Thursday, March 24, 2011

These boots were made for walking

Its been one week since surgery and I feel pretty good.  Overall, I have to say that surgery was much easier than I expected it to be.  I never really felt like complete crap afterward and with the exception of being tired or being sore, I've felt great from the start of recovery.  Once again, this whole experience has been defined by the notion that nothing is as bad as what I anticipate before hand -- which is great!

After my surgery on St. Patrick's Day, I spent the night in the hospital and was discharged the following day around noon.  Since then, I've been quietly recovering at home and going to follow-up doctor's appointments. The drugs they gave me really made me feel great (but sleepy) for the first few days.  I'm not on quite as much now, but I am holding on to the pain medication.  :o)  I still have tubes sticking out of me, which are highly annoying.  They are there to drain excess fluid from the surgical site, but I'm very ready to have them gone.  I'm pretty sure I'll be able to have one removed tomorrow, but I fear I may be living with the other one for a few more days.

As I've been sitting at home, I've been catching up on my day time television.  I'm really enjoying the home improvement and landscaping shows and I've also just discovered this very entertaining blog:  Perhaps some DIY projects are in my future.

I've also seen substantial hair growth over the last couple weeks.  Its still very early, but I hope to have enough to have a real head covering do in the next month.  I'm crossing my fingers anyway.

I mentioned earlier that I've been going to doctors appointments while I'm recovering.  Yesterday I went to see my oncologist for the first time since I finished chemo.  She had the results of my pathology report from the surgery and then news was very surprising.  I knew at the time of my surgery that my lymph nodes initially came back clear (only 2 were removed), but they did further testing afterward.  It turns out that my lymph nodes are completely clear and that my tumor was mostly DCIS (pre-cancerous cells) and just little specks of invasive cancer, which is fantastic.  Now because of these two findings and the fact that I had a mastectomy and removed all of my breast tissue, I found out that I no longer need to have radiation.  I'm so happy that I can cut that phase of treatment out of my plan and start moving toward the end.  This means I can have my reconstruction completed sooner and most importantly, can start making plans for the next few months since I know I won't have to work around a daily radiation schedule.  So once Ben is finished with tax season we might actually be able to take a trip somewhere or take a long weekend, something we haven't been able to do since last summer. 

I also received my prescription for Tamoxifen, which is the final stage of my treatment.  Its a pill that I will take for up to 5 years and it is used to block estrogen and prevent estrogen positive cancer cells from growing.  It does have some side effects, like hot flashes, but I'm hoping for the best.

It's weird to think that with the exception of taking a pill and some additional cosmetic reconstruction, my treatment is essentially over, especially when I was prepared for more.  But even though I'm coming to the end of my active treatment, I'm still not ready to be done with the cause.  I'm still looking to connect with others who are going through this and to help anyone diagnosed in the future.  I a lot left to contribute.  So as a capstone to my initial fight and as a stepping off point for the next phase, I'm planning to participate in the 2011 Susan G. Komen Global Race for the Cure.  Since I'm still recovering from treatment, I'm only planning to participate in the 5k walk, but I'm hoping to enlist everyone who has supported me over the last few months to join me. 

So here come my plea: if you are able, please go to this link and sign up to join my team for the walk on June 4 in Washington DC (and please feel free to invite anyone else to join who may be interested).

If you can't join but would like to contribute to our team, then of course I welcome that support as well.  I hope that we can turn this day into a celebration to mark the end of my treatment and walk together for a great cause. 

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