Things Could Suck Worse

Things could definitely suck a lot worse.

I am trying to make this my mantra by repeating it to myself over and over. It is really true. But I need reminders sometimes!

Recovering from major surgery is hard.  Losing your breasts is hard.  Being away from your kids is hard. The idea that I have another surgery ahead in 2 months is hard.

All of these things suck. Even if you get the “caught early” cancer and don’t need chemo.

But I am hanging in there and giving myself gentle reminders during rough moments.

I am anxious to get things back to normal but am quickly finding that I can’t rush things. Very frustrating for me.

Example: Yesterday I was getting ready to pack my clothes to head home and my mom asked me if I wanted her to pack for me. I almost laughed…how silly!  Throw some clothes in a suitcase?

After about 7 minutes of attempting to pack I was completely and utterly exhausted. In fact, I promptly fell asleep and napped for about 2 hours.  Anyone who knows me knows I am not a napper. Unlike my husband, I have a really hard time taking a quick nap…have always been envious of people who could do that.

It freaked me out. I mean, if a little packing made me so tired, what will it be like when I get home to the kids? Who I am missing desperately. The past week has been the worst one for all of us. It’s time for me to be home.

Then, today at the airport, there was the whole wheelchair thing.

Wow. I was not expecting how it would feel to be pushed for what seemed like miles around the airport in a wheelchair. It was so odd. Just so uncomfortable for me. Way out of my comfort zone. I am a person who is always on the go and just letting someone take over was so strange.

I actually almost chickened out of the whole thing. When my mom and I saw the line of seniors waiting for their chairs (I was by far the youngest)…I said “Do we really need this?” She insisted, and thank goodness.  After getting out of my chair for just the security bag check, and dealing with the bags (I told the attendant to take my laptop out of my bag but she didn’t, etc. etc.), I was again exhausted and anxious to sit back in the chair.

I realized that I really do take the little things for granted. Being in the wheelchair gave me a glimpse into what it must feel like to be a disabled person and just how challenging that would be. I think from now on I will never complain about long lines and airport stress. I will just be thankful to be able to walk to the gate.

Now starts the back at home phase. I am so happy to be going home!

Things could suck a lot worse.

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Healing + Happy

a13It’s been a really positive couple of days. Today I am feeling pretty great, actually.

All four of my drains have been removed. Woohoo! So happy to have those little guys gone. Living with appendages is so, so strange. The removal did not hurt a bit and having them gone has really decreased my pain level.

As part of my breast reconstruction, I also got my first fill of saline into the tissue expanders that were placed during my mastectomy. I have to say, the process is pretty amazing.  My “foobs” are looking pretty good…with clothes on they look completely normal and I don’t think anyone would have any idea that I had a double mastectomy less than two weeks ago. Even without clothes, they don’t look too bad. 🙂 I know that part will get better as they heal.

The expanders are a bit uncomfortable, but really not as bad as I expected. They will be swapped out with implants in a couple of months with a minor, outpatient surgery.

MOST importantly, the final pathology report had no surprises and no lymph node involvement! So…the plan from the oncologist is for me to take some medication for five years to prevent recurrence. I am very lucky to be avoiding traditional chemo and radiation.

The visit with the kids was awesome. Hardest part was having to say goodbye again, but I can’t wait to see them next week when I will be HOME for good! Being away has been one of the hardest parts of this whole thing, but I am so thankful for the quiet time to recover and the amazing doctors who have been caring for me. My parents and sisters have also been incredible and I am so appreciative of everything they have done to help me through this.

Big kudos as well to my husband, mother-in-law and all of our friends for holding down the fort at home. I know it has not been easy. Especially with all of the little fun extras life throws you (a case of head lice, broken A/C, the list goes on…). I feel so grateful for all of the help from our friends and neighbors, I just can’t say it enough. It does take a village and I am so lucky to have a great one.

Feeling very positive and looking forward to the next chapter.

Drain, Drain Go Away

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So happy that the surgery is over!  Very relieved to be done with it.

Now I  am in drainland..totally not fun. I won’t go into too much detail here, because they are pretty gross. Lets just say that I will be happy when they can be taken out! First drain appointment on Monday, so fingers crossed..even if 1 or 2 were taken out, that would make me happy. I have 4 total.

I have been on a pretty steady schedule of pain meds, so lots of napping. Trying to find the balance between getting a bit of exercise as well, since everyone says walking is important. Its hard because the pain meds do help but they make me soo drowsy.

And then, the worst part is this darn nerve pain. I guess nerve pain is not able to be controlled with the standard pain meds.  Hopefully on Monday they will give me something else for that very nervy nerve pain!

As far as the cancer goes..surgeons were optimistic as they did not see anything surprising during the operation.  The final pathology will be ready in 7-10 days. More waiting! Fingers and toes crossed.

Thanks so much for all the texts, emails, cards, gifts, etc…and for arranging playdates with my kids and meals back at home. So thankful for my awesome circle of peeps.

XOXO

Random Thoughts on Surgery Eve

Cancer centers are super depressing places. Being around so many cancer patients just made me super anxious today.  I am a cancer patient. It still doesn’t seem real. 

The concept of being put under anesthesia for six hours is truly terrifying. It hits you the day before.

I am a control freak. Yes, it’s true. I worked meticulously on a 35-page instruction book for the kids for when I am away…within 3 hours of being gone all my plans and schedules were ruined. The poor babysitter. An early morning trip to the vet urgent care ($500 visit) was involved, as well as one child home sick on the first day of camp. Anyway, when everything went awry, I had a mini breakdown. On the plane.

Leaving the kids was about 500 times harder than I thought it would be.

I haven’t slept since Saturday night. Not a wink. Guess I will have lots of time to catch up later this week.

My positivity plan isn’t working today. Everything seems to be hitting me suddenly and I have been spontaneously crying at weird moments, to strangers and to my poor family all day. (Sorry, guys). Lots of crying. Mark told me to buck up buttercup and it pissed me off but it kind of worked. 🙂

Trying to pull it together. I think I just need sleep. Check in time got changed from 6am to 8am, so there’s that.  Also spoke to the kids and they sounded great so that was awesome.

Dinner tonight with my sister and bro-in-law.  Gonna try to buck up and have a good time.

Here’s to a smooth surgery and good pain meds. Cheers!