New announcement. Learn more


Recovery: A salute to the sun

About three weeks after my mastectomy surgery when the last of the supportive troops of friends, pouring through the front door bringing baskets of baking, armfuls of flowers, cards with hopeful messages and boxes of freezer meals turned to a trickle it signalled time for a change in my attitude, independence and effort. The goodwill was running low. No more swanning around in PJs until midday.

A routine of activity and “road back to normality” needed to be established. Vacuuming, laundry, emptying the dishwasher, dog walks and recommended physical stretching exercises to encourage lymph flow and drainage, extending and strengthening chest wall and arm muscle movement were in need of urgent attention. The beginning could be delayed no further. 

My visitor’s diary was empty. Up early and ready for action.  Goals were set. Week four, “back to normal and beyond in a day”.

Today was the day to commence the launch. 

Week four back to pre-surgery status, fitness and vitality. 

 Pace set and morning yoga routines on the start line.  

My blue rubber yoga mat stood in “rolled” position. Three weeks of waiting faithfully in the corner.  

On approach the laundry basket had caught my eye tempting me for first position it begged for attention. Washing machine dial set, and I made my way back toward the yoga mat. 

At last normality was within grasp.

Yes! Yoga was going to be the answer…  A passion for countless years, yoga had seen me through recovery from the many life challenges  we collect on the way. 

I could hear the machine churning as I stood before my faithful mat feet drawn together, ankles touching lightly. I emptied my mind. 

First routine

Salute to the sun

Standing ready, knees soft, arms gently hanging at sides. Eyes closed, even breathing, breath gold and warm entering my body. 

“Breathe in breath of life bring health and peace” “Breathe out breath of life bring health and peace”.

Arms swinging in unison above head in time to the breath. 

Arms swinging in unison above head in time to the breath? 

Arms swinging in unison above head in time to the breath? 

“Not this morning”

Affected arm unable to match the others swing. 

(Initial attempt readjustment?)

Affected arm unable to match the others swing! 

(Second attempt no better).

Affected arm unable to match the others swing!! 

(Third attempt failed!)

Click! The washing machine completed its cycle.

Hot tears prickling behind my narrowed eyes….

Just the excuse to remove myself from my mat and hopes of 

Week four recovery and “back to normal in a day.” Disappointment with my yoga attempts and Salute to the sun.

Some other activity? A shift in expectation?

The laundry door banged behind me as I dropped the basket of washing to the ground.

The sun peeping from behind clouds I tossed a damp towel towards the line and set it vibrating. Turned my head skyward breathed in the fresh warm air. 

“Breathe in breath of life bring health and” …… Pegs between my fingers, body stretching upwards towards that flapping mass, the wind was challenging me. Aim higher. I reached upwards, stretching upon tip toes fingers pinching peg, scar tissue stretching across chest, affected arm pit awakening screaming for extension. “Look!” I shouted to the sun. “Both my arms are saluting you”. 

It’s all in the stretch not the swing. 

And so it was… Move over yoga mat, kettle bell weights and physio appointments. 

Who would have thought a clothes line, a basketful of wet washing and a handful of pegs were to become my measure of physical and emotional success, benchmarking my surgical recovery from a mastectomy and return to everyday routines

Breathe in breath of life bring…….

- Carol