The chief reason I started this blog was to tell my story because I feel like I am a poster child for catching cancer early and I need to share how I did it so others can replicate it. However, a secondary reason really started shining through and that was to share what this journey is like because as I tried to prepare, and now as I live it, it was and is so hard to find information. The surgeons and medical sites offer such vague accounts and there are not many detailed, personal stories out there. When I found Carolina Charm, it actually brought me to tears. Finally! Here was a person, around my age, who was willing to share her personal story in great detail. This journey is fraught with questions – How will I feel? Is this normal? What do I need?
Soooo, with that in mind… today marks three weeks since I was released from the hospital after my surgery and it seems as though this milestone has ushered in a pretty hefty speed bump. I am struggling. In my past experience, I heal and bounce back like a rockstar. And through this, I have been making some great progress, but on Sunday evening I feel as though I slammed into a brick wall. It’s hard to explain the physical feelings that I am experiencing but there is a lot of tingling, and this odd, burning feeling. It’s almost like that tight feeling you get from a nasty sunburn. That’s all on top of the constant pressure that feels like someone has their foot on my chest. My internet sleuthing tells me that my nerves are coming alive again and that’s why I am in pain.
Mentally it’s really getting to me because I want to be off the pain meds. I want to be done. However, rotating naproxen and Tylenol is just not cutting it. I’m in a lot of pain so I need the prescription. It’s discouraging. Plus I am EXHAUSTED. I think I get more and more tired each day. Yes, I recognize that may mean I am overdoing it so I am trying to listen to my body and scale back a bit. I spent today at home and only worked for a few hours.
The worst part of this speed bump? My mood has crashed. The one thing that has carried me through this journey is my attitude. I am really proud of how I have been able to keep my spirits high and see the positive in all of this (there really is SO much positive). I credit Luke with helping with that, but that’s a whole different post! I think that is why the pain med situation is so maddening – once I take something and the pain is alleviated, my mood improves dramatically. It’s a frustrating, and kind of scary, cycle (for all you worriers, I do not take more than one in a day at this point). As an extrovert, I think socializing more would help but I just don’t feel up to it. And I am not even going to get into the actual process of getting dressed for public or the struggle of what to wear. I have a whole series planned regarding dressing this post mastectomy body. Just please appreciate the ease with which you put on and take off your shirt.
I believe it’s normal to get down but it’s a bummer because I was on such a high after doing the Komen walk on Saturday and I can’t recapture that feeling (stay tuned for that post because it really was AWESOME). The reality of NEVER being able to just get totally comfortable 24 hours a day for three full weeks has finally taken its toll on my psyche. There just is not a position where I don’t feel some kind of pain or discomfort.
I realize this post will be difficult for my loved ones to read but as I Google around to see if other women have this trouble or that concern, it feels wrong not to be honest about how hard this really is for me. So if I haven’t returned your calls or texts or acknowledged the awesome card or care package, it isn’t because I don’t SO appreciate hearing from you. It really does lift my heart. It’s just that I am trying to keep putting one foot in front of the other and taking things hour by hour.
Bottom line, I AM OK. I feel tremendously supported and loved. I am HEALTHY. This is just really hard. But this too shall pass. Call it corny but I realized when they played it during the Survivor March at the walk on Saturday, this song really does pump me up about this haul. As she says, “I’ve still got a lot of fight left in me.”