Posts tagged #surgery

Things to make surgery suck a little less

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When you are diagnosed it isn't just about doctor appointments and making sure you have all of that in order it is figuring out what you need for your upcoming surgeries. This is a list that has been compiled through many different people and what they found most helpful. What may work for one person may not for someone else. Did you have something that worked for you that would like to share, please comment!! We need to reach out and be there for each other....

-Set up a table next to the bed so everything was within arms reach. The first few days the less you have to move the better (for me anyway. I put my meds, music, ipad, phone everything I needed close by, the major pain for me was the drain where they were stitched to my skin, when I moved it would pull and hurt.

-A notepad to keep track of your drains and the amount you dump.Plus keep track of your medication

-A couple of cases of water and opened one case and put them out on the table and used one of those plastic cups with the plastic straw. Easier to -sip a straw then tilt a bottle

-A eye patch and ear plugs to help in sleeping, this worked great!!

-Button up jammies.

-Button up shirts to go to your follow up appts.

-You can’t shower for a while, so I bought Facial cleansing cloths and also -Body cleansing clothes to clean your parts.

-Can of dry shampoo, absorbs the oil.

-If pain meds bind you up (like they do me) you might want to start taking a stool softener a few days before surgery and keep taking them as long as you’re on the pain meds rust me, you DO NOT want to get bound up.

-An ipad or tablet or computer right by you to help pass the time.

-Back scratcher

-Lots of pillows, as laying down was not an option. A lot of people actually borrowed or had a recliner to sleep in was the most comfortable to sleep.

-Satin PJs or sheets make it so easy to get in and out of bed.

-The drain pouches are great for keeping those stupid drains in one spot and keeping them from tugging.

-A recovery cami is comfortable and ideal

-The husband pillow is a great alternative to a recliner

Change your shower head to an adjustable one, makes showering so much easier!

-Pre-cut snack like veggies and cheese sticks helps to stay healthy while sitting around and not being able to cut up those items

-The Fishbellie (corn bag) was PERFECT for both heat and keeping cold!

-Draw string pants are fabulous!

-If you have children have a basket of new books, coloring items, movies that you can pull out when you just need a break

gift certificates to local delivery restaurants when there is no way you can cook

-ANY opening in the front bra is a MUST

-The Zip up makes a cute hoodie for hiding those awful drains

-A pill holder for all those meds

-An organizer for all your information.

-Those hot flashes come fast, obsessed with Fancy Fans

Posted on June 20, 2018 .

Burn Baby Burn

For Surgery number 7 or is it 8 who the hell knows I had no desire to go for the stiletto look.  Cancer can have $1 Old Navy flip flops that I gave to Meg after. Screw this bulshit. I went in with a full blow migraine, yes migraine into a quick operation on Tuesday June 16th . Doc asked if I wanted to try local anesthesia and not get knocked out, I asked him if he was "fucking crazy", please put me to sleep . The scars need to be cut out and I do not want to remember a thing. After the quickie in the OR if only it was a joy ride, I was literally rushed over to radiation, yes that day! The nurses were a little perplexed and frankly freaked to send me off but they went with it. 

 

Rads is weird, no really it is. The staff was amazing over the top to say the least. The idea is to kill all the tissue and any cells that are hanging out to zap the hell out of them before they have to grow.  Now please keep in mind that while I just came from OR I still have a migraine, am starving yet nausea  and now am waiting to be radiated so I was in no mood to joke. And guess who was with me?? TOM-the joke master extraordinaire. . Not a great day but Tom and I used it as a date night, hell there were no kids so why not. His humor got me through this crazy day. So they make the mold, set you up, then line it up and then they run like they are being chased out of the room-like literally run out of the room.  Which cracked me up because they are leaving me there half naked, breast half cut and they run. Radiation takes 2 minutes for me and I thought big deal that was easy! So I go back the next day with my BFF MC (I swear they all tried to get a free lunch out of me). Was in there for 2 minutes and left, this time sore and exhausted. Then my girlfriend Lisa took me, I was so tired and so sore starting to burn. Realizing this was not an easy ride, why didn't someone tell me?? Then Jess took me the next day I could barely move my arm, cording starting, burn in full effect, completely whipped out. And then I realized this is no freaking joke!

There it is and let me express that is nothing compared to what I have seen. NOTHING compared  to others but this is my story and in the words of Seporah "it is all about you". I have been using Lindz Cooling pads in the fridge they really help cool the burn.  My fab doc gave me some of that silvadene cream which is great.  A breastie sent me some amazing cream by Ava it smells delicious I wanna eat it and really seems to be calming my skin. As for the soreness and the ache, I will say it for the 100th time if you do not have a Comfort Pillow, get one! It not only is super awesome for those damn lymph nodes that come out it helps relieve some of the pain from cording and radiation so your arm does not rest on your side. 

 

I am off of treatment for a few weeks to heal and see what happens. Path came back clear so this is the right course for me. Next will be my abdominal  scar. Do you know how far that bastard goes?? Almost from butt cheek to butt cheek! No joke. I am worried about that- the healing and the radiation. We as a society treat rads as the "easy treatment". Who the hell decided that? We go every day and have radiation into us?? This is the definition of radiation per google -the emission of energy as electromagnetic waves or as moving subatomic particles, especially high-energy particles that cause ionization. Does that sound good? NO it does not. So why do we not treat patients like they are not in treatment? I have heard doctors say it is no more than a bad sunburn. UMMM really??? Here is a fact sunburns increase your change of skin cancer you douchebags. Stop treating us like we are stupid and that we do not understand what you are doing to our bodies this is not a joke to us and we need to stop taking it lightly. 

After radiation treatment you must, lotion up, hydrate, and rest. let your body heal after being burned and having electromagnetic waves flow through it. This is not a walk through the park people you go every day, bring a friend and have a milk shake after. However do not wear your tiara it could set the machine off and that would not be good for anyone. 

 

My mastectomy is 2 years old

Someone did not find me amusing, guess who it was?

It has been two years since the wheeled me away. I am not one to have a celebration of any kind when these dates come up I find them too intense.  They hit you in the face like WWF smack down. Sometimes you see them coming and try to prepare other times they come at you with no warning. I obviously remember very clear that my mastectomy was in July but with kids home (I friggin can not wait for September) I lost track of the date. Until I downloaded this stupid "Timehop" app all the cool kids are doing. And it gave me a friendly reminder that it has bee 2 years since the amputation of my breasts. What a concept, to remove ones breasts? I mean come on say what you want it is hard to say good bye to them. They are part of a women on so many aspects, we literally grew up with them. And now because some screwed up cells are being stupid and dumb they have to come off. It seems cut and dry but you must not forget that breasts are hormone producers removing them messes with our hormones. Crap no one told me that. Its almost like PMSing for 2 years , blahahahaahah not funny!

I wish I could remember this more, I was so drugged up!

I wish I could remember this more, I was so drugged up!

Harsh sounding I am sure some of you reading may think, but we have debated this topic on many sites and there has been plenty of blogs written about it as well. There is truth in the reality that your breasts are amputated off. There is truth in the reality that it is a death of sorts the loss of your breasts is real. See the truth is not just in all the obvious physical changes but the emotional havoc that your wonderful doctors do not prepare you for. Maybe they have no clue about it. They should wake the hell up and warn people. It has been two years and I have come a long way but the date like any anniversary whether we want it to or not conjures all those damn emotions. And let me state there are a TON of dates to remember.

Some of us cry tears that will not, can not, won't stop the weeks even hours before surgery because of the loss. Some take to singing and dancing trying their best to embrace this amputation because the reality is you have no other choice. I choose the "no crying" rule, to wear attitude shoes to remind me to stand tall with strength. Even though I was scared I was brave because that meant doing what needed to be done regardless of the fear.  There is no right or wrong way in my opinion there is only your way.

I hate when people ask "what  would you have done different?". Frankly my answer is I wouldn't have gotten cancer! I hated beening shoved into a mastectomy, a lumpectomy or whatever you choose. That part is what pisses me off. I do not do well with being told what to do especially by cancer the fucker! I hate the chooses we are forced to make. I had no choice but to have a mastectomy and drains and all the shit that happened after. But that day was surreal more than any other. The nurses kept saying "your having a breast augmentation" while it was funny the first 5 times it pissed me off after that. I didn't want to have this but shit if I was I was going to laugh while doing it. I blogged to keep everyone updated plus Stupid Dumb Breast Cancer was growing and because it was and is my therapy.

I look at the images that Genevieve said "hey how about if I take pictures" and am still blown away. Mostly because I can't remember them, not just from the drugs and the pain but it was an out of body experience. I know those images have helped me heal but I also know how they have helped others. Seeing someone actually go through this process makes you realize that you can do it no matter how shitty it will be that in the end some how you will be ok. Not to mention she can make a mastectomy look beautiful. No really that sounds weird but I think the reality to my images is that she captures the raw, truth in a beautiful way. Gen has seen breast cancer in a way that none of my friends have and I will never be able to thank her enough for helping me heal this way.  I do not think she understands fully the impact of these images on the masses, I hope someday she understands just what these pictures that we had no idea what the hell we were going to do with have done for so many.

So, here I am two years later and still in the thick of it. Next surgery September 12, it really is never over. I remember in my first blog post and in talking to friends the naïve me said "I just want this mastectomy so I can be done with it" what I joke! I had no clue that between the doctors, the PT, the scans, the blood work, lymphedema and all the other crap it is a life long commitment. I get that there are other health issues that people suffer from and I know they can relate to a lot of what I blog about but those with health stuff that they can change with diet and exercise make me nuts. Like crazy nuts!! I was violently thrown into this life and the past 2 years have taught me a rough lesson, one I am still learning from.  I am becoming a professional surgery princess, is there a crown for that?

While I will not be celebrating my mastectomy date today I will be around my loud crazy family for Sunday dinner. Jokes will be cracked, comments made and wise ass remarks all over spaghetti and chicken parm all with a little sadness in the back of our minds. Cancer effects the whole family and they all felt it. That day 2 years ago I laid on a gurney, was wheeled down the hall in stilettos while they sat and worried I got the easy part for a few hours. They were scared and even came out changed a little too I think.  But they were right there when I awoke from recovery, hey someone has to clap as the princess goes by!  


Could it be eyelash cancer?

So my eyelash is really bad, I mean BAD! It has been bugging me for awhile now and I am just so scared to address it. It is significantly longer than the rest and rather misshapen. I feel like it is causing my eye pain and its so itchy. I asked Tom to please look at it, he blew in it and said it was just dust. UGH no it isn't. I swear there is something more. I know it is eyelash cancer, I just know it. OMG what if they have to take all the lashes, I have great lashes. ANOTHER surgery, chemo?? How do they do radiation on your eyelashes?? Will I go blind? Will I be able to drive?  Although I do hear that eyelash cancer is the easiest or is it the hardest I forget.  For the 100x I ask him to please look again. He freaks and tells me it must come out "NOW" and pulls it, the ass.

 

Told ya it was bad   

Told ya it was bad

 

While the above it a joke the reality is in there. After the friends leave with their casserole dishes, the family goes home with their mops and you try to find a "new normal" you have a certain paranoia over head. Like you are standing under the ball at Times Square on New Year's waiting for it to drop, ON YOU. You feel every ache different than before, every mark on your body is some sort of made up or real cancer and you have to find a way to balance being that crazy cupcake cancer person to being a responsible healthy chick. The truth is we do not know if cancer will come back and I will tell you that living in this world I see it too much but I do not want every ache to be eyelash cancer. Yet at the same time between the doctor appointments, blood work, scans and aches how do we not?? Is there really a balance??  I know for a fact that a headache is just a headache and sometimes means nothing. I know that sometimes i just have a back ache. I know that sometimes it is just scar tissue buildup and not a lump. I know that sometimes it is my lymphedema acting up. I know that sometimes it is just my husband leaving all the cupboards open just to make me think I am going nuts. But sometimes I think the cancer has spread to my brain, that it is in my bones or back in my breast or that I have lost my mind (shut it I know I still have a brain I had an MRI!!). Having cancer isn't like having the flu and being stuck in bed for a few weeks and regaining strength to recover. It is mind altering, body changing, life threatening.  It shakes and rattles you and not in a rock n' roll way. You have to find a way to push these new fears aside live this life you have. How do we do that to live through our fears??? I guess the only way to do that is to put life in our life. So screw the cupcake cancer (no joke my breastie may have this so don't laugh, ahahah), the eyelash cancer can bite me, the toenail cancer can have my sweaty feet I am going to get on my life on. Right after my doctor appointment next week and I wait for the results after that OY VEY!!


FYI-I just know that I am doing everything I can to keep tiara cancer at bay, just saying!