I went back to the plastic surgeon’s office yesterday to have them check the red area on my left. The antibiotics are working because it was smaller. However, I now have fluid/swelling collecting on the right side but was told that is normal especially after the tubes are taken out. I am icing a couple times a day and that has provided a lot of relief.
I also have been experiencing weird tightness and prickly pain. I keep wondering if it is the stitches poking me in my arm pits or why I have this burning/cutting sensation there. Thursday night, I also started experiencing hypersensitivity on my chest. Pulling my shirt away from my body provided tempory relief. I was told yesterday that this is all part of the healing process and that as my nerves heal, I can expect sensations described above. This is a little concerning since I want to get back to the office. I can just picture myself sitting in a meeting, tugging at my shirt because I feel like my skin is on fire. Or having to carry one of my “hugs” pillows with me because the tightness sensation is only relieved by putting pressure on that area. Enough pressure that I’m white knuckling it. I was told that after a month, this should all go away. Maybe this is why I have not been released to go back to work yet. I have to remind myself that I am still healing and that the pain I have will go away. Another plus is that if my skin is hypersensitive, then feeling might just be restored, so I don’t complain to loudly and have tried to stay off the drugs.
I had to drive myself to the appointment yesterday which I was pretty excited about. It has been two weeks since I was behind the wheel and lots has changed. It hurt to drive. Steering was harder than I thought it would be. I also place a pillow between me and the seatbelt to just protect my chest. A person doesn’t realize how much they use their pectoral muscles to do simple things like driving. Remember, those muscles are attached to muscles and ligaments in your arms. When those get damaged, it is a lot harder to get up from a chair, pick up a gallon of milk, or open a jar of pickles or peanut butter.
Trying to move your body once you’ve gotten in bed is also difficult, because you often use your arms to help you without thinking about it. Getting out is also difficult so you learn to literally roll out of bed! This is all part of the new normal but I’m not complaining, just letting you all know what patients like me might be experiencing.
I also received the final results from the pathology report and my cancer tested positive for being both estrogen and progesterone receptor. This means that my type of breast cancer feeds on these two hormones. The more it gets, the more it grows. I am very thankful that I tested negative for HER/2Neu. This type of cancer is much harder to treat. I am thanking God for the hormone positive type because the doctors know how to treat it. The majority of cancers are estrogen positive only. With both ER/PR (estrogen receptor/progesterone receptor) 65% of breast cancer patients have this diagnosis (this is me). Drugs like Tamoxifen are often used to treat this form of cancer and do a good job of blocking the receptors on the cancer cells essentially shutting it down. I am praying that my form of chemo will be just the pills and nothing else. Tamoxifen does not cause you to lose your hair and most people tolerate it well. The standard regimen for this type of chemo is 5 years. My mom did well on it 15 years ago. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I will do the same if needed. For those of you praying, I ask that you pray that the cancer is out of my body and that I will not need infusion chemotherapy. That the road ahead is about healing completely with little pain or further damage to my body.