Thursday, June 18, 2009

A new day and another big day ahead

Today was a new day. A much better day than yesterday. Tomorrow will be even better since the drains that dangle from my breasts and which I have been toting around for a week now will finally be removed. They're so incredibly annoying (and gross) - I have to wear a robe with pockets to keep them from pulling out of my body and they itch where they come out and sometimes it burns too. I'm pretty sure the tightening and aching I feel in my chest is the drains too because the pain is originating from the drain holes and not the surgical incisions. Even if the drain removal doesn't eliminate the pain that remains, I'll be thrilled to have them be gone so I can trade in my robe and chest bandaging for a shirt instead. The bandages smell now that they've been on me for a week, and are falling apart too. Doc said I could take it off as long as I keep the drain holes dry and clean but that sounded like a challenge I might not be able to manage effectively so I've opted for the smelly bandage LOL. Thankfully it goes tomorrow morning. :) So, first thing in the morning I'll be at UCLA with mom in tow, having my bandages removed, the drains removed, and getting a refill prescription for the pain meds from the plastic surgeon, Dr.Crisera. After that, we meet with the cancer surgeon, Dr.Chang, to review the pathology (which we already know about), to get instructions for caring for my left arm which is at risk for lymphedema now, get a prescription for a compression sleeve for my arm for traveling or days with lots of activity to protect the arm, and a prescription for physical therapy which I know I will need a good deal of since I have numbing and other weird sensations in both arms ever since the surgery. Once we're done at UCLA, mom and I will head to the store to pick up a couple of new bras for me to use temporarily while my amputated breasts are in their pre-inflated stage (in 2 weeks they'll start pumping up the expanders to stretch my skin in preparation for implants that will be placed later on) since none of my bras will provide any support or smoothing under clothing since all of my breast tissue and both nipples were removed in the surgery. I'm not completely flat since the expanders are in there. I'm not at all freaked out about the strange appearance of my breasts (they really do look like amputated limbs too - very strange) - I was never really attached to them before and in a strange way it'll be kind of neat to see what it's like to be small in that department for a while. Don't tell Bob, but if I find myself enjoying being on the small side I might just put in a request for smaller breasts when it's time to resume reconstruction. I've always been large in that area - so much so that I had them reduced/lifted just 5 years ago because I found them to be such an annoyance and I've always dreamt about having small perky ones so I could occasionally go braless - well I guess my chance for that is here now haha. Anyway, I've had a few visitors today which was great. My friend, Tara, brought her friend, Candy, by to talk to me - she's a breast cancer survivor of over 15 years. I love hearing survivor stories :) She was so sweet and offered for me to call her any time. Thank you, Candy and Tara! For dinner we had my friend, Kristy, and her adorable daughter, Addie, over. We had so much fun watching Addie & Cooper play as they usually do. "Cooper & Addison Olsen" sounds wonderful, doesn't it? haha! Then, our sweet friend and neighbor, Sarah, stopped by too to chat about her availability to help out with Cooper on occasion (she's a nanny/sitter). I'm so incredibly blessed and grateful for everyone's friendship and support. I couldn't ask for a better support network of friends and family to be by my side throughout this journey. Thank you so much for being here for me! So...I march onward toward another new day which I know will be just as great as today, but likely even better - at least in the physical healing department which is key right now so that I can quickly move on to the next step in the cancer ass kicking mission. Thanks, everyone, for your support and prayers. Please keep it coming - you're helping me so very much and I'm so grateful. Love, Julie PS - Cancer, I have more friends than you do - so there!

7 comments:

  1. I must say, I LOVE your comments to cancer in every post! So cute! I am glad you seem to be in great spirits!

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  2. glad you're getting those drains out soon! www.thepinkbra.com has a lot of good post-mastectomy bra/camisoles. i got my nursing bras there, (i have to order special sizes. they specialize in hard-to-find stuff) and the service was great.

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  3. Yeah - so glad to hear the drains are coming out - great step forward - you are one strong woman!! Great inspiration to others - don't be surprised if a cancer support group asks you to be their new leader! :)

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  4. That burning feeling... that's just the fire in ya! :) Love ya girlie!

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  5. Hey there, the numbness and tightening after surgery is normal. I had lots of numbness after my surgery - that's because some nerves were probably severed as part of the process, but mine came back eventually. The tightening is also normal, it's part of the healing process. Although my surgery was to remove a section of bone from the upper part of my face, and not a mastectomy, I can relate to the stink, and all the other things you're describing. Every day will be better, I promise. I love your detailed descriptions - it paints such a clear picture for other women to understand exactly what it means to a fighter in this battle. You've always been an inspiration, but truly more now than ever! Love and prayers,
    Sylvia

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  6. Great to hear the drains are coming out. I hope you are a lot more comfortable with them out. Even if you are still sore, things will feel so much better just being able to wear your normal clothes again! Good luck today!

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  7. The way I found your blog is very weird. I initially found your first blog by doing a Google search about possible side effects from breathing treatments I had to give my son (now 11 months old). I then realized that we're both part of the same "Expecting Club" on iVillage. And now this.

    Your honesty is refreshing (and I have to say at times, you're downright hilarious at a time when I don't know how I would be reacting).

    My son's day care provider was diagnosed with breast cancer in February. She had her masectomy in March and is going through chemo right now. She's an ass-kicker, too. I'm going to direct her to your blog.

    -Tracy

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