Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Maintenance of Me

Today being Tuesday was another visit with the surgeon to check my wounds.  One side, the left (the side that had the cancer) is totally healed and looks great.  Well, "great" if you don't count the crazy extra skin look that I've got going on.  The other side, the right (the healthy breast side) is better but still healing.  I have a large opened area where the wound totally opened up.  Ewww!  I didn't even know that was a possibility!  Yuk!  I haven't looked at it, I don't want to know - I'm just so thankful everything is, mostly, numb!  I'm so thankful I can't actually FEEL what is going on down there - because I DID peek just a little once a couple of weeks ago and just saw the edge and, let me tell you, it was disgusting!  It has to be packed everyday.  Ugh.  Just even talking about it makes me queasy!

Anyway, since I'm still healing and have an open wound, we are pushing back chemo as far as possible.  I was supposed to start this Thursday, but since things aren't looking so great on that side - it's been pushed to the 25th of August - the latest they feel comfortable starting it.  They want to start chemo within 4-7 weeks after surgery, that's the optimum time.  August 25th will be right at 7 weeks.

Once chemo starts, all healing will STOP!  So, whatever I look like on the 25th is how my wound will be for the next several months!!  I'll have to go to the surgeon every week still and it'll have to be repacked every day!  It's a daunting thought.  However, hopefully I'll, at least, be healed enough that I won't have to worry about any infections in the wound.  It's a balancing act - when is the best time to start chemo knowing that the healing will stop?  It's a good thing my surgeon loves me because I'm going to be seeing a lot of him.  They should put me on the payroll!

See any Similarities?
My husband is my daily wound packer.  And, weirdly enough, my children are both fascinated by the whole thing.  (I'm hoping that at least one of them becomes a doctor and gives me a discount, I need it!)  My husband does very well taking the grief that I give him about repacking this gaping wound every night.  However, he did compare me to a horse the other day.  See, he grew up on a ranch - and he went into this whole spiel about how they used to do the same thing to the horses when they had open wounds.  Wow!  I've heard a lot in our 12 years of marriage but being compared to a horse is new.

After the appointment with the surgeon, I went to my first physical therapy appointment.  The expert to see is a lady in Everett named Maggie - so that's where I went.  I don't particularly enjoy physical therapy.  It's work and it usually hurts and I don't like work or hurting.

I was excited to be led into a private room and see massage cream!  Woot!  Massage!  I even undressed right in front of poor Maggie - "Let's get this show on road baby!"  I didn't say that out loud but I was thinking it.  I love massages.

Well, this massage sucked!  It HURT!  It was in all the wrong places - all the places I hurt and where I don't WANT anyone to touch me!  I'm still so sore across my upper chest and under my arms from the surgery and taking the lymph nodes.  So, of course, those are the places where she "massaged."  It wasn't fun and relaxing!  I didn't like Maggie much after that...

What she managed to do, though, was to loosen things up.  All in preparation to teach me some exercises to do.  Damn.  See - it hurt and then I had to work.  Yuk.

My Own Torture Device for Home
So, I did the arm exercises and they were impressed by the range of motion that I already have in my arms.  I was proud!  I've been trying to do things around the house and reach for things on the top shelf and that all helps, I know.

After the torture...er, I mean, session, was over; I was given a device to use at home to exercise with.  I have to do the arm exercises twice a day.  I haven't taken it out of the package yet.  It looks like a medieval torture device.

I go back on Friday for more.

For now though, I wait for chemo to start.  It's a time to heal and maybe even breathe a little.  Because my near future is gonna be a lot of work!  Bah!


  1. You are the best mom in the whole wide world! I love you and i will always be by your side! :) :)


  2. Laura- You are a strong woman. Make sure you do the therapy, they are there for you, to make you better, not to torture you, no matter what it feels like. It will help the scar tissue, the range of motion and everything will be better in the end! Keep up the good work and heal that wound!

  3. Get to work girl !!!! (( hugs ))
    Elizabeth :)

  4. Hey Sister, The chemo will be there waiting for you. Maggie was great. I have full range of motion, but maybe I should go back for a massage? Hmm. You sound like you are doing as good (even better) than can be expected. I think it is that wicked sense of humor. When life gives you lemons...