I hope you all had a fantastic holiday season with your family and friends. Ours was very busy but we made sure to take time to slow down and enjoy each part of it. There were highs and lows as we celebrated the wedding of my sweet cousin, watched the magic of Santa through Dane’s eyes and also mourned the large hole missing at the head of the dining room table. Getting through our first Christmas without my dad was difficult for our whole family. He loved Christmas, opening gifts and all of our traditions. Many many tears fell, and with them we remembered the good times too. My heart goes out to anyone who experienced sadness during the holidays, it was harder than I expected it to be.
Today is my last day “off” before heading back to work next week. I am SO excited to be going back to my old company and a position that is pretty much the same as before. When I was diagnosed, I had no idea what my journey would look like, how much time I would need and how sick I would be. Sadly, I made the decision to leave my job and play it by ear. Thankfully, I had their support ALL of the way through cancer – from floral arrangements to donations and plenty of well wishes and support. I am honestly so blessed to work for such a wonderful company and can’t wait to get back in my desk and flex my brain again. (The secondary income will be nice to have again too!) 😉 I know that going back to work after eight months off is going to be a challenge, but I’m up for it.
I’ve been feeling more and more like myself theses past few weeks. I am 11 weeks post bilateral mastectomy and 15 weeks out from chemo. My fatigue is almost non-existent with the exception of having a hard time getting out of bed in the morning… but I guess, who doesn’t have that issue?
I believe that the chemo is pretty much out of my system at this point and my peripheral neuropathy is almost completely gone. It’s weird, but I think decorating for and putting away Christmas actually really helped the final symptoms to subside. The very tips of my fingers use to be pretty numb to the touch, but after using my fine motor skills so much (hanging ornaments, twisting wire, lighting the Christmas tree) the numbness seems to have drastically decreased, which is HUGE. I am having some medial nerve issues which are likely from surgery and my PT thinks may resolve themselves after my next surgery so fingers crossed. It’s not painful…more annoying at this point. The good news is, it’s treatable so I’ll continue with physical therapy if it persists.
I made a promise to myself as soon as my physical restrictions were lifted to bust my booty and get as strong as possible before my exchange surgery, which is scheduled for February 11th. I’ve been working my way back up to exercising 4-5 times per week including cardio, weight lifting (focused on this more than anything else), yoga and plenty of stretching. My biggest goals are to build strong muscles in my legs, back and core because that’s where I saw the biggest change during months of chemo.
My PT told me a shocking fact that muscles start to atrophy (which basically means waste away, shrink or become emaciated) after just 6 hours of not using them. On the other side, it takes 17 days for muscles to “remember” and to actually see a difference in tone/strength. Isn’t that crazy? No wonder people can so easily gain weight and often quit early on in a new exercise routine…. So all you resolutioners – get after it and don’t give up!
I’m healing really well from surgery, my scars are lightening up a bit and I actually think they’re pretty bad ass. Howeverrrrrr, these tissue expanders are very uncomfortable. The best way to describe it is like a partially inflated pool float under my skin. So they move weird, collapse under my touch and the edges between where I have numbness and have working nerves are pretty painful at times. Another thing I was not at all prepared for is pain from nerve regeneration. Holy man… Don’t get me wrong, it’s fantastic my nerves are regenerating, but I get zingers and twinges all day every day. My armpits and parts of my shoulder blades are no longer numb which is so awesome because that was horribly uncomfortable. Of course these issues are nothing compared to what I’ve been through so I won’t spend too much energy complaining about them. 🙂
My next step is what we breast cancer girls call “swap surgery”. My plastic surgeon will go in and take out the expanders and replace them with implants that will last me up to 20 years or even longer before I need to have them replaced. They’re made of this gummy bear type material and will be much more comfortable and natural than what I’ve got now. I can’t wait. He will go in through the same scars I already have and the recovery time will only be about a week versus 4-6 weeks. I’ll also have some liposuction to fill in any spots along the implants to create a more natural look. I have always joked about getting liposuction but never ever imagined I would have it… silver lining I guess! Bye muffin top!
Overall, I am so pleased with where I’m at physically, emotionally and spiritually. This year for me is going to be the year of self love. It will be packed to the brim with acts of love, grace and enjoying my life and health. I fought for this healthy body and it deserves to be celebrated, and so it will. More on how specifically I’m doing that in a post soon.
Now, we’re off to Texas to cheer on the NDSU Bison for Hank’s final game as the Director of Football Operations before he heads to K-State. Horns up!