Thursday, August 15, 2013

Moving Forward with my Best Friend

Because of my inability to go to a doctor's appointment lately without crying, Kevin has decided to go to every appointment with me from now on.  I thought that was sweet, but silly.  What's the need?  He went to the PS with me yesterday and it was so much easier on me.  It's amazing what a difference it made.  He was right.

In six weeks, we'll go talk to Dr. Dillow again and get the ball rolling for the TRAM flap surgery.  It should happen in mid-late October.  Having a target time helps a lot, too.  I was floundering around wondering what would happen and when, and I feel better knowing that it's coming soon.  Soon?  Well, after the 18 months I've just gotten through, mid October is soon.

I've gotten so many cards, letters, texts, messages, comments, and calls of support.  I am astounded.  I have people thinking of me and praying for me all across the country.  How could anything else go wrong with that kind of support?  :)  It won't.  I'm 2 months away from having Dr. Dillow make my body whole again.  That will be an amazing day.

I'm climbing out of my funk, and I'm sorry for being Debby Downer.  I had NO idea, when I got married, how much I'd need Kevin, and how much he'd step up and take care of me.  He has been amazing.  He's my rock.  He's my best friend.  I love him.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

A Very Difficult Easy Appointment

I know it's been a while (again,) but I refuse to do whiny post after whiny post.  I know that it's my "right" or "normal" to feel like this sometimes, but nobody wants to read that crap all the time, so I'm not posting often until I get out of this funk, but I'll try to update from time to time.

I had an appointment with my medical oncologist today.  (I have so many doctors these days, and will put a legend at the bottom of this to help you understand if you've never dealt with cancer care.)  It was a simple appointment where she checked on me and made sure I had no side effects from my medication and that my vitals were good and then to send me on my way to not see her for six months.

During this simple visit, she asked how everything was going.  I had to tell about it all.  About my reconstructive surgery and how it failed.  About how he tried again and it failed again. About how we're back at square one and I can't even consider another procedure for a couple of months, minimum.  I had to tell her all of this, and it made this simple appointment more difficult that I'd ever imagined.  I returned to work emotionally drained.

I hated having to tell these details.  I hated it more than you can even believe.  I cried all the way back to work.  Emotionally, I'm handling this worse than I handled the weeks after diagnosis.  From the time I was diagnosed with breast cancer, everything has been onward and upward.  "We're doing this to get cancer out of your body."  "We're doing this to keep cancer from spreading to other parts of your body."  "We're doing this to keep cancer from returning to your body."

Now that all of this is handled, it's time for the cosmetic part.  Should be no biggie.  But it keeps failing and now I have to wait and I just want to put it all behind me and MOVE ON.  Before you tell me that it could be worse, I know that.  I have a few friends with stage 4 breast cancer.  They are facing a long road of continuing treatment.  This is just aesthetics.  I'll get by, and I'll try not to whine too much about it.

I have an amazing family taking care of me, and I'm not wearing that damn sling anymore.  Those are two things to be very thankful for.  And believe me, I'm thankful for them.

Edited to add the legend and it's too late to claim chemo brain:

Breast Surgeon (BS) - Performs mastectomy or lumpectomy or whatever is deemed necessary to remove tumors from the breast.

Medical Oncologist (MO) - Administers medications to fight cancer.  Responsible for chemotherapy and any medication after the fact.

Radiology Oncologist (RO) - Administers radiation and follows up with skin issues afterward.

Plastic Surgeon (PS) - Does reconstruction after lumpectomy or mastectomy  Also does work on the unaffected side if only one breast is removed.

Physical Therapist (PT) - Tries to get our body to work like it did before all of the above doctors do their thing.

Primary Care Physician (PCP) - The guy who gets tons of reports sent over and wonders what the HECK has happened to you when you actually only see him for the occasional cough.  Poor fella.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

I'd Give My Left Arm to Get Rid of That Sling

The sling is gone.  I was in it for one day short of 10 weeks.  My arm feels like a noodle hanging off the side of my body.  It's kind of funny.  They made it clear that I am NOT to start therapy yet, and should still restrict lifting and major movement, but still, the sling is gone and I can sleep in my bed!  I slept so well last night, it was unbelievable.  If you ever want to appreciate your bed, sleep in a recliner for 10 weeks.

They also removed the drain.  That is good, but I'm finding that I start hurting around 1:00 or so in the afternoon.  I think it's because I am a desk jockey, so I've been taking a pain pill and then walking around the customer service area and it helps.  I don't have great posture, so I'm thinking that is causing it.  They did yank a drain out of my side yesterday.  I'm hoping that it's a short-lived problem.

I also finally got a medic alert bracelet.  I'd been avoiding it because they were either ugly, expensive, or just not what I wanted.  I don't wear jewelry, so it was weird to try to pick one out.  Because of the mastectomy, I cannot have needle sticks or blood pressure cuffs on my left arm, so it's important that I wear it.  It's Italian charms, so I can slowly add charms to replace the blank silver ones.

I'm currently bound in an ACE bandage for 2 weeks, after which I'll go back to see the plastic surgeon.  We won't plan for the next surgery for a couple of months, most likely.  I have to just heal and wait.  *sigh*  A year ago, I really imagined that I'd be done by now.  It was good that I had something to look forward to, but it sure is a disappointment to reach the light at the end of the tunnel and find a gorilla with a flashlight, waiting to knock you down.

I'll be OK.  The pity party has ended and I'm just doing my thing.  I go to work, I come home, and I sleep in my own damn bed.  And that bed feels pretty good, if I do say so myself.