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It’s been raining for days and the world around me is flooding. Thankfully, we don’t live by the water so we’re dry but I think that the lack of sun has only added to my funk.  I’m tired. I’m tired of feeling pain. I’m tired of hot flashes and chills. I’m tired of the bricks in my chest and the feeling that the skin across my chest is ripping. I’m tired of the crushing feeling when I take a deep breath.

I know that I made the right decision for me but today is just one of those days…..

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OMG… no, make that OMFG!  I went in yesterday for my second fill and I’m sore as hell. I was hoping that the PS would drain some of the fluid that’s built up on the sides under my armpits but he said that there really wasn’t that much and there was a chance that he could puncture the expander so he didn’t do it. He did say that my body is absorbing the fluid like it should and it would definitely go away on its own.

He added 120cc to each side so I am now at 520cc.  I told him that I don’t need or want to be as large as I was before surgery so we’ll keep checking as time goes on. Regardless, he is going to overfill so that there’s plenty of space and skin.  I asked him what the time frame is for exchange and he said about 8 weeks out.  He told me that he likes to wait 4-6 weeks after the final fill so that everything will be sufficiently stretched and loose to insure a nice soft implant.

This now means that I need to rethink my time frame for returning to work. I initially planned on going back May 1st because I assumed that the exchange surgery would be in July or August. (I didn’t think that I would be expanding at such a quick rate.) Then, when he mentioned May when I asked him last week, I decided that I was going to ask him to do it at the beginning of the month and I would go back right after until the end of the school year. That was before I learned of the 4-6 weeks to settle in.

Now…. UGH!  The 4-6 weeks after the final fill brings me to the end of May which is not convenient at all for me because we have plans to go away on Memorial Day weekend.  So, I’ll probably have to live with the expanders until the end of June when school lets out. (I am a teacher and have a long term sub in for me. I don’t want to go back to school only to leave again which wouldn’t be good for the kids.)

So, we’ll see what April brings.  It would be nice to finish the fills mid-month because I know one thing for sure. Judging by the pain that I’m in right now from this expansion, and the fact that I’m taking pain killers and a muscle relaxer, I could not possibly work in this condition. If the rest are like this, I definitely need to stay out until the actual fills are finished.

As always… one day at a time…

I’m not sure if it’s the muscle relaxers or if something else is up, but I literally slept on and off all day. I had no energy and didn’t even try to read. I’m very full of fluid today so I’m going to call the doctor to mention it and the fact that I’m fatigued.  I’m scheduled to see him on Monday and I know he will aspirate to remove the fluid but I’m not sure if I can wait until then. If it’s just the breast mounds that are affected then I can deal with the pain. I’m just worried that the fluid is surrounding my heart and lungs as well. If they tell me that it’s impossible  then I’m fine with it. I can deal with discomfort but I can’t ignore possible health problems.

Hopefully I can sleep tonight after getting so much today.

I got a call back from the Breast Specialist’s office and they told me that the doctor has called in a prescription for Premarin to help with my hot flashes and other lovely symptoms of being ovary-less. DH will have to pick it up for me tomorrow and it will likely take a couple of weeks before it kicks in but just the thought of actually sleeping through the night makes me giddy right now.  I finally see a light at the end of the tunnel.  Recovery from the mastectomies and the complications with the reconstruction will be much more bearable without the constant flashes and functioning on little sleep.

Thank You, Dr. F.  I can’t wait!!!

Today was a very rough day….. I’ve been in pain all day but the worst thing for me right now are the hot flashes. I’m at the end of my rope with that.  I’m so sick of the prickly feeling inside, the heat that permeates my entire body, the sweat that soaks my skin and scalp then the freezing chills that inevitably follow, forcing me to cover up to try to get warm. Over, and over, and over again. By afternoon, I couldn’t hold the tears in any more. I’ve had it. I long to just be comfortable again. I honestly don’t remembers what it feels like to not be in pain and to be completely comfortable.  I’m hoping to return to that feeling soon.

DH picked up my prescription for the muscle relaxers and I took one late this afternoon. I’m still taking the Vicodin as needed too.  Unfortunately, I’m retaining more fluid as each day goes by so I’m feeling more and more pressure.  I’m developing the saddle bags under my armpits again and I’m sure the doctor will have to lance it again when I see him on Monday.

So yes, there were tears today, but there also were friends who were there to give me virtual hugs and even a phone call in response to my tweet about my rough day. Tomorrow is a new one and hopefully, an easier one than today.

I called the plastic surgeon’s office this morning to let them know that I’m filled with fluid and that I’m in pain so I will be needing a prescription refill before I see him next week.  They called me back and told me that they would refill the Vicodin and also would be prescribing a muscle relaxer to help with the muscle spasms.  As for the fluid, my body should absorb it but if it doesn’t get any better or gets worse I should call them again. I’m estimating that I’m stretched to 500cc right now as the expanders are at 400cc and I’m tighter now than I was on Friday when I had the fill.

I also called the breast specialist’s office to ask if he was the doctor to talk about my menopausal symptoms.  When I had met with him early on he told me that that once the breast tissue was gone, we could talk about the possibilities of low dose HRT if my hot flashes were unbearable. Well.. They Are Unbearable and it’s so difficult dealing with all of this at one time. I never sleep more than two hours at a time, I wake up all night freezing with teeth chattering because I’m soaked.  The soaking/freezing  happens during the day as well and of course there’s also the typical foggy memory, vaginal dryness and complete lack of libido.  For me though, the toughest part is never feeling rested and probably not allowing my body to get enough REM sleep to allow me to even heal. He was not in the office but the secretary pulled my file and left it for him along with my question.

Waiting for his call back tomorrow…

So, I got my drains out on Friday and had my first fill putting me at 400cc. I expected pain over the weekend as my body adjusted to the new volume but was hoping that it would lessen as time went on, however, I’m retaining fluid again since the removal of the drains. Because of that, my volume is even higher than I was on Friday and I’m really feeling a significant amount of pain, throbbing, pins and needles under my arms and muscle spasms.

I called the doctor this morning and spoke to the nurse but the doctor was in surgery. I’m not scheduled to go in to see him until next Monday 3/29, so if I can’t get in to be drained I at least need a new prescription for pain meds to help me deal with it. I hate taking medicine and have tried dropping the Vicodin down to one tablet instead of two, or leaving extra time between the 4 hr doses but it’s not working. If I cut it back, I end up in tears….

The other issue is the intense sweating that I am doing all day and all night. I feel that my hot flashes have gotten worse since the mastectomies. I’ve got to call my doctor to see if I can get some relief with that. Not being able to sleep more than two hours at a time is draining me and I feel like I really need sleep to help me heal properly.  I’m not sure who I should even start with as I’ve never had so many doctors overseeing my care in my life.

I went to the doctor yesterday and he removed the drains and filled me 100cc on each side. That puts me at 400cc at this point and he’s planning on 800cc.. give or take. Of course, I do have a say in how big I want to go. We scheduled 5 more fills just to get me in the books on Mondays which is my husband’s day off so that he can take me to the appointments.

I  am noticeably bigger and in a lot of pain. The expanders are definitely not an easy route to go. Both breast mounds are hard as a rock and I’ve been having muscle spasms as well. Since they are under the muscle, it’s not just the skin that’s got to stretch to accommodate them but the muscle as well. I barely slept last night and between the hot flashes, the fatigue and the pain, I had a rough day. I’m trying to remain positive but the tears were flowing today as I felt overwhelmed.

I’m praying for a decent night’s sleep tonight and I’m hoping that the discomfort starts to dissipate tomorrow….

I had my post-op plastics appointment yesterday and he was pleased with the way the skin is healing this time around. He also left the drains in  until I see him on Friday which was good news to me. I don’t mind the “fashion accessories” hanging by my side as much as I mind pain from fluid retention.  He also gave me a reprieve on expansion until I see him at the end of the week.  I’m glad because I’m very uncomfortable and the skin is very taut since he cut away a section on each breast mound.

I also had my yearly physical with my primary care doctor in the afternoon. It had been scheduled for a year and since my husband was home from work I kept it so he could bring me. It was TOO MUCH to do both in the same day. I’m totally exhausted today and I ended up with a lot of pain and discomfort from overdoing it. I’m thankful that I don’t have any plans today so I can just nod off as often as I need to.

Sleep continues to be a problem for me as I end up waking with the chills from getting soaked from the night sweats.  I had a rough night last night and awoke shaking and shivering. I long to have a comfortable night of sleep for a change.  At least, sleeping on the couch in the family room has provided me with a cushiony area and allows me to sleep propped up which is good. If I could just get the temperature thing under control it will be much more bearable.

Physically, my skin is very tight in the breast area and the nerves must be starting to “wake up”.  I feel like I have a sunburn on my entire torso, front and back.  I remain… one day at a time….

I had my plastics appointment yesterday afternoon and was anxious for it because of the incredible pain I was having due to my “saddlebags” of fluid. He lanced the breasts to give me some relief and was not happy with the look of the skin on both breasts (the right one was much worse).  It was not healing and was dying so he scheduled surgery for this morning!  What a whirlwind…. I left the doctor’s office at 5:00, needed to head over to the hospital for bloodwork then pick up my prescriptions and some dinner before heading home.

Thankfully, my son was the one that took me, since it turned into a 3 1/2 hour affair.  Since the doctor squeezed me in, I was lucky to be done before his planned caseload so I reported to the hospital at 6:00 and was home by 11:00.  I’ve been nodding off but just had some soup and I didn’t have any issues with post-op nausea.  That’s a relief!

I’ve got two drains and need to go back to see him on Monday. I don’t mind the drains at all.. they sure beat the pain from the pressure of having a waterbed full of fluid in each breast and under each arm.  Hopefully, I rest well today and can catch some of the sleep that I lost last night.

Once again… one day at a time.. I took a couple of steps back but in the long journey and scheme of things, two weeks mean nothing.