I haven't felt like posting here over the last few months. I had surgery on my head on Jan. 11 to insert two tissue expanders under my scalp as part of the reconstruction of said scalp to repair the big bald spots/scars from my December 2014 runner-car accident. It's been about as miserable as you can imagine, and I've felt like I had only one awful, off-key piano note to hit, over and over, a note that I don't want to hear, don't want to talk about. So, I haven't. Not much. I've tweeted about it a bit, to my lovely, amazing, sympathetic, delightful, sweet pocket friends. Even there, I was sick of talking about it. Sick of this terrible holding pattern, sick of this waiting, waiting to land and move ON from this.
Most patients have tissue expanders in for about three months. I am just a few days shy of that three month time period. For the last 2 months, I have gone to my surgeon every Tuesday to have more saline injected into the expanders, to slowly stretch out the scalp tissue until there's enough to move around and fix all the scars and bald spots. Every week, I ask "how much longer?" Every week, my surgeon hasn't given me a concrete answer. It's terrible to not have an end date. But yesterday, finally, FINALLY, he said that we're getting to the end. He did some measurements of the godawful expander bumps on my head (I don't even have goose eggs - what's a couple sizes up from goose? Emu?). He said we'd check in next Tuesday, and schedule surgery. Surgery happens 2 weeks after the last saline infusion, so if next week is the last, two weeks from then, about 3 weeks from today. THREE WEEKS FROM TODAY. About. Oh my god, there is an END IN SIGHT.
There is an end in sight for this awful waiting, stasis, holding pattern, circle of purgatory. Three months of pain, discomfort, lumpiness, hats, weirdness, self-consciousness. I've worked at home, because I just couldn't face being in the office. I had thought I'd be able to go in after the surgery, but woefully underestimated how terrible I was going to feel for over a week after the surgery, and how lumpy my head would already be from the expanders. I had to wear hats immediately, which I just can't stomach as legal professional wear, couldn't stand the idea of everyone looking at my head, and it's only gotten worse. My head is not symmetrical, and the hats sit and bulge funny, and no. Just no. I can stand going out in public in anonymity, but it's so much worse to be around people I know.
Anyhow, I'm just a TINY BIT stir crazy. I've kept up with running, and I make myself leave the house for errands and lunch, and I've even met some of my amazing Twitter friends for lunch. But the days that I get the saline in are Bad Days. Where I'm in pain from the pressure on my skull, where I'm unhappy and anxious, where my fuse is short, so short, and I just need to go to bed.
I know this second surgery is going to be awful. Waking up from it will be horrible. There will be pain, and too many pills to take, and just sheer terribleness for about a week. I won't be able to run for at least three weeks. But these THINGS will be OUT of my head. Gone. My head patched back together. I don't know how much hair will have to get shaved, but hopefully the vast majority of my head will be covered with hair that *will* grow back. It will be over, and I can move truly forward, truly away from that damn accident, that last physical vestige erased.
I fantasize about real haircuts. I dream of going without a hat, without a headband. I've succeeded in not thinking about the accident every time I go for a run. We didn't go anywhere for spring break this year, because we couldn't plan, not knowing when I'd have surgery, and because I couldn't face pools or beaches or anything like that. So I dream of summer. Of cutting my hair super short when it's grown out enough. Of just being able to lie down on the back of my head, on the left side of my head. Small things, but huge things. Showering in a public locker room. Getting a massage. Running. SUMMER. The beach. The pool. SUN. Freedom. Running past all of this. Not being so angry. Coming back to being myself.
It's almost here. So close. I can taste it, feel it, sun on my head, wind blowing through my hair.