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Pectoral muscles and my new hobby…

26 Sep

I’ve struggled since my mastectomy/reconstruction in 2012 to do things that I used to be able to do.  During surgery they cut the pectoral muscles when they inserted the tissue expanders in order to create a pocket for the implants once I had the reconstruction.  Some of the things that I have a hard time with are raking leaves, shoveling dirt, bowling…pretty much anything that really uses my pectoral muscles.  It would either hurt immediately or I would be paying for it the next day when I had muscle spasms.  I wanted an exercise that would build up those muscles, but also be fun.  Honestly, I hate exercise…it is boring.  I love going on a hike or for a long walk, but anything that makes me sit/stand in the same position while staring at a wall (think treadmill, elliptical, lifting weights) or even running down the road without enjoying what I’m running past is no fun.

For the last 5 years or so my husband has wanted me to go kayaking with him.  The first time he asked we lived in Florida and the thought of kayaking along side an alligator did not appeal to me.  I didn’t like the idea at all.  So, I’ve been saying no, changing the subject or telling him I *might* do it if it is a 2-person kayak. I’m not a very good swimmer.  I worried about falling out and thought if he was in the boat with me he could help me get back in it. I always had an excuse of why I couldn’t do it.  The excuse during the last year or so was my pectoral muscles couldn’t handle the paddling.  🙂

In August we went to Michigan for my family reunion.  It was held at my brother’s farm.  He has a pond and a canoe.  My other brother brought his kayaks over in case anyone wanted to paddle around in the water.  While we were there Kev asked me if I wanted to go in the canoe.  I thought it would be so much more stable so I said sure.  As I was getting in I almost tipped it over.  The thought of Kevan getting into it too alarmed me.  I knew we would end up in the water if we couldn’t keep the thing balanced.  Knowing that he always wanted to go in a kayak and knowing that I’d be in it BY MYSELF I asked him if he’d rather go kayaking.  I knew I could keep it balanced if I was in the boat by myself!  I’m a little of a control freak sometimes.  He said he wanted to go in the kayaks.  Whew!  So, we did.  Let me tell you…..I loved it!  It is the most peaceful thing.  It didn’t hurt me to paddle at all.  Although, it was a little pond, but we did paddle around for about 40 minutes altogether that day (we did it twice).

Once we traveled back home I became a little obsessed with kayaking.  I’m pretty sure Kev was very excited that I was finally on board with the idea.  We researched kayaks and found out that there was a kayak manufacturer (Jackson) near us.  It made us happy that they were made in the US and locally.  We love to support our local economy.  We decided to rent a couple of kayaks just to make sure we really liked it.  The kayaks we rented ended up being Jackson kayaks as well.  We loved them.  As we did our research we realized that we also wanted to fish.  We didn’t just want to paddle/float around.  So, we would lay in bed and watch YouTube videos of people fishing on their kayaks and looked for things we might want our kayak to have (a place for rods, dry compartments, etc).

Here is a picture of me trying out a Jackson Kilroy.  We were near the Caney Fork dam and the water was freezing, but it was fun.

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I was a little worried about sitting in a kayak for a long period of time since I have horrible tailbone pain since chemo treatment.  This made me want to try a few with seats as well (the molded plastic ones, the small inserts and the larger full seat that can be removed.  We finally decided on which kayaks we would get and it had the removable seat.  The seat lets me sit up really straight (it has adjustments) so I don’t have to sit back on my tailbone.  It is very comfortable.  Kev ended up with a sit on top and I ended up with a sit in.  WE LOVE THEM.

Here is a picture of the one I purchased from Caney Fork Outdoors – it was dark out so the pic is pretty dark….but it is really pretty.

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The next day, I used my Silhouette to cut out a vinyl breast cancer ribbon and “Survivor” sticker to put on my kayak.  I added one to both sides.  See below.

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Here is a pic of Kevan in my kayak.  I am usually the one with the camera so I don’t have a picture of me in my kayak.

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Being in my kayak is so restful.  I love paddling around rivers and lakes looking at all of God’s creation.  It is so beautiful.

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A great bonus is that I’m getting exercise.  Sometimes we have to paddle more because we are on a lake (no river pushing us along) or because the wind is is pushing against us and we are trying to make it back to where we put in at.  But, I LOVE IT.  I don’t mind the extra paddling or the exercise.  I actually love it more when I have to paddle then when we are just on a lazy river.  I love pretty much….every minute of it.  I also love that I’m in MY OWN kayak.  Kevan and I were on a lake last weekend and we were arguing (just a little – ha!)….I said, “You should be glad you are in your own kayak right now because if I was in it with you I would push you out!”  HAHA!!  We both laughed and he said the feeling was mutual.  lol!

Another great bonus is that we catch DINNER.  Yes.  I love fresh fish.  Kevan cleans it and I cook it.  Perfect match.  It tastes so good.  Here is a pic of Kevan with a bass he caught for our dinner while we were camping the other day.  It looks tiny, but it actually fed both of us.

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Here is another great pic of my best friend.

Kayak Kev

Just because you are a breast cancer survivor who has had a mastectomy and reconstruction doesn’t mean you can’t do things like kayaking.  YOU CAN DO IT!  I am so blessed that God has healed me and that I’ve had the opportunity to experience paddling around with my husband and enjoying God’s creation.  One more thing that I find myself doing while I’m kayaking is praying.  It is just so peaceful and I won’t even realize that I’ve been sitting there talking to God (in my head, not out loud) while I’m paddling around, fishing or sitting back and looking around.  I don’t use my computer, my smart phone or watch TV on my kayak….so the time that I’m sitting there I tend to end up praying.  I asked God a question the other day while I was paddling around.  I *thought* I heard an answer (in my mind).  So, I was a little shocked.  I asked God if he really answered me.  Then, Kevan came up beside me in his kayak and said the EXACT SAME THING that I thought God had just told me.  I think God was confirming to me that He really did just answer my question.  It was such a special thing.

So….lastly, it is a great way to spend time with God in prayer.  I love it!

Rib Lump

16 May

Last week I helped Kevan with getting our garden ready.  I was using a hoe to break up dirt and rake the grass/weeds out of the garden area.  That night and the next 3 days I had pretty bad muscle pain and spasms.  Sunday night I was still having the pain so while I was taking a bath I was rubbing my chest muscles and noticed that above my breast I had a pretty large painful lump.  I freaked.  This is only one year and 36 days since my original cancer diagnosis and only a little more than 8 months since I finished chemo.  I made Kevan feel it twice and, much like the first time I had a lump, he was not very excited to do so.  lol!  I immediately made an appointment with my breast surgeon Monday morning so he could take a look at it and get his thoughts.  The appointment was made for Thursday morning (today).  This meant that I had to wait 3 days to find out what it “might” be.  It was hard to work, I couldn’t concentrate and my thoughts kept leading me to “what if” scenarios.

Unfortunately, I worried.  A lot.  Kevan walked into the kitchen on Wednesday and said, “Sweetheart, is there something you aren’t telling me?  Are you on strike?”  I’ve been so worried and depressed that I haven’t cooked at all this week or cleaned much.  We’ve eaten out every night and I was too depressed to clean.  So, he figured I was on strike because this isn’t normal for his wife.  I was taking the extra time I had not cleaning/cooking to google all about weird chest lumps and freaking myself out.  I told a few friends so they would pray and mentioned it to my Ladies Bible Study group on Wednesday night.  They were so sweet and prayed a prayer for me right then (which made me cry).  They prayed that it wouldn’t be anything serious and asked God to give me peace if it was cancer again.  Well, last night I actually felt peace.  I thought a lot about Christian women that I knew that had breast cancer that was found in other areas of their body and died young.  Each of them is such a special woman and I knew that God allowed it to happen in order to bring about His ultimate plan somehow.  As scripture says, “all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose”.  So, I thought, if this was cancer, that I would feel privileged that He felt that I should undergo what these other women did in order to bring about His purpose.  Does that make sense?  Then, I said a prayer for my mom and my husband because I knew that, if it was, it would be so hard on both of them.  It was so hard on them the last time.  They would need special prayer.

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One Year Later – Thank you Lord!

9 May

Last year, on May 8th, I had a double mastectomy.  Last night, I read through a bunch of the posts from that time.  It is so amazing how much my mind has forgotten.  I’m so thankful that I can’t remember the pain that I was in or the nights of sleep that I went without.  The morning of the mastectomy I was all prepared to see what God had planned for me, but I remember once I was at the hospital I started to get scared.  I had to keep stopping to pray for strength and you know what?  God provided it.  I went through one of the most painful things that day too.  I had to get a shot put into both of my N’s.  It WAS HORRIBLE.  I cried.  The sweet nurse held my hand and God got me through it.  That pain was just the beginning of what God was going to show me over and over throughout the journey.  That He would be WITH me.

When I woke up from surgery I couldn’t really see myself, but I imagined I looked pretty bad.  I was a little horrified by the cute intern that stopped by to check on my post-surgery body, but it is a pretty funny story to remember now.  Then, on day 3 when I finally saw myself….I remember MANY weeks of Kevan trying to encourage me and tell me that this was just the transition.  That things would look better one day.  I had my doubts.  I cried so many times.  I had to pray a lot for strength.  I prayed that Kevan would still love me even if I was deformed or always looked like Frankenstein.  My N’s turned black, but you all prayed for me and GOD ANSWERED! He healed them and they work perfectly today.  🙂  Praise the Lord.

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All Filled up!

5 Aug
I had a plastic surgeon appointment earlier this week.  I was able to get my last fill of 50cc’s.  Due to the size of my frame my doctor had to use a small tissue expander in each breast and they only hold 300cc.  So, I am now all “filled up”.  Each tissue expander has 300cc’s of saline.   This doesn’t mean I can’t go bigger if my hubby and I choose to, but for now, while I finish chemo there will be no more fills.  I guess they can add a little more to each expander, but my doctor will not be back from maternity leave until October so we are going to discuss it more then.  Also, the actual implant can be bigger than the size of the tissue expander.  It is pretty hard to decide what “size” I want to end up with.  Since tissue expanders have no give to them and they are so hard I cannot really try on swimsuits or similar attire and get an idea of what size I am now.  They just don’t cooperate.  Also, I can’t remember if I’ve mentioned this before, but when I had the mastectomy the surgeon needed to get clear margins so I have a lot of flesh removed above my breast, which will be added back using fat from my stomach (yay!).  But, since this flesh is missing there is no way to imagine what it will look like after my final surgery.
We also discussed the surgery time frame with them.  I would like to have my final surgery by the end of the year since I have met all of my insurance deductibles and if it is any later we will have to pay even more out-of-pocket.  They are going to work with us to schedule a December surgery date ahead of time.  Kevan has researched the different implant options and we are going to go with an implant that is still waiting to be approved by the FDA.  The implants are 410’s or “gummy bear implants”.  They look more natural.  I don’t want to look like I have big implants in my chest.  They have been in clinical trials for 12 years (I think) and are VERY close to being approved this year, but might not be approved in time for my surgery.  Due to this, my plastic surgeon will not be able to do the final surgery.  Her partner, who is using them in a clinical trial will be, but he is only allowed to do so many per month.  So, I need to get on his schedule now.  At the end of this post I have added a few links regarding the type of implant we are wanting in case you are interested.  We still need to find out if I’m a candidate for them.  We are praying I am.  I’ve read a lot of the breast reconstruction forums regarding the 410’s and a lot of women are happy with them and can even sleep on their stomach’s once again!  I can’t wait until that day!
While we were in their office they took a 4D picture of my chest.  It was pretty cool.  The software actually detected different “issues” that can be fixed during the final surgery.  We were able to see what I currently look like from all different angles and the software was able to be manipulated so that we could see what different implant types would look like and size.  Also, my rib cage is different on each side of my chest so we could see that one breast appears smaller than the other when we look from a certain angle even though they have the same amount of saline right now.  Since the surgeon can see this prior to surgery (using the software) he can fix this in surgery by adding a little more to the one breast than the other.  One thing that they have told us OVER AND OVER is that no women’s breasts are the same on each side.  Even before my mastectomy they were not equal (they have pictures to prove it to me.  HaHa!)…so they will not be perfect afterwards, but they try their best to help them look as similar as possible.  I’m just happy that I can have reconstruction and that I can have somewhat normal breasts in the end.
I talked to them about my scars and how I can help them fade faster.  They recommend a 100% silicone product called, ScarAway.  It is sold at many local stores without a prescription.  This product can be used on any scar.  Whether it is a surgical scar (C-section, mastectomy, etc), burn, cut, etc.  I started using it yesterday.  I’ll let you know how it works.
I have 2 more days until my next chemo treatment.  Ugh!  My parents are going to come down from Michigan to help this time so Kevan isn’t having to help me all by himself.  I’m really looking forward to them coming.  It is always nice to have your mom with you when you are sick or need some extra love.   Also, wanted to mention that we were at Walmart Thursday night and I kept complaining about how bad my feet hurt.  I told Kev we needed to hurry because I didn’t think I was going to be able to walk on them much longer.  I didn’t know what was causing it.  Then, Kevan said he remembered that I had this problem after my 1st treatment.  I looked back in my journal and he is right.  There were a few days (starting at Day 15 both times) where I was begging him to give me foot massages.  He gives great foot massages.  So, apparently this is another chemo side effect.  But, it will subside I’m sure before my treatment in a few days.  Saturday night it was a lot better.
Gummy Bear Implant links:

Bedtime

18 May
I can’t wait until the day I can get out of bed without help.  Night time has contained some of the most painful times since my surgery.  When you have 4 drain holes on your sides, plus the actual drain lines that can be easily pulled on (they are sutured in), the painful tissue expanders, 4 huge incisions from the biopsies and the mastectomy and then all the bruising and pain that comes with it…there are NOT a lot of ways to lay that are comfortable.  Our sleep number bed was a huge blessing because I could move the back of the bed up enough so I didn’t have to lay flat, but there was still much pain. 
In the beginning, Kevan would set an alarm to make sure he brought me my pain medication every 4-5 hours so that I wouldn’t wake up in too much pain.  Most of the time, I would wake up before he brought it, either in pain or needing to go to the bathroom.   I had a little radio to call him if I needed to, but I just couldn’t make myself wake him up.  I know if I did call him on the radio he would’ve come right away, but I just didn’t want to disturb him.  So, I would lay there and pray or I would pick up my phone and see what was going on with Facebook in the middle of the night (not much!).  I couldn’t read my bible because, for one, it was too heavy (even my kindle seemed heavy in the beginning) and with the drugs they gave me I couldn’t focus on the words and they would all run together.  If I had to do it over, I think I would put an audio bible on my iPhone so I could listen to it at times like this.  I would also type out some good verses that would provide me strength & comfort just so I could read them during the night.  I don’t have a good memory for memorization.
As I was laying there…I would finally hear Kevan’s alarm go off in the living room and then I’d hear him hit snooze.  lol!  I would think….”I wonder how many times he’s going to hit snooze.”  lol!  It was never more than once.  Anyone that knows my husband knows that he is not a morning person so I think only hitting snooze once was a really big thing for him.  Thank you Sweetheart.  Then, I would hear Kevan coming and I would get so excited and I’d have a huge smile on my face when he walked in to “rescue me”.  I love him so much.  This experience has showed me just how special a man he is.  I knew he was before, but for a man to look at me like this and still think I’m beautiful, to change my bandages, “milk my drains”, empty my drains, put cream on my scars, keep a diary of my meds/drain measurements, help me up, help me lay down, give me a shower, wash my hair, bring me things….the list could go on and on.  He is one special man.  God has truly blessed me.  All the times that I’m irritated with him for not helping with the domestic duties….I think he just made up for all 9 years in the last 10 days.  :o)  
I think someone had prayed for me last night because I had just mentioned to a few people that night time was so hard on me and last night was my best night so far.  In the middle of the night when my pain was bad I had the bright idea (from God I’m sure) to stretch out my arms.  Now, in the beginning I probably couldn’t do this as easily, but I don’t know why I didn’t think of it before.  Instead of trying to move myself to get more comfortable I just stretched my arms straight or gave them a little movement.  It helped a lot!  I think the reason nights are so painful is because I’m forced to lay there in the same position, propped by pillows for HOURS until I’m rescued.  The arm movements helped so much.  Also, when Kevan came to rescue me this morning I held a pillow in front of my chest and he lifted me and there was no pain at all this morning.  So, the little pillow helped too. Praise God!  I so dread being lifted from a laying position because it is so so so so painful, but today it wasn’t at all.  Thank you Lord!
I’m now setting my own alarm on my phone to wake me up for my medication around 2:30-3am.  I am no longer having to get up to go to the restroom in the middle of the night so Kevan doesn’t need to help at this time anymore.  I think before it was due to all the fluids they pumped into me in the hospital, but now things are pretty normal and I don’t need to use the restroom until morning.  Then, Kevan has his alarm go off at about 6-7am to come help me out of bed.  Then, he lays down for a few hours in the bed while I go out and sit on the couch with my many pillows to prop me up.  I love my mornings.  I get up, drink my coffee/cocoa mixture (I love my Keurig), read my bible or a devotional (usually Spurgeon), pray and just enjoy the quiet of the morning.  I just don’t understand how someone could not love morning.  Even the word brings a smile to my face.  lol!
Most of you reading my journey have prayed for me.  Did you realize we are wonderfully linked?  We are linked in prayer and linked with our Eternal Creator.  It is amazing to me to think about.  We are a big family with the same Father and Savior, Jesus Christ.  I love you all.  My eyes tear up thinking of each of you who have loved me so much to pray for my healing, my pain, my “N’s”, my comfort.  How sweet you all are and what a gift you all are.  Oh, how blessed I am. 
I love this quote from Charles Spurgeon:
“All hell is vanquished when the believer bows his knee in importunate supplication. Beloved brethren, let us pray. We cannot all argue, but we can all pray; we cannot all be leaders, but we can all be pleaders; we cannot all be mighty in rhetoric, but we can all be prevalent in prayer. I would sooner see you eloquent with God than with men. Prayer links us with the Eternal, the Omnipotent, the Infinite, and hence it is our chief resort. . . Be sure that you are with God, and then you may be sure that God is with you.”
We are linked with God.  Such a special blessing He has given us.  The ability to talk to Him any time of day and the assurance that He is with us.

I can’t stand not having a picture in each of my posts so I’m going to post one of my favorite pictures that I took while in the Everglades with Kevan.  A mama and her baby.  Has nothing to do with this post, but it shows God’s beautiful creation.

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Great Pathology Report

17 May
I had my post-op visit with my oncological surgeon (the one that did the mastectomy and biopsies).  He is such a great doctor.  He always seems so caring.  I love going to see him.  I know this sounds odd since he is the one that told me I had cancer, but it is true.  He went over all of the information they gathered from my surgical pathology reports (tissue that was removed, lymph nodes, etc).  He confirmed that I had 3 lymph nodes removed from the right side and 2 lymph nodes from the left side.  All 5 were CANCER FREE!  YAY!  (Praise God Who Answers Prayers!) 
The next great thing is that the area in my left breast that showed up in the PET scan as cancer was actually a “focal radial scar” that was benign.  Not cancer!  So, I did NOT have bilateral cancer, but ONLY cancer in my right breast.  (Praise God Who is Merciful). I am so glad.  It just seems so much better to only have had it on one side.
So, with the right breast it was just confirmed that I did have invasive ductal carcinoma, Stage 1 (PRAISE GOD), Grade II/III (aggressiveness) and the tumor was 1.7cm.  He had to take enough tissue to get clear margins and it was “close” near where the cancer was found so he took more surrounding tissue in order to get clear margins.  BUT, he DID get clear margins (Praise God Who Heals). I do have a little “sunk in” spot there now because he had to take so much, but they will be able to fix it in my final reconstruction.
He also looked at my “N’s” and thought they looked ok.  He said he thinks everything will work out great for me.  Ever since I asked for prayer yesterday (for my N’s) I’ve had very sharp pains in both “N’s” and that means that is nerve pain or pain from blood flow.  Which is wonderful.  I’ll take it!  If they are hurting that means there has to be nerves and blood flow.  Right?
I wanted to post a picture of my cute polka dot pants that I wore to my appointments today but Kevan forgot to take a picture and he already left for church.  My mother-in-law bought them for me so I would be comfy and gave them to me last night.  I love them and I even received a compliment today from one of the nurses.  :o)
I was able to take a shower by myself today.  Another praise!  Kevan stayed in the bathroom just in case I needed him.  I couldn’t lift my arms high enough to wash my hair so I just wore a hat today, but I was able to do everything else.  Which felt great to do something myself and not need help.  I’m supposed to do exercises and should be able to lift my arms high enough to wash my hair, but I am having a hard time with the exercises.  They hurt!!!  So, of course I don’t look forward to it.  Kevan really has to remind me because I try my hardest to forget.  I know.  Not good.  I really need to do them.
I would like to sing praises of thanksgiving….but I was not born with a good singing voice so I will post a video….

Drains, Expanders and the "N" Word

16 May

Today started out as a really good day.  Kevan helped me get ready so we could head to Nashville for my first post-op visit with the plastic surgeon.  It is amazing how long it takes to get me ready.  The shower alone took us almost an hour because we have to work around the drains and I can’t wash my own hair.  Kevan does a great job though.  I am so blessed to have him.  I went almost 6.5 hours without having to take a pain pill.  It felt great to not be dizzy, to feel normal, but to also not be in pain.


The good news is that I had 2 of my drains removed!  Praise God!  I only have 2 left.  I have to say that this was VERY weird and a little painful when she removed them.  I can’t wait to have the other two out, but at the same time I’m not looking forward to the way it is done.  Kevan held my hand and they really are removed in about 20 seconds, but it is something I hope I will never have to experience again once I’m done with the remaining two.

Each week I will go into the plastic surgeon and she will add saline to each tissue expander until we reach the desired size.  Think Reese Witherspoon….NOT Pamela Anderson!  There is a little magnetic area in the expander that helps her find the area where she needs to insert the needle and inject the saline.  It is all a pretty cool invention for women like me who have to have a mastectomy but still want to look normal. Although, the explander is really uncomfortable and un-natural looking.  Unfortunately, today, she said I was healing well, but not healed enough to have my first “fill”.  I was disappointed that she didn’t do a fill, but I don’t want to rush it if she doesn’t feel I’m ready yet.  

Now, there are two areas that are a little concerning that I need prayer specifically for.  I feel guilty asking for prayer since I know so many are already praying for me and there is no way I can make up for all the prayers that have already been prayed over me and here I am asking for more prayers.  First, my nipple.  Yes, I said the “N” word.  When I had my mastectomy last week I was a candidate for a skin and “nipple-sparing” mastectomy…this means I get to keep my own nipples and will not have to have them made surgically.  One of them is looking really good.  The other one does not have good color.  I think my grandma in heaven cannot believe I am talking about nipples right now, but God asks us to pray about all things.  So, please pray for this nipple to start responding well, receive the blood flow that it needs and that the color will start looking better.  PLEASE!!!  I know God can do a miracle and I could wake up tomorrow and it be just the way it needs to be.

Second, there is a place on my left breast where my skin is very thin.  The expander, since it isn’t full yet, is “rippling” and causing a place to form that could have potential to be worse.  Please pray that the skin here will start to thicken and/or the expander would stop pressing so much in this area.  We have to continue to watch this area to make sure it doesn’t get worse.

Lastly, due to all of the antibiotics I’m taking, I’ve developed thrush.  The doctor has given me a pill and a rinse that should help it go away.  It doesn’t hurt very much unless I drink something too cold or if I brush my teeth.  

Jeremiah 17:14 – Heal me, Lord, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved,  for you are the one I praise.

Post-Op Day 6

15 May

Today was a hard day.  I don’t really understand it because I felt like I was doing so well when I came home from the hospital last week and now it seems that I’m in a lot of pain again.  I’m still taking my pain meds every 4-5 hours and the Valium (for the muscle) whenever I need it.  I spoke with the doctor’s office today and they said that women that are smaller framed have a harder time with the expanders and will have more pain.  That is mostly where the pain is coming from.  The expander pushes on the muscle and wherever else it pushes in there and feels like it is ripping my flesh.  But, it only lasts about 30 seconds, but it is enough to make me not want to move again for fear it will happen again.  The doctor’s office also mentioned that it is normal for me not to be able to lift myself up from a laying position yet.  That made me feel good.  I thought I was way behind in the healing process.

I’m finally able to raise my arms high enough to see under my arm.  But, I am not allowed to shave until after I see my doctor on Wednesday.  lol!  So, it is pretty gross.  lol!!  Just pretend I’m European.  I’m also not allowed to wear deodorant…so you might want to stay clear until I get the “OK”.  lol!  I finally saw my incision from the sentinel node biopsy.  I am VERY surprised (and sad) at how long the incision is.  I thought it would only be about 1-2 inches long maybe….it is more like 3-4 inches long.  Doctors really do not prepare you enough I don’t think.  I didn’t want 2 big scars like this, but I’ll just start praying that they fade.  These incisions are causing me quite a bit of discomfort today.  They are burning a little which I guess is just the healing process…I don’t know.  It might just be my underarm screaming for some deodorant and shaving cream.  lol!  Just kidding.

I also found out today that my plastic surgeon is pregnant and has been put on bed rest.  I didn’t even realize she was pregnant…she is so tiny.  My appointment with their office has been moved to tomorrow instead of Wednesday.  Kevan and I will be leaving tomorrow for Nashville to go to my appointments.  We will spend the night at my MIL’s house, go to my remaining appointments on Wednesday and then come back home.  So, it is going to be a busy 2 days.

One last thing.  We didn’t realize, but we only have 3 pain pills left to get us to tomorrow at my 2pm doctor’s appointment.  We thought there was a refill on them, but there isn’t.  Please pray.  We are going to try to 1/2 them and see if I can get through the night and into the morning.  I sure hope so.

I have more I want to say, but I am so tired right now that I’ll try to write a little more later.  Thank you everyone for your prayers today for my pain.  God heard them and I was so much more comfortable as the day progressed.

Post-Op Day 5

14 May

Well, I’ve had to eat prunes for the first time in my life.  They aren’t as bad as I thought they would be, but I’m okay with never having to eat them again.  I followed them up with some Ghirardelli chocolate caramel squares.  lol!  Apparently, my pain medication (a narcotic) has a certain “side effect” and everyone is telling me I have to eat prunes to overcome it.  Ugh!  I will keep the remaining details to myself on whether they are successful.  lol!

I’m still not able to sit up without help.  It is getting a little annoying actually.  I hate having to call for help.  If I’m in a sitting position I can get up and down alone, but if I lay down it is just too painful to get myself up.  I believe it is the expander pushing on the muscle that is causing the pain, but I’m not sure.  This morning when I first woke up my mom tried to help me out of bed, but I was in extreme pain.  Kevan had to bring me extra pain meds and we had to wait for them to kick in before I could move.  It was probably the most pain I’ve ever experienced.  I thought for sure my chest had ripped open, but of course, that wasn’t the case.  It just felt like it.  Thank goodness.

We had a nice Mother’s Day with my mom and my mother-in-law who visited.  I even received a present (I will go into more detail about it tomorrow, but tonight I’m too tired).  I slept a lot more today than I have the last 2 days.  Usually Mother’s Day brings a lot of sadness to me (due to our infertility issues), but with all of the pain medication I didn’t really have a chance to think about it too much because my brain is so cloudy.  Which is good.

Well….I’m going to go to bed.  I’m praying for two great ladies from church who are dealing with a lot of sadness right now.  My cancer is a small thing compared to the pain they are going through.  I’m glad that God has brought them into my church family so I can pray for them and ask Him to be their comforter.

Love you all.

Post-Op Day 4

12 May
Today has been a little better than yesterday.  Kevan woke me up again every 4-5 hours last night to give me my pain meds.  I get so sore from laying there in the same position for so long that I welcome his visit so I can get up and walk around a little, go to the bathroom, take my meds and go back to bed.  I’m not allowed to sleep on my side and obviously I can’t sleep on my stomach so I get so stiff.  He can’t sleep with me because I move our adjustable foundation so I’m sitting more upright and also because he is afraid he might hit be by accident.  He was a little late last night though with  my meds so I was in a lot of pain at about 4am.  So much so that I was dreaming about being in pain, but I guess it was good I was sleeping. 
Yesterday, I called out for someone to help me sit up, but no one answered.  So, I tried to move myself and got stuck in a bad position almost falling off the couch.  I screamed for someone, but they all just happened to walk outside for a few minutes.  So, I dangled there praying until someone finally helped me.  I pulled one of my stitches a little, which caused a little bleeding and burning pain, but I think it is better today.  I only feel it every now and then.  I will wait next time.  That was stupid of me.
I had a few problems with my drains today.  Kevan emptied my 4 drains again this morning and drain #4 was still empty.  The doctor didn’t seem to be too concerned, but she told Kevan to continue to “work on it”.  I won’t go into detail for those who are queasy.  Anyway, right after he emptied them within 20 minutes drain #4 was full!  So, praise God it started to work again.  Then, about two hours later I noticed that drain #1 had lost it’s suction and realized that the drain cord was no longer attached.  I sort of freaked and almost passed out.  lol!  I thought it was a big deal, but Kevan came in, washed his hands and fixed me up right away.  I’m good now.  Kevan now understands now why I was dreading having drains so much.  lol!  He didn’t appreciate what it entails until after he had to actually deal with them.  I can’t wait until Wednesday when I might be able to have 2 of them removed!
Kevan has been so sweet to me.  I couldn’t ask for a better husband.  He keeps a journal of when he gives me my pills and sets a timer for me so he knows when I need them next.  In the journal he also writes down each drain’s measurement so when I go to the doctor on Wednesday they will know which ones can be removed.  I love you sweetheart.  Thank you for not being grossed out by all this.
I have spent a lot of the day sitting up instead of laying down.  Yesterday I sat up about 1/3 of the day and today it has been about 1/2.  I played a game of Skip-Bo with my mom, but by the end my arms were pretty worn out.  I am pretty bored with watching movies and TV.  I don’t normally sit around so much so I am going nuts. 
Also, I am trying to 1/2 my pain medication to try to wean myself off of it, but it sure is hard.  I don’t know if I’m ready yet.  I’m trying to do my exercises, but they sure are painful.  I’m still not looking at myself when Kevan changes my bandages.  It is just too emotional and sad.  Kevan sits there and tells me how great it looks and how the coloring has improved and I just think he’s crazy.  I think God has given him some special grace to deal with this and obviously some magical glasses to see things through.  I’m so thankful for that.  I try not to cry in front of him as I know it hurts him to see me cry.  But, I am still pretty emotional about it.  I hope I am his pretty little wife again someday.
I’m also thankful for our friend that brought by some lunch for us.  It was very helpful.  The guys have been working on the deck most of the day so hopefully in a few days I will be able to sit outside and enjoy the warmth of the sun. 
Sorry if that was rambling.  Pain meds are kicking in again and I’m getting a little drowsy. 
Thank you Lord for all my blessings.