Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Monday, June 21, 2010

Three Weeks Later and one more surgery

Well, here it is, the first day of Summer 2010. And it has been a beautiful day. The sun has been shining and its been about 90 degrees. A gorgeous day all in all. The last few weeks have been event filled and I continue to learn new things as I take this journey down the breast cancer path. These last couple weeks have been hard, but I won't complain. There are many others out there who have a much harder road than I. I am grateful for each day that I have.

Two weeks ago, the steri-strips from the previous surgery were removed and there were what looked like three little black dots on my left breast. I was concerned, but Dr. Gould was not. There was also a laser burn on my right breast - an "oops" if you will. All was fine until last Monday when it appeared that sure enough, there had been compromising of the incision. :( Unfortunately for me, it hit me fast and hard. Tuesday morning I could hardly think as my head and body ached so badly I couldn't think straight. I was afraid to make the drive to Tampa, so I opted for a local doctor with shots and antibiotics. That got me through the evening so I could drive on Wednesday. I "thought" they would schedule me for surgery the following week, but I should know better to be prepared for the unexpected. I was immediately admitted, placed on antibiotics and geared up for surgery. Now, here I am six surgeries into this and although part of me is quite frightened, the other part of me trusts in God and in the medical community. This infection was a fluke, but it should serve to other cancer patients as a warning that it can happen in a moments notice and we need to take exceptional care at all times.

My hair is growing back amazingly well and I'm quite pleased with it. There's still part of me that wishes it were longer, but hey, its part of this journey, so be it.

These silicone implants that I now own are amazing little gals. The one thing that gets me is this: It is cold in my office, and when it is cold, the girls get cold, and when they get cold, my whole body gets cold because there's nothing there to warm'em up. So, I'm on another journey to find a way to help women with this. My mind wanders and I think, "I'm in a warm climate- holy macaroni - can you imagine having these in Alaska? Geez." Yeah, poor women there. You see, women who have single or bilateral mastectomy's are basically coned or scraped out and there's nothing left but skin (if they are lucky). When the reconstruction is done, the skin is very thin thus allowing temperature changes to affect the chest and body more. Sounds insane I know.....leave it to me to bring this up. I patent the idea - don't steal it! ;)

Anyway, I am still in school. Four classes left. Still chugging along like the little train that could....I refuse to give up on this dream of mine.

Moving right along, I have some strange, but good occupational therapy news. The OT nurse I saw at James Haley went into detail with me about the lymph system - the sewage system of our body if you will. When lymph nodes are removed, the system slows down and you must take extra precautions. Just what does that mean? It means reduce eating preserved foods, foods in boxes and cans, etc, these things have a tendency to bog down your lymph system because it has to break it all down (they are unnatural).

Next, to help "wake up" the lymph system in the morning, lightly brush each arm from the hand up to the shoulder (very lightly now) on all sides. Do it to both arms and even your legs because you have lymph nodes in your hips, so start at your feet and lightly brush up toward your thighs. I know this sounds silly, but try it. When you lightly brush up, do you feel that sensation? That is your system saying, "Hello, I am here" or something like that. Anyway, you are waking it up so it starts working. As a cancer patient you want to do that every day.

If you have had a single/bilateral mastectomy, do the same thing with your breast, lightly working away from the center/nipple area. Afterward, you should brush it toward your diaphram area as that is apparently where everything goes from the lymph system to disperse.

Amazing information, huh? I know it sounds a little hoky, but I swear, this therapist comes highly rated, and as such, until I either think she's nuts, or prove her wrong, or a miracle occurs, I will continue to do these exercises. Why? Because in my opinion, they sure as heck can't hurt......

Finally, a big shout out to Kimmy and Donna who graduated from Webster this last semester attaining their Master's Degree's!! Way to go, ladies - I'm right behind ya.

Love to all.