Thursday, February 24, 2011

Not much to report

I'm still home from work healing from my surgery. I sleep a lot because the pain medicine makes me drowsy. In addition, I have an itchy reaction to tape. Since I have to remained taped until further notice I have to take at least 2 Benadryl a day. Talk about wiping me out! Mostly I'm just hanging out with Andrew and feeling like a drowsy T-Rex since I can't use my arms much. This morning I was still groggy from the Benadryl, but I decided I definitely needed a shower. Its a bit difficult to manage since I can't get the tape wet, but personal hygiene is important too! Thankfully, we have a hand-held shower-head, so I can direct its flow pretty easily. Of course, that requires quite a bit of arm movement. So by the time I'd washed my hair, washed my body, rinsed all of the above, and dried off, I was exhausted. I had to call Andrew in to dry my hair for me. Its just another reminder that God calls us to help one another AND to humble ourselves to ask for help when necessary. Tomorrow Andrew has physical therapy & I have my 2nd post-op appointment. Maybe I'll have more to report then!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Success & worry

My surgery Thursday went very well. Dr. S had to do a bit more intensive stitching internally, but all-in-all it wasn't a bad experience. Dr. S told me that my expanders had slipped out from under the muscles and were only stretching my skin. The whole purpose of the expanders was to stretch the muscle. However, she doesn't seem to think it'll be a problem. She put at least 4 rows of stitches in a U shape on each breast. I was sent home in an elastic bandage and told not to attempt to move it. I didn't - mostly because I kept falling asleep.

Today I had my 1st post-op appointment with Dr. S. She removed the elastic bandage & revealed all the tape she has in the same U shape as the stitches underneath. I'm not to remove this tape until she gives me the 'all clear'. However, even with the bandage & tape (& swelling) my foobs actually feel real to the touch! They're soft & squishy! I'm so excited!!! I'm still in quite a bit of pain, so I'm *ALWAYS* sleepy.

This afternoon Andrew & I went to my mom's to pick up the kids. I stayed behind to chat with mom. About 30 minutes later, Andrew called & said there was something wrong with Rachel. She wouldn't/couldn't use her right arm. Mom & I rushed down the driveway. By the time we got here Andrew had her soothed, but as soon as someone touched or moved her arm, she screamed bloody murder. We (mom & I) resolved to take her to the ER. We chose the Methodist Hospital in Henderson b/c they have a *much* better ER. Poor little Rachel had to have her temperature taken in her diaper. Then they had mom go with her into the x-ray room to help hold her. Since I can't pick anything up heavier than 10lbs nor should I struggle with something like screaming flailing Rachel, I had to stand outside & just hear her wail. When the doors finally opened, the tech told me that as he was positioning her arm for one of the x-rays, he felt her elbow pop back into place. The x-rays apparently agreed with his assessment. She's fine now, but we are of course worried it'll happen again. They say nursemaid's elbow (her condition) happens quite frequently & there's little you can do to prevent it. However, the next time it happens, they said we could try to reset it ourselves by stretching her arm out a bit. Whether we'll do that or not, I'm not really sure. On the way home Rachel was doing her usual yodelling & giggling. She got a Ty raspberry colored bear for being a good girl. We've named him Razbear.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Tomorrow's the big day!

I'm so excited! I am having my exchange tomorrow!! I'm also full of trepidation. The bad luck I've had in the past year is haunting my memory right now. There are so many risks. I know its mostly just me being paranoid, but I've got some serious bad feelings right now.

I keep mentally repeating "Oh my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee. I detest all my sins because I dread the loss of heaven and the pains of hell, but most of all because they offend Thee, my God, who are all good & deserving of my love. I firmly resolve with the help of Thy grace to confess my sins, do penance, and amend my life. Amen."

Every once in a while I also mentally say, "Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen."

Realistically, I know everything will be fine, but even as excited as I am, I know the risks. Whew... I'll be so glad when all this is behind me!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

2 days to go!!!

I get to have my exchange surgery in 2 days!!! I'm so excited. However, my excitement has been tempered somewhat by the odd (to me) demand from my surgeon & the surgery center for me to pay up-front my out-of-pocket/insurance deductible. I've never had to do this before. I know I'm going to have to pay it eventually, but it just seems more reasonable to request it AFTER I receive the service & not in one lump sum. I have an emotional issue with thinking that I'm being treated as a frivolous cosmetic patient instead of a medical necessity (as declared by the AMA) cancer patient.

I just noticed that the addition of a "s" to my first sentence in a key location, could change the WHOLE meaning of what I'm excited about... :-D

Above is me this time last year - before my mastectomy.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Blood test results are in...

I got the call I've been dreading since Monday. Dr. S's office called to let me know about paying for my surgery. While I had them on the phone I asked for my blood test results (they didn't have them yesterday). It took her a minute, but she came back with the answers. My white blood cell count is low (I think), but just by a point or so. My PTT (clotting ability) is a bit high, which is surprising since I've been bruising a lot lately. As she was telling me this, my stomach was dropping to the ground (I was walking across the parking lot carrying 2 96 oz apple juice bottles & a gallon of milk). I was mentally preparing myself for the, "In your best interest, its best that we post-pone..."

Instead I got the OK! I GET TO HAVE MY SURGERY!!!!!!!!!! That is of course as long as I take my Tamiflu & don't get the flu (or whatever bug mom has) between now & then!!! I'm so excited! I never thought I'd be so excited to have surgery! I'm one big exclamation point!!!!!!!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Wholly concerned...

I've got several concerns at the moment. I'm trying to not freak out and think the worst, but sometimes its difficult.

1) My mom has been ill with what seems to be the flu for quite some time. She's home in bed instead of spending time (baby-sitting) my kids. I'm not complaining that she's taking time to heal - NOT AT ALL. Instead, I'm concerned for her because she's just been feeling so lousy. She also went with me to my doctors' appointments Monday & immediately started feeling worse. So I feel like part of her illness is my fault. Send up some thoughts & prayers for her if you would.

2a) This my selfish concern(s)... I spent a large portion of Sunday and most of Monday with my mom. I'm scheduled for my reconstruction surgery next Thursday (the 17th). I am absolutely terrified that I'm going to have to post-pone AGAIN. I took the day off of work yesterday because I wasn't feeling up to snuff. Today I had to come back even though I'm not really feeling any better because I don't want to use up all my time off (there's not much) before my surgery. I basically feel like I've been hit by a truck & my head took most of the impact. I'm also exhausted even though I slept for 14 hours night-before-last, took a nap yesterday afternoon (completely unlike me - especially since I was in the living room w/ 2 kids running around), and slept for a good 9 hours last night.

2b) As another side concern, I've been having some bruising lately that doesn't make sense to me. So yesterday as part of my pre-op I had my blood drawn. I have large veins & usually no one has any trouble finding them and getting plenty of blood from me. Not so yesterday. One nurse 'stabbed' me 3 times. She barely filled 2 tubes. One vein blew before she got anything out of it really. Then another nurse came and stuck me in the hand. She managed to get one more tube out of me, but it was a *slow* process that involved a lot of digging around and slow drip-drips of blood into the tube. Since I had some lymph nodes removed on my left side, I only have my right side to give blood. I'm afraid there's some blood problem with me... I'm going to blame any problems I have with my blood (and immunity) on after-effects of the chemo/cancer. That can also make me have to post-pone my surgery.

3) Simon is a wonderful child. He's very smart & I really don't think I'm just saying that because he's mine. However, lately he's been throwing tantrums with frightening regularity. Sometimes the tantrum starts simply because I tell him to pick up a toy or something. Other times its over bigger issues like finishing his food or going to bed. Regardless of the cause, he goes into a crying, screaming, flinging, kicking, and completely unreasonable tantrum at the drop of a hat. His cries mixed with his screaming really hurt my ears - it's that high-pitched wail w/ his mouth wide open. When he flings himself to the ground (&/or does the limp noodle) it hurts to try to pick him back up & make him do what he's supposed to do. Since the tantrums last for an extended period of time, I get terribly frustrated with him. I don't ever want to punish him while I'm actively frustrated. However, I don't get the luxury of walking away because it seems like he chooses to have these tantrums when Rachel is asleep (right next door to his bedroom) or some other wholly inappropriate time (like the middle of Mass). I also have to contend with Andrew... His anxiety levels ratchet up very quickly when he perceives one of the children in distress. When his anxiety levels sky-rocket his first instinct is to give into the child's desires instead of ignoring the child & helping me stay strong. Simon is also frustrating me to no end because he will not attempt to potty train. He'll be 3 on Valentine's day & he's still not even vaguely potty training...

4) Rachel is another wonderful child. She's very smart too (same as with Simon - I don't think I'm just saying that because she's mine). However, her intelligence is already causing her to be a bit of a handful. She already knows how to play the game of snatching & running away. She knows she's not supposed to do something (like smack at the computer), but she does it anyway. Then I (or whoever) tell her "no". She looks at me (or whoever) and does it again. Then she gets her hand tapped. She jerks back quickly, but immediately darts back into whatever she wasn't supposed to do.I can even remove her from the vicinity of her 'temptation' and she'll make a direct bee-line for the no-no object/action again. This process can go on & on for what seems like hours.

I know I have been amply blessed by God with my family. I know that it is all in God's hands. I keep repeating "Jesus I trust in You" to myself. Hopefully, eventually, I'll believe it. :-)

Monday, February 7, 2011

Hi Sarah!!

I had doctors' appointments today. One with Dr. B to check on my gyn progress. I spoke to her about my still frequent hot-flashes. I get at least 10 a day & at least 1/2 of those are all-over body sweat ones, some are anxiety attacks, & some are accompanied by chills. She's changed my medication again & we're hoping it'll help this time.

My next appointment was with Dr. S. my reconstruction surgeon. Although I did not specifically meet with her, I met with some of her staff. I got an entire booklet that lets me know what to do, what's going on, what to expect, and even more information. I'm so excited I don't know that I can contain myself! I NEVER thought I'd be excited to have surgery - much less plastic surgery! But its true - this is one step closer (maybe the close) of feeling 'normal' again. To those of you who haven't experienced anything like that, you really can't identify, but anyone who has experienced something similar, you'll recognize the absolute JOY I feel about finally maybe feeling 'normal' again! I know at this moment I 'look' normal in clothing, but my view is different than the typical person's (thanks be to God). Plus I have to feel these rocks on my chest. I've surprised a few people by letting them feel them. They're always shocked at how hard and un-forgiving the expanders are. Even Andrew made the comment that it feels like an I-beam on his chest if I'm pressed against him.

After those doctors' appointments, Mom & I had another girls day. Just like usual, we only went to one store. We picked out things for Simon's birthday party on Sunday (he'll be 3 on Valentine's Day). It was an excellent girls day if I do say so myself. Even though we were afraid of the weather, we had a great time together. It is again apparent how similar we are in our thought processes & even coincidental things. I LOVE spending time with my mom!

My Chemo-Jane hair-style

My Chemo-Jane hair-style
I just had to have my mom buzz my hair because it was falling out so badly.

Pre-op wearing my hand-crocheted cap with my prayer shawl.

Pre-op wearing my hand-crocheted cap with my prayer shawl.
My loving husband is watching me distract myself with a game on his iPhone.

2 days after my BMX w/ 100ccs in the TEs

2 days after my BMX w/ 100ccs in the TEs
I even have a fashionable belt to hold up my drains.

3 weeks post-op w/ 400ccs in each TE

3 weeks post-op w/ 400ccs in each TE
The smile is fake because the TEs were irritating!