Friday, December 25, 2015

Coming along in my recovery

My hair five weeks after the last chemo.
Eyebrows are coming back, and every day
I look just a little more normal.
I can't believe it's Christmas already. The holiday season just flew by, although I did get to enjoy some fun times with my new family. Tomorrow I head off to Pahrump, NV, for a few days to spend time with my mom, brother, and son.

I haven't kept up on the blog much as typing is still not very comfortable and what little time I spend on the computer I'm frantically trying to get some work done. Deadlines are wooshing by so fast that if I had hair, it would be a rat's nest by now! Thankfully, my clients have been understanding so far but I really need to get back on track.

I've been doing my physical therapy exercises every day, and I'm surprised at how quickly I'm regaining range of motion. I can once again wear clothes that pull on over my head instead of having to wear only button-up tops, so that's nice. And I'm able to help out around the house a little bit. But then I'll do the exercises and some housework or shopping or something, and I'm wiped out or in pain. It's not terrible, but it means I have to lie down and rest--so often my plans to work or whatever get put off. Kind of like the way things have been since all this started! My energy is generally quite good--I can get through a busy day of normal activities without crashing. I even wrapped a bunch of presents yesterday and today.

So I'm looking forward to returning to normal life. I have my radiation simulation appointment on January 14 and will start treatments about a week later, and that will go on for six weeks. Then I'm done. I should feel pretty good until about the third or fourth week, when the fatigue will set in again. So I'm trying to get out for walks or at least shopping so I'm moving around. I got a bike for Christmas, and I'm looking forward to riding it as soon as my arm is just a little better. Maybe even in a week or so. I think I'll be ready to do a little dancing by then, too. When radiation is done and I've had a couple weeks to recover, I go back in training! I can't wait to get this extra weight off and get out with my running buddies again, working toward goals.

One of these days, I'll do a post describing how the surgery went, as well as "what I learned from chemo," and other helpful things like that.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Monday, December 14, 2015

I'm cured, but it's not over yet

If you missed the announcement on facebook, I found out last thursday that the pathology report from my surgery came back clear. No residual cancer, four lymph nodes removed with no trace of cancer--the chemo basically melted it all away. I'm cured! However, this does not mean I'm done and get to go back to my life now. Not yet. I still have to do the six weeks of radiation treatments starting in January as a preventative measure against recurrence. Then it will be a few more weeks before I start to feel normal again.

This is the first time since the surgery almost two weeks ago I've felt up to getting on the computer and typing, so I'll keep today's update brief but will give a complete accounting of the surgery experience in another post.

I'm slowly getting a little better each day. I still have one drain in from the surgery, so I have to be careful not to pull on it (ouch) or try to lift my arm over my head. Yet, I have to do low exercises with my arm to keep the shoulder from freezing up. I am able to do little things like use a fork or my tablet, but the range of motion is definitely limited and I get sore if I try to do too much. I try to get out for some kind of walk each day, even if it's just shopping. the pain is not bad at all, and often I don't feel any. The worst is having to sleep on my back until the drain comes out, and even then the soreness in my right armpit will make it difficult to sleep on my side, I think. I'm generally propped up on pillows.

I haven't taken a full look at the surgery site. I've glanced down from above, and it looks weird but not scary. I'm not ready to get a full frontal look...that will be too real. I know, I'm just being silly at this point--after all, it's been almost two weeks. Soon. If this is in your future and you want to see what it looks like, I'm happy to take a pic for you. I just figure not everyone wants to see that!

That's it for today. I'll work on a post about my surgery in the next couple days.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Not much time left

I feel like this break between treatments has gone by way too fast. I wanted to do so much...go to Apple Hill again, get a lot of work done, get a lot of exercise, do some dancing. Time got away from me, and although my energy is better than it was a month ago, I still get tired fast and I just wasn't up to doing everything I wanted to do. And now surgery is tomorrow and I accomplished almost nothing.

Surgery is the part I dreaded the most. I know chemo is the worst and it's behind me, and it was definitely dreadful, but a mastectomy is so permanent. By this time tomorrow, I'll be minus a body part. Disfigured. Scarred.

People try to say things to make me feel better about it. I won't see you any differently, Jennifer. Your scars are a badge/symbol of what you've been through, Jennifer. Better a boob than your life. etc...those are all true and great. Honestly, if anyone is going to think less of me because I'm missing a boob, they get an express ticket out of my life anyway. I'm not really worried about what anyone else thinks of me (as long as they don't think I'm something I'm not). It just sucks, because I don't want this to happen.

Mostly, I've made peace with it. I know it needs to happen. I'm not bitter or angry. I'm just sad and a little depressed. I'm doing a little self medicating today.