive experience with professionals who seemed to genuinely care. I think about those days of quiet and they are already hazy with the faces of the nurses who looked after me blending together.
3. The flowers have all died
Obviously this is a bit of a joke reason but I’ve genuinely never received so many beautiful bouquets in my life. My flat was like a mini botanic gardens and they definitely improved my mood during the difficult first few weeks of recovery. This showed me how thoughtful the people in my life are. So even although the flowers (bar one Scottish heather plant I received from my old work colleagues) have all passed on, the feeling of being loved and beloved lives on.