I blush at the great yawning expanse of time between my last post and this one but there has been, you know, Stuff going on.
My play has come and gone and was all good with reviews and everything. We went away soon after opening night, to Melbourne and various dry dusty interstate places but came back for the final night of the show.
It was evident that stuff had been going on there as well, the actors were so much more relaxed and able to be, well, funny. I mean it’s a serious play and all but there are these sort of funny bits in there, deliberately, and on opening night the actors were being very reverent and solemn about the play and came across as a wee tad uptight and tense. But by closing they were all relaxed and loose and floppy and actually milking some of those high farcical moments for laffs, god love them all.
I can tell time has passed because the muscles of my abdomen are now only a finger width apart.
Way back, somewhere in the first trimester, the two halves of my front torso began to drift apart. We all know those couples who seemed to be joined at the hip for say…38 years and then suddenly decided to go their own way. So it was with my tummy muscles.
It could have been something as simple as ‘She prefers to inject her Lucrin on your side’ but however it started, it got worse and worse and before I knew it there was a line drawn down my centre and a window on my solar plexus and ligaments were all that stood between my intestines and the outside world.
Just after Tricky was born one of the hospital physios checked me out as they do. She discovered that my abdominal muscles had separated far enough for her to fit seven fingers between them. And I’m not saying she had big clumping man’s hands with large sausage fingers but, you know, they weren’t overly spindly digits. Then she made me put my own fingers in so I could feel for myself the void that was once my cleverly contained internal organs. The horror.
The exercises started soon after. Every now and then I would drop into the hospital and meet with J the physio who put me and my pelvic floor through our paces. But gentle paces you know, nothing strenuous. Mostly they involved holding my tummy in and clenching my lala.
When I was about four fingers apart I attended a special exercise class at the hospital, it involved flapping bits of metal and lolling about on large balls and lifting your baby with your legs. I quite enjoyed the work out but the instructor was of the formidable variety, whenever she noted me hesitating over an exercise she would say loudly and a little impatiently: It’s alright, you won’t herniate.
Well maybe I won’t, scary lady, but that still doesn’t stop it hurting because I just had a baby don’t you know.
Anyway whether it was the hurty type of exercise or the gentle type those muscles seem to have crept back together again, last seen meeting for coffee at a local café “just to talk”.
And then, amongst all the theatre stuff and the work stuff and the life stuff there was this lump.
I had noticed it on the right side of my right breast several weeks ago now but I had chalked it up to being one of those pesky blocked ducts. And I would dutifully mash away at it in the shower or while feeding, thinking that it would shrink away or unblock or whatever. But it didn't. And then I thought I better get it checked before I went away because otherwise that would be another three weeks before I saw a doctor.
And I didn't do that either. And it wasn't until a week after I got home that I finally made an appointment to see the doctor and get it checked.
And all that time I kept thinking of my mother and how, when she first found a lump in her breast, she didn't get it checked because she was too busy with Stuff and how, eventually it killed her.
She was 33 when she was first diagnosed with breast cancer. She was 48 when she died. If I died at the same age my baby would be ten years old.
This week my doctor told me that the lump was a cyst, that I had a number of cysts in my breasts and that I could have them treated after I finish breastfeeding.
It's not bad news, she said to me.
Today, I stopped doing stuff and while playing with my baby, I said “kiss for mama?” and conveniently placed my cheek near his little mouth and I think, I’m almost a hundred percent sure, that the wet gumming at my face was his version of a kiss.
And it was sweet.
One positive story ...from the USA
2 days ago