Saturday, June 29, 2013

Marked everything off the the list!

It is official. I've successfully done every excecise type activity post surgery that I did pre surgery with no pain! Most recently yoga and swimming were added to the list. I ran a few miles and did a super hard 75 min yoga class on Thursday and I did it with ease. The instructor is a close friend who has had the same surgery as me and she came over during class to check on me, I said the rest of my body hurts but my chest is fine!
Swimming was wonderful. I grew up competitively swimming and I often forget the love I feel for the sport until that moment when I jump in and get going in the pool. The workout entailed 3600 yards of pool work over 75 minutes during a master's swim practice. It.was.hard. I wanted to quit after the warmup, but I didn't and was so proud to finish every last bit of the workout. Both yoga and swimming are being added to my weekly workout routine!

I haven't posted much lately because I am too busy living and loving life. When I get deep into thought, which happens a lot when I am running, I look back over the past year and it doesn't seem so bad. I think at the moment it just seemed so horrible because of the pain. When you are in pain, everything is hard. Having a preventative double mastectomy was the hardest thing I'll probably every do.  I questioned my decision, I regretted my decision, and then I was disappointed in myself for feeling that way. It was a bad cycle. Once I got rid of the temporary expanders and had my second and final surgery, everything improved. I felt like my old self pretty quickly and I looked like my old self, also.

I am not going to lie, I am still learning to embrace my new body in a bathing suit. The last thing I want is to draw attention to myself but I have been able to wear my old bathing suites and splurged on a couple of new ones. After some "adjusting" (and some reassurance from my husband) I am usually happy with how I look.

So, besides a little "squeaking" while I run, and a little heaviness at times (both due to the implants), I feel totally normal. Push ups are still difficult. I can't say that it causes pain but it is an awkward feeling pulling in my chest area. Doing chest exercises with weights, yoga, swimming, running, biking are all fine. I think with time I'll build back up to doing pushups on my toes again.

I can't say you'll be hearing much from me anymore. I can close this chapter of my life, I can finally move on without fear of breast cancer looming over me and I really have no need to look back now.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Steady Progress.

I decided to give my core workout class a try on Tuesday and it went well. I ran two miles on the track afterschool which was fine except the heat! Apparently, we went from winter to SUMMER because the temps are reading in the mid-80's to 90's here, already! My run could have been better if it wasn't 89 degrees! My first mile felt great and I think it was around a 10 minute pace so my second mile was slower as I started to get really hot. I am hoping I can get up to 3 miles very soon!When I run I find my mind wandering to memories of surgery and this past year and it just makes me smile to think it is finally all over with. Running was a huge part of what got me through preparing for surgery and now I can look to it to get me through this next phase: returning to normal.

The core class is only 30 minutes but it is a tough 30 minutes. I was surprised as how much strength I had retained and what exercises I could still do. There were a few times when things felt a little wierd but it wasn't painful, just different. I can't really lay on my stomach comfortably yet so I just modified the exercise for myself.

I definitely was sore all over from the run and class which pretty much covers most muscle groups in a short amount of time. I am excited to build my strength back up!

Now that I have all of my energy restored I am excited that I can return to my routine of running and weight training. I also want to get back into the pool and see how things feel when I swim. I hope to try a yoga class soon, also. I am back and it feels so great!!!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

2 miles done. A good sore.

It was the best "first" run I could have ever had. I swear I was grinning ear to ear for my first mile. I loved every second of it. I felt a little tight in the chest but no pain or issues really. I think I just need to get used to my new "normal" and my new body. I had no goals except to run 2 miles. I didn't even have a watch on. About 1 mile in I saw an old friend who has been through something similar to me, though she was actually diagnosed with BC. She said she could run a lap with me so we could catch up and we ended up running another mile together. It was so great to catch up with her and share stories with someone who absolutely understood what I had been through. I guess she just happened to be at the right place at the right time! It made that second mile fly by and though I felt like I could have kept going, we did stop and walked a lap or two.

After we parted ways (she is a fitness instructor and had to get to her class to teach) I decided to try out some ab work. Before my surgery I focused on my core to help prepare my body for the post surgery task of not using my arms to get in and out of bed. It definitely helped me while I was recovering and I was glad to see that I still had a good amount of core strength left in me. I did a lot of the exercises from my favorite core class to see if I could take it next week without issue or pain. I even did planks, side included and it was fine. I spent a lot of time stretching my arms over my head and to the side. I was pretty tight after I ran and it felt good to loosen things up a bit.

Last night I was still pretty tight and sore in my chest area so I took some advil and iced my chest for a bit. I knew I was going to be sore today, and I am, pretty much all over! It is a good kind of sore though. A sore you know you earned the day before. A sore you know you'll be stronger from tomorrow. A sore that I've been longing to feel for many, many months.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

A happy place.

It has officially been 2 weeks since my last surgery and surprisingly, I feel so great! After feeling the immediate relief of having the expanders taken out I now realize how much pain I was in for the past few months. I knew going into this that it would be no walk in the park, but honestly, I had no idea of what was to come on Nov. 28th when I was wheeled into the operating room. I do not regret my decision but I am certainly thankful that the hard part is over. No one can really know how they will react to surgery and my kind of surgery was so specific to me with my existing scars and all and so I had no idea what to expect. I guess it is a good thing or else I might have backed out!

So the doctor cleared me for all activities. Picking up the kids, running, weight lifting (light at first!). I honestly feel back to "normal". I don't think about my implants or the the numbness in my chest. I don't think about being BRCA positive during the day. I don't feel "different". I don't feel self concious about the way I look. I think the results turned out great and by great I mean I look exactly like I wanted....the way I used to look. I don't think a random person could look at me and guess at all I've been through or that I had a mastectomy just a few short months ago. That is what I wanted. I just wanted to make it through looking like I used to look.

When I was in the plastic surgeon's office yesterday the secretary asked me to update my health form because it had been over a year since it was first completed. I couldn't beleive it. It has been a year! A year of planning, doctor's appointments, MRI's, exams, surgeries, follow up appointments, medicine, resting, pain and more surgery. But, it is done and that is what matters. I now look and FEEL like my old self and that is a huge accomplishment at this point. Tomorrow, I plan to lace up my sneakers and log a mile or two. We'll see how that goes. I am not going to lie, I am pretty excited that I actually need a sports bra again.

I couldn't have done it without my husband and family and friends who love me and treat me like family. Thank you all! I know I haven't been the easiest person to deal with over the past few months, but that is all in the rear view mirror now!

Success. Happiness. No pain. It feels so good to be here.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Finally Done!

I am done! I had my implant exchange surgery yesterday around 10 am. The surgeon was done at 11 and I was heading home by 2pm. The whole process was so much easier this time. I was excited to have the surgery so that helped. As soon as I woke up in the recovery room I reached under my blankets to feel my new chest. It was soft. I was so happy! I had no idea that what the doctor was saying would actually be true. My plastic surgeon did a great job choosing an implant and all that fit me and looks almost like I used to look before all of this. They look very natural and feel nice and squishy! No more hard plastic bowls sewn into my rib cage.

I had almost zero pain yesterday and I stayed on top of my pain medicine until over night. I woke up once in a fair amount of pain but I took a pain pill and went right back to sleep. It is so much easier to sleep when you don't have expanders in you. I cannot sleep on my side for a few weeks but even on my back I was more comfortable. My pain today has been higher, which the nurse said it would be. I am just taking it easy and resting. I am pretty swollen so I've been using the ice packs to help with that.

Overall it was a piece of cake. I couldn't beleive it until it happened but everyone was right. It was nothing compared to what I've already been through.

I am on preventative antibiotics to stop any potential infection that might develop. The area that had the issues is nasty looking and very bruised but I guess that is normal. It'll take a while for the swelling to go down.

So, if today is the worst pain I am going to have, I can deal with that!
Whew! It is over! :o)

Monday, March 18, 2013

This is it.

This is it. The day is finally here. The day I have been looking forward to for a long time! Now that the day is finally here I can feel my nerves start to rise up a little when I think about it. I know that I am excited and all but it is still surgery. I am going to be hurting a little more first before it gets better. I think I will feel better to have the expanders out of me but I'll still feel a little sore for a few days at least. I keep hearing how easy this surgery is compared to the last and I really hope that I can agree with that when this is over!

I went back and read some of my earlier posts and it helped me regain my focus. I know this has been a hard few months and it is no secret that I didn't handle this all as I would have hoped I would. But, finally it is coming to an end and I can hopefully get back to regular life without a worry about infections, pain, another surgery, etc. I know I made the right choice and when I get a little distance from this all I know I am going to be so grateful for that choice I made. I know my children will appreciate not having to see me go through a breast cancer diagnosis. I can sleep easier knowing I did everything I could to protect them from that.

Wish me luck! By this time tomorrow I should be at home resting in my bed with my new an improved *soft* TSB's!!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Still excited!

I swear the closer I get to my surgery date the more annoying these expanders are getting! I've been doing really well with sleeping the past month. I haven't had any anxiety about going to sleep, less restless leg issues and I can fall asleep and sleep through the night without any sleep aids. That is major progress for me! The past few nights though I haven't had the best nights sleep. I think my body is just ready to be done with the expanders. I had a really vivid dream about waking up with soft implants and how great it felt to be a little squishy up top. I hope that dream comes true because it was a wonderful dream!

I had a great appointment with my plastic surgeon yesterday. I am so glad that he is so great. He has been so sweet and reassuring through every step of this process. I made him promise that I wouldn't be in pain anymore after the soft implants are put in. He said he was sure I'd feel better and had no real explanation for my pain other than the expanders are hard and annoying. The past few weeks I've seen an increase in pain on one side. It is the same side that was bothering me around Christmas, and ironically the non infected side. Well, it is bothering me enough to affect my life right now. Turning my body, driving, basically moving causes pain. I wanted to know that this pain will be gone soon. He assured me it would. Because of this pain I haven't run or done any physical activity in months. I will be so excited to get back to running and being active again. The weather is turning warmer and it is a great time get back into my exercise routine.

I am preparing my sub plans for work, getting my house ready and all things in order. The countdown is really on. I am as excited as a 5 year old is for Christmas! I cannot wait to wake up and breath a sigh of relief. I cannot wait to be done!