Time for an update! I've been extremely tired and just laying around a lot since the last time I updated you. I'm trying to decide if this fatigue is "normal" or something to worry about. I think several things could be attributed to the way I'm feeling.
I have to keep reminding myself that it's been less than 3 weeks since I had a pretty big surgery. And having 3 major surgeries in my life prior to this one, I do recognize that surgery itself will take a toll on your body and my fatigue may partly be a part of recuperating from the surgery. It seems like it was so long ago, but it wasn't....I have to keep reminding myself of that.
I am also very sore and very uncomfortable due to the tissue expanders placed behind my muscle. Sometimes it can be pretty rough to move, but I don't regret it. As a friend of mine (who has already gone thru this....Hi Amy!) put it....it feels like you have a sports bra on that is 5 sizes too small. That about sums it up...LOL! I just keep reminding myself why I did the reconstruction and how worth it it will be in the end. But, the fact that I can't freely use my arms and reach far without pulling at that muscle leads to inactivity, which leads to laying around and watching tv or sleeping. I keep reminding myself that it will get better as time goes on and I heal more.
My hemoglobin was down at the time of the surgery and I even had to consent to a blood transfusion if they determined I needed it during surgery. It would depend on how much blood I lost during surgery....they didn't want my hemoglobin to drop any further. They did not end up giving me a blood transfusion. But I'm wondering if my hemoglobin is still low. If it is, that could explain part of my fatigue. I just had a CBC (complete blood count) done for my oncologist who I will see on Wednesday, so I will have my answer about my hemoglobin at that time.
I have to remind myself that I am less than two months past my last chemo and it's still in my body, so it is still surely having it's affects on my body.
Sleep apnea. I was diagnosed with sleep apnea last year (before my cancer diagnosis) and was put on a cpap machine and oxygen when I sleep. I don't know how long I've had sleep apnea, but I've been a very tired person for a long, long time. So, I don't think I've made up that sleep debt yet. My neurologist suggested I try sleeping without the cpap and oxygen for a period of time, since I've lost so much weight. Many times if people lose weight they no longer need the cpap. So, I have not slept with my cpap and oxygen since my surgery, so I'm beginning to wonder if that is also contributing to my fatigue. So I think I need to start using it again for now and he will do another sleep study before the end of the year.
So, as you can see, there are so many factors in my life that may be affecting the way I feel. I'm eager to feel better again and get some energy to do more than just sit around. I just can't do much and the slightest thing I do try doing will exhaust me. That is frustrating! It will pass and I know it will get better!
So, enough of that! I'm not complaining....just keeping it "real" and letting you know where I am on my journey.
Last Monday I had my post op appointment with Dr. Zusan (she did my masectomy). The appointment went well. She took one look and told me I was a fast healer and it looked really good! I'll take it! :=) She went over my pathology report and discussed the residual cancer they found. She said the chemo didn't work as well as they had hoped....it was a very agressive cancer....so, the chemo didn't completely kill it. But she also said that it was rare that it would totally kill all of the cancer, so this was pretty normal. She was able to remove it all and get clear margins, so that is good. Of course I have that worry of any cancer cell escaping elsewhere into my body and the chemo not killing it, but she reminded me that it was not in my lymph nodes, so that was a good thing. She did say there is no guarantee of it not going elsewhere in my body and my oncologist is the one who will treat me now, as he treats the "whole body". The cancer returning is a normal worry for cancer patients, but I will need to look at all of the "good news" I've received and concentrate on it rather than over-worry.
I go to my oncologist, Dr. Venkatesh, this Wednesday. I know he plans to put me on a hormone blocker pill for 5-8 years and that will cut my chances of reoccurence in half. So with my decison of a double masectomy and this pill, I believe I've done everything I possibly can to reduce my chances of reoccurence. There is also a thing called a PET scan that scans the whole body to detect cancer. It would be up to Dr. Venkatesh to decide if I would need to have this, but I'm going to ask him if I could do it. If it went elsewhere I'd like to catch it early.
I also go to Dr. Jackson (the plastic surgeon) this week too. I'm suppose to be getting my first "fill' since surgery. But. I still have those darned drains, so this may get postponed! I'm still holding out hope for the drains to get removed so I can get this show on the road with hopes of getting all of the fills and silicone surgery before the end of the year. I hate to have the schedule delayed because of these darn drains!
All in all, I have no complaints. I knew back in April when I was diagnosed that I was in for a battle that would probably take up most of the next year of my life. So, I go with the flow and if I don't feel "so good" I just allow myself to rest and take it easy. I know my time of feeling better is coming and I will be patient and wait upon the Lord! He is still in control and through all of this He is teaching me continuously to trust Him.
I received a phone call this week from an area newspaper wanting to interview me and my sister for a feature article they will be doing on breast cancer. I don't want to mention which newspaper it is until it happens. They didn't say when they would be publishing it, but I'm suspecting maybe in October since that will be Breast Cancer month. He said he'd been assigning our story to a reporter and we'd be hearing from him. Sheila and I are thrilled to do this. It is a great opportunity to educate and encourage other women. I have prayed for God to use "my story" to help others. And I know He will.
Until next time.....watch for opportunities to be used by God! He will give them to you....be a willing vessel! :=)