Wednesday, July 27, 2011

my ass hurts

Ouch. I've been sitting on my ass for three days now. Ever since I broke my leg on sunday. Yeah I broke my fucking leg. How? I was jogging. Yeah. Fucking jogging. I've played sports since I was practically a baby. Skating, sledding, skiing, rugby, soccer, softball, basketball, volleyball, tennis, snowboarding, street football, british bulldog, mountain biking. I've tried just about everything and I've never broken anything (besides a couple of toes). I didn't know it was even possible to break a leg by jogging. I asked the ortho if maybe my bones are soft from menopause but he said they look fine and it was the force that broke my fibula, not weak bones. I guess it is possible but why couldn't I have broken it by doing something cooler, like mountain biking? I went biking twice last week and that would have made a better story.

So now I have to hobble back to the damn hospital and have surgery. Then nurse the damn thing for 4-6 weeks. I have a transverse, displaced fracture of the fibula. Not supposed to put weight on it so looks like I will be out of work for awhile. That is the problem with having a physical job. When you get hurt, you can't work. My doctor wants me to elevate my leg at least 45 minutes of every hour. I am on my feet all day at work and even if I just pass meds, I need to stand in order to get the meds out of our cart so it isn't going to work out. I hope to be able to get disability while I'm off. I wasn't able to for my june surgery because I hadn't been working in california long enough but now that it is july, I think I will qualify. Even if I didn't have to worry about work, there is the stress of sitting around for 4-6 weeks doing nothing. What to do? I played wii, watched tons of stuff on netflix, wrote in my journal, made some phone calls, read, colored and played computer games. That was all on the first day. Now what??? I'm bored and dw is getting tired of me asking for things every five minutes. Yeah, used to try and do everything on my own and not ask for help. That was like three surgeries ago. I am worried about getting fat and out of shape. Please give me suggestions if you know how to work out without standing up. I need to do something! Maybe I will take this time to learn spanish. Maybe. I do hate studying but maybe if I mix the books in with some spanish soap operas it just might work.

So how did it happen? I hadn't been running since before my boob surgery for one reason or another. Tired from working, blister, lazy, etc. We went biking on saturday and dw is training for a triathlon so we decided to go for a run on sunday. We chose to hit the trails instead of the paved route around the lake. We have some beautiful trails nearby that are great for hiking or running in and go there pretty often. It can be steep and full of tree roots but it hasn't been a problem before. Even for dw who has bad ankles. We walked into the woods for the first five minutes to warm up then started jogging. My ankle actually rolled a little right away and I laughed it off and said to myself that I never get ankles are so tough! Then ran another ten yards or so downhill and my ankle rolled so bad I didn't think it would stop and the pain was immediate. I hopped on my right foot until I came to a stop and haven't put the left foot on the ground since. So there we were, maybe 1/2 mile from the car in the middle of the woods, at the bottom of a hill. I tried hopping back to the car with dw supporting me, and then with a passerby helping but it was too hard. DW wanted to put me on her back and carry me but I wouldn't let her. I was in too much pain and didn't want her to hurt me or herself. I asked her to please just call an ambulance. That is a good sign of how much pain I was in because I hate asking for help but there I was begging for an ambulance. She had to go run back to the parking lot and try and get reception. Luckily, someone was there with a verizon phone and was able to get help. As I lay on the ground waiting, I wished that I had been carrying my pain meds left over from my last surgery.  Many people walked past me and asked if I had help coming. A couple people just ignored me. Nice. Finally, the parks people rolled up in their mule (fancy golf cart) and carted me off to the parking lot where an ambulance came to get me. I was their second victim of the day and they treated a third as I got looked at by the paramedics. Busy day.

Once again, I have many people taking care of me. Especially my dear wife. I was already wondering what I should get for her for taking such good care of me in june. I was just starting to help out again at home but now I can do even less than before. She is waiting on me hand and foot. Kind of hard to even cook for yourself when you need crutches to get around. And I can't even take the dog out. It's hard enough for me to get myself down the stairs. Thank goodness she has summers off from work. I don't know what I'd do without her.

Seriously, I need to find some kind of cushion for my ass. It is killing me.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

I am the lucky one

I've always felt that one day I will win the lottery. It is my destiny. I lead an enchanted life. Always have. When I'd go to the carnivals and play the roulette games, I'd clean up on prizes. Once I went to see a college basketball game and bought a raffle ticket and won a $500 scholarship for college. Good things happen to me and bad things mostly bounce off of me. One time I was riding my bike home when I noticed a car up ahead barreling down a side street towards the road I was on. I had the right of way but decided to stop because I had a bad feeling. The car slammed on its brakes and came to a stop 2 lanes into the oncoming traffic. I have been hit twice on my bike by cars but both times it was just a tap and not enough to hurt me.

One year I almost died 3 times in a matter of months. I say almost because if things happened slightly different, I might not be here. The 1st was as I was just starting to turn left into a parking spot in a narrow alley when a car blew by me out of nowhere, passing me on my left. Saved from impact and sure death by a mere split second. The second time was when I was riding my bike to work and flew over my handlebars landing head first. Thanks be to something it was a rare day in which I was wearing a helmet. I may not have died but I'm sure it would have at least fucked up my weekend! (I have worn a helmet ever since). And the third was the bank robbery. Woman on my left killed, man on my right shot. I walked away with a bandaid.

Just yesterday I avoided a potential accident on my way to work bright and early in the morning. A cop car passed me with their lights flashing and then started swerving all over the highway. No one was in front of me and I was afraid he was trying to pull me over in some strange manner but turns out that he/she was just trying to stop traffic. Up ahead, in the lane that I had been speeding in was a car that had spun out and was blocking one and a half lanes. It was dark and the highway was curvy. The cop did succeed in stopping traffic and we all passed the accident safely. Luck runs through my veins.

And of course when it comes to cancer and this brca mutation, I am one of the lucky ones. My cancer was found so early that I always clarify to people, when they find out, that it was not "serious." Of course it was serious to me and my family and resulted in doing some things that I didn't want to but to the general public it is not the cancer that one thinks of. I did not lose my hair or throw up from chemo (just pain meds and anesthesia). I was never sickly. It hasn't spread. No one told me I was going to die. I didn't have radiation. I didn't even sacrifice any lymph nodes. I had just a touch of cancer in each boob. Just enough that I don't have to do much explaining when people find out about my double mastectomy. I just say I had cancer. And if they ask why I got rid of both boobs I just explain that I had it in both breasts. They accept that answer without any questions. My wondertwin and others like her don't have it so easy. They don't always know how to explain their surgeries. They even get some people treating them rudely because they don't understand why someone would cut off their boobs if they didn't even have cancer. Some cancer survivors or their families treat them harshly because they think they are trying to steal some of their sympathy, I guess? Who is to say whose pain or suffering is worse than another's anyway?! I have to thank my sis-in-law who always supported me during my diagnosis and surgeries despite the fact that her cancer was much worse than mine. Her "lumpectomy" ended up taking most of her breast and her cancer was stage 3 which led to radiation and some awful chemo. She never denied me my pain and anguish.

My poor sis just did a breast cancer walk and when asked at the registration if she was a survivor, she replied that she was a previvor. They looked at her like she was some kind of idiot and she walked away feeling very bad and alone in a sea of pink. But then she remembered that her friends, who raised $20,000 for the cause, were there because of her and for her. My sis and others like her have my utmost admiration. She may not get a pink t-shirt at the walks but I got her a much better shirt that I found at target. We all make tough choices in life. They are choices we have to live with and no one needs to judge us for them. Here is an article that some of you may find inspiring or help you justify your  surgery decisions to others. And hugs to all of you going through something difficult.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

post-surgery pics: unconstructed

It's been 5+ weeks since my surgery. Wow, time does fly! I've already been back to work for over a week now and things are going well there. I was worried that I might not be ready for physical labor because I still haven't reached my full range of motion and I still have some sensitive spots left over from surgery. But I have to say that I think work loosened up things a lot. I haven't been stretching diligently so being active has helped. I don't know if it is a coincidence, but the loosening up also coincided with a decrease in sensitivity. Post-surgery, my skin around the scar, as well as in the areas that tissue was removed was painful to the slightest touch. I still have a couple of sore spots which could be bruising or maybe adhesions and just a little bit of tightness left across my chest. I go to physical therapy tomorrow and hopefully will get some exercises to do so I can get all my range of motion back. Other than that, I think I am all back to normal. Normal. As in pre-brca normal. I feel normal. Normal, normal, normal. It feels good to move on. No more doctors, no more tests, no more cancer boobs to check. Well, still need to feel the leftovers up once in awhile but really not much to worry about anymore. I do miss them in the bedroom but c'est la vie. It has not affected me mentally as much as I feared. I have not been horrified to look at myself in the mirror or walk around my house without a shirt on. We (dw and I) are already pretty used to the new look. It is a leaner, harder look. No fatty flesh up top. I look kind of like a prepubescent girl (with a middle age gut).

I have attached a bunch of pics, mainly for those who are also considering the no reconstruction route. I have taken some in a swimsuit and swim shirt because of something my previous surgeon said. She told me that many young women are not happy without reconstruction and that one of the things they were uncomfortable with was how they would look in a swimsuit. Ha! How many women really are comfortable in a swimsuit regardless of breast surgery??? I can say I've never been overjoyed in a one -piece. I only wear those to the gym and then pull my towel off at the last minute and melt into the safety of the water. Once in the water, I figure the distortion will make everything look fine. Don't correct me if I'm wrong. Other than that, I like to wear board shorts and a bikini top or shirt at the beach. I've tried on my bikini tops and don't think even the tightest sports bra type will stay put with much movement because there is nothing to hold it there. I think a tankini will work just fine and the surf shirt is a definite go. You can see my scar and drain scar sticking out from my one-piece but the fit is still good over all. If showing scars concerns you, look for a suit with more coverage. Also remember that the scars will flatten out and fade with time. As for t-shirts, the ones that were a little too big before are way too big now. My belly is more noticeable now, at least to me. It always stuck out a little. I think my sternum juts out a lot now but I know what to look for. I haven't noticed too many people staring at me like I'm a freak so that is a good sign.