I had a scary moment in the shower tonight.
No, i didn't slip, or fall, or rip myself open by slipping and falling and flapping around in the tub like a baby seal. No, i wasn't emerged upon by some random pervert and almost kidnapped. And no, i wasn't stranded without the aid of my mum and had to helplessly re-teach myself the ins-and-outs of self bathing (which btw I know and remember...but with this little issue of not being able to turn my torso around...it's very difficult. A wired sternum is very debilitating at the most vulnerable of times...especially when those times consist of you being completely naked and confined to plastic chair).
I was suffocating. And dying. And i felt the way i felt when I had my old lungs. And it completely freaked the fucking shit right out of me.
For those who know me, know me, you know that i used to loooooooove long, hot showers. Now? Not so much. I mean i love a hot shower, esp. when it relaxes my back muscles and allows me to stretch my chest a little more, but when i can't turn around to control the temp and need to rely on my mum, it's not so fun. So i sat there...as my muscles relaxed, but the steam got to me and suddenly, i was thrown back into my old world and i could barely breathe. I threw part of the shower curtain open to let cool air in, and through 'pursed lip breathing' (which is a HUGE no no post tx apparently), i slowly calmed down. But the feeling like i couldn't inhale, and the heaviness in my chest from the steam, was unbearable, and i wonder how i ever lived like that.
I was only thrown back into my old life - which only ended a little over a month ago - for about 3 minutes, and i couldn't deal with it. Suddenly, i forgot how to breathe, and it terrified me.
I know this is normal. My doc told me most post lung tx people experience this, and it's not that you can't breathe, it's a psychological thing. I guess with me, since showering always exhausted me, the steam just triggered memories and suddenly, i fell back down the rabbit hole into Bronchiectasis-style breathing.
How did i ever live with just 21% lung function? How in hell did i manage? Have i forgotten? Am i that cocky??? I had my PFTs today and these beautiful lungs are already functioning at 53%. 53% compared to 21% a little over a month ago...that's a 30% increase...i can't wrap my head around it. I can't wrap my head around the fact that this has finally happened to me...And yet i can, b/c it feels so normal...But it's not.
But in happier news, i stared at myself naked in the mirror before my shower. Yes, yes i admit that i did, and i don't really give a shit who knows it. My bruises are going away, my incision scab has almost all fallen off. It was weird to stare at myself and what i've been through - knowing i was wrenched open, had a major organ replaced, and sewn back up with only a 'clamshell' leaving its mark. What really baffled me was watching my ribcage work. Pre-tx i breathed with my stomach and my ribs did not move. Now, my upper chest rises and falls; the bottom portions of my ribs expand, as does the front. I can take a deep breath in. It was strange to stand there and stare at myself, and know that everything is working. Just like that.
Lets snap back to reality. Whoops there goes gravity....for sure.