Thursday, March 31, 2011

False Alarm!

April Fools Day (how ironic?!)

I'm back from the doctor's office and I DO NOT HAVE A PULMONARY EMBOLISM - YEAAAAAA!!!! I am still in some mystery pain, so I need to rest and watch it. But it looks like I'm going to live. The doctor gave me some special, high dose ADVIL. I have my 6 month check up with my oncologist next week, which the primary care physician thought was good timing.

The ups and downs of recovery from a mastectomy are really hard. Ten steps forward, then a setback. I went into this with full knowledge that "complications" were the rule rather than the exception. But it catches me off guard so very much. ^ months ago, I could never have imagined any of this. I had this strong, sure body. Thank heaven for that. I'm getting strong again, but today it doesn't feel like it. My rational self knows that I'm tired, but I'm going to get up and move forward again.


My 2 weeks of half-time work went incredibly well. I was able to maintain my stamina and feel like I was on top of it. It was really good to feel the support of my colleagues, most of whom I hadn't seen in months. I felt competent and happy.

My first week of full-time working went pretty well. I went in smokin', as if I had never left, and stayed late a few times to try to catch up with some things I felt were pressing. A bit too much, too soon. I felt like an over-cooked noodle by Thursday afternoon. I spent Friday at home in bed.

My second week back to work was better. I was very aware of pacing myself, and leaving at an appropriate hour to come home and relax. Slow and steady wins the race. It was a good, productive week.

This week has been HARD! Monday morning at 9:00 am, I was in pain and went to lay down in the nurse's office. No fever, no visible bruises. Just pain wrapping around my ribs from back to front. I made it through the day, but was in increasing pain all evening. Tuesday - home and couldn't get off the couch. Made a doctor's appointment for Wednesday. They thought it might be Lymph edema.

Wednesday's doctor's appointment involved a blood test, a trip to the hospital for a chest x-ray, and a prescription for Mega-Advil. I checked voicemail at 7pm and heard 2 urgent messages warning me that the blood test wasn't good and that I should probably drive myself to the ER for an MRI.

Not knowing what any of this meant, I was VERY FREAKED OUT. I called the doctor "on call". We talked for a good long while, and he said that while the blood test signaled that I might have a clot in my lung, he didn't think my symptoms or vitals presented badly enough to spend the night in the ER. He told me to call if anything changed, but to get in to the office first thing in the morning.

By noon today, the pulmonary embolism theory was ruled to be unlikely, and I was told to go home, rest for another day or 2, and continue on the Mega-Advil. My husband and I were so stressed out before the doctor's appointment, we practically fell down and pounded the earth in relief. I still have to go back to the oncologist next week, but I'm not worried about it.

I'm wiped out, but relieved. And I am using my words. I know I told the story, but how do I feel? I feel like a freak. I feel alone in this uncharted place of recovery. People who love me and are close to me have been so great, but I get freaked out by pity, and I'm not 100% comfortable at accepting nurturing. It would be a good thing to really connect with someone who's lived something similar. I worry that not too many others can really understand this.

Sunshine and spring would help. Oh, Vermont! 4-6 inches of snow predicted for tomorrow!


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Up and Downs...

March 30, 2011

My words are stuck in my throat, or maybe just frozen in my brain again.
I'd rather go BLANK than go to fear.
A little pain - a little swelling. Blood test. Chest x-ray. Urgent message.

I'm not going to FEAR or PANIC. Not at all. I'm just a little shaken. Breathe.

All is well. It's OK to sit with a little bit of scary. I can try it on, and not have it take me out. I can come back to peaceful by myself.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Life Marches Forward

March 9, 2011

The sun is shining, although we are still deep in snow. 3 days ago, we had our biggest storm of the year. I'm still running on a treadmill, but I'm feeling strong! I'm yearning to run outside, but I don't want to risk a fall or be hit by a car. I've survived all this surgery and healing. It would be incredibly ironic to have a running accident now. So I'm happy to have access to the treadmill.

This is my second week back at work. I'm working half-time. 11:00 to 3:00 Monday through Friday. I'm running most mornings before I go in to the office. I'm tired, but proud at how well I'm doing. It was scary to go back to work, but here I am. I'm doing it. Next week I go to full time 7:45 - 3:30. This will mean waking up VERY early if I want to keep up my running. I'm going to try.

This week, I've been packing up in the evenings for the next day. I thought it would be a good idea to have a week to practice showering at the gym and going straight to work from there. I pack my breakfast, my shower stuff, my clothes, towel, lunch, and work stuff, which takes good planning and organization. The first day I did it, I arrived at the gym - minus a jog bra. I just laughed and ran without it. My new breast held up better than the other one!

I had enough time after my run today to stop at a coffee shop and write this. but I do need to pack up and get to work now.

More soon. I've been having lots of thoughts and insights as I prepare to immerse myself back into my pre-mastectomy world of work. It's hard to stay on top of the anxiety, but having a great shrink helps a lot.