My excuse for not blogging is that I have been waiting for the final pathology report from my mastectomies – in reality I have been too overwhelmed with trying to recover from what I think should be a relatively easy surgery. (Insert maniacal laughter)
First – there is no evidence of invasive cancer and all lymph nodes removed were indeed negative for cancer. Yippee! That means no need for any further treatment (if you exclude the second surgery to complete breast reconstruction) and 99% + chance of not only survival but no recurrence. I am cancer free.
Now for the reality. My quality of life ain’t real great now. Of course I must preface all of the upcoming moaning and groaning with the acknowledgement of tremendous support from my family and friends. My 2 sisters arrived to take care of me (and Sue!). One of them will be here the rest of this week until Sue goes on vacation then tag, she is it. Hopefully by the end of vacation, I will be able to drive myself to doctor visits, shopping, etc. and function like a normal person.
I hurt like hell – not so much from the mastectomies, which leaves most of my chest wall numb (OK, the lymph node dissection area is tender as is my skin where drains are sutured in place) – but from the temporary tissue expanders that were filled with 300 cc of saline at the time of surgery, thus causing constant pressure from underneath my pectoralis major muscles. It is difficult to block pressure pain receptors, so my sleep is horrid, my mood is irritable, and I fear that I am getting depressed. Sure I’m doing all the cognitive-behavioral things that I know to improve my mood. (Hey, eons of therapy are NOT wasted on me!) But constant pain gets to be a grind. My wound edges look like something out of a Frankenstein movie – chalk that up to excessive weight then weight loss, resulting extremely thin chest wall skin and compromised blood supply. Both surgeons (breast and plastic surgeon) and my wonderful physician-spouse reassure me that all will be well in time – sigh, it is most disturbing to see one’s body look so frightening. Also, I still have 4 drains removing fluid from – never mind, let’s not get too gross. Hopefully tomorrow the plastic surgeon will remove 2 of the drains. I just want to experience some progress. (Keeping in mind all the time that I am cancer free…)
This is a health and weight loss blog. How is food? What about physical activity? I have zilch appetite, which would be great except I need to eat about 100 grams of protein to help with wound healing. That is a LOT of protein when you have no interest in eating. Despite that, my weight is staying the same. Now, I should just kick myself because I lost 4.3 pounds of breast tissue, gained about 2 pounds of fluid in the tissue expanders, and have a lot of swelling in my chest. I really cannot exercise yet. (Walking in 100° heat is a no-no now, and I can’t lift more than 2 pounds.) I must keep reminding myself that weight is no longer a marker of success and focus on waist measurement. Bah, I just want a few hours of being pain-free.
Gosh Jan, want any cheese with that whine?