Tuesday, June 18, 2013

A Week Later

And so it is a week post-mastectomies...

The incisions are pretty yucky, I must say.  My arms are still bruised from IV sticks, and the tape residue won't come off easily.  The post-op instructions were pretty much "go home, sit in a chair and don't move for the next 2 weeks."  I find that hard to do, but am trying to comply.  A 1/2 gallon of milk is too heavy for me to lift.  In the normal world, under your skin is the fatty breast tissue, and under that is the pectoral muscle.  In the reconstructed world, the docs want the skin to stick itself to the pec muscle, and the tissue expanders go under the muscles.  The more I move my arms, the less the muscle adheres to the skin.  Anatomy 202.

Went to the Plastics PA today, and she pulled 2 of the 4 drains that I have.  They are little grenade-shaped plastic balls with tubing into my chest wall that drain fluid.  Tom or my mom have to empty them three times a day and record the amounts.  They are a bit painful - the best I can describe it is a really bad underwire bra that just keeps poking me in the same spot.  Sometimes I can reposition myself to make it less bothersome, but it never really goes away.

I still can't make it through the day without an afternoon nap.  I am madly in love with my new recliner.  I had no idea just how useful the automatic foot lift and back adjuster button would be.  I can't use my arms to propel myself forward, and don't have a ton of leg strength to kick the foot of a recliner down.  There is no way I could sleep in a bed at this point in life.  Or at least no way to get up from laying flat.

I can take a shower, but it's a group activity since I can't wash my head or move my arms much.  And no deodorant or antiperspirant... late June.  Sorry if I stink, Folks, but not much I can do about it.

My fridge has stayed full thanks to Becky, Rita, Beth, Yvonne and Pam later this week. 

The big kid is at Scout camp til Saturday.  The little kid thinks he is king of the house this week.  The hubs has been wonderful the last week, and I am thankful for a light workload for him this week, too.  He has been home a little earlier than usual, which makes me very happy!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

The Last Chemo Party

May 17 was the last chemo, and a little surprise party.

Lynn, whose son went through chemo and surgery for testicular cancer last year, and Beth, who is a Stage 4 melanoma survivor, both from church, picked me up for the last hurrah.  They each had a gift bag from the Women of Faith ladies.  I had Kami & Karmin's pink scarf for good measure.  For the most part, I have stayed away from pink - it wasn't a color I wore before cancer, and sometimes I dislike the pink-ification of breast cancer.  Ya know those little pink ribbons on everything, which advertise that a percentage of their sales goes to BC research?  Yeah, sometimes it's about 1% to an obscure company with 80% overhead and so about one penny of that $20 item actually makes it anywhere close to BC research or prevention, but you get a warm fuzzy feeling.  But I digress...

The first stop is always the lab for blood draws.  My oncologist likes me, but he likes numbers to look at and objective data more.  With some coaxing, my port worked for blood draws.  It frequently is clotted and we have to do some altepace and wait an hour, and only maybe does it work correctly then.  So, a good day for labs.

The second stop is the doctor.  He was out of town, so no need for that.  A good day for that, only cause it made the day at least an hour shorter.

The last stop is the chemo chair.  But wait, the tech is walking me back to a room again.  I don't need a room, and I really hate hospital beds.  I am good with just a recliner.  Ugh, ok, whatever.  Let's just get this done.  And then she opened the door.  And behind Door #5 is Roxanne, Becky and Ginny, three more WOF'ers.  And flowers, and decorations, and Paul's Delights - my favorite treat, only available in the summer, and a bucket full of suckers and a tag that said "Cancer Sucks."  Yes, Rox, it does!  And a Courage figurine from Willow Tree.  On Facebook there is a pic of me with that surprised look as I opened the door.

I had a roomful of my favorite WOF girls from church!  Ginny's sister Kathy came at lunch after working a half day.  They even took off work to hang with me in a little bitty chemo room.  I am blessed to be surrounded by these ladies.  Karmin and Phyllis and Rose and Lisa were there in spirit and by text, too.

The chemo nurse pre-medicated based on taxol, not abraxane, so I had a ton of benadryl that I didn't really need, which was the only mishap of the day.  Medication errors happen, but it was a multitude of reasons.  We didn't even try taxol that day since I had reacted badly to it twice.  I asked if I needed it with the abraxane, but I didn't question forcefully enough.  It's a different nurse each week, but typically the same order set, so she didn't realize all the premeds were for taxol.  The doc wasn't there to ask or clarify.  So... I am sure there are a few pictures of me sound asleep and drooling or snoring.  Love the girlfriends for that!

When all the chemo stuff was done, the nurses gave me a certificate and a t-shirt, and a confetti shower.  Yes, I survived the chemo-athlon!  With some help from my friends.

And the very last stop is to ring the bell.  Chemo is done.  What did not kill me made me stronger, or something like that.  I wasn't looking forward to ringing the bell, only because my treatment is nowhere near done, so it's not an endpoint for me.  I understand and appreciate the symbolism, but the thought is anti-climactic in my world.  Here it is anyway.

Back in town, we stopped at a great little Mexican restaurant for a (very) late lunch, and Rox brought the kids over after school.  A small margarita will cure many things!

And my 3 favorite boys were my designated driver & companions for the weekend.

It was a great day, if for a crummy reason.