It was 5 days before surgery. Two months after the mastectomy.
My left arm was still paralysed.
I’d thought I could sort out the brachial plexus nerve compression damage with osteopathy, chiropractic treatments, hands-on healing and acupuncture. Everyone was praying for me. But while the treatments helped ease the area and calmed me down, they did not resolve the issue.
I was in denial up to the moment the nerve surgeon delivered the ultimatum, hoping that a miracle would happen, that my prayers would be answered and I would miraculously wake up with my arm back again, without having to go through surgery.
In the surgeon’s many many years of experience, the only thing that would work to relieve the nerve compression, was surgery.
And there was a sense of urgency: a narrow window of time in which surgery had to be carried out, otherwise there was a chance the nerve damage could become permanent.
I had no choice really. My arm still hung limp and useless. I had to go back to work and needed my arm. The nerve surgeon assured me that some function would return after the surgery.
… what if it doesn’t work?
… what if I die?
… what if it gets worse?
… what if I get lymphoedema?
There were the usual pre-surgical tests which involved blood tests. When I gave the doctor my medical history, she said: “yes, the world is full of suffering”. When I pointed out that a lot of people didn’t have to go through what I had, she said: “don’t worry, something bad will happen to them”, as though there was some sort of karmic steam iron going around putting new creases of fate in the bedsheet of people’s lives. Or that life was a mix of good experiences counterbalanced by bad.
I had no answers. Only fears and doubts and worries at the moment. I couldn’t believe that in 5 days’ time I would be having surgery for the second time in 2 months.
That sinking feeling I’d had when I was first diagnosed, of having my breath punched out of me, just as the roller-coaster plunged down a fall, had returned.