Crash: Day 3 and Day 4 Morning

kind

They warned me that day 2 would be crash day. The day when all the drugs wear off and you realise the enormity of what you’ve done? Well for me that was day 3. Although depending on how you look at it, if you count surgery day as just being surgery day, yesterday could well have been day 2.

On paper yesterday was good. I got up in the morning and did my exercises – congratulated myself on being so strong and threw in some squats. My friend, Kiwi A, came in the morning and we had coffee and breakfast outside on the grass. My two friends, D and S, came straight after at the same time as my boyfriend, with another coffee (this may have been too much), and stayed til 1pm. As they left I saw them out with a walk round the car park with Mr F.

I returned to my room, had a peek at my chest, fell asleep and was woken by two new friends, M and L, who brought me nice pants from Peter Alexander in an egg carton – ingenious. I went for another walk round the car park before greeting my lovely friend, E, who brought a Terry’s Chocolate Orange. E and Mr F stayed until about 7pm. When they left I repeated my exercises, watched the Real Housewives of Miami and went to sleep.

However, extract things from paper and this was not the entire day.

Boob Watch:

I did look at my boobs. They are not as bad as you’d think. My left nipple looks OK and my scars are really tiny. However my right nipple looks bruised and sore and my overall impression was that I looked like action man.

I called Mr F and cried. Bless him, everyone else sees good Trisha, he on the other hand has the one that can only cry with him. Besides, what can you say when your girlfriend calls you up and says she looks like action man?

Bowel Watch:

Despite drinking 2 glasses of prune juice, walking around A LOT and having A LOT of wind… (sorry – oversharing) I still haven’t been to the toilet since Wednesday evening! I wouldn’t mind if I didn’t feel so very, very full and swollen.  Bearing in mind I’m only eating 2 meals a day and avoiding the 3 servings of white bread they are giving me in here. By the time I went to sleep last night I was struggling to breathe I was so expanded.

So of course I called Mr F-Therapist and cried, again (man going out with me is ridiculously rubbish), and he told me to ask for some laxatives.  I didn’t and went to sleep – until I was woken up to change my drains at 12pm and the nurse offered me some.

Midnight Caller:

I was then awake (as I have been at this time for the last 3 nights) and got a txt from AF to see if I was a) asleep and b) OK.  This time I blame him as I txted I was fine and he insisted on Skyping. It was at this point I cried, again!  Long story short he cheered me up and I managed to go back to sleep.

Morning has broken…

Got woken up to take pain killers this morning. If only pain killer could make me sleep and go to the toilet. Saw that my drain incision in my left armpit had leaked… cried… you realise this is again, right?

So look, I know, I’m shattered. I haven’t slept for 3 nights, some people took my boobs away and I still haven’t been to the toilet. I just feel a bit bad as I have been this positive poster girl for how to react when you wake up flat chested and my current emotional state makes me feel like I’ve duped you all.

Game plan

Today the game plan is to sleep as much as possible. I have been for one walk already and I’m determined the next one will push me to the toilet. Finally I’m going to give myself a break.  All this positivity is really hard work and despite what my many self-help books and Pinterest mantras may say, it’s alright to feel like crap from time to time and I’m allowing myself that indulgence for day 4.

kindess

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2 Aims For Day 3

GoalI have 2 aims for today, my third day after the mastectomy. One is to look at my new boobs – or lack thereof. The other is to move my bowels for the first time in three days.

Boob Watch:

I have had little peeks of my deflated breasts over the last few days.  Drs come and want to look and my support bandage keeps slipping down. However, I have not been brave enough yet to go full frontal and look at what my chest is currently doing. I’m not going to lie, I’m not hugely looking forward to this moment, but I have to look because a) they are part of me, b) I need to be familiar with what’s happening so I can tell if anything is going wrong and c) they won’t look like this forever so I should just suck it up.

I have no real game plan for this, I just need to do it.

Bowel Watch:

I promise I won’t gross you out with this. It’s bad enough I’m broadcasting about my deflated breasts, let alone my bowel movements. However, I have not been in 3 days and as a healthy, coffee drinking girl, this is not like me. I haven’t done anything wrong, it’s the wonderful painkillers I’ve been on, plugging me up to numb the pain.

So this is my game plan on operation, get things moving down south:

  • I have done my exercises for this morning (I’ll share these in a separate blog post). I have progressed onto the exercises for patients 7 days after their surgery as days 2 – 7 were too easy.  Don’t tell Mr F! I also threw in a few squats and lunges.
  • I have drunk my first glass of prune juice for the day. Look it’s not gross, but it’s full on.  Read here for why prune juice is amazing. Essentially it makes you go to the toilet and helps fight cancer. GO PRUNE JUICE! http://www.wisegeek.org/what-are-the-health-benefits-of-prune-juice.htm
  • I am going for a coffee in the sunshine. I have been told to move more today and move I will. Sod that regular sized coffee I had yesterday. Today it’s large, skimmed latte to have here, but in a take-away cup, followed by a walk round the car park.

Wish me luck. I’ll report back on my missions. Hopefully I won’t be crying / full of prune juice by this evening but I’ll let you know. x

Prune

Bra Binning: One night to Surgery

In the 1960’s the woman’s rights movement was well-known for supposedly burning their bras as a symbol of liberation. This originated on September 7th, 1968 when a group of feminists gathered to protest against the Miss America Pageant in Atlantic City. http://www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miss_America_protest

What grabbed the media’s attention at the protest was the ‘freedom trash can’ into which women symbolically threw ‘instruments of female torture’ including false eyelashes, make-up, girdles and bras.

bra burning

Now I don’t feel like my bras are an ‘instrument of torture’, I think they are an incredibly useful piece of clothing that make your boobs look infinitely better than they do sans-support. However, as I have less than 12 hours left with my current boobs, I am marking the occasion with my own freedom bin and liberation movement from the threat of breast cancer.

We’re all friends here and have already discussed my reluctance to buy nice underwear.  I have nothing against nice underwear, it’s just nice underwear is expensive (especially in Australia) and I really like nice, but cheap clothes. Given the choice between a trendy top from Sports Girl and a lacy intimate from Elle Macpherson, I’ll choose the top every time.

Having known I was going to undergo this surgery for about 6 months has also exacerbated the standard of my bra portfolio.  There’s been no point in buying any new ones, but as a result, my brassieres are about to disintegrate. But, the time has come, and they have treated me well, so before they go in Trisha’s Freedom Bin, I want to pay them a little tribute….

favbra

This is my favourite and most recent bra. I thought I’d only bought it a year ago. Mr F says it’s about two. Whilst it looks nice from a distance, look how fake tan has muddied the colour of the baby pink straps.

WhitebraMy only, kinda white bra whose underwires are about to break through the material. I didn’t even purchase this one and was a hand-me-down from a friend.

 onehook

An old bra from the UK – only one of the hooks still works.

old

My oldest bra, it doesn’t fit and the straps are way too long.

dots

What looks like a teenager’s bra, way too small and my nipples always break-free .

pink

Dingy, used to be pink bra, maybe my first Australian purchase. I’ve been here four years.

So whilst I’m not sad to send my bras to my Freedom Bin, I would like to thank them for their support. Thanks guys, your work here is done…

 

ANSWERED: I’m not going to have any boobs – do I really need a bra?

Some of you may remember my post that asked the question, if I’m getting my boobs lopped off, do I really need a bra? http://www.imgettingmyboobsoff.wordpress.com/2013/03/05/

Despite having done quite a lot of research, at that point I did not have a definitive answer. So as I went to my last pre-op appointment with my plastic surgeon, I was keen to get the answer.

I like my plastic surgeon, as much as anyone needs to like their plastic surgeon. He’s pretty straight up, honest and seems to have my best interests at heart. As a result, I trust him and that’s what’s important for me. However, am I going to invite him and his family over for dinner? It’s unlikely. Does he laugh at any of my ‘I’m a really positive patient’ jokes? No. Not even one.

I arrive at my appointment with my bra questions printed out on a piece of paper and wait for my cue…

Plastic surgeon: “So Trisha, do you have any questions?”

Me: “Yes, do I need to wear a bra after surgery?”

Plastic surgeon: “No”

Me: “Oh, I thought you might give me one?”

Plastic surgeon: “No”

Me: “Oh, I see. I read somewhere that I won’t ever need to wear a bra ever again?”

Plastic surgeon: “No, you don’t.”

Me: “I’m not sure about how I feel about that. I quite like wearing a bra.”

Plastic surgeon: “You can choose to wear a bra, but you don’t need to.”

I probably cracked a bad patient joke here and that was that. I’m not going to lie, I was a little bit disappointed. As we have discussed before, whilst I haven’t been the best lingerie buyer to date, I was keen to treat my new boobs a little better. So I left with the answers to my questions, but a little despondent.

That was until I received a call a few days later from one of the breast nurses at the hospital. She was calling to introduce herself and let me know that she’ll be getting me a bra to take home with me from the hospital.  HURRAH!

She explained that whilst you don’t need to wear a bra, lots of women want to, and so they get you a bra for when you’re ready to wear one. What’s more, as I’ll have the chest of a prepubescent girl during the beginning of the filling process, they also give you some soft foam to fill the bras with to give you some shape and confidence until the new boobs come into play.

With the encouragement to go forth and wear a bra, regardless of whether I need one or not, I am ready to go lingerie window shopping again.

Post Surgery Bra Shopping

Before you start, this article is a good checklist for what you need to bear in mind when buying a post-surgical bra. http://breastcancer.about.com/od/lifeduringtreatment/tp/bras-camis.htm. Key points are, focus on comfort and look for wide bands on the shoulders and beneath the breast.  Underwires are a no no until your surgeon says so, avoid seams and choose front fastening, especially for the months immediately following surgery.

Across the pond, the great British institution that is Marks and Spencer, has pulled together a video lingerie guide to post surgery, which is good to watch before you buy anything:  http://www.marksandspencer.com/MS-TV/b/311612031?intid=emtv_2_42_1375671779001

They have quite a good range of bras, very reasonably priced, but their post-surgery ones do look a bit like my grandma would wear. It might be worth looking at some of their non-wired options, which are much prettier, for a bit further down the track.

I like this Carefix Post-Op Bra, Alice that I found on http://www.undiewarehouse.com.au (which has loads of options BTW). It does up at the front, is wireless and recommended for post-operative stage, immediately following surgery.

alice-_front_

Another one from Carefix that I found on Westfield is also pretty cool. Again it does up at the font, holds dressings in place and says it’s great for use in the recovery stage after breast augmentation, reduction, reconstruction, mastopexy, lumpectomy or radiation. Sounds pretty comprehensive to me? http://www.westfield.com.au/au/search?sq=post+surgery+bras

CarefixWestfield

This Berlei wirefree post-surgery cotton bra looks a bit ‘surgical’ and asexual, but I like Berlei and you can trust they’ll probably be good. It has both front and back opening and cotton inner pockets to accommodate prosthesis. http://www.berlei.com.au/bras/shop-by-range/post-surgery/

Berlie

Finally, another great site for Aussies is Zodee http://www.zodee.com.au/search/?w=Post+surgery. They start from just over $25 for a basic wire free bra, and go up to around $60 for something more special.

 

Post-Mastectomy Commitments

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It’s really important for me, as the countdown ever looms, that I make commitments now about how I want things to be after my mastectomy.

I’m not naive. I realise that many things will be out of my control. Whether I’ll get an infection, how much pain I’ll be in or how quick my recovery will be.  I know that all of these things are out of my control.

What is within my control is my state of mind and how I respond to my situation.

Believe it or not, these past 3 months have been some of the happiest of my life. I’ve been focused on something much bigger than me, it’s easy to see what’s important and what’s not, I don’t sweat the small stuff as much and I’ve reconnected with friends I haven’t spoken to in years. Above all, I’ve had an amazing reminder of how wonderful the people in my life are, as well as the kindness of strangers.

But I’m keen that I don’t lose sight of all of this when I’m so desperately tired, or my chest feels like it’s in a vice, or I’m frustrated that I can’t do everything I was able to do before the op. So this is why I’m sharing my post-mastectomy commitments.  To serve as my promise and a very public reminder for how I want to, and how I should, think and act once my boobs have left the building:

I will not forget why I choose to remove my boobs and that it is the most positive decision I could have ever made

I will commit to progress!  Not measured on how I was before the operation, but to how I was yesterday

I will remember to smile at least once a day

I will relish in the kindness of others and thank my lucky stars that these people are in my life

I promise not to get frustrated and take it out on Mr F because he’s the closest person to me, but will remember how much he has sacrificed for me and supports me

I will not fall into a funk and will commit to expressing gratitude, for the obvious and the hidden, every single day