Trying to Emerge

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.

Jan surrounded by 2 sisters

Jan surrounded by loving sisters

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?


9 thoughts on “Trying to Emerge

  1. Glad to see your sense of humor is intact:) And that you are cancer free!!! I hope you are feeling better soon. Whine all you want… especially if it takes your mind of the pain for just a bit:)

  2. Since posting on facebook about your weight loss, teachers have asked me how you have done it. Keep inspiring people about your weight loss because people are begging for that inspiration. Sending your blog to those who’ve asked. Love you sis.

  3. First, Jan – you look beautiful. Hard to believe you had such major surgery so recently!

    Second, those drains – oh, they are a pain. My mom’s was in for 3 weeks after her surgery and that was just about the worst part of the recovery for her. I sure hope yours are removed soon.

    Third, you are in pain and I’m sorry. And of course you are going to be irritable and depressed – that is natural. I hope that in the very near future you will be able to look back on this and know that it’s all over. And you are CANCER-FREE!!! That is the best part of the post. :):):)

  4. A little whine is therapeutic and cheese is protein, right? Glad to see your big smile and what a relief that the path report was so positive. I know you’ll be glad to get rid of those drains. It’s no fun being a patient. Hang in there! Sending good thoughts your way.

  5. A little whining is required sometimes. That’s the beauty of this blogging thing. Only those who care read it anyway. So no whining is lost on anyone who isn’t particularly interested. Hmm… perhaps I should start unloading my whines on my blog.

    Anyway, sorry you’re having so much discomfort. The only thing good about it is the extreme relief when it starts to subside. I hope that’s soon for you. And what great news that they were able to remove all of the cancer!

  6. So happy about the pathology tests! The pain – I’m so sorry. It can be so debilitating when you are tring to keep a positive, healing attitude. I know your family (and your readers) don’t mind the whining because it helps to vent.

    When my sis was having trouble eating I made really eggy rich custards and fruit smoothies for her. You can even freeze the smoothies into popsicles for those hot days!

    Hang in – we are all out here sending good vibes your way.

  7. Hi, I’m new to your site and just wanted to offer my support. I used to work as a massage therapist with people living with cancer and recall many of my clients telling similar stories. It sounds like you have a good attitude and the support of your sisters must be a comfort during this challenging time. All the best.

    • Thanks so much for stopping by and offering your support. I cannot wait until my massage therapist can start doing body work on me again!

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