THE ENLIGHTENMENT OF CANCER ~ PART V

THE ENLIGHTENMENT OF CANCER ~ PART V

It’s funny how something like this reveals the people in your life (family and friends) who are really there for you and those who just can’t take you being ill and leave you.  It’s heartbreaking, but eye-opening. Lord help me ~ I don’t get it…

Surgery was on October 2, 2009, it’s been 11 days of having these drains, pain pump and port in. The port I’ll have for a while, but the pump and drains come out soon.  They are uncomfortable and trying to sleep with them, forget it.  I cannot get comfortable sleeping so Rob will come and lay behind me so I can lean on him and then, finally then, I can rest and get some sleep.  I relax, close my eyes and fall asleep with him behind me – holding me and holding me up in a comfortable position to sleep.

I CANNOT LOOK at myself YET or do I even want to. I cannot even bring myself to wash. I just
cannot do it. Rob hung a sheet up in the bathroom so that I would not have to look in the mirror and he also dries me off. I could not bring myself to do any of it.  One, because I was still in pain and two, because I was just not ready. It’s one thing to see yourself in the mirror as whole person and another to see yourself in the mirror after a surgery with something missing.

10-13

I had an appointment with my reconstruction doctor, Dr. Bosshardt, for my first checkup after surgery. Dr. Bosshardt removed my bandages, my drains on both sides as well as my pain pump. I was wrapped so tightly that I thought it was supposed to be that way. I never questioned because you assume the hospital staff and OR staff  know what they are doing.  Dr. Bosshardt was
very upset that I was wrapped so tight by the OR staff.  Dr. Bosshardt  proceeded to remove my stitches, which I was unaware that he wanted to do that. I do believe it’s best sometimes that one does not know what a doctor is going to do so he can just do it. It saves the patient (me) from being anxious or having an anxiety attack of the thought of something getting ready to occur.  (Thank goodness for the anxiety meds)

On a side note, Dr. Bosshardt of Tavares, FL is awesome!  He is so nice and made me feel comfortable and like he really cared about me as a person and was there for me at all hours.  Most times that is missing in doctors anymore.

STILL CANNOT LOOK YET!

10-16

Ah, my first session of chemotherapy at 10:00 a.m. I was so nervous because I did not know what
to expect. The port that was placed in just above what was my left breast and below my collar-bone.  The port is very uncomfortable and feels like it touches the expander. The nurse, Billie, was very nice and attentive in making sure I was comfortable. She sprayed some numbing spray on the port area so that I would not feel the needle insertion. The numbing spray freezes up and makes the area very cold, I did not feel a thing. Before I knew it, she had entered the needle and the first drips of  a combination of benadryl and anxiety medicine were already being started. After those two I began my TC meds or cocktails.

10-17 & 18

The weekend went just fine. I only had slight nausea, but other than that I felt fine.

STILL CANNOT LOOK YET or want to. I cannot even bring myself to wash. I just cannot do it.

10-19 to 22

I went in to the office of my Oncologist, Dr. Kunta, for my shot to boost my white blood cells with RN, Laura on the 19th. Oh goodness, that is when it hit me. I was nauseous all throughout the week
with stomach discomfort constantly. I was not really hungry or thirsty for anything, but I had to keep drinking especially water to keep myself hydrated. Thank goodness for Rob to keep up with me.

10-21

I thought I was feeling better and tried to go to work, but only made it three (3) hours. Rob came and got me and took me home to rest. I slept most of the afternoon. I was much better the following afternoon.  Eric, Herb, Esq. and Lynn from my work are all so helpful and supportive.  I can’t believe I lucked out and have individuals like this in my life.  And, let’s not forget about Cindy, Kathy, Blair, and Dusty who have all been so supportive and always there for me.  What great people I can call my friends.  My Winter Garden crew!

I had my first appointment with Dr. Bosshardt for my first expansion which went well. I was nervous, but did not feel a thing. It was painless and Dr. Bosshardt and his nurse Lauren are great!!

FINALLY ~
I tried to wash myself and it went ok. I still have a hard time touching the areas and have a hard time trying to look into the mirror. I cannot put Palmers lotion on or Vitamin E oil on as needed because I am not strong enough mentally, so Rob does ALL of these things and MORE for me. With no complaints – only a smile and loving words.

10-22

I had a 9:00 a.m. therapy appointment with Kristi Secrest for my right side. I had met with her prior to surgery where she gave me some exercises to do afterward and that I had been doing all along. Those exercises were great and helped me stay ahead of the game as far as therapy. When I went in, she stated I looked great and that I did not need to come back in to see her, but just keep up on my exercises and call her if I need her. It was suggested that I come in to see her when I am ready to move my exercises to light weights so we can go through the safest way to work that in. Other than that, I can move forward, stay on top of my exercises and there is no reason why I cannot workout if I feel like it. Just take it easy.

Take Care ~

They say, it’s all in how you take care of them.  Haha – implants that is.  That and how they are made.  You know, when you are going through the process of Breast Cancer and decide on reconstructive surgery after having a double mastectomy, that is usually the last thing on your mind – how you take care of them.  They say that you used to have to get them replaced every ten (10) years.  But now, depending on how they are and you are taken care of, they could last longer than that.  Especially the way they are made these days.  These days they are more dependable and more durable.  Yes, I did say more durable.  8)

I say all this because a number of women I know have gone through this process and for me it was a no brainer.  Double Mastectomy = check; reconstruction = check; process/pain only once = check.  It was a quick and easy decision for me.  Now, after being just over five (5) years out, I find myself still getting used to them.  The thoughts of that time, the images, the process you went thru never goes away.  You just learn how to deal with it as time passes.  You continue to learn how to deal with and live with implants that still feel strange at times.  They certainly are different than the real things, but given the choice between fighting Cancer and leaving your original breasts that you had Cancer in or fighting Cancer and getting rid of the original breasts all together only to get new ones (or not) – well there is no real choice is there… it only made sense to me.  Take these things, I don’t want them or need them.

To all the women out there who have had, are going through now, or are just being diagnosed I say to you to stay strong!  I say stay positive, stay away from negative people, believe and continue to have faith, and most of all, do what is best for you!  For you I said, not your spouse, not your family, but you.  What is it you want!  They are not carrying around those breasts and dealing with this, you are.  So, talk it through with your significant other (should you choose) and know, just know, that you are not alone.  You are never alone because at the end of the day, there are more women out there that have been through and/or are going through exactly what you are.  Of course, everyone’s case is different, but the same nonetheless.

They are just breasts – get rid of them (if that is your decision).

It’s funny to me that when I think back I used to always say “I would never get implants.”  And, I never would – on purpose!  My breasts were taken away to serve a higher purpose and to show myself and others that there is more to life than physical appearance and meaningless things.

So, my dear survivors and friends – do take care – take care of yourself and enjoy this life you have.  Enjoy your Friday, your weekend, your family, but most of all – enjoy spending time with you!  This is your life, your way, your future!  So, live ~ love ~ laugh!  And dance like no one is watching!

Please feel free to share my blog if you find it could help or inspire others.

Cheers and thank you for taking the time out of your day to read about taking care!