The past week has been full of non-blogging because, well, just because. I’m stuck in a non-exercise, non-physical activity phase until the incisions are more fully healed, and my chest wall is less irritated by the tissue expanders. The breast surgeon (as opposed to the plastic surgeon whom I see regularly) said the irritation at the bottom part of the tissue expanders – now referred to as my “melons” – is probably local lymphedema. Mastectomy is an amazingly disruptive surgery where the breast tissue is
scraped scooped away from the chest wall, ripping away severing local blood supply, small nerves, and lymph channels. So while I don’t have the dreaded lymphedema in my right arm from removing a few nodes to check for early cancer spread, there is this local process going on that is not very pretty. It looks and feels like a sunburn, but I am tolerating the discomfort better.
When last I blogged, groaning about a collection of fluid in my right breast that needed to be drained, it has been aspirated twice. No biggie, no pain (no sensation), no infection. The tissue expanders are now a tremendous 705 cc each – that is almost 1.5 liters of saline sitting on my chest. They really do look like melons or really large softballs, including seams! After repeated advice to keep my arms still to prevent fluid accumulation, my surgeon admonished me (in his sardonic manner) to stretch my pecs to minimize spasms. No wonder patients get so confused – don’t move, move, move this way but not that way… Any hoo, my hunky brother taught me two easy pec stretches and BAM! mucho relief. Next visit I plan to teach them to the doc’s patient educator.
So maybe now you’re wondering if my chest will look like Pam Anderson’s after all of this? No way. I am already expanded past the size silicone implants that will be placed. This over-expansion process allows a more natural looking droop. I mean perky is nice, but who wants breasts at their collar bones?! If all continues to go well, I should have final surgery for my new foobs in October, maybe November. That is getting dangerously near the return of the in-laws. Double ouch. Surgery and in-laws. I need to be in my best physical and mental shape to handle their annual visit.
Eating continues to be weird in that I have minimal appetite but have only lost 5 pounds the past 6 weeks. Yes, I finally stepped on the scale. Part my perceived slow loss is due to the expanders now weighing more than my natural fatty breasts (water weighs more than fat). I have, however, dropped another size and am fitting into some size 10 clothes. My hips do love to hang on to fat!
My outlook is more positive, except when I take Valium for severe muscle spasms – then I get a little brain cloud. All I have to do to keep in perspective about my (former) breast cancer is to read the breast cancer forums at BCO and thank God that I am NOT having to go through chemo and radiation at the same time as reconstruction. Those women are amazingly strong. I am amazingly fortunate and blessed with good health, a wonderful family, and…
It’s officially monsoon season! Yippee, rain, glorious rain in Tucson. It was one of Tucson’s thunderstorms that generated the haboob over Phoenix this week. I’m certain every teen-age boy is going around saying, “Nice haboobs you got there!”