December 11, 2014: 3 Weeks Post-Op Observations

1. I can be left unattended for a few hours at a time now. That means I can usually get up and down without assistance, I’ve figured out how to work my remote (no, not really, but I’m learning), and I can get something to eat or drink by myself as long as it weighs less than 2.5 lbs.

2. I’ve been released to workout again! Yay! No running, no walking more than 2 miles, only stationary equipment that require no arm use or bouncing, but I’m going to take it! So excited! My workout buddies better get to work or I’m going to speed right past them. (Wishful thinking, but humor me here please)

3. Last week I was excited to get rid of foreign objects called drains. This week, they are inserting a foreign object under my skin called a port which will be used to administer my chemo drugs. Not so excited about that…

4. I was able to shave under my arms for the first time! How do those French girls handle it? Ick! Still no deodorant though. Women, check your deodorant for aluminum. If your favorite brand contains it, it’s time to find a new favorite brand. (or so I’ve been told)

5. No more bandages anywhere on my body just nasty, sticky tape residue. We’ve tried everything to get rid of this stuff, but it’s hanging on for dear life. We are hoping the hospital will hook us up with some type of remover cloths after surgery. I thought I had properly prepared myself to view myself without the sterile strips, but I think I might have allowed my mind to believe they were covering up something that no longer exists. That realization hit a little harder than I was expecting it to. Oh, the lies our brains tell us in an attempt to try and protect us.

6. I have a lot of movement on my right side. I’d say I’m about 70% full range of motion. My right side is also what I’d call surgically pain free.

7. My left side is a totally different story. I suffer from a lot of bone pain in the area of the large mass site. The doctor had to scrape away everything because of how invasive the cancer was. I will be allowed more movement on my left side now which is good because my range of motion on this arm is about 30-40% and that’s pushing my pain threshold.

8. All infections are gone. Yay! Most of my daily meds are gone. I still have those stupid steroids to take for Addison’s, but I’ll be on those for a long time. Pain meds and muscle relaxers have been few and far between.

9. I’m sleeping more. I might be trying to catch up. I still don’t sleep longer than 5-6 hours at a time, but I’m getting around 8-10 hours of sleep total throughout the day. I managed to sleep on the couch a lot and in my bed one night. The back pain is too much to sleep in the bed two nights in a row though.

10. I’m having less and less problems with comprehension, and my memory is improving rapidly as long as I don’t have to hold on to numbers.

11. I still can’t drive. I hope I remember how when I’m allowed again.

12. I donated almost all my hair to Locks of Love.(UPDATE: Actually to Pantene because we found out after we got home that they don’t charge the families for wigs made with donated hair) Absolutely no reason to give a whole head of hair to chemo when a little girl who’s fighting cancer too can have it to help her feel beautiful.

13. My surgery date has been moved up for my port to be inserted, so there’s a chance I might be able to watch at least one of my children perform Friday night.

14. My nerve endings have come alive! This has been a very painful sensation I could do without. Apparently, the only message nerves send to the brain when they can’t find each other is pain!

15. More people from my school came to visit me. Even one of my students came to cheer me up. This has been an important part of the healing process I hadn’t expected. I still need real life people interaction outside my family unit.

16. There’s been no outside help this week. My husband has pretty much had to carry the burden of everything. Jonathan has been the type of husband love stories are based off of through all of this.

17. My son turned 15. There wasn’t a huge celebration or tons of gifts. He upgraded his phone and ate dinner with his family and one of my friends. He never complained.

18. My surgical pathology report basically confirmed a double mastectomy was the best choice. It combined with the Oncotype RX test confirmed chemo is my next best choice.

19. I’ve watched a lot of Christmas movies on the Hallmark channel.

20. Someone very close to me has started this journey too. It hurts, yet it’s already been a blessing because of the connection being made between us. If you’re on this journey, make connections and ask questions. If you’ve just been told you have breast cancer and you’re like I was, you won’t even know what questions to ask. Just tell someone who’s walked this journey before you that you know you have this stuff, but beyond that you’re clueless. Believe me, I totally understand because that’s exactly where I was just a few weeks ago. The advice of others has saved me a lot of pain and suffering, given me knowledge to help me not be so confused, and has offered me hope and comfort.

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About courage2conquercancer

At the age of 40, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. This is an account of my journey from my discovery and beyond.
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