I have three areas of my body that are numb.
My left ear is still numb from the parotid surgery (November 2013) though I can think I sense feeling coming back. My right chest area, side and part of my back are also numb from the mastectomy and axillary dissection (February 2013.)
Most of the time, I don’t even realize that they are numb. In fact, lately I’ve found that if I lightly scrape the skin on my cheek with a fingernail, new sensation prickles. I don’t even know how to describe it but I think the nerves are reconnecting and I can feel more and more of my ear as time goes on. It is weird to realize that I still don’t have much feeling on my chest or side, that there are areas of my back that simply don’t register sensation. I can feel pressure but not normal sensation. I guess you get used to numbness and it becomes your new normal. As sensation returns, it is surprising and well, a little odd.
I think that my heart is also numb, and that is my new normal for now. Most of the time I go on with normal life and don’t feel a great deal of sadness or grief. Every once in a while a fingernail scrapes across my heart and I am surprised to remember, to feel odd sensations that I can’t quite identify.
I’m a little puzzled by this. It doesn’t seem right that the waters should be so calm, like the surface of the ocean simply rolled over the spot where a ship went down and now everything looks peaceful and normal–but it is not. I’m surprised at how life (and everyone around me) has moved on, that barely a ripple remains on the surface.
I can’t manufacture emotions so I’m just taking a day at a time, doing the next thing, and trying to give myself space to heal. I’m trying to avoid being too busy and letting life come, as it does, in seasons that are varied, in changing patterns. Just as I’ve learned to live with numb body parts, I am learning–I guess– to live with this process of strange grief.