By Debbie Kerr
Who knew that summer could be so dangerous? It never occurred to me that I could get trapped in my house, until there was the perfect storm.
While somewhat traumatic, I don’t remember the exact date when this event took place, but it was traumatic none the less.
I work at home every day and I don’t leave the house very much. I am one breast down because of a mastectomy and now I wear a prosthetic breast (foob) on my left side…at least, when I leave the house. And there lies part of the problem. Since I don’t wear my foob all the time, I wasn’t aware it could be problematic until I was under time constraints.
The second part of my perfect storm was the weather. On this fateful day, it was hot and humid. In addition, I don’t have air-conditioning, so even my clothes felt like they were sticking to me.
Possibly the biggest part of this storm was the fact that I had never learned to do my bra up at the back. I’m a spinner/rotator. I have to do my bra up at the front and then spin (maybe not the right word, because it implies there is speed) it around so that my bra cups are poised for action at the front of my chest. My foob and right breast are then ready to be perked up.
Another factor, as if there needed to be one more, is the fact that I was just diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) so my fingers are not working their best right now.
Take a second now to see if you can fit the pieces together. How am I housebound?
And the answer is…
I was supposed to go out with my husband and went to put on my bra for this special occasion (getting the groceries, but still an outing of some kind). I ran upstairs to get dressed. Shorts in place, I went for the pre-filled bra (foob in place on my left side). As usual, I had the hooks at the front, and tried to slide that bra around. I say tried, but it seemed to be stuck. I was hot and sticky, and with my foob, the bra was heavy, which meant more resistance. I tried to jump it around. Pull on the band with my stiff and painful fingers and try to pull outward at the same time, trying to budge my foob. I was working up a sweat trying to do this, which only made matters worse.
I feared all hope for my humble outing was going to be taken away from me.
I finally gave up. With my foob partway around my body and hanging somewhere around my ribs, I put on a shirt and walked downstairs to see if I could achieve success with some help from my husband. I felt ridiculous for not being able to dress myself and now I had what looked like the world’s biggest tumour sticking out of my side. My husband didn’t know quite what to expect as I approached him.
Lifting my top, he was still confused. I’m sure he was wondering why I was dressed that way. I’m not a snappy dresser, but I still know where my breasts are supposed to be.
They (whoever they are), say that half the battle is admitting you need help. I asked. In a shorter time that it took me to struggle, rest, sit down in disbelief, try again, and then admit defeat, everything was where is should be. I’m so glad he was home. My son and my neighbour were just not options.
And there, on the day I almost got trapped in my house, I better understood why you should celebrate the little things. I will never again take getting my bra in place for granted. I will learn from my mistakes.
Remember. Celebrate the little things. Realize that you can weather any storm. Never give up. Ask for help when you need it.
Over 30-years of writing experience, about 10 years as a cancer survivor, and a lifetime purveyor of wit and laughter.
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