Waiting for Savasana


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Rest

I have been forcing myself to rest for the past two days.  Like stay in bed in my pajamas kind of rest.  I even turned visitors away which I feel sad about but seemed necessary.  I love visitors but it seems I was doing too much and I have been paying for it.  So I am resting and taking my pain meds and I feel pretty good.  I’ve noticed I feel worse in the evenings.

I am amazed by the outpouring of love from everyone.  I have received so many cards and gifts, it is unbelievable!  Today I received a shawl from one of my Mom’s friends and a quilt from another of my Mom’s friends.  I will take pictures and post them later because they are both beautiful.  As anyone knows from reading here,I like cozy things.  Another plus is that I have also gotten to know a cousin of mine who I always wanted to know.  It’s so nice feeling the love of everyone.

In other news, my dog is still sick!  I took her to the vet the day before my surgery and got her shots and she seems to have had a bad reaction.  This has been going on for a week or two now.  She was all swollen but now she is an itch monster.  We are giving her antihistamines which seems to help but makes her groggy.  She also has not been very friendly to me since my surgery.  She is mostly ignoring me which she has never done before.  It’s kind of hurting my feelings.  Just because I said I want to outlive her doesn’t mean I want anything to happen to her now. And how does she even know I wrote that.  She can’t read…can she?  Anyway, she is sticking to my husband like glue and is showing preference to him.  Is it because of my surgery?  I have heard that dogs can smell cancer.  But the cancer is now supposedly gone.  Maybe I smell different to her now.  Dogs are weird.

I need to go back to resting, which today means laying in my bed and watching shows on Netflix.  I feel like such a sloth.  Hopefully, resting now will heal me quicker so I have a couple of weeks of happy activity before the next phase begins.


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Pain Management

I have been in a decent amount of pain since the surgery.  It is mostly in my right armpit and shoots down my arm.  I had 43 lymph nodes removed.  That’s a lot.  I am at risk for a condition called lymphedema. Basically, there is a lot of fluid in the body that usually is channeled and drained by those lymph nodes and now they have nowhere to go so they fill up the surrounding tissue.  Oh and I can’t ever get any kind of blood drawn from that arm again.  I can’t have my blood pressure taken from my right arm either. Never ever again. It’s a good thing for me that I am left handed.  I had my drains removed on Thursday and the fluid build up seemed greater for the last couple of days.  I am concerned.  Fortunately, there are things that can be done for this condition by way of compression sleeves and massage and physical therapy.  I will figure this out.  Who wants a fat, sore arm?  Not me.

The biggest problem is that I don’t want to take opiate pain killers.  I am afraid of becoming addicted.  I mean, look at Rush Limbaugh, I am sure he had no intention of becoming an addict but he did.  If it can happen to old Rush the Conservative Meanie…well…it could happen to me.

My doctor says it won’t.

I am also having nerve pain in my right back shoulder and the back of my arm.  It feels like my skin is on fire.  My surgeon says this may last three weeks and she gave me a nerve drug to help.  It knocks me out and/or makes me loopy and abnormally chatty.  I went to coffee with a new friend and basically told her my whole life story. Sorry, Lisa.  At least it makes me happy though. Happy, chatty Beth is much nicer than miserable, crying Beth. I got to look at the silver linings.

Yesterday I tried going all day with no pain meds.  Why?  I don’t know.  To see if I could I guess.  Turns out I couldn’t.  I was squirming in my chair in deep pain until I finally broke down and took the good stuff and twenty minutes later, I felt so much better.

Hello, Stupid, take the meds.

Today I did.  I took the nerve meds and tried Tylenol throughout the day.  That lasted until 6 pm when I switched to the heavy stuff again.  I just couldn’t take it anymore.  It did the trick.

I have a fairly high pain tolerance which seems to be a problem in this case because I can live miserably with the pain. I can live so miserably that I forget that I can actually fix it. But I am so much happier and more comfortable with the meds.  Why am I trying to be a hero?  It’s stupid.  Maybe because it is something I can control.  It’s about the only thing I can control.

Another factor is my energy level which is quite high. I feel good.  I want to do stuff.  I wish I could go for a run but I can’t because of my pain and my incisions.  I feel great except for my pain which is weird to say.  I have finally become my own oxymoron.

I went to my support group today and all I can say is what an excellent group of women.  I feel fortunate to be in their company.  All of us are at different stages of treatment but we all give each other great insight.  It helps.

I, for one am scared of getting chemo but it is a comfort to know I am not the only one who is scared but is going to do it anyway.  I am much more frightened of chemo than I was of surgery.  But there it is, waiting for me.

I’m actually going to get a second opinion for my oncology  and how stupid is this, I feel guilty for doing it.  Like I am somehow being disloyal to my current oncologist (whom I really, really like).  My friends tell me not to be silly.  That I am entitled to a second opinion but I still feel like I am cheating.

Radiation is not going to be a picnic either but chemo is my biggest dragon.

Thinking of this, my experience is like some screwed up version of Eat, Pray, Love only without the travel.  Cut, Puke, Burn?  Too crass?  Probably.

I am thankful for my extremely comfy bed and my sliding glass doors to let in lots of fresh air.  I am going to need it.  I am thankful for the master bathroom connected to my bedroom.  I am thankful for pillows and blankets and stuffed animals and clean pajamas.  I am thankful for my meds.  I am thankful for the love of friends old and new.  I am thankful for my family and my silly dog.

Every day, there seem to be new things to fear and yet, I must hold my head up and walk through it.  It really isn’t a choice.  It’s just what I have to do, scared or not.

I feel pretty good right now.  The pain went from a 7 to a 2 fairly quickly.  I will be okay.


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Good Day

More good news!  I had a clear CT scan. No cancer is currently residing in my body.  Hurray!

I also got the last tubes and drains out today.

I am exhausted and am going to go lie down and wait for my friend J9 to bring us a lovely French Toast Dinner.

Much love to you all.  Love is what it really is all about.


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Tubes and Drains

I know, right?  Nobody wants to talk about those do they?

Well, I came out of surgery with three separate tubes and drains.  They were cleverly labeled drains #1, #2 and #3.

And I’m going to talk about them so skip this if you get grossed out easily.  Because this is very gross.

The drains come out of my armpits in tubes and then come down to my waist ending in the bulb catcher thingies.  They are annoyingly painful not majorly painful…except when they have to be emptied then they are the worst.

During my thankfully brief time in the hospital, the nurse emptied the drains but she showed The Husband how to do it.  My memory is fuzzy but I think my birth mother emptied them once or twice then too.

Once we got home, emptying the drains has been my husband’s job.  All I know is that this task that he does is deeper proof of his love for me.

Because it is one disgusting job.

Initially the fluid coming out of the tubes was deep red.  It is now a less opaque pinkish color.  My husband says he pretends it is Kool-Aid.

My boys freak out if they even see a hint of a tube popping out from below my shirt.  “Put it away Mom! Put it away!”

The process of emptying the drain is just yuck.  My husband takes and alcohol pad and runs it from the top of the tubing down, squeezing as he goes.  He does it twice for each tube.  He has to squeeze each tube, stripping it down and then he opens the bulb thingie and  empties the disgusting contents into a little measuring cup (I sing “Blah , Blah, Blah” when he does it because the sound is just really gross) and then he has to write down my “output” and then clean out the measuring cups.  He does this twice a day every day.

All I know is that the suction it creates when he does that tube squeezing thing hurts.  Like really hurts.  Like sometimes a 9 on the pain scale.  It hurts more on the right side.  It got to the point that when he would reach for the right tube, I would start to cry because it hurt so much.  But then he makes me laugh and take deep breaths and we get through it.

The drains are just the yuck.

I tried to be proactive about the drains.  I ordered these smock like “post-op mastectomy tops” that have pockets inside to hold the drains.  How convenient, right?

Wrong-o.

Unfortunately these tops are the most ill-fitting uncomfortable travesties ever know to mankind. They are worthless. They are loose in some areas and tight in others.  The top rides up every chance it gets.  The top is horrible. Most uncomfortable garment ever.  Ever!  And each one cost fifty bucks…and I bought three of them.  Hopefully insurance will pay for them  but in my opinion, these “Post-op mastectomy tops” need to be redesigned completely.   I wore those tops for the first week post mastectomy until I couldn’t take it anymore and in a fit or despair I literally ripped it off my body (ahh…the magic of velcro!).

One of the three tops I ordered was supposedly made by a survivor whose main intent (according to the package marketing) was to design something that was wearable and comfortable.  Well, that’s the worst one!  The top of it digs directly into where the drains were placed and I can’t wear it for more than five seconds without withering in pain.

Now I’m just wearing button down shirts and safety pinning the drains into the inside of them.  It’s not the best but it beats those stupid post-op tops hands down.  I swear I’m going to burn those things.

I had one drain taken out last week.  I’m going to see my plastic surgeon tomorrow and hopefully he will remove the  remaining drains.  They are becoming quite tedious and I am ready to be done.  I’m sure my husband is too.  Because we all know it ain’t Kool-Aid coming out of those things. All I can say is he loves me people.  He really loves me.  I owe the universe big time for sending a man that will empty my drains for me.

I don’t know if I could do it…at least not without complaining.