The hot flashes have made their appearance and while tolerable, they are terrible. I now know that Tamoxifen can trigger these sweat fests. I am also learning that the time of day I take my pill, the food I eat, as well as the alcohol I drink can affect the way my body responds. The most recent one occurred Saturday morning while I was trying to get ready for a tailgate party. I’ll just say that makeup application and a hot sweaty face don’t mix. The flashes last three to five minutes and feel like I’m standing in a hot oven. Sweat beads up on my scalp, face and body. Some are worse than others. I’ve noticed too that they are more severe during the week of my cycle. This makes sense since Tamoxifen is also a hormone blocker and during that time of the month, hormone levels are surging. My oncologist says that the drug may also put me into menopause. YEAH! – not.
I have met with my plastic surgeon the last two weeks. We had not met since the week I started back to work (late June). It’s time to start planning the next procedure and finish up the expansion. Three weeks ago I reached the 600 cc mark. My shape has changed considerably and I would like to be done with the saline injections. I like the way I look in my clothes and am anxious to get rid of the tissue expanders and exchange them for more comfortable silicone. My chest feels like two rocks and internally I often feel like, or imagine, what it must be like to be in an iron lung. Pain everyday and while I could take muscle relaxers I would not be functioning. Tylenol and ibuprofen get me through most days.
My surgeon and I discussed surgery and size. My body is pushing back and the injection amount has gotten much smaller. Three weeks ago it was 100cc and last Wednesday it was only 15cc. We are finally at the point of “over-expansion” and I have another appointment to check in with him later this week. I feel like I am starting to look a little like a cartoon character (Jessica Rabbit) and my figure is feeling very unnatural. The surgeon said overexpansion is necessary if I want to be close to the size I am now. Clothing does not fit like it used to and I don’t want to go buy much because my shape will change again after surgery. I never thought it would take this long but I know I am lucky. There are many women who are unable to start reconstruction right away either because of radiation or chemotherapy treatments. So I am not complaining, just realizing that my expectations were way off.
Surgery will likely be sometime in November which will allow my skin to rest and hopefully loosen up a bit more. Third phase of reconstruction will likely be in February or March, with the fourth and final phase being done in April or May. I continue to feel blessed that I have the great medical team that I do. I truly love my doctors and think that they are the best in the area. I know that this has helped in my recovery. Even their staff members are excellent!
Tomorrow, I begin physical therapy. I am excited about this because much of my upper body strength is gone. I really noticed this last week when I tried to close the lift gate on my vehicle. I couldn’t do it and was thankful for the automatic lift button! I have bought some weights and hope to learn some new routines tomorrow. I hope to be able to get ahead of what is coming in November and through exercise be able to do more after the next surgery. Also on the list for the week is a meeting with a nutritionist/dietician.