Sunday, July 31, 2011

Boo Hoo!

Nothing new to report here!

My incision looks like it may be starting to heal so that is good. The one edge of it is closing together and the other side isn't draining as much. I'm really not having any pain at all unless I switch or twist weird or if I lift one of the kids and hold them for too long. I feel fairly normal...until...

My friend and I had a brilliant idea today to take the two kiddos to the beach. I knew that JT (2y/o) would just putter around the edge of the water and play in the sand and AJ (3.5y/o) would want to swim. My friend wanted to take her swimming so I knew it would be fine with me not getting in the water. So I got everything together, got the kids ready, and then was going to go change my clothes.... I knew I wouldn't be wearing a swimsuit but wanted to have shorts and a tank on so that I wasn't too hot.... So I put on a tank and you could see every dent in my left expander. I'm not a self conscious person but I knew I couldn't go out like that... so I put a second tank on top thinking that layering may decrease the flatness and make it so it didn't indent.... nope... great. So this was the first time where I wanted to cry about how I looked! Now I was fairly flat prior to surgery but could wear padded bras so at least it looked like I had something but now, not. And my old bras hurt to wear since they aren't the same shape as the expanders. So I plopped on a t-shirt that at least hung flat instead of indenting.

And so we went to the beach and had a blast, spent a few hours there. The kids LOVED it and it was gorgeous weather and warm water! And a big thank you to Miss Lindsy who braved the lake with Miss Addy (who also loved her new floaties)!

So with a new found respect for the expansion process, I am actually looking forward to getting filled! Even just to relieve the concaveness so that I can wear different shirts. Its the little things that you realize things aren't actually going to be normal for a while!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


One of the groups of CNS's that I work with wanted to do something to help so chipped in and got us a housekeeper for 4 hours! Well Molly Maids came today and our house is least for the next two hours till the munchkins come home! They even dusted the picture frames! So an amazingly huge thank you to all of you! It was super nice to come home to a clean home. Hubby even mowed the yard today!

Everything else is status quo! Still some burning off and on in the one open incision. I can almost get my arms above my head. My muscle above the expanders is still sore off and on. Sleeping is going better (minus the 2 and 3 year old who are having sleeping issues). AND I worked a full 6 hours today! Planning on 6 hours the next few days and then will reassess. I am taking it slow because I don't want another set back of any kind!

Saturday, July 23, 2011


Ok, so I got the OK to do more from plastics and well it hurts!

Moving my arms too high or too far out to the side hurts! I also tried changing JT's diaper today and he is heavy! Picked him up and put him on my hip and could feel it all day in my chest. The muscle hurts and it pulls in the center by my sternum too. The open area on the one incision is burning which is annoying but hopefully that means it is healing!

So gotta remember to take it slow and just because I have the OK to do more doesn't necessarily mean that I should!

Thursday, July 21, 2011


OK, most of you probably don't want to read about nipples and incisions so if you don't, click out now!

Went to see plastics today and he peeled off my scabs and eschar (dead areas) and well the right one that had a lot of issues, the nipple is alive! Instead of completely drying out and falling off, it healed from the inside out! So what does this mean? They hyperbaric worked. My body is finally starting to heal and hopefully collateral vessels have been formed to help continue to keep my radiated skin healthy.

It didn't hurt when he peeled everything off but I have a lot of procedural anxiety but it went well anyway!

So next step is to wait a month for healing to continue (there is now open areas where some of the incision scab was peeled off). Then next time we will most likely do my first fill. Which leaves me with mixed feelings...1- its great to be making progress and finally know that hyperbaric helped, 2-filling is no fun and can cause a lot of pain and discomfort, 3- this journey is going to be way longer than I was hoping. I had hoped this would be a short term blog but, guess not! 4- excited to be moving forward yet again!

So I now have no appointments for a whole month! WOO HOO!

He also said that I could lift again! Which means I can start working on being able to hold my kids! Although I lifted a 24 pack of coke today and found out how weak and deconditioned I really am! I also have no restrictions on movement so I can start stretching and trying to regain my range of motion. So my main restriction is just not swimming/bathing and not getting kicked in the chest (which believe me is a big risk with my two year old)! And he wants to give me a prescription for a giant juicy cheeseburger once a day! He is sure that my increased meat intake is helping with the healing as well. So if anyone is up for lunch, I'll have a burger!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

I did it!

I made it through my first day back at work. It was only for 4 hours this morning but I did it! I am now tired, sore, and have a giant headache but I got some work done. I got my emails down to about 150 emails that I need to do something with (projects, etc) or that I need to follow up on. It took 4 hours to go through my whole email pile. How ridiculous is that!

Tomorrow I see plastics and then Friday I will be working another half day!

Sleeping is going ok, only waking up about 2-3 times a night and able to fall asleep a bit faster than before. Still in bed with gigantor pillow which was definitely a good investment!

Incisions are still scabbed over and the one is still oozing some blood off and on so we'll see what plastics says tomorrow. My range of motion is still limited. I'll be checking on that tomorrow as well. I had started doing stretching but not sure if thats a good thing or not so I stopped! My chest is really tight in the center and when I stretch my arms up or back my armpit muscles are super tight and hurt and wont let my arms go in that direction!

Things at home have been going pretty well. I'm able to do more and help out a little bit.

Yesterday a coworker of mine called, one of the groups that I work with chipped in and got me a cleaning service! So they will be coming Tuesday morning for a couple hours! I'm hoping they can clean all three bathrooms and possibly the kitchen floor! I am so blessed to have such wonderful coworkers!

Our frozen food supply is still going strong! Most people made fairly large meals which have been lasting us at least 2 days so we are going through the food much slower than we anticipated which is a good thing. We've also received some gift cards to various restaurants which is nice for a change of pace as well!

Well I will keep plugging along and will keep you all posted!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Back to work and other updates...

The recliner came and I used it the first night and was fairly comfortable except the cats were rubbing on it all night and the room we have it in is filled with toddler toys that apparently randomly go off during the night for a not so restful sleep. So slept in our bed the next night and slept a bit better. So maybe the sleep thing is finally going to start working. We may move the recliner up stairs but haven't decided yet for sure.

I saw the Gyne surgeon today. No big issues. I'll see her again in 6 weeks and then really don't need to follow up with gyne after that unless I have issues! Yay for no more yearly appointments with that department!

I'm going to attempt work this week! My original return date was Thursday but I am going to go in Wednesday and Friday morning for 4 hours to see how it goes. Then we will take it from there to see what to do next week.

I see plastics on Thursday. The left incision is looking pretty good. The scab is peeling off and it looks like a normal incision. The right side looks the same as it has, no better, no worse. I'm assuming it is working on healing from the inside out!

I finally feel like I have made a little more progress. My chest is tight but its not always painful. I'm not constantly thinking about my expanders and the pain. I can do some more normal activities without too many issues. Still can't lift anything over 10 pounds but have found creative ways to get the kids higher... like kneeling on one knee and having them step up on my other one :) My new bra's came in from Penneys so those will be nice for the expansion process.

I've been meeting random friends for lunch off and on during the week (most of which I don't get to see very often due to conflicting schedules) which has been a nice break to the days!

So here we go, moving forward once again! Wish me luck at work on Wednesday! I'm sure the first day will be going through the thousands of work emails!

Friday, July 15, 2011

No news is well.. no news!

Still not sleeping great but seem to be getting a tiny bit better. My parents have an old recliner so they are bringing it down this weekend to see if that helps. When we went up north I slept in a recliner and it helped a little more so we'll try it!

Talked to my boss and work is pretty flexible about me taking more time off if I need it. So trying to figure out what the best plan is. Hoping to do two half days maybe next week to test it out and see if I can do it!

I see the gyne surgeon on Monday and plastics on Thursday next week so we'll see how those go! I'm assuming that everything will just stay status quo since plastics doesn't want to do fills until the incisions are completely healed which I am guessing wont be for a while!

Emotionally I am still a bit up and down. Just sucks that this is going to take so much longer of a process than I anticipated and I will be missing out on parts of my kids lives in the meantime which I know in the long run I'll be here longer without cancer (that's the plan anyway!) so will get those moments back later but its still hard. I miss my friends, they miss theirs, I miss being normal. Ok, well I've never really been normal, but miss being me and just aren't my bubbly outgoing self at the moment!

It will all be worth it once this is all done so I keep on trucking!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Sleep in sight?

Well last night tried something new... I took zero meds before bed, no tylenol, no valium, nothing. I noticed the other day when I tried valium and oxycodone that I was quite relaxed but still couldn't sleep and was still stiff and sore in the morning so it didn't prevent future pain either. So went to bed. Left AJ asleep on the floor downstairs (Jared was down with her, she fell asleep there on her own), and JT was in bed upstairs but apparently at somepoint during the night got up and was yelling for daddy so Jared brought him downstairs too (I obviously slept through it). I think I got around 4 hours of sleep last night (at once) which is a huge improvement. It takes me a while to get moving in the morning but once I am up and going the pain and muscle spasms get better. All three were still asleep together on the couch when I came downstairs!

So I'll try that again tonight, no meds and see if it works again! I think if I could sleep at night then I would feel so much better and not so lethargic during the day.

I started doing some of the stretches today. It made me realize how little I really can move my arms at the moment. Its sore to do the stretches but felt good afterward and even after doing them only once, feel like I got a little more range of motion back. So I'll be attempting those 1-2 times a day.

Incisions and everything are pretty stable and status quo, not really healing much from what I can see on the outside but not getting any worse. I just started having a tiny bit of abdominal pain but I am sure its from using those muscles to get in and out of bed now that I am sleeping in a bit more reclined position. Otherwise the hysterectomy part has caused me no issues or pain or anything! Which I pretty much expected since my last abdominal surgery (hemicolectomy in 2001) went the same way with minimal pain or issues. So at least the hysterectomy double salpingoopherectomy part went perfectly!

I'm getting more use to the feel of the breast tissue expanders inside my chest. They are rock hard, lumpy (since they are empty), and poke out the sides since I am small. My muscles are finally accepting them as being there and aren't fighting them everytime I move my arms. I got new bras. More thin sports bra/half cami type bras that will expand with my expansions. I've got two more on order as well. I also need to order some new scrubs for work that button up so that I can get them on and off as things over my head aren't going to happen for a while since I can't get my arms up that high yet.

I'm working on figuring out what to do for work. I am scheduled to return to work next Thursday the 21st but am not sure I am ready for that yet especially since I just finished hyperbaric this past Friday and am just starting to attempt somewhat of a normal routine. My arms aren't working great yet and I am just so dang tired! I do a lot of computer stuff at work and even blogging for 10 minutes is still tiring. So looking into options on that front as well.

The kids are doing well. They have adjusted fairly well to the new normal of mommy not being able to lift them, run after them, or play in the same way. We are finding other ways of bonding. Last night both curled up with me to read books which was a wonderful feeling that I could finally curl up with both of them and not be in pain. JT (just turned 2) has learned to ask daddy for everything now which is good but kind of sad at the same time. AJ (3 1/2) is doing pretty well except when daddy has to help JT and she needs something at the same time. I am finally able to start helping with more little things with them like getting outfits out, getting a glass of water, snacks, etc. So it's easing the burden on Jared a tiny bit. I even brought a diaper to the park for him! Made it the whole half a block by myself and then sat and watched them play for a bit before heading back. I feel bad that they haven't gotten to see their little friends very much or be able to do all of our normal crazy activities but they are coping pretty well for being so little and not understanding. Hopefully I'll feel better soon so we can at least go on some playdates!

I did get AJ's hair done with the help of Jared taking out the braids, washing her hair, and attempting the first comb through. I did big fat twists with a cornrow around her head and it all ending in a pony tail. It doesn't look great and is pretty fuzzy already so I'll need to redo it soon but it's a start. Cornrows are just too hard right now with having to hold my arms in weird positions for that long. So I'll hold off a couple days and attempt a redo.

I've driven twice now and that is going better than I expected. I'm just a little more cautious around corners and bumps!

We've eaten out a few times and besides looking like a total slob since I am wearing comfy pants (hyst scars still have some scabs and rub) and zip up hoodies (cant get things over my head), and hair combed but not done (can't use a curling iron above my head).. I have been able to make it through most meals. Even met a good friend today and was able to sit for 1 1/2 hours eating and talking and catching up. And drove myself home (ok, it was only a mile from our house but still!).

I am really excited for Wednesday. There is another lady in our area who just had a similar surgery a few days before I did and we are meeting for lunch on Wednesday. Her surgery went very well and she is doing great so it will be nice to meet her and be inspired by her progress!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Moving forward a little!

Had a rough night last night with little sleep due to being sore and uncomfortable. My gigantor pillow ( 6 ft U shaped) came ( and was highly recommended on other PBM forums and I think its going to be great once I get a little better pain control at night!

Had hyperbaric this morning and saw plastics this after noon, here are the highlights:
  • Last hyperbaric tomorrow (20 total) but will do 10 more when I have my exchange surgery in the future
  • Can stop wearing the binder (YAY! now just need to find bras that will work with expansion, got one at target before surgery that feels pretty comfortable so will be going back to look for more of the same brand tomorrow)
  • Everyone thinks the incisions look fine and to just let it be and let the scabs come off as they want
  • We wont start filling until the incisions are completely well healed so most likely not for at least another month
  • Plan to fill with 1-2 ounces at a time with a goal of 300 cc's to be able to put in a 250cc implant (a can of soda is 355cc's if that gives you some perspective)
  • See plastics again in two weeks
  • No movement restrictions (just the 10 pound lifting restriction)
  • No good suggestions from them for sleeping. I was kind of dissappointed, he doesn't like to use ambien and I was told it will get better to try different positions/pillows/etc. which I have already been doing so hoping to hit a turn around here soon because I need some sleep!
  • He isn't worried about my skin for the expansion, he said that with the hyperbaric and the healing looking good that it wont be a problem, they will just do the expansion slowly.
  • And I need to drastically increase my animal protein to aid in healing which will be a little difficult. He said at least two burgers a day (or chicken/fish/eggs etc) but wants it to be animal protein. And for those of you who don't know me well, I'm not a big meat eater and am super picky about what meat I will eat! So sloppy Joes for dinner, not insanely healthy but he didn't care if what I ate was healthy as long as it was protein.
So all in all everything is looking better. I'm supposed to start work exactly two weeks from today but need to make quite a bit of progress before then to be able to even go back at 4 hours. Since I have bee doing hyperbaric everyday it wears you out and kind of blows your whole day (drop kids at daycare, do hyperbaric, eat lunch, rest, pick kids up, eat dinner, play, get ready for bed) so not much time for actual healing. So last hyperbaric tomorrow, then my plan is next week to start doing arm stretches to try to get back some range of motion and to sit my laptop at the table and start working on the computer for 15-20 minute intervals to try to increase my sitting on a hard chair/working on a computer endurance, and to start trying to walk longer distances. Right now I get tired really easily and with my job, I have meetings all over the campus so need to be able to walk quite a bit as well. And then at the end of the week we'll see where I am at and if I think I will be able to start work or will need more time or shortened days.

Keep on truckin! Please think happy forward progress for me!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Quick Update

Well I met my goal of being able to go up north with our extended family for the fourth of July!

It was nice to be out in the fresh air, by the lake, just relaxing.

I've got three more scheduled hyperbarics and I see plastics on Thursday to see if they want to do more or not and what the plan is. I've got a new little issue with my incision, its leaking a bit and has two new red areas that make it look like it wants to pull apart. And now one end is peeling as well but that may be expected. So I'll have the hyperbaric doc look tomorrow and see if I need to see plastics sooner or not!

Other than that, nothing new! I am doing somewhat more each day, or at least when I was up north I would rotate from spot to spot to sit so felt like I was doing more! The muscle spasms are getting less intense and I am able to move my arms a little more but need to clarify what my movement restrictions are before I do too much.

More later!