September 15th was officially my one-month mastectomy anniversary. I like to tell myself that I “celebrated” the next day by starting chemo. LOL. I don’t know why but I just think that’s really funny.
So, I’ll get to chemo later in my next post.
First my mastectomy recovery:
As a quick recap, I received my mastectomy on Monday August 15. I took that whole week off of work, then worked from home that following week, then started back at the office the next week. I sort of eased in and either came in late or left early the first couple days of that week. By the 4th work week, I was back in the swing of things and attending work full time. I even had a new employee start so that was super exciting.
My work was kind of stressful throughout this whole mastectomy thing because I was in charge of a rather large project at work, thus why I didn’t take much time off. That kind of sucked, but I got through it and things are calming down now.
Regarding my physical and mental recovery, my expander has been filled to about 300ccs. My mastectomy breast pretty much matches the size of my other breast, and maybe might be a little bit bigger actually. It’s hard to tell because the shape of the expander is very ROUND, not the normal tear drop shape of a breast. Anyways, it’s rather uncomfortable, but as I’ve healed, I’ve started to notice less discomfort which is encouraging. I think expanders are uncomfortable in general, but if you have one, know that you’ll feel significantly less discomfort as you recover at about one month. (At least that’s how it is for me). The discomfort is not unbearable, though it can get frustrating at times. Just take some advil, cry to your boyfriend and/or mom and try to keep moving forward, that’s my advice. You’ll get through it. I have, and continue to do so.
I am not exercising a lot right now, but I started getting back into my normal metro commute routine which requires about 2.5 miles of walking per day…which is pretty good exercise I think. Before my mastectomy, I usually would go to the gym a few times per week and do cardio. Haven’t started that back up yet, but I’m not really “sweating” it. (Haha).
I have experienced about a 14 pound weight loss which I kind of like, but now I’m trying to combat it because I’m teetering towards being underweight. I’m one of those people that tends not to eat when stressed, depressed, etc. All of which I’ve been experiencing on a regular basis during my recovery. So, as I go into chemotherapy, I’ve enlisted the help of an expert nutritionist who specializes in cancer nutrition. She’s going to help me come up with a plan. In doing this I’m hoping that I will ensure that I get the proper nutrition during chemo, lesson side-effects, keep my weight up and also, have one less thing to plan for and think about.
The appearance of my mastectomy breast has greatly improved. I must say it looks pretty good, even my nipple has perked up back to it’s usual self. Yay! The good appearance of my mastectomy breast really makes me feel much better. Minus its super round shape and unnatural feel due to the expander, oh and the scar that runs at my bra line and up into my underarm, I must say it looks great! And the appearance does not bother me. I think once all is said and done and I’m recovered from my second surgery and have an actual implant, I think it will be fine.
There is still a small chance that I may lose my nipple. I had clear margins, but on my nipple, they were a little too close for comfort so my surgeon is going to do a nipple biopsy where she’ll scrape more off the back of my nipple during my implant surgery. If any of those cells come back cancerous, then I will have to say bye-bye to my nipple. But that’s a worry for later.
Now I have started phase II of my cancer treatment: Chemo. I took a couple diagnostic tests to try to justify to myself avoiding chemotherapy. But ultimately ended up deciding to do it.
In the end, it’s hard to turn down a treatment that could end up saving your life.
I will detail my chemo therapy regimen and first treatment experience in my next post.