Christmas … and four months post surgery update

Anna, me and Paula

Anna, me and Paula at the Christmas table

Hope this finds everyone happy with their Christmas celebrations. We had a lovely time, joined by my two sisters, Anna and Paula. And of course, Martha and Lou were watching over all of us, wherever we happened to be!

On Christmas night I was so exhausted, it felt like a wave of fatigue had hit me like a truck! Clearly I’m still not up for a lot of running around and it was another reminder post surgery that “it ain’t over yet!” I went to see James, my surgeon last Friday for a final check up, and he reinforced this too. Prior to the surgery, he told me that this double mastectomy/ reconstruction was a twelve month process. I had been thinking he just meant what he’d told me about the anesthetic (and consequent tiredness) taking about a year to be out of your system, and that I would require follow up “touch up” surgery some time next year. However, I asked him about my abdomen, which is still very hard, uncomfortable and tight, and he tells me that this will take NINE TO TWELVE MONTHS to soften up and regain any sensitivity!! Even then, it will never feel the same. Also, because I had a small part of my abdominal muscles removed, I can expect very little core strength while the healing is underway. I cannot sit up from lying flat on my back without grabbing on to something for support, despite daily exersizes. This is in addition to my numb breasts, which may regain a little feeling over the next twelve to eighteen months, but again, will never be sensitive like before. So this news was a little confronting. I thought that by now I’d be feeling pretty much healed up.

This healing is a L-O-N-G process, inside and out. My abdomen feels pretty hard and stretched across my hips, as it would do when you have had a big chunk taken out of it and then had it stretched and re-stitched I suppose. Just thought I’d share that for anyone else heading down the same track. Not that I’d make a different decision had I known all this, but, really, it is not good! I’m not thrilled about another year or so of discomfort I’d have to say. It’s not painful – but it is uncomfortable and I suppose no one would be delighted to live with numb breasts and a stiff lower abdomen if they didn’t have to! But that’s where you can expect to be at, four months post surgery (which it will be for me tomorrow): plenty of numbness, some discomfort and tiredness, the big healing done, and lots of minor healing, and another touch up surgery to go.  Looking okay from the outside, not feeling totally fab on the inside!

So now I’m thinking bring on NEXT Christmas, when I can expect to be feeling half “normal” again. Never the same, sensitivity lost, but scars well healed, looking pretty much like myself and, most importantly, breast cancer free (That’s the main thing! Hooray for that too!)

Love to all for the holidays



Paula painting in our "Boxing Day" art workshop!

Paula painting in our “Boxing Day art workshop”!

Paula's art (top) and mine (bottom) in progress ...

Paula’s art (top) and mine (bottom) in progress …

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