Thursday, October 28, 2010

#18 Bed Sores

Each day I feel a little better & stronger & can do a little more for myself. My walks increase distance each day which is good. Can't wait until I can go for a run, but I think that will still be a few weeks away.

I unfortunately developed bed sores on my heels. I had to head to the podiatrist to have some of the dead skin shaved off to try & relieve my heels. Bed sores are like blood blisters that you get when you have been left immobile in one position. My eldest sister (a nurse) said it was bad that they hadn't moved my feet during the 12 hour surgery. She said that is where is would have happened & it really shouldn't have. My feet have been pretty sore & it makes it hard to walk, but they are getting better since the podiatrist visit. At least I didn't get them on my ass! :-)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

#17 Home

My sister drove me home from Hospital, I was looking forward to it, but apprehensive at the same time. (Bit like taking my first child home from hospital)
My sister drove as gingerly as she could, I had cushions all over me so the seat belt wouldn't hurt. Hubby followed driving my car.

Once I got home I settled myself on the couch & ordered hubby around to organise the room the way I wanted it. LOL It was time to pick up the boys from school by this time so hubby grabbed them & they were surprised & very happy to see me at home. My youngest just kept telling me how depressing the house had been without me there. Awww........

I have received so many flowers, the house looks like a florist. Aren't I lucky!

My sister cooked up a storm for dinner which I enjoyed sitting at the table with eveyone, but I didn't last their long. It was good to be home :-)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

#16 My last day

The doctor arrived early this morning to assess my drainage capacity & decided I could have them removed & go home! Yay!!!

Now removing the drains didn't actually hurt, but it was a little uncomfortable, lovely to be rid of them. All those pj's I bought to go into hospital I haven't been able to wear because of the drains coming out all over the place. So I really could have saved myself the trouble. Never mind I'm sure I'll wear them sometime.

Now I never like to feel neglected, so I thought I'd bring some attention (from the nursing staff) to myself.
I accomplished this by fainting in the shower! I was sitting down at the time so I didn't hit the ground & a nurse was with me, but it took 4 of them to get me out of the bathroom & onto my bed. Great I thought, now they won't let me go home today! However after my blood pressure came back up & everything was normal they said I could still go home, they just wanted me to stay until lunch. I think hubby & my sister were hoping they might keep me a bit longer after that episode.

#15 Visitors

Had my 1st day of visitors, other than my family. Two of my girlfriends who were with me on my birthday. It was lovely to have a girly chat & catch up with them. I think they were surprised at how well I was looking, & moving around (looks can be deceiving) It was a bit tiring but lovely just the same. I made a few phone calls to my Melbourne gf's also today, wished they could be here to keep me laughing. Laughter really is the best medicine even when it hurts. Hubby & I really have had some great laughs & tears over this whole event, I don't know what I would have done without him.

A breast cancer fundraising services at the Mater hospital called "Chicks in Pink" dropped by with a DVD player & some chick flicks for me to watch while I was in hospital. They do such a great job! I send hubby down to their shop to buy a few things like a drink bottle, T-shirt, socks.. they have all sorts of stuff.
Think I might watch one of their movies now..........

With my beautiful sister

Sunday, October 24, 2010

#13 Feet

Feet! I know some people Don't like having anyone touch their feet, but I enjoy nothing better than a good pedicure. While I've been in hospital my feet have been quiet sore. I have been able (out of sympathy) to get hubby to rub cream into them. This is quiet a feat, as he hates my feet. Now feet as a rule are pretty ugly, lets face it, but I think my tootsies are alright. (hubby will disagree) He has feet like a monkey with toes that curl under (all the better for balance, he tells me) More like all the better for hanging from trees lol. I was able to sneak a picture of his caring foot rubs to share with you all.

Would love to hear your foot stories or phobias!! :-)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

#14 Flaps

Apparently, I no longer have breasts (okay I know I had a mastectomy) but, we now refer to the replacement as "flaps"! "need to check on your flaps", or "Can I just take a look at your flaps" or "Flaps are looking good". WTF??? Seriously people, way to make a woman feel sexy!

Well not to worry I'm happy with my little flaps! :-)

Me with my goodie bags, I couldn't give them away :-)

Friday, October 22, 2010

#12 Hair Wash

Last night was a bit better sleep wise, but I'd left my med's a little long so I was feeling a bit sore. Today was all go. I woke about 0630 & went for a walk around the ward on my granny frame. (sorry no pic's of that hubby was a bit slow) After breakfast I had a shower & oh my goodness had my hair washed for the first time in 5 days! Let me tell you it was mattered at the back like no body's business & I had to spray the crap out of it with conditioner & comb it out before we could even think about washing it. Hubby had told me the night before that it was starting to stink. Yikes!! It was the best feeling to have my hair washed & dried by one of the nurses. I felt like a million bucks!

My sister & the boys came in for much of the day today. They tell me my poor puppy has been fretting & following my sister around non stop. She has developed an abscess on her back poor baby. But she will be fine after antibiotics. Hope she still remembers who her mummy is!

It was a busy day today with getting myself up & down, walking about, eating, med's, seems non stop.

Today was a good day! I enjoyed a peppermint tea before sleep............

#11 More test results

Up until this point I hadn't even given my test results a second thought! All I could think about was what kind of hell am I in & when will it end!!

My doctor came to give me the results, which he hadn't mentioned before, but was concerned that in fact the cancer had spread.. As I had made the decision under his advise to have a mastectomy there was really no need (In his opinion) to worry me before he had all the tests back. When he went in, he found that some of my lymph nodes had discoloured. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but can be an indicator. Instead of taking 2 nodes he then took 5 out. My other breast had a cluster that was questionable & apparently was starting to show changes also.

As he's telling me this, I'm thinking, I don't think I can handle being told that after all of this I'm also going to need chemo... Fortunately,this was not the case & although my tumour was larger than they had expected & was beginning to spread, having a mastectomy meant they had taken it all & the lymph nodes were all clear!

This is cause for celebration! I just wish I felt like having a wine....... :-) Soon I'm sure!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

#10 life in hospital

Mostly the nursing staff have been fantastic, but I have noticed that some of the older nurses were more rough, grumpy & bossy! (not exactly what you need when your recovering) The young girls are always so friendly & upbeat which makes all the difference to your day! I was even lucky enough to have a young hot male nurse for a couple of afternoons :-) (a bit Bear Grylls rugged looking) Made me think of my lovely friend in Sydney J (you know who you are honey) You would have been drooling!

Day four started off okay I was up & given a shower, but as the day went on & I hadn't used my bowels for 5 days I became very uncomfortable. Funny how something we all take for granted can cause so much pain when we can't do it. The nurses gave me all sorts of cocktails of laxatives, but nothing was working. I went to bed that night in a lot of pain. One of the older nurses (abrupt & matter of fact) came in dosed me up with pain killers gave me a peppermint tea & hot packs for my back & tummy. Amazingly this really helped. It was a long night, but when morning came so too did some bowel action! Thank God!

I walked, showered & felt soooo much better. The day progressed with me getting rid of my catheter & getting myself up & down. By lunch time I was actually hungry for the first time. Lunch was great!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

#9 ICU

Well today is the 1st day I have felt like doing anything except sleep! (4 days after op)
What a journey so far! I woke up in ICU with people all around me, taking constant Ob's. It was a long night.

I had a physio come around & give me some breathing exercises & a couple of hand & leg movements to do to prevent clotting. I think I over did the arm exercises & raised my arms too high. This gave me chest pain, sending the everyone into panic. They did a blood test for heart attack & took me off for a CT Scan to make sure there was no clots. (All I needed on top of everything else)
Finally that was all cleared which was a relief (I didn't tell anyone that I thought it was just my over exercising that caused the pain in the first place)

They then decided I could go down to the ward. !!Yay

My sister & hubby stayed with me the entire time I was in ICU. My sister wanted me to mention that at one point in ICU i made a comment that "This is Bull Shit"! I don't remember it, but she said Oh there's Nicky!

Once I was being moved to a ward,(I was in a single room this time) hubby went home & grabbed my boys to bring them in to see me. I was just on the ward when they arrived, it was lovely to see them. I think it was a bit confronting for them to see me with all the tubes & drains. They all left me to rest about an hour later.

Another  long tough night. Not much sleep constant Ob's & interruptions. I woke up feeling terrible & started crying just as the surgeon arrived. (bad timing) He tried to give me a pep talk - Epic Fail!

#8 Hospital

Arrived in hospital to some lovely staff who took hubby & I to my room. Unfortunately I had to share. My room mate was in recovery so I had time to settle in. The nursing staff are lovely. I had to have my Ob's done & then was taken for a chest x-ray & someone came to my room to take blood. Once that was all out of the way I was given some dinner.

My room mate was wheeled into the room with all the bells & whistles going off. I guess that will be me tomorrow. My plastic surgeon doing the breast reconstruction arrived about 9pm. He needed to draw with texter over my tummy & breasts. It's quiet weird letting some strange man draw over your naked body & grab your tummy fat! Hubby isn't even allowed to grab my tummy fat. WTF! As he finished, my room mates alarms went off. This continued off & on for the evening. I was going to be a long night!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

#7 Organising

Well we are getting closer now to my surgery day! I have put back on, the couple of extra kilos I'd lost after my bowel infection, which is good, although I think they may have come in the form of haemorrhoid's!! They are making me seriously grumpy, if anyone has a quick fix please share with me. TMI I know, sorry!

Like the true Virgo I am, I have started packing my bag for hospital, buying little travel versions of my toiletries & writing lists for my husband & sister. I just realised that I only have 1 pair of PJ's, so I'll have to hit the shops on the weekend. I even made the family pose for photo's so that I could take a recent one in to hospital with me. It's the one on my twitter account. I love it!

Instead of bandages for this surgery they use elasticised garments, which I was measured for a few weeks ago. Went in & had a fitting for them earlier in the week & they are like a body suit that holds you in like a girdle. Awkward to get into & very tight. Hoping they won't be too uncomfortable as I have to wear them for 6 weeks.

Well I'm going to make the most of this weekend & catch up with some friends as well as my sister who arrives Saturday! Hope everyone has a great weekend & I'll keep you all posted on my blog when I can.
Thanks for all your support it has been amazing! xoxo

Monday, October 4, 2010

#6 After thoughts

You know I've always thought I was very fortunate, lucky if you like! In the back of my mind I have always expected something tragic to happen! Why should my life be so great when others suffer so much? Not that I'm saying my situation is tragic, but the bubble has definately burst!

It's amazing how you find your true friends when things like this impact on your life! I have been overwhelmed with phone calls, texts & emails (not to mention tweets) from friends. It's been amazing and I thank everyone for their support!

My sister was the first person I called (well actually I got my hubby to call her, I couldn't) She wanted to race straight up here to be with me! Such a gorgeous girl! I had to convince her that we needed to see doctors & see what was happening, then she could come up & spend time with me. She is arriving on Saturday before my surgery & staying to help out & spend time with me for two weeks. I can't wait to see her! Now I have two other older siblings & I have to say I have never had so many phone calls from my brother & eldest sister! Nice to have my family trying to give me support, when we all live in different states.

#5 Nipples

Surgery is getting closer, when I think about what is going to happen, it terrifies me. The decision to have a double mastectomy was difficult & when I think about the fact (& this may make most of you cringe) that I won't have nipples, I wonder if I'm doing the right thing! Of course I am, for long term good health, but seriously creeped out by the nipple thing! Some of you may think TMI, & that would be a good call. When I asked the plastic surgeon how he reconstructs them, he said if he told me he'd have to kill me. I laughed & waited for him to tell me...... No response. Okay then I guess I probably don't want to know.

The tattooing & reconstruction (not sure how) happens between 3 & 6 months after the mastectomy. So I guess I'll be able (Or not) to share that experience when it happens.... Some of you may avoid that blog (I'd like to).

#4 Life goes on

Wow great news! One of my girlfriend’s daughters had a gorgeous baby girl! We are all so excited about it!
I haven't held a new born for soooo long! Can't wait to babysit, but I think I will be fighting for that with her Nana. lol

Amongst all these tests & doctor appointments I've been working. Some of you who follow me on twitter know I have really only just started at a new job 3 - 4 month now. These people must be wondering what they have done, I've had to have so much time off. They have been extremely supportive & say my job will be here when I am recovered and ready to get back to it! So lovely to have supportive employers!

Well last week I became ill, stomach pains that I wasn't sure about! I woke up the next day unable to walk to the bathroom, low blood pressure making me feel nauseous & pain keeping me doubled over. Hubby races me off to my GP. I have a bowel infection (all I need 3 weeks before surgery).. Antibiotics, lots of fluid & bed rest! Time off work, shit! I still feel I'm recovering from it after a week had two days back at work & felt worse for ware last night. So I'm taking it easy today & over the weekend.

Back in April this year I decided to do the Lite n Easy program to loose a couple of kilos. It was great I lost 6 kilos and feeling good. After my diagnosis, lost a couple more kilos & after being sick lost a couple more. 10 kilos in total today! Normally you wouldn't hear me complain about weight lose. However remember how I said they take tummy fat to replace boobs??? My plastic surgeon told me not to loose any more when I had my appointment with him. OOPS!!! May be wearing a training bra after this is all over! LOL I think I need wine...........

#3 Decisions

Decision made - after researching; talking to others who have gone through similar experience I made the decision to have a mastectomy & breast reconstruction. One of the outstanding things I was told by others who have had cancer was to take the advice of your specialists! So, that I did!

Family & friends have been very supportive, with the exception of a one or two who think it's a big decision that I am incapable of making for myself (what am I, 5??) More wine needed after calls with them, I can tell you!

Appointment with a Plastic Surgeon is next.............
There are a few options for reconstruction, but the one both specialist seem to favor is taking the tissue from your tummy & stuffing it where your boobs used to be! Sounds gross I know, but not all bad, you get a tummy tuck at the same time. Now I don't know about you but after having children you never (Unless your Elle McPherson) seem to loose that tummy. So always trying to look at the positive this seems a pretty good option although the down side is two sites of surgery & it is a very long & major operation. (12 hours under the knife)
The other option was implants. Not a fan. I worry about something leaking or some other problems happening with them. On the up side you have perky boobs!

Decision made! Having tummy tuck with my reconstruction, but am terrified!
Long recovery time, so lots of time to FB, tweet & blog I guess. My surgery is booked for mid October.

Friday, October 1, 2010

#2 After the news

Well those of you who have read my first blog & those reading this one need to know it's my first time writing, so please bear with me. This blog is more for me than anything; I am hoping that it will be good to look back on when all the mess is over!

I had my first meeting with my breast specialist the following day after hearing the news. He had performed my previous lumpectomy so I knew him & he is a lovely man with a great bedside manner. (I'm in great hands) He wanted me to have an MRI as my previous Ultra sound & mammograms were not very clear.
So he scheduled the appointment & off I went.

MRI for those who haven’t had the pleasure, is that machine you sometimes see on Television that they insert you into to x-ray (best way to describe) a bit further into your tissue. They inject a dye in you & take lots of pictures. For a breast MRI you lie on your stomach, the machine is very loud with lots of clunking noises. They give you head phones with music, but you can barely hear it. (Was more annoying than anything) I was in the machine for about 30 minutes.

Back to the Doctors. The MRI probably left more questions than answers! Off for further biopsies. URRGGGG............ This time I had to have a mammogram led biopsy, which for those of you who have had a mammogram means they press your breast into a vice & it had to stay there for 40 minutes while they tried to navigate the needle into the area they wanted. (I might add this was the other breast, which had not been identified with cancer) 8 biopsy's later, I felt like a pin cushion. They then tell me I need to have an Ultra sound biopsy on the cancer breast as there were areas of question on the MRI. (According to all these doctors, I was a special case!WTF!) I know I'm special (LOL), but not really what you want to be told in this circumstance. I've had ultra sound biopsies before & they aren't as bad as the mammogram one, or so I thought. On this occasion that was not the case.

I guess I should explain that the reason for MRI & so many biopsy's was due to the fact, that like me, my breast tissue is very dense, apparently more so than most.

So when the doctor performing the biopsy has to put her whole weight into inserting the needle, it is a little worrying & uncomfortable, 6 biopsy's later! Then back to waiting for results...........& wine

As I drove home alone I sobbed... Hadn't really cried much since the first day so I guess I just needed to get it out! Have to say that I felt like I'd been violated & was mentally & physically exhausted when I got home. Look out family I was in a foul mood!

My family have been phenominal. I have two teenage boys who are always asking if I'm okay & if they can do anything. My poor hubby is beside himself, keeping it together (in front of me anyway) running around to all my appointments & taking time off work. My parents happen to be visiting at this time & that was great sometimes, and not so other times. Mum kept saying she would stay on to help, I had to convince her without hurting her feelings that perhaps coming back at a later time would be better. :-(

Back to the specialist......... Well the good news was it was isolated in one breast only! Great! Now what?
Well options for me were lumpectomy & radiation....... OR Mastectomy, breast reconstruction & no further treatment neccessary! Most people would opt for the first option, however my specialist had these concerns;
my dense breast tissue & the difficulty they have detecting changes, he was very concerned that it would come back & not be detected before it spreads. My age was another factor (some consider me young :-) )
The original lump I went in to have tested by the way wasn't the cancer, that was found by accident. My specialist said if it was his wife with all the factors relevant to me he would opt for the mastectomy.

My husband & I went home to think & drink! Wine..........