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Friday, December 18, 2009

Embracing the new...

Having really only had surgery once in my life, and that procedure being an emergency splash and slash c-section 17 years ago, I had no idea what to really expect from a double mastectomy. It sounded pretty horrendous, and I know that friends who have had other breast surgeries have experienced quite a bit of pain.

However, I had also read online a lot of people who described it more as "discomfort" than pain. I think that's what I'm experiencing. It's a dull, ache. It feels like I've been kicked in the sternum, so it hurts to breathe, and then there is sharp pain under my arms when I reach too far or forget what I can't do, like try to move my laptop off of my lap without help.

I slept very well last night in the recliner. Perfect situation, with the arms being just the right height and the recline (?) being perfect. Then I dozed all morning and most of the afternoon, so I'm feeling well rested. There is an element of stir-craziness setting in. It's not so much that I'm sick of being home, I'm sick of not moving, so Amy drove me to Blockbuster to get mindless movies to fill in the gaps between what I have recorded on the dvr.

I'm starting to itch where the tape is and where the plethora of betadine is staining my skin. It looks like someone hosed me down with betadine, and then never washed it off. It's all over my abdomen and even on my hips. I'll deal with that tomorrow, using some of those slimy "heat in the microwave" things they put in the "gift pack" at the hospital.

Some immediate challenges:

***the pain pump fanny pack, which also holds my drains, and toileting. There are lots of tubes and it doesn't zip all the way because there is so much stuff in it (three drains and the pain gel pack....all the size of racketballs or maybe handballs) and the tubes....I've met this challenge by extending the strap all the way and putting it around my neck.

***Something that will be an issue in the near future when I start going out in public is the bloody drains, especially the tubes. I know people "pin them up" but I'm not sure where and how that will work. Trial and error, I guess.

***adjusting hats. Scarves are out for now, since I can't hold my hands above my shoulders. Hats provide less of a problem, but they are still an issue.

***opening drawers. It's very weird to have to call a kid down from bed to come open the silverware drawer.

***opening childproof medicine bottles. Children have had to do it for me.

***picking things up off the floor. It's not like I'm tidying up or anything. It's more that I'm clumsy...I dropped my book and was confuzzled as to how I was going to get it back into my hands. Of course, at that very moment, no one else was home.

***lifting my laptop on and off of my lap. It's just too heavy.

***getting into and out of the recliner. In the hospital, I figured out to crawl into bed on all fours and I could get to where I wanted to be without using my pecs. Here, I sort of do the same thing, until I'm in a modified squat and then I adjust myself. Using the lever to raise the leg part is hard. At least it is on the right side which has less damage. But still, OUCH if I don't do it just right. Getting out can be just as hard. I've learned to come out of a chair at a 90 degree angle and then use my abs to stand upright.

***getting dressed (which I've only done once). Right now, I'm wearing this wonderful set of "loungewear/pajamas" Amy gave me. It's comfy fleece and doesn't feel all "invalidy" and "nighty-nighty". In fact, I wore them to Blockbuster and Gen's Hallmark without a second thought (on the other hand, I really wouldn't care, in general, so that might not be a good determiner...). But they can't stay on forever. I last bathed Wednesday morning. I can't shower until sometime after this coming Tuesday when I go see the plastic surgeon. I'll have to wear something else, and I have lots of options, but dealing with the pouch, the bulbs, and restricted arm movement is certainly going to make something as simple as changing clothes much more challenging.

Otherwise, I'm feeling pretty good. Appetite is back. I'm as clear headed as I've been recently. So far, pain has been easily managed, and if it doesn't get worse tomorrow (day 3), it should then start to get better each day. It's certainly better today than yesterday morning (plus, I've learned to move in less painful ways, which has been a big help).

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