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Six Weeks

March 18, 2010

Yesterday was the sixth week mark for my bilateral mastectomy. I figured I needed to reflect and look at how far I’ve come.

Those damn drains are still gone but the dots that remain from where they were removed are still sore. I can no longer assume that the piles of fat that sit under both arms are from swelling. It’s the leftover back fat that’s pooled. The rest will have to be removed the old fashioned way – diet and exercise.

Dammit. You’d think I wouldn’t have to deal with that kind of crap now that I have cancer. Shouldn’t every thing else in my life be pretty and precious and lovely and calorie free?

I’ve gone to physical therapy three times now (more to come) and have been working on regaining full-arm motion. The left arm is pretty good. The scar is tight, and awkward, so I can’t put my arm high without a tugging at it. Not comfortable for sleeping but much better than just a couple of weeks ago. The right arm still has a way to go. But the range of motion is much better than it was  a couple of weeks ago.

There’s still a lot of numbness and nerve tingling on the back of the right arm, and the lymph node area can have occasional pain and spasms. Yesterday the dog felt this need to give me a solid  nudge under the arm and I had alot of shooting pain. Stupid dog. It could take up to 2 years to get the most I can out of this arm. After 2 years, it’ll be as good as it’s going to get. The physical therapist I go to is wonderful and gives me a lot of hope. I also listen to her and do my arm exercises at least twice each and every day.

Speaking of the stupid dog. I took her for a walk for the first time, last night. She is horrible. Even worse than she was before, after spending a ferral winter in the back yard with absolutely no discipline. I was happy to have the strength to be able to keep her next to me.

I walked over 10 blocks and felt pretty good. However, this caused my right arm to feel heavy and swollen and uncomfortable  because of the swinging against the puffy scar.

The port-o-kath is sensitive. I can’t have a seatbelt anywhere near it. I can’t have my jean jacket put any pressure on it. It hurts if I bring my left arm in too far. It hurts if I lay in certain positions. It hurts if I accidentally touch it. I want it removed the minute I’m done with my chemo. I suppose, though, I’ll have to wait until the chemo stops kicking my butt before I can undergo surgery to have it removed. I don’t know. I just know that it has to go as soon as possible.

I had labwork done on Tuesday. My white count is really low. But not low enough to warrant a white count booster. Still, I am supposed to stay away from people, as much as possible, to avoid infection. My immune system is weak right now. It cannot punch you out, merely give you a feathery bitchslap.

I’m not shaking hands or hugging or using those shared stylus at check-out counters. I’m bringing my own stylus and a gallon of hand sanitizer wherever I go. It’s weird to not shake hands. I had a moment yesterday where I had to reject a handshake. Left them hanging. But I quickly said, “Sorry. Chemo. Weak immune system.” I figured that if they were offended, I was even better off not shaking their hand because someone that sensitive doesn’t wash their hands after they poop. I just know it!

It’ll be easier when I’m bald. Right now I’m sure that poopers who don’t wash their hands aren’t going to believe me because I look so very fine. What with the flat chest, beer belly, and a face full of acne (dammit! it’s worse!) Whereas, after I’m bald, poopers who don’t wash their hands are going to understand much easier because they’re not retarded. They just don’t believe in good hygiene.

I’m hoping by the next post-surgical milestone I’ll be feeling even better than now. I’m hoping I’ll be spinning my arms, whirling dervish-like.

11 Comments leave one →
  1. March 18, 2010 11:36 am

    Bob Dole, who can’t use his right arm due a WWII injury, said that he tries to carry something in his right hand so that people will not try to shake hands with him. Your wallet, maybe, or your sunglasses? Something that you would not readily put down, I guess.

    • March 18, 2010 1:07 pm

      Bob Dole as my mentor. Awesome.

      • Leslie permalink
        March 18, 2010 2:34 pm

        Kathy, you totally crack me up.

      • Floweer permalink
        March 19, 2010 3:02 am

        I sure needed a laugh – and that got me rolling. You and Bob Dole.

  2. fran permalink
    March 18, 2010 1:01 pm

    You can also say that you don’t want to pass germs on to them, ’cause those poopers are usually afraid of your cancer germs. Whatever works for you, one day at a time and all that…blah blah blah. Don’t worry about others’ feelings.

    You are sounding great. See how time flies and how much better you’re feeling since 6 weeks ago? That’s how this whole thing works. Something makes you feel bad and then in a short you’re feeling better, but then it starts all over again.

  3. March 18, 2010 1:45 pm

    People should understand the immune system stuff. If they don’t, they truly deserve a feathery bitchslap. Thinking of you….every day.

  4. March 18, 2010 2:06 pm

    Six weeks already and you have done great. I think that it is wonderful that you were able to get out there and walk. Every day is one more that you heal a little more. How long does the Chemo last? Yeah I agree with the handshaking, hugs and even those little cheek kisses. Stay away from those. Have you thought of wearing one of those little green masks? When people see those, they usually turn and run the other way, lol.

  5. Jean permalink
    March 18, 2010 2:25 pm

    Maybe stick your hand out and say, “I never wash my hands after I poop, howyadoin?”

    Glad to hear of the progress, missy! Isn’t there something good you can shoot into the Port-o-Kath that would be fun to have in there? A cosmo or something? Maybe some pureed Do Si Dos?

  6. Claudia permalink
    March 18, 2010 7:14 pm

    I had a real estate agent offer me her elbow when I went to shake her hand. So we did a little elbow bump. She didn’t make any excuses or explain. Just gave me her elbow. It was kinda cool.

  7. March 18, 2010 9:01 pm

    Grace’s preschool teacher ALWAYS wears gloves, those little food service vinyl ones. Why? No one knows. I guess she doesn’t want little kid germs. Who would, anyhow?

    I like the elbow-bump thing. Or you could get a shirt that reads, “I have cancer! I don’t want your steenkin’ germs.”

  8. yaketyyak permalink
    March 19, 2010 4:40 am

    Everything else in your life should absolutely be pretty and precious and lovely and calorie free!

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