Wednesday, 21 November 2012

16 days Post-Op...

Well here I am, just over 2 weeks later and so much has happened since then! I have to be completely honest and let you know that I am still in an incredible amount of pain, but I am still hopeful that this will subside in time.  I was told to give myself at least a month before I notice any let up in the pain.  At the moment it feels like a really severe case of Mastitis, crossed with the feeling that someone/something is constantly applying pressure to my upper chest.  Then there is the soreness at the sides, the swelling, the inability to sleep comfortably.  Then there is the frustration at not being able to do anything without the risk of being completely wiped out for the next couple of days! Not forgetting the fact that I need help to apply my own personal hygiene!  I tried to have a bath last week...what a fail that was! I managed to get in no problem, but getting out was quite a different story! My mum had to help me, I was able to get in fine, I just went on my knees and lowered myself, but could I get out? Could I boot!  I don't even know how I managed it in the end, but I remember mum joking that we would have to call the Fire Brigade to help...My response to that was, "cover my bum!".

I went to my post-op check up last Thursday and my surgeon was quite taken aback by the amount of bruising on my right breast, in fact his response on seeing them was "ooh poor you"! He tried to drain the bruising but was only able to get a little bit but from that he confirmed that it would in fact disperse on its own. And that it has! The bruising has gone down quite a bit since my appointment...thanks goodness!

Another thing I have really been struggling with is the fact that I was told to stop taking my HRT for a couple of weeks following my op.  This is to reduce the risk of DVT.  However it enormously increases the risk of horrendous hot sweats and terrible moods/weepy sensitivity! I have been nothing short of horrible to my gorgeous son, I just have not had any patience with him what so ever. For that I feel terribly guilty, but I really do hope that is behind me now as I have been able to re-start my HRT 2 nights ago! I have also been experiencing what can only be described as "spontaneous crying"! Again, I hope this is something that will eventually fade.

I have to say Monday was a particularly bad day with regards to pain and mood. So much so that I even spoke the immortal words "I wish I'd never had the f****ng operation!!"! I know that this was just a spur of the moment outburst and that when things settle down I will not be thinking like this atall, I will be thinking straight!  The pain, frustration, tiredness and inability to do things for myself just became too much and this is how I reacted.

I know this all seems very negative at the moment, but this is how it is I'm afraid...Well, for me anyway! I'm not really a good recoverer of operations, and I know everyone is different! Please bear this in mind if you are reading this and have yet to go through surgery! I don't want it to put anyone off, I just want to write down how I'm feeling, I'm sure there will also be people reading this who know exactly where I'm coming from and can totally relate to it, and can say that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and these feelings wont last forever, which, realistically, I am sure they wont!

Today is a better day, today I am just tired....don't get me wrong I am also in pain, but today I can cope with it!

And so, my next appointment at the hospital is in 4 weeks time, my surgeon wanted to check out the bruising and swelling before arranging an expansion (at the rate I am going, I won't need one! I am currently the size I was pre-op!). Unfortunately I didn't have the tissue results at my last appointment as they weren't yet back so I will, I guess, have them at the next appointment.  I also had the dressings removed, although underneath I still have steri-strips.  I spoke to my BC Nurse yesterday to ask about whether I have to remove these as it is such a long time before my next op, but was told that they would eventually fall off anyway, then I will see what is underneath.  It concerns me a little not seeing a nipple, but I had a dream last night that they were all finished and they looked fab so I know it's only a matter of time before I get to that point as my surgeon is the best!.

Next time I write I will be sure to be more positive ;-)  I have been photographing my journey so I can see the difference and improvements :-)

Thank you for reading :-)
As ever comment, share, tweet.

Lots of Love

Saturday, 10 November 2012

5 Days Post-op...

I guess I shouldn't be doing this just yet, but as I have the laptop at me knee to pay some bills I thought I would give a quick update.  The operation went well, and the surgeon was happy with the results. Although there was significant bruising and swelling on the right side which he thought I may have to return to theatre to have drained, but thankfully it sorted itself out!  Surgery was on Monday (05/11/2012), I went down at 11.30am and remember waking up on the ward at around 7.30pm.  I was in recovery before going onto the ward but can't remember how long for.  I came home yesterday after having both drains removed, even though they were still draining a fair amount of fluid!  But I have an appointment next Thursday back at clinic for my post-op check. This is where, I believe, I will also get the results from the tissue they removed and sent for testing.

So, after all the hype leading up to the op, how do I feel now??  Lets go with the negatives first, bearing in mind the surgery is only a few days old!

I am tearful - Sometimes I just burst into tears for no particular reason! As soon as I walked through the door at home I burst into tears into my mums arms!
I can't get comfortable in my own bed - I want the hospital bed back with all its lovely support! I know I can use pillows but it just isn't the same and I keep slipping down the bloody bed!
I feel like I have pulled muscles in my armpits - Could be due to the fact that my muscles have actually been pulled! They now cover the expanders!
I'm so sleepy! - I only have to go up and down the stairs a couple of times and I'm absolutely whacked!
The tight "band around the chest" sensation - constant, uncomfortable. It's like wearing a tight strapless bra all day and night but you know you aren't going to get that "Ahhhhhhhh" feeling when you take it off because you can't!

And for the positives?  Well apart from the blatantly obvious (for those who are not clear, that means being Breast Cancer Risk (virtually) free) I am only experiencing the "ooh no work on Monday" feeling!  I am waiting for a big relief moment to hit me, but I don't know when that will be...When I'm not in so much discomfort? When my screening appointment would be due (January/February)? When my reconstruction is absolutely complete? When I reach the age my aunty was when she was first diagnosed (5 years away)? Who knows, but I'm sure it will come!  It certainly isn't something I'm going to rush or force upon myself.

And so that is how things are at the moment.  I know that with each day I will get stronger and cope better.  I can tell things are slowly improving from the exercises I am doing daily.  Tomorrow I will be watching my beautiful son take part in the Remembrance Parade in town with his Cadet detachment.  I will take a chair in case I need to sit down, but this is something I will not miss for the world.  He makes me so proud!

I will return after my next appointment to update, but for now, thank you all so much for reading and taking an interest.  Please feel free to comment and share.

Lots of Love

Friday, 2 November 2012

3 More Sleeps!

Well, I feel it's only right to update my blog as D-Day is looming at an alarming rate! I can't believe how quick November 5th is approaching! Since I last blogged I had my BYE BYE BRCA BOOBS party in aid of National Hereditary Breast Cancer Helpline and raised an amazing amount...£436! I also had a lovely email from a local shopping centre to say that they would transfer half of the donations they collected in a Breast Cancer Wishing well located in the shopping centre to the helpline which was more than £500! An amazing result which is very welcome by the helpline.

So, how am I feeling now it's nearly here. I've got to be honest, I keep having moments where I am just on the verge of tears, and occasionally I've just let them come!  A couple of weeks ago was quite an upsetting time. I just couldn't stop crying.  My boyfriend, Andy, and I went for a drive and one thing he said, put it all into perspective..."We either face this task, or battle Breast Cancer, and I know what I would rather do".  Sometimes, someone says something that you will never forget, this was one of those times. To have that support is invaluable.  And I've got to say, since then, I don't think I've cried as much.

One thing I think is going to be strange after my surgery (apart from the obvious!) is that, although I will still and always will be a BRCA1 carrier, I will no longer be at risk from Breast Cancer.  This risk is something I have lived with since I tested positive 7 years ago, so it will be quite strange the risk not being there anymore! It's quite hard to explain, as in a way, I kind of feel special! I know this sounds absolutely bizarre!  But it's something that instantly bonds you to other BRCA carriers. Its like people who you went to school with, you always have that bond with them...same same :-).  But I know that bond will never be broken, and I am so lucky to have made some fantastic friends who I have got to know through inheriting this gene.  That, I will be forever thankful to BRCA for!

So tonight, I have more or less packed my case, apart from a few last minute things.  We will be travelling down to London on Sunday, ready for surgery on Monday morning! So I will sign off now, the next time I log on on I will Breast Cancer risk free! :-)

Thank you for reading, and as ever I welcome your comments.

Will report back soon :-)