2015 in review

Wow! These are some interesting stats.  I am quite surprised for my first year–or at least half a year.  I hope 2016 will be even better as I continue to recover from my surgery, and work my way back to dancing again!

BCBD 🙂

 

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,600 times in 2015. If it were a cable car, it would take about 27 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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4.5 weeks

Frustration.

That seems to be the word for the week. Or maybe the month.

I had a set back with healing and moving forward from that is even slower than it was before.  I still have a nurse coming in every day to clean and redress my wounds and monitor the progress.  Today was the first day in a week that there seemed to be some progress, but it is all in spots that looked almost healed, and then opened up again.  I guess I will see how it goes.

I think I am feeling a little disillusioned.  My days are running together because there doesn’t seem to be any difference between them.  I am still doing my small exercises I am allowed, but that gives me about a minute and a half of active activity in a day, followed by 10 minutes of static holds.  Other than that I just seem to sleep.  I am averaging 12-14 hours in a night, and still wanting naps during the day.

It seems surreal to me how much everything has changed in the past month.  I don’t really recognize my body because it looks so different and parts of it are just plain ‘messy’.  Everything feels different.

The elevator has been broken in my building for 4 days now and I live on the 4th floor.  We have no idea when it will be fixed because of the holidays.  It seems they need to order in some parts.  I guess at least climbing 4 flights of uneven stairs twice a day is some activity??

I got word today from my plastic surgeon that I need to start my hormone therapy again.  Another big unknown.  Last time I started it, 3 days later I came down with shingles, so I had to stop it.  I have no idea how I will react to it.

Considering that I am exhausted and healing slowly and already a bit irritable and impatient, I am a little concerned.  I guess time will tell.

I have been thinking about dance a lot lately, although right now I still can’t imagine going back to it.  I think having to wear a cumbersome binder until at least Jan 14th seems to emphasize things being awkward.

Jan 21st is the magical 8 week mark when I am supposed to be able to get back to dance.  It is two days before a competition for boss and all his other students.  I am trying not to think about it.  It is also just 1 year after I started chemo, and was the competition I did just before I started.

I am worried a little that my motivation is so lacking.  I realize with all I am faced and since I am still really restricted, it is not surprising. I just can’t seem to imagine even doing 45 mins of dance in a week…let alone more.

I am sure as I heal more and get closer to being allowed to go back my motivation will return.  I guess I wish I was just more excited about it.

I think what I really need right now is a good change for the better in my healing.  Right now it is just remove bandage, clean, rebandage and there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight.

The beginning of the slow return

That’s right! I got permission to try my ballet exercises and arm endurance exercises yesterday.

It took until today for me to work up the nerve to try though.

It was…strange.  My centre of gravity has definitely moved.  I feel shorter somehow because my ‘centre’ is now closer to my hips instead of above my belly button.

My right side was tight doing the exercises, which is unusual for me, but that might actually be a good thing because it is easier to control.

My back tendues actually seemed to feel better, but it is hard to tell, since it has been since the end of September that I have done them.

It didn’t hurt, but it did burn a little towards the end.  I am only allowed to do 10 in each direction on each side.

My arm exercises weren’t too bad–considering I am starting with only 2 mins of hold at a time and I was doing over 3 mins.

I have a feeling I will be pretty sore tomorrow through my upper back from using muscles in a way I haven’t used them in quite some time.

Now I have to wait and see how much I fill up with fluid and swell from my small effort (which is normal).  I was told to watch out for fluid that my body doesn’t reabsorb, if my belly swells and feels hard.

Overall, at least today, it is good to be able to at least do something other than sit and wait.  The weather has been too rainy, windy and wet to get out for a lot of walking.

I am waiting to see what tomorrow brings.

The healing continues, although my belly button and left side of my belly incision seems a little indecisive about what it is doing.  I still see the nurse every day to monitor, clean and treat the open areas.

It’s progress…much better than nothing!

3 weeks

Since the surgery.

I am starting to get a bit frustrated, but trying to keep it in check.

I have one spot that is now obviously going to take a long time to heal.  I have to see the health nurse every day to keep an eye on it, clean it, dress it and make sure it keeps progressing.  It’s tiring to have to go every day, but I would rather have someone keep an eye on it than have to guess myself.  It’s an area about 2 inches that needs to close and in a spot that will mean I will have to limit my activity until it does.

That said, the last of my drains came out as scheduled on Monday and it made a whole bunch of difference to how I feel overall.  Except at night I am off of heavy pain killers, and only using regular ibuprofen and tylenol during the day. I am able to drive again which gives me more freedom.

I can tell I am able to move a little bit better, and I have been doing some walking.  My belly swells up late in the day, but that is normal for now.  My range of motion of my arms is quite good–I can put my hands up over my head and it only gets tight if I try to stretch a little while standing (which I am not doing yet).  Monday I see my family doctor so hopefully I will be able to be referred to phsyio to start that side of things.

I also see my Surgeon on Monday, and he will make a decision about the open area–whether to leave it to nature or to stitch it closed.  I also hope he will allow me to go back to doing my tendue ballet exercises since they are mainly about stability and posture and not a lot of moving.  I also hope he will let me start rebuilding my arm endurance.  But we will see…

I think being able to do something other than just sitting or small walks will help me overall.  The back pain from breathing finally worked itself out since I have been able to sleep and sit in different positions with the drains out.

Overall, things are moving forward and every day is a little better.  Fingers crossed it keeps going.

Cancer-free

I got the news today.

The pathology from the tissue removed during my surgery came back 100% negative.  I am officially cancer-free.

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It’s a very surreal feeling.  I don’t think I have completely processed it yet.  And of course it doesn’t help that I am in the middle of trying to heal from a major surgery.

I have been dealing with cancer for so long it’s hard to realize it’s now behind me.  I only have to heal now and start hormone therapy in January to help ensure it never comes back.  I can completely understand how people almost find it harder after cancer than during.

So much has changed for me in the past year.  I have lost almost 1 year of work due to sick leave.  My body is dramatically different.  I have a lot of healing to do, both physically and mentally.  I am trying to figure out how to slowly pick up the pieces.

I can’t wait to get my last drains out on Monday, it’s a big step forward.  I am also going to ask if I can start doing my ballet exercises (since they are focused on stability) and rebuilding my arm endurance.  The worse the doctor can say is wait a little more.

I can’t wait to slowly start rebuilding.

Still progressing

But it is slow.

I haven’t written much because I haven’t had much to say that isn’t related to recovering from my surgery, and I miss dance a lot.  Right now it is hard to believe I will get back at it, but I know I will get there.

I still have 2 drains until Monday, but I was given permission to shower for the first time today (Yay!).  After two weeks of sponge baths, a shower never felt so good, even if I was juggling drains the whole time.

All of the steristrips are off my belly, but there are still some on my ‘noobs’.  Even that is a good step forward.

The biggest problem I am having right now is a sharp pain in my back whenever I take a big breath.  The doctor checked it out today and it seems the muscles are all inflamed, probably from a combination of things–that I have been less active and sitting more, that the surgery had me hunched forward and some small residual breathing issues from the surgery itself.

I am hoping that issue will work itself out as I become a little more active.

I do have one spot that is having difficulty healing on my left ‘noob’ that the doctor is keeping an eye on.  He was saying today it should heal, but it will take a while.  I am working on keeping it dry for now.  He also said if we need to, I have some extra skin they can use to close the spot.  I can’t say that was very encouraging.  I hope it just heals on it’s own.

I am really looking forward to Monday.  Without drains, there is a whole new freedom and I can wear normal pants again without having to worry about putting too much pressure on the drains.

I will find something dance-related to write about next time.

Rough day

But moving forward again.

Yesterday after being out I noticed some stains on my shirt so I investigated the source and found a small open spot under my left noob.

To top that off, I woke up with intense pain through my side when I breathed deep.

So off to the emergency department I went (since, of course, it is Saturday).

Thankfully, there was nothing serious–but they checked everything to be sure.

I saw the on-call plastic surgeon to look at the open wound and he bandaged it with a lot of polysporin and told me to do the same for the next few days to encourage it to heal.

For the pain in my side, they did a chest x-ray and CT scan of my chest to make sure there were no blood clots.  Thankfully, everything was clear, but my lungs are still partially collapsed at the bottom from the surgery and that is the source of the pain.  I was given a sprirometre and told to increase my pain meds a bit over the next couple days until the pain (which is my diaphragm working hard) goes away.  I have to do some deep breathing every 3 hours or so.

One of the drains seems to be slowing down, the other suddenly opened like a faucet.  The doctor noticed and said I am just draining a seroma (pocket of fluid) and it should slow down in a few days.  They also changed the padding over my belly and cleaned up the belly incision some.  The good news is that the belly incision and belly button is looking really good.

Yesterday, my mom and I worked out a way to wash my hair without getting my bandages wet, so that felt good to get done.  Tonight I am going to take the plunge and try sleeping in my own bed.  I have to be a little careful because when they laid me flat at the hospital I had trouble catching my breath.  Once I relaxed I was ok.  My body just isn’t used to being flat anymore.

Hopefully sleeping in my bed works out.  I think I need it.

My next appointment with my plastic surgeon is next Thursday.  I am hopeful at least one, if not both drains might be able to come out.  I think I need that freedom (and ability to shower!).

Today was a really rough day.  Everything seemed to be all hitting me at once.  It’s usual to get emotional 10 days after surgery, but I hear the ‘turning point’ for most people is 3 weeks.

I am looking forward to that.

1 week out

I made it 1 week. 7 more until I can dance.

I got 2 of my 4 drains out today, but I still have all the padding around my belly, so still no showers, only sponge baths for me.

My mom arrived safe and sound and has been helping me out.

I managed to get out today not only for my appointment but also for a meeting.  It was tiring, but not too bad.  I am a little more sore today, but probably it is the extra activity.  I have 2 meetings tomorrow.  I think it is good to get out now and slowly start building activity back in.  Although slowly.

This time next week I should be able to start doing some slow walks, so I am looking forward to that.

Because I still have all my padding and stuff on, I still haven’t been able to get a good look at my belly.  I can tell it is smaller though.  There is enough of a difference it is a little weird to see myself in the mirror.

The swelling in the ‘noobs’ has gone down a little, and it is still hard to tell what size they are going to be in the end.  I am pretty amazed at how close they look to my natural breasts–minus the nipples of course.

I am still draining a lot of fluid out of the 2 drains  I have left, but I figure better out than in.  All the fluid that comes out could be swelling in my belly without the drains.  They are slowly slowing down though so I hope they will be removed next week.  After that it is really about healing.

I am still sleeping on my recliner to keep myself from rolling around and lying flat.  It is working for now, but I figure in another week I should be ready for my bed.

I am missing dance and trying not to be resentful of those who are still able to train and work.  I will get back there.  January 21st–like a late birthday present for me (my birthday is the 16th).

I will update again soon and praying healing keeps going well!