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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

normal is just a setting on the washing machine.

Scott and I pre-op


Well it has been just a little under two weeks since I had my right implant removed and my radiation scar tissue cut and scraped and a new implant put in. I was lucky enough to have my family both pre and post-op. Unfortunately many things that could have gone wrong have.... I woke up in recovery in severe pain, I was crying hysterically and found out that they weren't allowed to give the prescribed pain medication that works for me in recovery, it was only allowed in the operating room. Because I have had to take so many IV pain medications through the course of my treatments I have a high tolerance and it can be a big issue when surgery is in play.  As a result, I was in recovery for 3 hours, strictly to get my pain under control and for me to stop crying....

my pre-op cheer squad!

my post-op fan club!
Once I was under control I went to my room and had my wonderful family waiting. We were all curious to see if my boob would no longer be on my collarbone--success!! My right boob was pleasantly in the correct position, seeing eye-to-eye with the left.  But then, as usual, my body had a mind of its own and my right boob went crazy. I have a severe infection making my boob red hot, rashy, and retaining fluid... I went on antibiotics and upped my pain meds...spending a week literally not able to do anything--stir crazy has nothing on me, I am still house-bound (I think I watched everything on my DVR....and every somewhat interesting looking movie at redbox--I mean I even rented We Bought a Fucking Zoo..........not sure if that is the title?)  everything hurt and it wasn't getting better....my boob kept growing, and fluid began to leak out of my incision.
my swollen boob, you can't really see it, but it was about twice the size of my other boob and BRIGHT red hot
 So off to my plastic doc I went.......again.  Yesterday Scott and I went to see my plastic doc and he agreed that there was way too much fluid for my body to be able to absorb (which is what we were hoping would have happened last week).  So he used a scalpel, inserted a 4 inch long needle with catheter and then before he could attach the huge syringe blood and fluid exploded all over the drape (and my pants) because it was SO full.  It definitely explained why every time I moved I heard a sloshy sound.... 165 cc's of fluid were removed, and my doctor sewed in a drain which last night leaked all over while I was sleeping.  I am also on two new antibiotics--the big guns!

actual syringe used and it is HUGE (like a banana) and it sucked out 165 cc's of fluid
the drain added yesterday, AFTER 165 cc's of fluid was already taken out....lovely

lots of drainage going on here!!! you can see how red by right boob is here, still have the drain in...

So the journey continues....I am still on lots of pain medication and as a result am home bound. I have a drain in and somehow it is poking me from the inside randomly...I think the catheter may be resting near a stitch....it feels like a hot poker so I think it must be pulling on it......not enough pain medication in the world....

I now find myself struggling. The good news is that I made so much progress mentally that this hasn't pushed me over the edge. I have been able to handle the rollercoasters better than I would have a month ago. We always joke that if it could happen, it probably will (at least in terms of my health). My poor body needs a break, it needs time to heal...I think it is angry and fighting me at every corner. Hopefully this will be my last wave and it can become more of a smooth sail from here.  I am looking forward to being able to be social, to be able to be reliable, and to have a routine of health and fitness. And I would like to be off antibiotics because I could really use a drink...

Friday, June 1, 2012

move, get out the way!

Scott and I at the Northwest Hope and Healing Fashion Show

Hi there, nice to see you again....it has been too long! My apologies for the lapse in time, I have been overwhelmed, underwhelmed, sick, tired, angry, frustrated, and too stressed to type. But typing is what I should have been doing all along.... Today I have surgery to remove my right implant, scrape and slit the scar tissue from radiation and have another implant placed--we are hoping that this will allow me to no longer have a boob on my collarbone.

Since my last post things have changed--some things have become clearer, and others seem like a dream that I will not be able to achieve. Since my diagnosis (and during treatment when I was really isolated) I have begun to have anxiety, panic attacks over having to go to the grocery store, social anxiety of big places, anxiety of things that won't even happen, I worry about worrying.... So I decided to take it head on, I walked in a fashion show in front of 400 people with other survivors--if that isn't a bitch-slap to cancer, I don't know what is.  And it helped, I was empowered and I had a great time, afterwards I felt like I could do anything...........

That feeling didn't last forever, but it did give me the boost I needed to get out of a rut. I still have some wounds on my legs and arms that aren't healing, my shoulder hurts more than ever, and I have surgery scheduled this coming Friday at 3:30pm to have my right implant removed, more scar tissue scraped out and cut, and a new implant placed. We are hoping that the result will be less pain (having the implant off my lymph nodes and collar bone) and my gals will be more even. Honestly though I could care less about them being even, I just want the pain to go away--and then I will have better result from physical therapy (which I am still going to for the car accident).

Waking up daily and being in pain has become my own "cry me a river" story. I don't mention it much but I am on edge all the time. The pain makes everything else amplified, I get overwhelmed easy, I snap at my family, I have trouble sleeping or focusing on something for a long period of time. Sometimes I have a day where I feel "normal" and I do as much as I can that day, but the next day is like a bad hangover.

I am ready for a new start....I have started to get extremely nervous for my upcoming surgery. I have done it before and I know the routine, I love my surgeon, and I thought I wouldn't be getting the butterflies that are currently making me stay in the bathroom like it is my job. I think it is because this surgery could take away a lot of the pain and give me back the opportunity to heal physically. I have been working really hard on healing mentally (putting things together and making sure I surround myself with supportive people) but not being able to heal physically has made it feel disjointed--they aren't lining up with each other and as a result I feel like I haven't made as much progress as I should be.

I cleared my circle.  I spoke with another survivor and she told me how she got rid of things and people that she didn't like after she was diagnosed. I did the same thing! I didn't realize it but I did, even in my chemo and post-chemo haze I was able to weed out people that focused more on themselves than healing and support. What a great coping mechanism that I didn't even realize I had created until I looked at it as a whole picture.

Scott painted the bedroom and we changed everything around (it is no longer my chemo coffin) it is a place where I can relax and sleep. Though my anxiety has limited my social interactions, I still have a circle of amazing support that are unbelievably selfless and loving. I am in a place where I am feeling held.....where if I fall there are many hands to catch me, and if I need a boost they are there.  I am hoping that with physical healing my anxiety will lessen...it has been hard to focus on things when the pain is always in the back of my mind, a continuous circle that then causes me to react physically.

We are working on switching up things at the house, finally doing all the things that we talked about doing forever. We are slowly making it our place, our place AFTER cancer, our place for me to survive and where we can thrive together and take on the new hurdles that life will throw at us, but hopefully keeping cancer as something we have went through, rather than something that is on the horizon. 

I am not the same person I was three years ago--I look at photos and remember how it felt to not have real things to worry about, to just get to go about life, no lessons learned. There are a few things in my past that have changed how I view the world, losing my father, getting married, having cancer--and the woman I am today is who I was meant to be. I am using the strength that I have gathered to get through all of this, to be able to look someone in the eye and tell them I am a Survivor and mean it with every fiber of my being. I have been through hell and back and there is nothing I can do to change that. I have never been a "glass half-full" type of gal and my cynicism has definitely grown through tragedy...but I am honored to wake up each day and fight.

Today begins another journey, welcome aboard. I am off to check-in at the hospital!!