I saw someone today that I have not seen in a few months other than a drive by in a car accompanied with a quick wave. Right around my surgery her father passed away so her own life was very chaotic. I ran out to get the mail this afternoon without a coat and this friend was driving by and stopped. The normal niceties were exchanged followed by a wonderful statement, “you look fabulous”. What a nice thing to be told! The fact that I was wearing dirty sweatpants, an ill-fitting shirt with hair pulled back since I had been cleaning all day made the comment all the more special.
My surgery seems like a lifetime ago, something I never thought I would say. I have made a full recovery. I still have some numbness in my stomach and in the noobs which may always be there. I have a terrible time with sit-ups but if I am being honest, I could not do many before having the DIEP surgery.. None of these things has any effect on daily life.
I see the scares everyday. I think sometimes I allow this to affect my mental health. I get a little down, excuse to have the extra snack and skip the work out. A kind soul offering a totally unsolicited (but very welcome and extremely kind) comment goes a long way to reminding myself that the scares are only on the surface. They are a sign of a great fight and should be seen as almost a trophy. (alright, maybe trophy is a stretch). If nothing else it is a little boost to remind me of how far I have come.
So after roughly 2 weeks of exercise, I really am getting stronger. I am up to 20 minutes 4 times a week on the elliptical with no issues. The other days we are trying to walk the neighborhood. I would like to work on my punching bag but the girls have destroyed it pretending they were in the olympics, that is another story but punching is out.
I decided to attempt to start abdominal work. We have this old “ab rock it” . This picture is not ours but pretty close. You hold the handles and push forward to assist the sit up. There is no way I could do them on my own but with the rocker I was able to do several. I only did a few, may try more a little later. I wanted to make sure I did not hurt anything. I have no pain from my abdomen anymore but it remains extremely tight. This is not really a bad thing, actually one of the reasons I think it is important to get working on the muscles around it so it remains tightened.
I have finally reached a point where when I look in the mirror I am seeing something positive. The boobs, well they are a mess but there is a light at the end of the tunnel . The rest though, not too bad. Now that the swelling is basically gone, the DIEP flap is really like a tummy tuck. After 2 kids it is the tightest my abdomen has been in years. I have taken the opportunity to really focus on my diet and have exercised pretty consistently for 2 weeks. For the first time in a long time looking in the mirror is not depressing, (not like seeing fireworks either) but I see positive movement.
Continued focus, completion of the nest surgery, the future looks bright!
So after a weekend of taking it easy, this morning the girls and I headed out for a nice walk for me and bike ride for them. It is already pretty warm out but it really is a nice way to start the day when for the rest of it you are basically trapped. We came in, grabbed some nice cold water and I am sitting quietly. My abdomen does not really cause much discomfort anymore. The only problem there is the pure weakness which I realize will take time to rebuild.
The issue is with the boobs. I am still not allowed to wear a bra. I honestly don’t know if wearing one would even help…I would probably just complain about have to wear it all of the time. The odd shape and uneven size is a factor..I still feel like I am growing boobs under my arms especially on the left side. That one is still at least a full size if not larger than the other one. The right one though for some reason tends to ache more. Go figure. I still have some oxy’s left but don’t want to take them unless pain is really bad. On the other hand, Tylenol/Motrin are not always enough to deal with the pain/ache. I see the doctor tomorrow. I want to ask if there is something else he can give me that is not as strong as the oxy but has more kick than the Motrin. Funny I feel strange asking for more pain meds but I guess that shows that I am not some pill head…if I were guess I would not care about asking.
So the bike shorts I had been wearing have all gotten too loose..which is pretty cool to be honest. I bought an actual abdominal wrap to keep as tight as possible. My girls are great because the both grab an end and help me get it on even and tight. They really have been wonderful helpers!
It is strange to think about, 4 weeks ago today I was still in surgery with my bilateral prophylactic mastectomy. I would emerge in terrible pain I remember complaining about my shoulder the most. From what I understand, I was on the table for a bit over 12 hours with my arms straight over my head…in my own head I figure I was kind of supermanish. Drains seeming like they were everywhere. Monitors that would not stop beeping…oxygyn continually because I seemed to forget to breath from time to time with all the pain meds. The joys of being surrounded by nurses 1-2 times a day for my “shift and raise” that was always a good time.
To be where I am now just 4 weeks later is an amazing testament to modern medicine.
I have my fingers crossed for my appointment tomorrow. I so hope that we get the date scheduled for the final phase of this process. Please please!!!!!