Following surgery you are offered a course of physiotherapy.
You see, when you have a mastectomy it is more than likely that some of the lymph nodes under your arm will be removed and tested (to check the cancer has not spread). This results in numbness and loss of feeling, together with some loss of movement.
Upon my first session, the physiotherapist completely threw me when she asked a really simple question to begin with;
‘what do you like to do?’
She meant – what activities do I do daily, as this would surely have an impact on my recovery.
I genuinely could not answer the question.
There was a long awkward pause, and then I said, ‘well I have young children so I do a lot of lifting and running around’. She looked at me and seemed surprised.
Maybe I look like the kind of person who wouldn’t have children? I don’t know. But the question played on my mind quite a lot, what do I like to do? After careful consideration it occurred to me that I might have forgotten who I am and what I like doing.
Maybe it happens a little but when you are ill and the illness threatens to take over your everyday life? You lose focus on the daily things that you enjoy, and concentrate on just getting through the day.
Maybe it happens a little bit when you become a mum? Not on purpose, but in amongst the whirlwind of sleeplessness and the huge change to your life you realise that you shelved the ‘old’ you and naturally put your children first instead.
So here’s my attempt at answering the question and trying to remember – minus any past references to things I ‘used to like’ and minus any mention of child related things (quite a difficult thing as a mum). I also thought that it might be something nice for my children to perhaps read when they are older – to show them who I am, the things I like and the things that make me, well, me.
I am Dee. I prefer my nickname, because Detrice is a very odd name that no- one has ever heard of.
I like writing, have done ever since I was little. I also like art and reading, probably because of the element of imagination involved in both.
My preferred type of art is Impressionism, Monet paints as if all of his emotions and heart are on every canvas. I also like plain pencil sketches which take so much skill before anyone ‘fills’ them in. Escher in particular amazes me.
I love books, all types, but particularly the ones you can lose yourself in. The ones where you start reading and you get sucked into and lost, and you don’t want to stop reading because you just want to know what happens next. I can’t remember the last book I read like that, but I look forward to the first time I manage to read one again.
I love food – probably a little too much. I like drinking wine and eating pasta. I love biscuits, and cake oh and ice-cream, all probably a little too much.
I like music, all types apart from the hardcore version of dance or rock. I’ve never been very good at remembering names of bands or artists I like (much to the annoyance of my husband), but I do know what I like when I hear it. I also sing along to songs without ever really knowing the words.
I like warm weather and generally warm things. Being on holiday and the sunshine, and relaxing. I like water and paddling, but less keen on getting my hair wet.
I like laughing at sarcastic humour and other people’s mishaps (which doesn’t make me a very nice person I guess) something I share with my sisters. I also like people watching and seeing how some people react to others.
I am ticklish, but I hate anyone going near my feet, or feet in general as they creep me out.
Worst of all I like romantic films. Nothing deep and meaningful but just the good old love story that has a nice ending and that make me smile and cry at the same time.
I like things to be clean and tidy, but I have come to the conclusion that my house will never really be tidy again since having children.
I like chatting to good friends and spending time with my family, especially when they allow you to forget everyday worries and just relax and be yourself.
I would like to think that I am quite genuine and honest, but I think that only others can be the judge of that.