Stories of Resilience: How embracing relaxation helps you heal after lumpectomy surgery

Jan 31, 2020

 *This story is the fourth in a series of short narrative vignettes; educational stories of women using proven self-care techniques that promote personal empowerment and resilience. They are a teaching tool for your benefit; please read, absorb and utilize the techniques to promote your own resilience and empowerment!*


Jean Learns to Relax After Her Lumpectomy

"Wow, I feel laaaaaaaazy today!".  Jean enjoyed the unaccustomed sensation.  Usually she was such a go-getter that she had trouble sitting still.  She was one of those people that seemed to be a perpetual energy machine.  She cooked, cleaned, did the laundry AND talked on the phone at the same time.  She usually wore running shoes so she could run up stairs, jump over sills and just generally be on-the-go.  

Today though, she just wanted to lie still.  She'd had her lumpectomy surgery over 2 weeks ago   There was still tape on the side of her left breast, where they'd cut the lump out.  She'd diligently been doing her exercises to regain her shoulder and arm range of motion, but she'd been forced to be much slower than she usually was.  Being involved in her recovery made Jean feel like she was doing something useful for herself, it was empowering for Jean to be involved.  For her, being involved was the easiest thing in the world.  It was sitting back and relaxing that was the hard part.  

Jean was an Over-functioner. She was a Doer.  She was a Giver.  She was on-the-move doing things for other people all the time.  So for her doing the opposite and relaxing, letting go, asking for help and being supported was where she struggled!  Up until today, she'd been resisting slowing down.  But now, she said "Ahhhhh, I'm just going to sit back and relax, be in the zone".  

Clearly there was still a part of her that was resisting relaxation, felt uncomfortable with it and still felt the need to call herself names like "lazy", but she was a work in progress!  She was a quick study and she would catch on to this "relaxation business".  

Once she'd been diagnosed with breast cancer, Jean realized, "I think I have to make some lifestyle changes.  I've been pushing it way too hard, and my body has not had a chance to recuperate.  Probably my immune system has gotten compromised because I've just not been giving it a chance to rebound".  So, some time to slow down and smell the roses was long overdue.  

Rolling over on her right side,  which was untouched, Jean snuggled into her cushions and let herself drift off into a long afternoon nap.  She could get used to this relaxation business....


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