Tuesday, July 21, 2009

10:00 and all is well ...

In two days (Thursday), it will have been four weeks since my surgery. It is so wonderful having surgery behind me, the worries, the fears, the logistics of preparing my household for my 'down time'. Recovery feels like a slow process. I had expected to be almost pain free at this point, but I still have times every day (usually evening/night) when it seems to be just as 'fired up' as it was in the first few days. I'm interpreting the pain as a burning sensation .. almost identical to when you've burned yourself.

I have moments of feeling almost guilty that I'm not doing something productive with this time away from work. A wonderful friend who came up to visit with me this weekend responded to that statement with this question ... 'when did healing and recovering from surgery become non-productive' ? Good point, So the last couple of days I've done less and felt better about it. I've stopped feeling like I really should be cleaning out a closet or taking the car to be cleaned. I've realized that with only a couple of weeks left before I have to go back to work, the time I spend just 'healing' is crucial. I'm not using it as an excuse to be lazy; I'm doing the small daily things to take care of myself, but I'm not feeling like I'm wasting time when I take a nap or relax and watch a movie. Isn't it wonderful how friends can change our perspective on our life situations ?

My incisions are looking good. I have a few spots that look irritated and appear to be healing a little slower, but no sign of infection. I have the same hard spots that I experienced with the biopsy. When I say 'hard spots' I mean hard as a walnut shell. This is mostly in the area where the lymph nodes were removed. Dr says this is normal and should go away in six months or so. In the meantime it feels like there's a rock under my arm, not overly painful, just hard.

Arm exercises are going ok, progress seems steady but slow. I've concluded that everyday movements contribute as much to regaining my range of motion as the specific exercises. Stretching while I'm still in bed has been very helpful as well. I can stretch arms farther and with less pain with the bed supporting them.

I've graduated to wearing pullover tops again; a tank with a button-up shirt over it looks better .. will have to go shopping for more. In the meantime I'm determining which pullovers/tees look ok, and those that are cut too low or are too clingy & accentuate my concave chest. I'm liking not having to wear a bra. I'm liking not feeling like it's 120 degrees under my breasts. Definite advantage.

Yep, it's 10:00 and all is well with me.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

How is it ...

How is it folks can be so seemingly insensitive, especially when you're in a more vulnerable state?

I've done so well with my surgery, been very blessed to have wonderful caregivers, family & friends to help with a variety of things you take for granted on a daily basis. And I appreciate every bit of that.

Yesterday one of my visitors commented he'd like to take my kitty Badajan to the shooting range to use as target practice. I was so stunned I just mumbled something and walked out of the room. Tried not to give too much thought to it, but it resurfaced in my dreams last night. Someone was shooting at my precious kitty and he was running to try to get away; I was trying to rescue him & couldn't quite reach him. I'm not sure why someone would say such a cruel thing in the first place, but certainly not to someone they know cherishes their pet and is clinging to them during recovery from surgery. Badajan is a very gentle, sweet-natured, 17 yr old kitty who loves everyone. It's been on my mind much today. I know he didn't mean it literally, and I recognize I'm a bit overly-sensitive/emotional just now,
but it was hurtful all the same.

Precious Father and Divine Mother, please help me be sensitive to others and respect those things they hold dear.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Post-Surgery Follow-Up

Went yesterday morning for my post-surgical follow-up. Got half the staples out (every other one), and one drain out. The other drain has to stay several more days. Have an appt for next Tuesday (the 14th) to get the left drain out if it's ready, and the rest of the staples out. Dr said incision looked good .. nice words to hear when you're wondering if you're taking care of it right. My sister has done an amazing job keeping everything all nice and clean. Informed me he had removed nine lymph nodes, not just one. It was that only one had cancer in it. He said the pathologists couldn't find the actual area where the cancer had moved from the ducts into the lymph node, but it was definitely there. The cancer was Stage 3, considered agressive because it had moved into the lymph node. Made an appt with Oncologist for August 4th. Surgeon thinks he will want to do chemo, and will probably start fairly quickly after my appt. There is also the possibility he may have me forego the chemo & just take Tamoxifen. Or both. If I do chemo, I'll need to go back to surgeon to have a port put in. I guess I should be hoping for just the Tamoxifen pills, but I feel fine about having chemo if I need it. I'd rather be very aggressive now, and have less worry about the cancer returning later. Did you know that even though you have both breasts removed, they still want you to do a monthly check of the remaining chest tissue for lumps, etc. Right now there are hard places and lumpy places, and smooth places .. how the heck would I know if there was a change ?

I still have a good feeling about my new adventure. Thus far there has been no emotional trauma from the loss of my breasts. I realize that may surface yet. Having breasts does not define me as a woman. I still feel very much female, I still want to look as good as I can, I still feel sensual (well not so much with these yucky drains), I still have a sense of nurturing, I still feel a wonderful sisterhood with the women around me. I'm still a woman. I still love being a woman.