If, before my surgery, you had told me that two weeks after my mastectomy I would be pretty much back to my normal life I would have laughed at you. But that is how things are.
Warning – If you do not want to see my boobs, or post op pics, this is not the post for you!
I have seen dozens of people in support groups on line who are barely able to move after two weeks and struggling even at the six week mark. I knew I would heal quickly, and that I have a high pain threshold, but this is even above my expectations.
This morning I got up early, pulled on my runners and went for a walk. For the last couple of years I have walked almost every morning I have been home (I am not as dedicated while I am travelling). I walk about 6km along the beachfront near my home. I used this time to ease into the day, accompanied by my dog and listening to podcasts as I walk.
When I decided to get out and walk again on Monday I thought I would take it easy and only walk half the distance. 3km is still a decent walk for someone only 11 days out from major surgery. I did the same on Tuesday, but on Wednesday I felt so good I decided to walk the whole distance. I did the same again today, and it feels great to be back to my usual routine.
On Monday I also decided to get back to work. Yes, that’s easy for me since I am a self-employed freelance writer and I only have to open my office door and take a seat at my desk. I decided I would work each morning and then rest in the afternoon. I have kept to that idea all week, but often find myself working into the afternoon because I am motivated to do so.
And do you know what? I feel much better for being up and moving. And every day the uncomfortable feelings of my expanders have improved.
Towards the beginning of the week I was really struggling to get comfortable while I was sleeping. No matter how I was laying or how many pillows I had propped around me, I would sleep for an hour or so then wake up feeling sore and uncomfortable. Since the expanders have been placed under my pectorial muscles they are sitting directly on my ribcage and when laying on my back that makes my ribs ache. I’m not a back sleeper anyway, and sleeping that way causes me to have lower back pain as well.
Laying on my side as it’s own problems, but I have found that with a pillow between my knees and another one to hug and support my top arm helps a lot. I’ve heard that a lot of people use those long body pillows to do this, but I just made do with normal pillows since I have plenty of them around.
Towards the end of the week this has settled a lot with me almost able to sleep normally last night on my side. Hopefully in another week I will be back to sleeping without waking every hour to move which will be nice.
As for how my boobs are – they are good. They seem a bit fuller than they were initially. I can feel that they have a little fluid build up, particularly on the right, but since they are not sore nor red and I don’t have a temperature I just need to leave it alone and my body should do it’s thing and slowly absorb it. If too much accumulates, I will need to get it drained, but at this stage I think it will be okay.
All the nerve pain I was having has stopped, but I now have a weird sensation in my left breast like the expander is slightly folded along the bottom and when I move in certain ways I can feel the fold moving. It’s kinda hard to describe so I hope that makes a little sense.
I am really over the dressings, particularly the ones for the drains on my sides that are now so itchy. With very high temperatures here at the moment, getting all hot and sweaty is not helping with this either. I have to leave them on until I see my surgeon on Monday and he will remove them.
I haven’t taken any pain killers since leaving hospital, and I have now finished the antibiotics too, so no more tablets. Just another thing making it feel like I am getting back to normal.
On Monday I will also finally get to see my scars. While I can kind of see them now, it will be a whole other thing to see them with no bandage. It will also be a little confronting to see my boobs with no nipples too – now my mind can kind of ignore that fact as the dressing is there.
So far I have not felt sad about having my boobs removed. I put this down to having enough shape that no one else would notice the difference. I don’t feel self-conscious going out in public or worry about wearing tight clothes. I also don’t feel concerned showing my husband or worried he will think any less of me. All those fears I had before the surgery seem to have vanished. That doesn’t mean they may not raise their head again later, but lets hope not.