Frankenboobie

That’s what I think every time I see an ad for the Frankenweenie movie!

Months ago, a few of my reconstructed friends offered to bare their chests so I’d know what to expect.  I marveled at this sweet (and odd) gesture.  Now, I get it.  Not only do I feel disconnected from my top half, but it’s like a laboratory experiment I think others would have to see to believe.

But don’t be afraid to scroll down!  Everything here is G-rated.

Oct 12 - sunken chest #3My upper chest looks sunken 3 weeks after surgery.  Dr. Woods says the hollow areas will fill out a bit when I get permanent implants.  Port scar on my right.

Cording after axillary dissectionTight bands of tissue have developed under my left arm.  They pull and hurt when I move, so my range of motion is still limited on the left (although gentle stretching seems to make it better).  I can feel this big one down past my elbow.

Apparently, this cording, or “axillary web syndrome,” is a possible side effect of axillary dissection and a risk factor for lymphedema.  This week, I have an appointment at Turning Point for physical therapy.

Hair 2 months after last TaxolAs for my hair, I’m clearly brunette again.  My eyebrows are out of control and I have eyelash stubble that makes me look like I’m always wearing eyeliner.

Emotionally, I still have some bad days.  You’d think I’d be happy as a clam now that the worst is over!  But we’re all just worn out.  Joey said he knows I’m getting better because he used to be exhausted all of the time and now he’s only exhausted most of the time.

The kids struggle, too.  Our son wants to know when I’ll be able to ride bikes or play tennis with him.  Our daughter asks when I’ll teach Zumba again.  And if the cancer will come back.  These same questions play in a loop in my own head.

It’s an ongoing lesson in being grateful for what we have.  Which, of course, is plenty and a lot more than most!

So, on that note, here are a few recent developments we’re celebrating:
– Except for occasional numbness in my toes, my feet are back to normal.
– I can apply deodorant under my arms if I use a cotton ball (many people are thankful for this one!).
– I can sleep on my side again.  In fact, I was so comfortable this morning that the kids nearly missed the bus.
– I was able to reach for my latte in the Starbucks drive-thru today.  Priorities, right?
– Prozac!

My next appointments:
10/23 Dr. Woods for Expansion #2
10/24 Turning Point for physical therapy
11/1 First follow-up after surgery with my oncologist, Dr. O’Regan

Nicole