AFTER FOUR WEEKS

Last night, Jorge and I finally went out for more than an hour … ooooh… ahhhh….

 

This actually was pretty a big deal since I really haven’t left the house since my follow up doctor’s appointment and a quick dinner on our anniversary. We went to the holiday party at Jorge’s work, and I’d like to do a quick shout out to the awesome folks at his school. To my surprise, many of them have been reading this blog, so it felt like many of us were old friends meeting for the first time. Thank you for your kindness, support, hospitality, and making me feel very welcome last night!

 

Also in big news … I DROVE! It was only for a few miles, and Jorge had to back the car out of the parking spot before I took over, but I drove! It had to be very careful when I turned the wheel and keep my hands on the lower half of the steering wheel, but it felt great to get out there.

************

It’s been 4 weeks and 2 days since my bilateral prophylactic mastectomy, and I wanted to update folks on what I CAN DO and what I CAN’T DO YET. I’m walking a fine balance between needing to wait until my tissues, sutures, and all that jazz full fuse and heal; and not wanting to get creeky and stiff from inactivity. So, here is a list of things I’ve been able to do with some accommodation and those which I absolutely cannot do yet:

 

Can do (with accommodation):

  • Move around the house at an “almost pre-surgery” pace
  • put a small amount of weight on my arms (getting out of bed)
  • very slowly lift my arms in the pre-surgery position when I wash my hair in the shower
  • get dressed in relatively the same way I did pre-surgery as long as my shirt top is an XL or button up
  • reach for something on the cabinet shelf (as long as I support my chest muscle)
  • type easily
  • write with a pen
  • zip up a  jacket (still have trouble “snapping” anything closed)
  • carry a SMALL, TINY load of laundry down stairs and slowly reach into the washing machine
  • slowly move the vacuum around (alternating hands and using my hips on occasion!)
  • help my children get dressed
  • starting to do some low-level “wall crawls” which is an exercise where I walk my fingers up against a wall to stretch my muscles
  • open the sliding door to my van (though, I can’t say this was a *great* idea…)
  • clean the dishes with a sponge (the repeat circular motion was what caused some pain)
  • help my son into his high chair

 

Can’t Do Yet:

  • open the top of a childproof medicine container (desperately needed some last night after my son whacked his head into my right implant!)
  • easily close the top of a tupperware container
  • open the ridiculously heavy doors leading into the building of my work place
  • sleep without any pillow props for my back and arms
  • sit for long periods of time without my back and shoulders hurting

 

When I can, I rely heavily on my legs to assist me. So, when I went to my place of work, I was able to pull open the door with 2 hands but then quickly jammed my foot into the space in order to swing the door. When I get out of the car, I open the door but use my legs to push it away from the car.

 

For the most part, I’m eagerly awaiting the 6-week mark when I have clearance to start a more normal activity routine. It’ll still take months until my strength fully comes back, but I’ll be able to start exercising and working again.

 

And, having gained a pound a week, at this rate, I’ve gotta get myself back to walking/running again soon after the new year!

 

Peace, love, and hoping to fit into my work pants,

Liza


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One Response to AFTER FOUR WEEKS

  1. Cindy Thompson says:

    In May of 2009 I was diagnosed with stage 1 triple negative breast cancer in my left breast. I had a lumpectomy, mammosite radiation and 4 rounds of taxotere and cytoxin. I did very well. In January of this year (2011) I had a diagnostic MRI and a new tumor was discovered. I had a clear mammogram in July. This tumor was not related to the first one. It was on the other side of my left breast and lower down. It was also stage one. On Feburary 3rd I had a bilateral mastectomy with expanders for reconstruction. In both of my surgeries the tumor margins were clear and no lympth nodes were involved. I spent one night in the hospital. I had pain meds the evening of surgery. I had no real pain but was worried about letting it get ahead of me and having to play “catch up”. I never needed another narcotic. I went home the next day and was surprised at how much I could move my arms. I had to be careful not to overdo it. I am now almost 5 weeks out and am healing very fast. I will start chemo on the 17th and will be on 5FU, Epirubicim (sp) and Cytoxin. 6 rounds with 21 days between.
    My expanders are noticible but not painful. I miss sleeping on my stomach and cannot even sleep on my side fully. My back hurs when I sleep on it so I spen most of my time sleeping in my recliner. It works for me.
    I lost 100 lbs in the last year and was very concerned about gaining weight back after surgery. I have actually lost about 5 more pounds. I started slowly walking within about 3 days of surgery. I am now back at my zumba classes with modified arm movements. I really frustrated the plastic surgeon with my pleading to get back to exercise. Ha!
    Chemo worries me, as far as exercise goes, but I am kind of excited to see what it does. I am told the 5FU is often much easier to handle than the Taxotere. Plus not carrying an extra 100 plus pounds around on my body will possibly help too. I look at it as another adventure. We shall see.
    My expanders are full and will be replaced about 6 weeks after chemo. They don’t bother me much and I like the look of my perky little girls a lot more than the big old flat F’s that I used to sport. No regrets, no sorrow, glad to be alive.

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