My reason for fighting

She awoke suddenly, the pain in her chest causing her to tighten her upper body to help alleviate the sharp pain. A few seconds tick by slowly and the feeling begins to subside. She waits another moment before loosening the grip her muscles have on her chest. Laying there for a moment as if frozen in time, she debates whether or not she should attempt to move her body in an effort to alleviate the pressure she feels across her ribs. Glancing at her water cup through the corner of her right eye, she decides on a short walk to stretch her body slightly and grab some water, hoping the extra hydration may aid in calming her muscles.

Ever so slowly, she moves her legs first, one at a time. As she shifts her body in preparation to sit up, the muscles across her left side tighten again and she stops moving to allow the pain to dissipate. She awaits a few seconds and slowly pushes up with her right arm, while keeping her left side as still as possible. Sliding off the side of the bed, her feet touch the floor and remain there for another moment to allow her body to adjust to sitting up. She reaches for the cup with her right hand, careful not to move her left arm, but the act of reaching causes her chest muscle to spasm again. This time she fights through the pain and grabs her cup and stands in one fluid motion, hoping to prevent another spasm as her muscles calm again.

She shuffles slowly to the kitchen, trying to keep her back as straight as possible as she walks. Reaching the kitchen without incident, she fills her cup and begins the walk back to her bedroom. The house is completely dark with night and she is careful not to bump into the toys that scatter the floor.

Entering her bedroom, she shifts to the left and stops suddenly as another spasm pulses through. The pain shoots quickly across the left side of her chest and down her arm. She clenches her teeth and waits for the muscles to calm again, trying to control her breathing. When she begins walking again, she uses the light from the window to guide her towards the bed. Setting the water down, she moves her body so it is facing away from the bed and sits on the edge. Taking a deep breath, she slowly shifts backwards while using her right hand to guide her towards her pillow. As she turns slightly, another shot of pain courses through her chest. She once again pauses and waits for the muscles to calm before moving. Her pillows are leaning against the wall, allowing her to scoot backwards a little more before leaning against the pillow. Her muscles begin to relax, allowing the pillows to support her.

She leans her head back and is grateful to only feel the pressure in her chest now and not the pain of her muscles stretching. Reaching slowly with her right arm, she grabs the cup and drinks down half of the water she poured. Setting it back down, she breathes in; careful not to pull too much air into her lungs so she doesn’t cause another spasm.

I don’t know how much more I can take. She thinks to herself, fighting back the tears that sting her eyes. She is wide awake now and knows that sleep will not come easily. What if this pain doesn’t stop? She questions, wondering if it will ease over the coming days like the pressure in her chest typically does. Stop thinking like that! She yells in her head. You have to do this! You have to push through the pain! She breathes in again and exhales slowly, wiping at her eyes.

Moving her head slightly to the left, she glances at the figures that lay beside her. Her little man is snuggled against her husband, his tiny hands laying against his chest as it rises and falls to the rhythm of a deep sleep. The starlight from the window cascades across the bedroom, allowing her to see their faces as they lay dreaming beside her. She studies them both, imaging what they are dreaming about.

My boys. She smiles to herself. My reason for fighting.

Reaching slowly to her right again, this time she picks up a book and attaches a nighttime reading lamp to the back cover. Clicking it on, she adjusts the light and begins to read. She loses herself in the story, while distracting herself from the pain.

Drains, drains, go away!

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For today’s update, I’m going to describe the drains a bit. This is your warning ahead of time, for anyone that may not be interested in hearing about that side of the recovery process (it’s slightly graphic).  :mrgreen:

After surgery, aside from the tissue expanders, I had 3 drains attached to me. One was on my right and 2 were on my left (one for the mastectomy and one for the lymph node removal).  These drains are attached to tubes that are inside of my body.  These tubes carry fluid and tissue out of my body and into the drains.  For the past 2 weeks, I’ve been carrying around these drains attached to my little tool belt. It may look like a fashion statement but it’s purposeful….you know, to carry my cell phone.  😉

Twice a day (3 times initially), Joe takes an alcoholic wipe and strips the tubes. He breaks up any tissue that is stuck in the tubes and moves along any fluid that is stuck in them.  Then he empties the drains into little measuring cups and writes down the amount of fluid in each cup and disposes of it.  Once the fluid is less than 30 cc for 24 hours, the drains can be removed. Every day I feel like a kid, anxious to see my output in the hopes of getting below that magic number.

It’s not that the drains are painful, they’re just awkward and a little itchy. I have to be careful everytime I move to be sure I don’t accidentally tug on one and pull it out or make it start to bleed.  There is 1 stitch holding each tube in place at my side and then a large piece of tape covering the opening. My skin is still recovering from chemo treatment so it is easily irritated by the tape.

So as you can imagine, I was very excited today to have not just 1 but 2 of the 3 drains removed! Yay!  The other one should be out by Friday.

It’s just another moment on this journey that I feel progress being made in my recovery and I can’t help but smile at that!  Plus, the surgical tape covering my incisions was removed today so I was able to see the full effect of the incisions from surgery. I am pleasantly surprised and have to agree with my breast care surgeon when she says the plastic surgeon does beautiful work!

Happy Monday friends!