Tuesday, June 12, 2012
5 Weeks Post-Op Update
It has been 5 weeks since my bilateral mastectomy/reconstruction surgery. It feels like it has been longer than 5 weeks. I haven't taken any pain medication (advil, aleve, etc) in over 5 days. I still have pain, of course, but I can deal with it. Since I've started back to work I've noticed that I have to get up and walk around every hour or two and stretch my muscles or my chest starts to really hurt. I could probably take something, but my stomach was really having a rough time with the ibuprofen. So, I decided the muscle/suture pain was not as bad as the stomach issues. I'd rather just deal with the pain.
I am a little sad that I do not have the range of motion I would like. When I put my arms over my head or try to stretch to get something I can feel something pulling in my chest and it is very painful. I'm guessing it is the sutures for the tissue expanders. I really really dislike tissue expanders. I am thankful for them and their purpose, but I cannot imagine what it is going to be like to go through this pain, getting fills at the same time I'm doing chemo. But, maybe the chemo will take my mind off of the TE's. <Update - I provide an update here regarding my range of motion. It wasn't due to the sutures.>
Chemo starts 2 weeks from today. That means, my hair will start falling out in about 1 month. I made the mistake of researching the two drugs (cytoxan and taxotere) I will be getting in my chemo "cocktail" before I went to bed the other night. NEVER do side effect research before going to bed. It will just make you worry until you finally fall asleep from exhaustion. I did learn a few things though. Those that mentioned minimal side effects drank LOTS of water after their chemo infusions. So, I will try to remember to drink water....I am not big on drinking anything. I usually start with a drink in the morning and I'm still drinking the same one in the afternoon. So, I will have to force myself. Also, they said to use "Hard as Nails" to keep your fingernails from falling off. I guess that is one of the side effects of one of the drugs and most of the posts I read...they lost their nails. I will try that as well. Also, I tried to find someone online with an Oncotype score of 70 (high risk of recurrence), but I couldn't find anyone mentioning that high of a score. 54 was the highest I saw and most were in the teens or 30's. My age and that high score were the reasons I'm having to do so many rounds of chemo and Tamoxifen. :o( If anyone reading this is a breast cancer survivor with an Oncotype score as high (or close) to mine will you comment and let me know how long you've been in remission? I'm just curious.
I am still waking up several times each night because of the pain from the TE's. It is mostly because I try to lay on my side or I move my arms and the pain wakes me up. I'm also still dreaming about removing whatever the bra is that is causing my chest pain. lol! You would think after 5 weeks my brain would realize it isn't a bra and it can't be removed, but I woke up trying to get it off again this morning. I am literally using my arms to try to locate it to remove and I can't find it...that is when I wake up. lol! I'm no longer having bad dreams. I'm guessing that was from the heavier pain meds or the valium I was taking. I'm thankful I'm back to good dreams or the ones I don't remember. Also, I still have to lock the cats out at night. They used to sleep on my chest so obviously this is a huge issue and I get tired of fighting with them all night long and moving them. I am surprised at how sore my chest is still when I push on it. One really freaky thing is....if I scratch my nail over my breast skin....I can't feel it at all. AT ALL! There are no nerves left I guess. Now, if I push on myself I can feel pressure, but it is not at all like it used to be. :o( It is just freaky.
One wonderful thing about today is....Kevan gets home today!! I cannot wait to see him and hear all about his mission trip. I've really missed him. It's been 10 days since I saw him last. A very long 10 days. He called me last night when he crossed the border back into the US. It was great hearing his voice. He sounded tired. But, still excited from everything. His phone was dying so we were only able to talk for a few minutes.