Friday, June 1, 2018
I am 3 weeks post-op and 6 weeks post-chemo today.
I had a scare on Monday that prompted a call to the on-call doctor. I was sitting on my couch and noticed a weird smell. I went up to the bathroom to take a look and I swore that my incision was infected. it looked redder than it had before and there was a spot that was white where there was what I thought was pus coming out of it. Gross, I know. In addition to that, there was a good deal of swelling, the pain in my armpit had gotten worse over the course of the last 3-4 days, the bruising had gotten quite a bit redder and darker, and there was also some stippling and some new visible pockets of fluid on my breast. I wasn’t sure if the swelling was normal swelling or the start of lymphedema. The resident on call was the one who’d scrubbed in on my surgery. She gave me a prescription for an antibiotic and suggested that I be seen in the office Tuesday, and that if it got worse, I should go to the ER.
On Tuesday, I got an appointment for late morning. My surgeon is normally in surgery on Tuesdays all day, and I already knew they’d have to fit me in between cases, so I was prepared to do some waiting. When the surgeon looked at my incision, she said that it was all normal. The spot on my incision I thought was infected was where 2 of my incisions intersect. Because of the way that the skin is put back together, the skin at that juncture doesn’t have the same blood flow as before, and as a result it needs to grow new skin. The fluid there isn’t pus but protein, which is needed at the site to grow new skin. Huh. I spose I could have thought about it more and realized that it was fine, but with the emphasis on all the stuff that could go wrong, along with the horror stories from some other survivors I’ve talked to, I decided it was worth getting it looked at. The new coloration on my skin was due to the deeper bruising from all the extra work she had to do on the breast with the tumor and that it would look like that for a bit. She said the seromas (the visible pockets of fluid) were also normal and that she didn’t want to risk infection by trying to drain them, and I could stop taking the antibiotic.
In general, I’m still doing really well. While I can lift a little more than 5 pounds, I’m not going crazy trying to carry things beyond my capability. I still can’t reach out to my right or above my head on my right side. My left feels almost normal again except for the numbness in my armpit and my nipple. There are a few stretch positions that are still tight, but for the most part I’m pretending to be left-handed until I heal more.
Today is also the day I had wanted to be back in Minnesota for my niece’s high school graduation. Surgery put a crimp in those plans. While I was out running a few errands after the visit with the surgeon this morning, I got a text from my sister letting me know that my brother-in-law would be live streaming the graduation on Facebook because I wasn’t able to be there. I’m grateful to him for doing this for me!
When I got home, I started unloading the truck. I bought a handful of plants and had the new planters in the back. I took the groceries upstairs and got on my computer to watch graduation. I was happy to see her so happy after she got her diploma!
After graduation was over, I realized none of us had prints of my nephew in his cap and gown. I had asked my sister to have someone make sure to get good photos of my niece. She did, and they look great! I started looking on my drive for some pictures from my nephew’s graduation I’d taken 4 years before. I was able to work on my photo drive and clean things up for maybe 4 or 5 hours. That’s a long time for me to stay focused on something these days.
The next morning, I woke up around 10 and was still reading in bed at noon-thirty when my neighbor texted and told me that I’d left my truck gate open.
This. is. chemo brain. In. Its. Full. Glory.
I can be in the middle of something and completely forget what I was doing and not remember to go back to finish it. I have to remind myself to remind myself to go from Step A to Step B to Step C without skipping B in the middle because I can do it later. It doesn’t work that way for me right now.
God, I hate chemo and cancer. I so wish there were another way.