Well, my last post was about six weeks ago. It has been a while. I have missed writing here. There have been several reasons I did not write – pain, depression from having nearly constant pain, fear of dying, fear of burdening those that I love, and fear that my anonymity might have been compromised. My mom always told me I did not have much of a poker face. Well, I guess, I don’t have a poker writing ability either – if that makes any sense. If I am in pain or feeling down, well, then I can’t mask that very well. And, I really don’t want to focus on the negative. So that is part of the reason why I have been “away” so to speak. The past month and a half has been a bit of a struggle. But, that is not to say that there has not been joy in my life. I think that the most challenging thing I have experienced in the past six weeks was simply nearly constant pain.
But, like I said I do not want to focus on the negative and more importantly, right now I am feeling better and mostly that is in my attitude. It is, as I have found out, hard to maintain a positive attitude when you are in pain. I guess that is why my doctors – on top of the pain medications – have continually pushed anti-depressants. But, I have not gone that route. I just don’t feel I can. I have enough meds that I have had no choice in subjecting my body to – chemo for instance. Why add another drug to go through my kidneys, my liver etc. Nope. And someone please explain to me what is wrong with crying or feeling down from time to time. Why must we numb that away?
It is one of the ugly sides of cancer – those bad days. And, I would never in a million years be critical of someone taking anti-depressants because they were going through this illness or any other serious illness or for depression. But, it is (at least so far) not for me. I don’t want to be sad, but sometimes I am. I don’t want to cry, but sometimes I do. I don’t see anything wrong with that, except that I would like for it to happen less and I am sure that it will.
So, I owe some of you an apology – those of you that have relied on my blog as a way to know how I am doing – I am sorry for not writing here. But, it was not very feasible.
But, I am back! And I feel better despite the fact that I was recently in the hospital again for some kind of infection. This is the second hospital stay since my surgery. And, it has delayed my treatment and slowed my recovery overall. But, I feel stronger right now than I did this morning and the day before and the day before that. So that is very good.
I have had so much work to do, some days two or three different medical appointments a day and some weeks a medical appointment nearly every day. So, that is another reason I have not written here, this cancer thing can be it’s own full time job some times). I have radiation treatment (this has been delayed by a couple of hospital stays). I have to get it started to get it over with . . . and I SO want it over with. But, I could not start the radiation until I was able to get my arm into a particular position. So I have been doing physical therapy to make that happen. I met with my radiologist yesterday and he says I am there. So woo-hoo! I will be starting radiation treatments next week. This will be daily and will be about 15 minutes each day.
So I was in the hospital over labor day weekend and that kind of broke my spirits a bit. The reason being that I came home feeling worse than before, and so very weak. It was a real set back for me mentally and a major reason I stopped writing here. Then I had this most recent hospital stay – last week. But, this time it was different, even though I was sick I was still stronger than the last time I was there – by far. And, now I am home, for which I am so grateful. It was a little scary as an infection developed on my left breast (or, as I affectionately call my left: “boob like structure” – sorry if that sounds crude, but, this is all so bizarre to me). I look good in a t shirt, no one would ever know that I had a mastectomy (although they might think I had some kind of breast augmentation – something I would never in a million years have done to myself).
Anyway, with this most recent hospital stay, I was only in the hospital a couple of days. I was sent home with IV antibiotics – so a nurse comes here to my home each day and administers antibiotics through a pick (not sure of spelling – pic or pick) line each day. This will be over soon too, just a few more days I think.
And, the pain I have had is lessening. Ever since my surgery back in August I have had nearly weekly “expansions”. This is where my reconstruction surgeon injects saline into an expander that is located under my pectoral muscle. Eventually, the expanders will be switched to implants. Since I was a chemo patient prior to surgery, my immune system at the surgery point was suppressed due to the chemo. As a result, my surgeon has done the expansion slowly (a certain amount of ccs of saline each week). Since the expanders are underneath my pectoral muscle – the muscle is stretched each week. This is why I have been in so much pain – stretching that muscle out where it was never intended to go. Well, now we are finally done with the expansion part of the reconstruction. If you are going through radiation, it is important to go to someone (as I have) who specializes in reconstruction after radiation.
Anyway, I think I have rambled on quite a bit here, so I will sign off for now. I apologize for how this posting may seem a bit disjointed or discombobulated (is that really a word?). I have written it in pieces – a little here and a little there – as I have felt up to it – trying my best to catch you all up on the past month and a half.
Thank you to all of you who are praying for me and helping me, I could not do this without you.
I will write again very soon and will try to keep my future posts more brief!
Much love, Lisa