Tuesday, July 24, 2012

There are Wounds that are not Meant to Heal

This Friday (July 27th) I have a morning appointment with Dr. Blackwood, my breast surgeon. I haven't seen her since the week after my double mastectomy and I am pretty excited to catch up with her. I need to show off my new rack! I am not sure what the appointment is all about - perhaps she will teach me what I am suppose to be looking for now in case any remnants of breast cancer tries to rear it's ugly head. It is always a possibility and I need to know what to look for. I will also have a yearly exam with her so I'll have back up since I can't rely on mammograms any more.

It's still difficult getting used to my new breasts. They feel awkward, and even heavy at times. Sometimes I catch myself hunched over when I should be sitting up straight. I started lifting and moving things around at work and that is an odd sensation in my chest at times when my pec muscle flexes and then relaxes. I assume I will get used to that in time. And when I get a chill?! That's the worst because my muscle will twitch from the cold. Now, THAT feels weird.  The skin on my left breast still ripples a bit and it annoys me on a daily basis. Hopefully that will go away or can be solved.

My scars are looking great! The lymph node scar is adorable, and my drain scars are fading each day. The long scars across my breast seem to be fading too. I mean, not fast at all, but I think they are getting better. They don't really bother me that much, like I've said before, they are some pretty cool battle wounds. I've been using Mederma Advanced Scar Gel every morning on all my scars. It seems to be doing a great job!

Next post, Dr. Blackwood update!

- J.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Bra Connoisseur

I have always been that student who has to have an "a-ha" moment to completely understand what the heck is going on in class. These moments mostly happened in math and science classes. (Alas, I never had those "a-ha" moments in my language classes or coding classes... but that's a whole different story).

I finally had my bra "a-ha" moment and I have finally found THE bra that fits me the best and makes me the most comfortable. It's been difficult to find said bra. I am still not comfortable with my implants, but I know I will in time. I can definitely tell they are getting softer so this pleases me. I am no longer scared to properly place the implants in the bra and to try to form cleavage, but the cleavage isn't happening yet. I wonder when that will happen?

Anyway, the bra I bought from My Intimacy is great, but only in small doses. The underwire is a bit uncomfortable and I noticed that it was making a bruise on the side of my right breast. It was pinching and digging in to the skin a bit too much. Now, I know Dr. Spiro said I could start wearing underwire bras, but I don't think my body is there quite yet. They just don't feel right and are certainly not comfortable enough.

The winning bra for me is... (drumroll please)... Wireless Bra - Body by Victoria's Secret! It's so comfy and it makes no indentations in my skin. The shape of the underwire is there, it's nice and sturdy, but the actual hard, uncomfortable underwire is not there. I feel supported and not in pain. I think that constitutes a winner!

Now, I know this bra won't work for everyone out there. I've done so much research on bras for reconstruction patients and EVERYONE has a different suggestion. It's really whatever works for you and what makes you feel the most comfortable, but I wanted to put my two cents out there as well. These bras are a great investment. I bought two!

C.D. pointed out that while I was in Victoria's Secret I went around to each bra and felt them, as if doing a bra "wine tasting." I knew what I wanted and I just had to feel my way to it. It's taken awhile, but this bra is definitely the right fit for me.

- J.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Every Day I'm Shufflin'

It's the post you've ALL been waiting for... I've started running again! YAY! Praise Jesus! It feels so awesome to be running again. I haven't exercised since February and it's definitely much needed.

I did my first run on Saturday with Kevin. I wanted to run with someone because I had no idea what to expect. I was so nervous that my bra would not hold up, or that I would feel terrible. None of that really happened. I started running... or... more like shuffling along. Hey! It's been awhile, give a girl a break over here! It wasn't too bad. I had to walk a bit, but nothing horrible. I did about 2 1/2 miles of shuffling / jogging (but mostly shuffling).

On one of my breather walks I noticed that my chest felt pretty tight, almost like it was just expanded. Also, my chest felt a bit heavy. I don't know if it was in my mind, but it all felt strange and new. I wonder if it's because of the new placement of my pectoral muscle. Gross!

Thankfully, I haven't felt any tightness or heaviness on my Sunday or Monday runs. I'm still shuffling and jogging along slowly, but it feels so good to just be moving again. I get a little bit of pain in my armpits, but that's to be expected. Otherwise, I feel muscle pain every where I am suppose to when starting up running again. It feels awesome!

- J.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Balls to the Wall

Yes, that's right. That blog post title means it's been exactly six months since my breast cancer diagnosis. Six months! And the second I found out I went balls to the wall to make sure this will be my first and LAST cancer diagnosis. I don't ever want to feel the way I felt six months ago.

It was just six months ago when I heard those dreaded words, "the biopsy came back positive for cancer," and I just broke down and cried. It was six months ago that I had to call my family and friends to tell them. It was six months ago when I took the genetic test. It was six months ago when I had one of the worst panic attacks of my life.

It was also six months ago when I knew I had to take back my life. The official diagnosis may have come six months ago, but it's something I've been preparing for for years. I was diagnosed with breast cancer at 29 years old, now I am 30, cancer free and with a new set of boobs. That's just how I roll.

I am so happy where my life is right now, and I am so relieved that everything has worked out. I know I still have doctor appointments and I still need to keep on top of my health, but breast cancer is no longer looming over my shoulder (or hiding behind my nipple like the creep that it was).

I just want to say to anyone out there who may have just found out that she or he has cancer... Stay strong! Fight back! Don't give up! Don't hang your head! It may seem like you have a tough road ahead of you (and you do, don't get me wrong), but you'll make it through. There is always a light at the end of the tunnel. It may look like the teeniest tiniest dot in the distance, but before you know it you'll be running through that tunnel to find yourself basking in the glory of the light you fought so hard to get to. I believe in every single one of you!

- J.

Monday, July 2, 2012

I'm Trapped in a Glass Case of Emotions!

Today was THE day. The day I finally got to wear a normal bra again. I thought the day would be a lot more epic than it was, but I still am very happy with how I felt in a normal bra. Although, I am constantly afraid that I will somehow do damage to the implants. I am worried that the fabric of the bra may be pressing too hard into the implants. I know that this fear is silly, but I can't help thinking that they may pop! What if the bra I am wearing isn't enough support? What if what if what if?!

And of course I am still counting down the days when I can start running again. But as the day of reckoning approaches I am becoming more nervous and less excited. What if I don't find the right sports bra? What if while I am running I am doing some sort of damage to my implants? What if running feels too weird and different now that I have these strange numb blobs on my chest?

It's crazy how my emotions shift back and forth between excitement that my life is going to get back to normal to what if I am getting back to my normal life too soon? Maybe I still need time to heal? AHHH!

I know what you are all thinking... it's just the fear of the unknown! It'll all be OK! Once I get back into my running routine it'll feel like I never left it. 

But first, I'll start with some walking.

- J.