Swimming & Flashbacks

I’m happy to report that after a few days off of exercising, and some physical therapy, I’m doing much better in the pool. Today I was able to swim six laps (240 meters). It isn’t nearly as much as I was able to swim before surgery, but at least it was something. The first time I went in the pool, I was only able to swim two laps, and I wasn’t able to do breast stroke at all. Today, I was able to do two laps breath stoke, and four front crawl. The progress is apt to be slow, but at least it is progress.

One thing I notice in the pool is that I have a very different center of gravity. I float differently – actually I float flatter than I used to. It may sound funny, but I think my new boobs (noobs) are more buoyant than my old ones were.  This results in my upper body being a little more floaty than I’m used to. My stomach is a little less buoyant (afterall that is where the fat in my noobs came from). At the moment, I’m still carrying a bunch of chemo weight in my thighs, so that is balancing me out when I swim. I haven’t yet tried to float on my back to see how that works. I’ll give that a try next time I’m in the pool.

Now that my Texas trip is over, I’m preparing for my trip to Ottawa and Vancouver. Although the anniversary of those words “you have cancer” isn’t until June 12, I am finding that I’m starting to experience some of the flashbacks associated with a major life change. I remember first experiencing these flashbacks on our bike trip – as it was coming to an end I would get visual images of various places we travelled to. It was usually pleasant to re-experience distant places. Unfortunately the flashbacks associated with a cancer diagnosis are not typically pleasant. Fortunately, they are not horribly bad either (at least not yet).

I’m having memories of preparing for my move from Ottawa to California. For me, move day was a complete nightmare. It was raining all morning. The packers were in a pissy mood, and they did a piss poor job of packing too (such that things got broken). I was really looking forward to joining my husband in California, but I was also concerned very much about the state of my thesis research. In some ways, not much has changed. I’ve been in California for the last year, but it occurs to me that Scott and I didn’t really get a chance to really discover living together again. We were just starting to figure things out when I was diagnosed and everything went into a tail spin.

So, my visit back to Ottawa comes with mixed emotions. I will be happy to see so many of my friends again. As I’ve told a few people, my dance card is pretty full. I’m a little nervous about how the meeting with the program chair and my dissertation committee will go. I’m not really worried about it – it will be what it will be – but it will be nice to know so that I make more concrete plans.  I’m also looking forward to my visit with friends in Vancouver. I’m so glad I was able to fit so much into one trip – although I am a little concerned that I might be over doing it. I’ll say sorry now to anyone that I don’t manage to see – the trip is rather short and I have a lot on my plate – and I’m not yet back to my usual energetic productive self.

  • Becky


  • Becky,

    I am so glad to hear about the swimming. I did not swim at all last year because I wasn’t feeling good at all about self-image after my double mastectomy. That added to the fact that I was still healing and working on my range of motion with a physical therapist. This year, I’ve been reconstructed, can wear a swimsuit and my plastic surgeon gave me the thumbs up to dive in when all my scars are healed from phase 2 of reconstruction. I’m still working on that part.

    I’m looking forward to testing my center of gravity because my artistic and skilled plastic surgeon rebuilt me bigger than my “original model” which was never very well endowed. My tummy is now my boobs (I had DIEP flap recon.) so I’m guessing that center of gravity will be noticed.

    Looking forward to diving in. 🙂 As always, great post and thanks for sharing.

  • Terri, please share the results of your experiment with center of gravity :-). I am curious to know if it is just me or if, in fact, the difference is noticeable to others as well. I had DIEP too. I’m also carrying about 20 extra pounds thanks to Taxol chemo! I’m lucky that the pool at our condo doesn’t really have a deep end (the deepest part is 4 feet) – so I didn’t have to worry about my safety. Please do be careful! I was really surprised by how weak my arms were initially but happy to report that the strength is coming back pretty quickly!

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