Ups and Downs

By | Mon January 5, 2015

Healing is full of ups and downs. One day you are doing really well, and then then next, not so much.

Saturday I really over did it. I walked over 5km, then went to two support groups (so sitting for 4 hours).

To top that off, I tried to taper my overnight pain meds …

It didn’t work out so well. We had planned on being up early on Sunday in preparation for Scott going back to work Monday (we need to ensure routines are in place so that I’ve showered and had all my dressings changed before he goes to work). Of course that didn’t happen. I didn’t sleep well (less pain meds after a long day) – so we didn’t get up early, and I ended up taking it easy most of Sunday and still spent a bit more time that I would have like wishing for more pain meds.

On one of the Facebook groups that I following, someone posted this video that graphically shows a procedure pretty similar to what I have (I’m pretty sure that my plastic surgeon didn’t cut out a piece of my rib but we’ll check that today!) – http://mdvideocenter.brighamandwomens.org/specialties/cancer/deep-inferior-epigastric-perforator-diep-flap-breast-reconstruction – I caution you to only watch this video if you want to see the procedure from the surgeon’s perspective – this is NOT a patient education video. I made through about 1/2 the video the first time before I had to stop. It was just too much. It did, however, help to explain why I’m feeling belly button pain (that is pain, inside where my belly button is). It does help to appreciate just how involved this surgery is, and why it might take a while to deal with the pain of healing.

I don’t tollerate pain well, but also, I tolerate the pain meds too well – such that I need stronger pain meds in order for them to be effective. It isn’t a great combination – but I’ve decided that I’m not going to keep playing this game. I’m not going to keep trying to taper the pain meds too soon while still pushing myself to get exercise – the combination doesn’t work … we shall try to keep the exercise to a 5km (3mile) walk each day and taper the meds slowly. I feel strong and pretty good when I have enough pain meds in me .. otherwise, I feel tired and sore all over but in particular my skin between my breasts is highly sensitive such that anything touching or rubbing it hurts …

Today we see the plastic surgeon for follow up. I’m looking forward to hearing what she has to say. When in the hospital it was comforting to see my surgeon daily or every other day … it is much harder to go for a week without seeing a surgeon to ensure the wounds are healing. Looking at the photos, it looks like my incisions are healing nicely – if you want to see a photo, here is the link for today’s incision documentation – http://dttocs.smugmug.com/photos/i-c4zM5nH/0/M/i-c4zM5nH-M.jpg – warning, it is graphic.

Healing on the outside doesn’t really tell you how well I’m healing on the inside. My incisions may not hurt (actually other than the outer parts of the abdominal incision, I don’t actually have feeling yet for the incisions that need the most healing – but I do feel a general pain on the inside – like my insides have been turned upside down and backwards and are still settling into their new locations … so the pain is mostly on the inside which makes it difficult to describe.

But with each day, I’m getting stronger – feeling more energy (except Sunday) … so as long as I don’t over do, then I shall be fine. Crossing my finders I get these drains out soon and ride the trike on the weekend (since I need Scott to lift it in and out of the door and maneuver it through the elevator. Too bad it doesn’t have a reverse gear!

2 thoughts on “Ups and Downs

  1. scottx5

    Rebecca, going to take a couple of tries to get through the video though I think I can do it. My abdominal scar especially around my navel is odd looking and now it’s clearer why that is. My navel is also smaller and probably no longer my best feature:-)

    Still being on chemo I’ve been attributing my scattered brain to the infusions. Thinking about it after reading this posting though it seems to be the lack of routine and not the chemicals. My chemo makes me sensitive to the cold so being between minus 20 and minus 30 right now it isn’t possible to go outside. Hopefully with Leslie going back to work some routines will return. Also it seems that not taking the pills to tone down the side effects (except as needed) puts things out of balance too.

    I get mixed messages on how much activity it good or bad but for an active person like you maybe pushing a bit too hard is better for your head and your body can catch up?

    Reply
  2. Kirstin

    Hey, Becky, something I learned between the pelvic surgery in 2002 and the abdominal surgery in 2011 was that keeping up with the pain meds meant that overall I took them for less time, and therefore less overall. My last surgery, the nurses were getting concerned that I was going to get hooked because I kept asking for more… and then the day I had said I would be ready to stop, I stopped. No problems.

    Work with what you know your body needs more than what the books say.

    And I feel you on the inside pain– 2 grapefruit-sized cysts removed and everything shifted around to compensate and was NOT comfortable. Your surgery was more involved, so more of that. May I send Jedi hugs?

    Reply

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