I just finished radiation. The first couple weeks of radiation made me tired but nothing like what I felt when going through Chemo. Everyday, I feel like I am getting more energy back. I started teaching my group exercise class again the same week I started radiation…maybe that wasn’t such a good idea but I just want to get my life back. At times, it was difficult to catch my breath because my lungs were tight from the radiation.
My skin held up very well until the last 6 treatments. I went every day, M-F at the same time each day for just over 6 weeks. The last 6 treatments are called a boost. They are a little different than the first set of radiation treatments. The all only take about 2 min total but leave you with a chest that is red and feels like a mild sun burn. The burn was not horrible, but a little uncomfortable. The boost gave me a greater burn and I have had peeling skin and a blister for a couple weeks.
A friend of mine who recently battled breast cancer recommended a great surgeon for reconstruction. She is in San Diego and I will be using her for my surgery. I met with her early June and she said I would be ready for surgery this fall. Unfortunately, because of the infection which resulted in a loss of the excess skin they will only be able to reconstruct my breast using a procedure called the flap surgery. This surgery basically allows them to use the skin from another area of your body to allow for expansion in the chest area. They will remove skin from my back around the bra area and transfer it to the chest. The will also need to detach both sides of my lat muscle and flip it to the chest to act as a pocket to hold the expander/implant. It will require 5-7 days of hospitalization and drain tubes for almost a month. I am already losing sleep thinking about this procedure. I am so worried about how having the drains in for that long. They are the most uncomfortable part of the surgery. With the original surgery, I had to sleep sitting up for 2 weeks. Now, it will be a month. Every time you move, they poke you. These hard plastic drain tubes are placed in your body to drain the blood that accumulates when you have empty space such as a loss of a breast or muscle.
When I met the surgeon I had a friend come along who had been through the surgery. I am very glad she was there because my mind just went blank when I walked into the office. I have never experienced “white coat syndrome” but when the dr. sat down, my mind went blank. I couldn’t think of a single question to ask her. When she started talking about the procedure, I was queasy. I read about it prior to entering her office and it didn’t bother me but when she started talking about removing muscles, drain tubes, not being about to exercise or lift my kids for at least 8 weeks, I just about passed out.
One of the hardest was not being able to hold my babies and let them sit on my lap while going through the surgery. Landon was just 12 months old and Riley 2. Riley understand mommy had boo boos and sat next to me and comforted me with her baby dolls but Landon the baby was too small to understand.
For months after the surgery I was so sore I couldn’t hold the baby. When he would cry he came to me and I didn’t even have the strength to pick him up or I had drain tubes hanging out of my body and couldn’t take a chance on having him pull one out. I tear up just writing this because it brings me back to one of the saddest times. My little guy eventually stopped coming to me and would go to my husband or mom who had come to stay for a few months to help out. Once I regained strength and was healed from the surgery I would try to cuddle with my baby but he didn’t want me, he wanted grandma or daddy. It took several weeks for him to re bond with me. It broke my heart but I knew he didn’t understand why his mommy would just have to stand by and watch when he wanted someone to hold him.
Over the last several months, he has become a momma’s boy again. He is a little older now (almost 2) and will hopefully have a better understanding this time around.