Archives for posts with tag: fitness

Good morning sunshine!

I’m up and blogging because trying to get this done at night never works as of late!  I am now 43 days past my nipple reconstruction and 142 days since my Stage 1 bilateral prophylactic mastectomy and DIEP flap breast reconstruction!  It’s hard to believe that 5 months ago I was a nervous and emotional wreck worried about the outcome of all of this.  And here I sit, just peachy keen (well, a  little sleepy with messy hair, but otherwise peachy).

So I have had to doctor’s appointments since my last blog post.  The first was with my breast oncologist, Dr. Larissa Korde of Seattle Cancer Care Alliance.  I met with her for ONE LAST TIME! just as a follow up and baseline assessment post bilateral prophylactic mastectomy and DIEP flap breast reconstruction.  Just as I was with my last visit with Dr. Sarah Javid, I felt very fortunate to have Dr. Korde taking care of me and screening me while I waited for a decision about what to do with my BRCA1 mutation and those damned boobs.  I saw Dr. Korde every six months for screening, either in the form of a mammogram or a breast MRI.  Now that I no longer have my natural breasts, I do not need a breast oncologist or breast cancer screenings!  What a relief!  As I’ve written before, there was such a  lingering feeling of doom every time I went in for my screenings. I just knew that that appointment would be the one at which I found out that I had dilly-dallied too long and this genetic mutation had manifested in breast cancer.  I would go through so many emotions waiting for my screening appointment and be upset with myself for not having our lives together and situated well enough to have the bilateral prophylactic mastectomy and DIEP flap reconstruction.  I knew that this process was going to ask so much of my husband, our family, loving friends, and our two little girls.  With the benefit of hindsight, I know that I didn’t misjudge the level of upheaveal my surgery would cause in our lives.  We needed a lot of help with the girls, and I can’t thank our family and friends enough for helping us.  Everyone was so supportive and wonderful; I was (and still am) stunned at how genuinely concerned, caring, and helpful everyone has been.  And, here I am, on the outcome end of all of this and feeling great about my choices and my surgeries.

Dr. Korde discharged me from her care and referred me to the wellness clinic at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, where I will continue to go for my CA125 marker blood draws and pelvic ultrasounds to monitor the health of my ovaries since they, too, are at risk for developing cancer.  At our last appointment together, Dr. Korde performed a brief “breast” exam.  In true compliment to Dr. Otway Louie and his team, she asked me if I had the skin sparing AND nipple sparing mastectomy.  So, kudos to Dr. Louie for giving me such realistic, reconstructed nipples that they fooled a fellow physician!  Dr. Korde asked me if I had any concerns at that time, and my only concern was this arc shaped band of thick scar tissue that’s formed underneath my left noob.  It didn’t form (or at least noticeably form) until after my stage 2 revision surgery.  It’s about the thickness of a finger and runs from the side of my noob adjacent to my armpit all the way under the flap.  I noticed it when toweling off one day and that my pectoral muscle was uncomfortable in that same area whenever I raised my arm overhead.  Dr. Korde felt it and said that it did feel “different” to her.  She said that I’d probably be able to break it up with deep tissue massage or another modality, but to first ask Dr. Louie about it.  She said that I could have additional imaging done at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance if Dr. Louie was concerned about the scar tissue.  So, that got me all riled up because I was worried that I would have to undergo yet another procedure to address this weird band of scar tissue.

I then saw Dr. Louie on Monday, July 30, for our follow up.  I told him about my scar tissue, he performed a quick physical exam, and told me that I could simply start massaging it to break it up.  Relief!  Simplicity is so amazing at times like these.  At the time of my follow up with Dr. Louie, all but about 6 of my stitches had fallen out.  His resident removed the last danglers and, alas, stitch and bitch free!!!  If I do say so myself, these reconstructed nipples are pretty convincing.  During my healing, I was really worried that I wouldn’t guard them enough and would end up with flattened out newpples.  I spent a number of weeks looking like I was wearing Madonna’s long lost cone bra from the early 90’s because I was so padded up with protection around my newpples.  But it was totally worth the numerous confused and questioning looks receieved whenever I went out in a fitting t-shirt.  I have a little bit of projection and don’t look like I’m REALLY EXCITED to see everyone.  The circular shaped scar I have from my nipple reconstruction is different enough from the surrounding skin on my noob to look like arealos that are simply the same color as my noob.  My areolar tattoo appointment is on October 1, so I have a couple of months with no noob/newpple action to enjoy with our family.

I wanted to add in this post another testament to the great work of my reconstructive surgeon.  As with every blog post, I included photos of my recovery process on my last blog update.  I have done this throughout my process.  I have always included photos of my noobs, but it wasn’t until my last post with photos of my healing newpples, that I was flagged on Facebook.  My blog feeds to my Twitter, which feeds to my Facebook.  I found it interesting that up until that point, my noobs were of no concern to whomever flagged my last post on Facebook (which was later removed from my feed).  But, my convincing, reconstructed newpples are the official point of controversy.  I was very much testing the waters to see when, if ever, someone would think that the noobs were looking too much like the real thing.  So, in the words of Billy Blanks, Tae Bo – now you know!

Again, I can’t say that you enough to all of my physicians.  Dr. Javid did an amazing job on my mastectomy; my recovery and healing went really well due, in large part, to effective yet gentle touch.  Dr. Louie’s DIEP flap reconstruction is nothing short of phenomenal; the proof is in the pictures (no pudding, please!).  And, I have to say, I miss seeing Dr. Daniel Liu, who was Dr. Louie’s plastic surgery resident.  Everytime I had an appointment with Drs. Louie and Liu, it was so great to see him.  He is a great guy and surgeon.  He took mercy on my near pulsating anxiety and started to follow my blog when we were gearing up for surgery or shortly thereafter.  All of my rambling questions, my middle of the night concerns (both founded and, sometimes, just wild), and nervous energy just sent out to the ether…Dr. Liu was kind enough to send a note here and there to address them.  I have heard that many people are paying a pretty penny to have a Concierge Physician service.  I am not one of those people, but Dr. Liu was there for me free of charge.  It was, and is, such an amazing thing to have a physician so involved.  I feel, a lot of times, that when I’m out of a doctor’s office, that’s it for my concerns until the next appointment.  I don’t know if I was a particularly anxious patient or Dr. Liu is just a super nice guy, but either way I’m entirely grateful for his extensive care and attentiveness during my surgeries and recovery.  I believe he and his family are now in Chicago enjoying more of a summer than we’re having this year.  I hope his patients realize what a gem they’ve received from our Emerald City, and I hope he’s absolutely loving his new job.  But, I just wanted to send a huge thank you out there, in case he still reads this, for all of his help.

So, now for the photographic evidence of all of these doctors’ great work!  My abdomen incision is also looking really great.  Because I have several scars that have kiloided over my lifetime, I asked Dr. Louie what to do about my scarring.  He gave me a reference sheet for a product I can look into that may help me prevent this on my abdominal scar.  Once I’ve bought and tried this, I’ll post progress pictures if there’s a noticeable difference.  Right now I’m just trying to keep a good SPF on my scar and am wearing a new, one piece swimsuit that is UPF 50 to try and prevent my scar from getting any darker.

Next procedure up:  Areolar tattooing – October 1, 2012.

07/31/12 – Incision

07/31/12 – Incision, L side

07/31/12 – Incision, R side

07/31/12 – Noobs!

07/31/12 – L Noob + Newpple, upclose & personal!

07/31/12 – R Noob + Newpple, upclose.  Controversial!

Prince, Controversy

I have started and re-started this post several times since my last post.  Blogging is hard when you’re going nuts.  Sometimes the hours, minutes, days, or weeks just meld into one big crazy.  This weekend we had a family emergency/scare.  My mom, who lives in Las Vegas with my sister Tessa, was home alone cleaning the blinds, or something equally weird, on top of a ladder.  She fell off of the ladder (!) and broke her shoulder, arm, maybe her elbow, and fibula.  She has been in the hospital all weekend, and yesterday she had surgery to put a plate and some screws in her arm.  She is doing better, but what a scare.   I inherited the uncanny ability to suffer self inflicted injuries in crazy circumstances from our mom. So what exactly she thought would come of being at the top of the ladder, at the top of a staircase, by herself is a mystery to us all.  But we’re glad that she’s alive and recovering in the semi-comfort of a good hospital in LV.  My aunt Robin, my mom’s sister, is also in the hospital after being rear ended yesterday afternoon.  I haven’t spoken with my Uncle this morning, but I’m hoping that Robin is doing better and at home.

So, it seems that me going in for surgery on Friday will complete the “It comes in 3’s” circle (hope, hope, hope).  I am a little bit more anxious this week with the surgery in my sights.  I’m not nervous about the surgery; I’m nervous about getting our house in order before Friday, completing my errands, and stocking the fridge/freezer.  My MIL, Irene, arrives Thursday night to take care of the girls (and Mike) while I’m in the hospital on Friday, but then it’s back to just the 4 of us on the weekend.  I’m hopeful that this “minor” reworking doesn’t slow me down too much.  I’m basically getting the weekend to recover, and then we’re back in full swing with life and the girls’ activities come Monday.  I’ve not yet had a “meltdown”, but I definitely feel like I’m running out of time before the newpples land.

People respond differently to stressful situations; it’s part of who we are.  My response, learned from our dad, is to do something – ANYTHING other than just get in the hamster wheel and run in circles.  I guess that’s why I’m trying to knock out 1,000 hours of projects, errands, and preparation in 168 hours’ time.  I learned from my Stage 1 bilateral mastectomy and DIEP flap reconstruction process that I am more afraid of the unknown than pain.  Pain can be treated.  When there’s a bunch of unknowns in my future (recovery time, outcome, physical limitations, etc.), I feel like I need to over prepare for the worst.  I guess I’m a pessimist in that manner; I expect and prepare for the worst.  Luckily, in such situations,  my husband is an optomist.  This works out well for our family because it usually means that only one of us is losing our mental capacity at a time.

Speaking of working out, I’m in my last week of post-op-pre-op workouts.  Yesterday, I made 15 horrific attempts at pull-ups, completing only one full pull up.  It was a total bummer, but it gives me something to set my sights on once I’m done with medically prescribed taking it easy. I only have to take 2 weeks off of physical activity, but then I have to limit my work outs until my newpples are settled in.

“If you can’t fly, then run.  If you can’t run, then walk.  If you can’t walk, then crawl.  But whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”




So, here I am getting closer to being finished and fine…


06/18/12 – Frontal

06/18/12 – Noobs


06/18/12 – Abd. Scar, left side


06/18/12 – Abd. Scar, right side


Inserting a bit of prosthetic humor, if you will…


06/18/12 – Wonky newpples


Almost Total Recall.

06/18/12 – Wonky newpples 2


This is where they were ~10 years ago, before they decided to move south…

06/18/12 – Wonky newpples 3



So the countdown for the next phase is underway.  Wish as I might, this is not the final countdown.  After I have my “newpples” manufactured , I’ll need to have areolae tattoos done once they (newpples) are healed.  I’m hopeful that will then be the end of my journey, but I know myself to be overly optimistic (if that is what you would call it) about these things.  I’d liken it to when my husband and I thought we could survive our first week (and beyond) with newborn twins without any support or help from friends, family, or a doula.  Or like how I thought I would somehow set a world record of sorts and recover from my bilateral mastectomy and DIEP flap reconstruction in 4 weeks (I mean fully recover).  So while you may read this and think, “Aaaah, so she knows better NOW!”, I do not.  I’m hoping that my loss of sensation due to the mastectomy will equal very little (if any) pain.  While I don’t know how much healing time freshly manufactured nipples require, I don’t foresee myself being as drained and exhausted as I was when I underwent my stage one surgeries.

Drs. Louie and Liu seemed to be of the same mind about my recovery time frame this go round when we had my follow-up/pre-op appointment.   The part that is driving me a little crazy is the evening out that needs to go on with my noobs and my abdominal scar revision.  My left one is fuller and bigger than the right, so the left noob will be lipo-sculpted (maybe?) so that it is closer to the size and shape of the right one.  I watch not a lot, but enough, reality television to know that liposuction is a mutha.  But I’m not having the last 20 years’ carbohydrates vacuumed out of me (’cause that shit doesn’t happen free of charge); just the last quarter’s excess noob. As for my abdominal scar, the corners are a bit puckered and dark.  I think Dr. Louie will do an abdominal scar revision to try to and improve the aesthetic of those areas and not much else.

As I told Drs. Javid, Louie and Liu (and anyone else who will listen, read, endure), I have had a really easy and excellent process so far.  Writing that and saying it makes me feel like I’m jinxing myself and something truly horrid will arrive at my feet (triple nipple, anyone?).  But, I have to air it out.  What I did learn after going through stage 1 is that talking about these feelings, neuroses, thoughts, et cetera really takes the fear out of the unknown.  So, thank you for enduring all of my Stage 1 crazy.  I will now shut up about it.  Strap yourself in for endless (well, like every 48-72 hours) babbling about newpples, areaolae, the triple nipple and the unforeseeable nooby future!




You know what is foreseeable?  THIS…




05/28/12 – Flaps

05/28/12 – L flap

05/28/12 – R flap

05/28/12 – Abdominal scar

05/28/12 – L side of abdominal scar

05/28/12 – R side of abdominal scar






I was all ready to blow up this ish last night with a new blog post…and then ALL of our utilities were on the fritz and conspired against my new blog post.  There were several times during last night and very early this morning when nothing in this house was working; no water, power, phone, internet, magic box.  So, no blog post yesterday but nothing Earth shattering happened.

Yesterday I had another workout with Paul.  Since my physical therapy re-check wasn’t until today (after my workout), he took it easy on my upper body so I wouldn’t be super sore at my PT appointment today.  The obvious conclusion is that my lower body is now stiff as a board and creaky today.  I have always had pretty strong legs, but I felt like I really dialed in my leg strength and muscle tone before my surgery because I was preparing for being unable to use my upper body for strength, balance or anything really post-op.  So trying to get back to where I was before surgery now is really hard.  My balance, strength, endurance, and cardio feel so lame right now.  I knew well beforehand that I was going to have a long way to recovery, but I did (and still do) expected more of myself, I guess.  I just wanted so badly to not have to work this hard to get back to me.  I hoped/thought/demanded it would be easier and faster because I am unreasonable impatient and eager to move on with life.  I guess it’s better than being where I worried I might end up post-op, which was deep in self-image depression.  But, luckily, I had none of that.

Today my physical therapy appointment was ho-hum.  I gained about 15 degrees of motion on my left side since my last appointment, and I was given a few exercises to do over the next two weeks with only 1 or 2 lbs of weight added to start building my strength back up.  2 lbs doesn’t seem like much when I’m hauling our almost 30 lbs daughters around.  But it feels significant in different positions or while going through certain exercises.

Tomorrow…whew.  Tomorrow I have a busy day.  I have to see my breast oncologist at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance for (hopefully) my last visit to a breast oncologist EVER.  How exciting is that?  But after that I have to go into work for the rest of the day and (at some point later on), I need to make dinner for us and a couple of dinner guests, clean up, and pack us up for Vegas to see my family on Friday!  This will be the first time we’re going on an airplane together as a family.  We leave on Friday morning, so send me all of your good-traveling-juju and sage advice about being on planes with toddlers.  Please and thank you!


And now…




05/16/12 – Frontal

05/16/12 – Flaps

05/16/12 – Left

05/16/12 – Right

05/16/12 – Abdominal scar


If you’re reading along you’ll notice that my post from yesterday didn’t publish until today (just before this one).  That’s because I had a DEFCON4 freak out last night due to what I thought was my continued trouble with WordPress.  It wasn’t until today when I went into our garage that I realized my snail’s pace upload speed, time-outs and overall “www” troubles were because of a problem in our electrical panel with the wireless router.  So, it’s a double doozy this evening.

Also, in uploading my post from yesterday I noticed that I forgot to mention my first foray into having the Noobs publicly nude and noticed.  Well, kind of publicly nude.  We were in the locker room after the girls’ swimming lesson, post shower, and getting dressed.  I usually just face the wall when I’m getting dressed in the locker room, but Yaya was going all daredevil on the bench while I was trying to put my top on.  So I had to turn around, facing the other locker room occupants topless.  And nipple-less.  I’d like to believe that the mom across the way from me would be mortified if she could see the look on her own face when she saw me.  Being that we’ve been in swim lessons for over 6 months with basically the same moms and kids, the other moms in our group most likely noticed when I was not at lessons with our girls.  I’m sure after my only-very-noticeable abdominal scar was spotted last week, they all assumed I had a very rough tummy tuck.  But after yesterday and the cartoonish, popped out eyes I received, I’m sure there is a mind reeling with questions about my Barbie noobs.

It didn’t really bother me when I noticed the other mom staring.  I figured it would happen sooner or later, but it did throw me off a little.  I mean, typically, I’m cool as a summer squash whilst nude and ogled in semi-public settings.  It did bother me when I thought about our girls.  Not in the sense that I worry about my girls seeing me and staring.  I mean it in that I worry about either (or both) of our girls having to go through this, and someone staring at them after their first phase of surgery.  As a mother, a lot of things bring out the Mama Bear in me.  Someone shooting an awkward look at either of my girls for any reason raises my hackles.  It also gave me a push towards my nipple reconstruction, which is quickly approaching. I am confident that my noobs will look more like boobs with reconstructed nipples.  (Tangent:  What will I call the reconstructed nipples?  Ripples?  RecoNipples?)  I also want to go through with the nipple reconstruction in case anyone in my family has to do this.  I want to be a good example of the end result.  If, unfortunately, one of our girls has to do this – I want them to have a wealth of information about this, as well as a living, breathing, aging example.

In the words of Snoop Dogg, “But, uh, back to the lecture at hand”.  Today was my gym day.  I feel like we did a ton of squatting, lunging, and some stretching of my upper body.  I had, by no means, an easy workout –  just different.  It is hard for me to be accepting of my limitations and the physical set backs that came with my surgery.  I wish I could tell you that I was doing push ups, pull ups, dumbbell flies and the like, but I’m not.  Just working to increase my range of motion gets my heart rate up, and today I was pouring sweat using the TRX bands to stretch my chest after our workout.  I have lost a lot of muscle from my legs and muscle definition all around, but it will come back.  I am sore tonight, kind of from head to toe.  I’m so surprised at how even a slow paced work out takes so much out of me both during the work out and over the course of the remaining day.  As it has been a running theme in this recovery for me, I am aware that I need to practice patience and acceptance.  Having stated that, I would like to draw attention to the fact that my patience and acceptance are typically allotted to my children and not for myself!  But I’m trying.  I am a work in progress in so many different facets.  But, aren’t we all?  (This is where the resounding ‘YES’ should come in.)  I’ll be back at it with Paul on Friday and, hopefully, a little bit closer to ass-kicking condition than I am today.  Until then, I’m just going to rely on my 2-ton vehicle as my method of self defense.  So LOOK OUT!



So…I didn’t post yesterday.  With being back at work, getting back into my “physical” routine, and being pretty far along in my healing – my days aren’t very “content rich” for the intended audience of this blog.  Which is good news for me, but this far into my recovery it isn’t really “newsworthy”.

I feel pretty good 90% of the day.  There is a lot that I can do today that I couldn’t do two weeks ago.  There was a lot that I did last week that I couldn’t do the prior month.  A lot of these things I am able to do pain free or almost pain free.  It requires something really unexpected and jarring, or something intended to challenge me, to produce a pain response.  Interacting with our daughters often produces this set of circumstances because twin toddlers are innately wild, spontaneous, rough and fun.  So, while I have had a few incidences of pain in my days lately, they’re not the norm.

Discomfort is something that is part of my nights.  Things like poor posture, really pushing myself with my PT stretches or exercises, really aggressive play (usually tossing the girls up in the air), and weight lifting cause me discomfort in the evenings.  It (discomfort) doesn’t occur anywhere new or unexpected, and it is waning.  I still also cannot sleep on my left side.  A combination of having more swelling on my left side (still) and tender spots prevent me from staying on that side of my body for any extent of time.  This doesn’t really interfere with my life.  It interferes with my desire to be the big spoon when it’s spooning time at night (but so does my husband’s pride).

The newsworthy item that I have tonight is that I rode my bike to and from the office (a/k/a my own “wheelz of steel”).  It’s been a long time since I was last on my bike because Seattle’s winter drizzle is endless and I am mostly a fair weather cyclist/runner/fan/human.  But it was mostly significant because I previously had pain in my underarms and underneath my flaps post-op whenever I put pressure or weight down on my hands for a length of time.  Being that I am not an avid cyclist and still push down on my handlebars a lot, I thought I’d be uncomfortable on this ride.  Gladly, I had no pain in my upper body.  My abdominal incision scar is a little tender tonight.  Since there are still some parts of my scar that are pretty taut, any activity that involves a lot of repetitive flexion and extension of my legs really aggravates my scar.  The flexion/extension sort of stretches out my abdominal region, then area around my scar and surrounding it becomes hyper sensitive and tender, but usually settles down after a day or two.  The scar tissue on my right side is always more tender than the left, and I think that is because that part of my scar is higher and sets right where my pants rub it whenever I move.

Tomorrow, I may have shed some tears.  I’m back at the gym with Paul tomorrow and I think we’re going to try some more strength training.  I’ve lost a lot of muscle mass, tone, definition…existence.  I’m so glad that I went into my surgery so healthy.  I can’t emphasize enough what a difference this made in my recovery.  And I can’t image doing that first 10 days of recovery, just trying to get myself out of bed and ambulate, being unhealthy.  This process asks a lot of your body and is so taxing physically, mentally, and emotionally.  So, if you plan on having this surgery I think it’d be greatly beneficial to your own recovery if you could go into surgery as healthy as you can be.


And now, shield your eyes or rubberneck away.  YOU DECIDE!



05/08/12 – Frontal

05/08/12 – Flaps

05/08/12 – Abdomen

05/08/12 – Right


05/08/12 – Left



Glorious, glorious sunshine today.  The girls and I got it together this morning and headed out, just the 3 of us, to the Mobile Food Rodeo near the Fremont Market.  It was such a great adventure filled with delicious new foods to try, a lot of interesting people watching, and herds of people (see what I did there?!).  As is often the problem on a beautiful day in Seattle, everyone pours outside – particularly to where food is offered.  We spent the better part of 20 minutes trying to find a place to park our family bus, and I finally decided that since it was such a nice day, we had the jogging stroller, and I was feeling pretty good…I’d take a bit of a jog!

We parked a couple of miles away from the Rodeo itself along the Burke-Gilman Trail.  I got the ladies out of the car, into the stroller, tightened my “bralette” as tight as it would go, and we were off for my first post-op run!  EXCITING…but slow.  Running is one of those things that is tough on its own, so adding some sensitive areas post-op made it more challenging than the usual huffing, puffing, anaerobic duty it is.  I still haven’t been able to comfortably wear any of the sports bras I own, which has precluded me from running prior to today.  Most women would go out and try a couple of different ones on and, possibly even, buy a new one.  I haven’t had a chance to do these things though.  So, off I went, unexpectedly running with improper support.  It was uncomfortable, but not painful.  My slow pace in combination with the thankfully flat, easy trail made it tolerable.  There’s no way I’ll be doing any significant distances this week, but it felt GREAT.  Our girls LOVE being in the stroller when I run.  They constantly say, “Mommy go fast!”  To which I always respond, “Puuuuuuuuuuuh!”, followed by fainting.  But today was no exception.  I ran quickly for maybe 50 yards and decided to save the speed for another day when I wasn’t carrying 30 lbs of back pack and was actually properly dressed for it.

Again, the food rodeo was great.  If you live in the area and have a chance to go when they do something similar in September, GO!  I was so glad I took the girls.  They both tried new things, although one more eagerly than the other, and had fun being out with me.  It  made my heart so full.  The mini donuts, mini corn dogs, and sliders we ate made my arteries full, too, but that’s a different story.

Round trip, I probably ran just under 3 miles today while pushing our cutie pies in the stroller, carrying a back pack full of “just-in-case”, and all without incident.  Great news, right?  THOUGHT SO.  Tomorrow I hope to ride my bike to/from work using the Interlaken Trail.  I don’t think that riding my bike will present any issues with my arms or chest.  But I don’t know anything, really.  Wish me luck!

I just wanted to send out my Beastie Boys love.  MCA, AdRock and Mike D are so much a part of my life soundtrack.  Yesterday was a very sad day for the family, friends and fans of Adam Yauch.  Cancer is a bitch and it is pervasive.  Live a healthy life to try and protect yourself from cancer.  Take preventative measures if they’re available.  But should you find yourself diagnosed, you fight.  For your right.  Alright?

I have a lot of reasons for not posting yesterday.  #1 reason is WordPress surrounded by a litany of F bombs.  #2 reason is exhaustion.  I have just been beat this week.  One of our daughters has been having an allergic reaction to who-knows-what all week; she has had massive hives coming and going.  But I wasn’t terrified by this until Wednesday when she woke up from her nap, said her mouth hurt, and I saw that her tongue was swollen.  She’s now on an alternating regiment of anti-histamines and we’re trying to get in to see a specialist, but a couple of times a night I get up, go into the nursery, and just listen to her breathe.  So, it’s been a rough week.  And then yesterday I was tired times twelve because we all got up early, then I had to take our little lady to the pediatrician, go back home, then to the pharmacy, then to torture hour with Paul, then into the office, then back to home for dinner, baths, life as we know it.

Speaking of Paul the Torturer, I had one hell of a workout yesterday.  I’m still unable to do the exercises I was doing pre-surgery, but that will take some time and a little more physical therapy to get my ROM back to where it was.  However, we did some core work and my core hurt yesterday.  Which meant that I was unable to sit myself up in bed this morning.

I had the DIEP Flap reconstruction, not the Free TRAM Flap reconstruction.  I chose the DIEP Flap for a lot of reasons, but in large part because I was worried about having another part of my abdominal wall compromised.  During pregnancy and after I had our girls, I had Diastasis Recti (because I was the size of Delaware by my 7th month of pregnancy).  It took me until about my 18th month post partum to be able to work my core well and hard enough to close the gap, but I’m not sure if it ever went back to they way it was before I turned in to a pachyderm.  So, long story still too long, I didn’t want to do any more to compromise my abdominal muscles because it took so much work to bring them back together through a lot of exercise and ca$hmoneybling.

In my first 10 days recovering from surgery, I was glad that I’d done so much work strengthening my core and legs before my surgery date.  It hurt so much to use my arms or do anything that involved engaging my chest muscles.  So I relied, as much as I could, on my core and leg strength.  Now, don’t get me wrong, the first week you don’t even want to clear your throat because it’s uncomfortable to tighten your abdominal muscles at all.  But it (abdominal pain) resolves so much faster than the other areas.  The thing that still holds me back so much is the tautness of my skin and the discomfort on and in the area surrounding my abdominal scar.  There were a few times yesterday where I felt like I may split at the seam.  But, I didn’t!  The good news is that I successfully completed 3 set of full sit ups (with an assist).  The bad news is that I completed 3 sets of sit ups and will now certainly be asked to do more.  :\

Look out below!  NOOBS!






05/05/12 – Frontal

05/05/12 – Flaps

05/05/12 – Abdomen

05/05/12 – Left

05/05/12 – Right






Boy, I am sore today.  It’s always interesting to me how things that feel uncomfortable today will settle in tomorrow.

As I discussed last night, my physical therapy appointment seemed pretty basic and kind of ho-hum.  Rachel and I went over my previous exercises, took measurements, and then it seemed that the next 30 minutes went by pretty quickly.  I tried my newly assigned exercises, talked about where I had pain or discomfort, did a few modifications, and moved on.  But as the day went on, I started to ache in my shoulder girdle, around my pectoral muscles and in my underarm area.

I had a hard time getting to sleep last night because of my soreness and didn’t sleep very well.  It’s not pain, but a dull, sort of throbbing ache which has continued into today.  I know that this is expected with just regular exercise, but it is such a different kind of ache around my noobs.   I know now that I’m so far post-op that I can do anything, really, that would injure them but I always worry when I experience new or a different type of discomfort.  I am so worried about set backs and anxious to get my body back to normal.  But because I am so worried about those things, I am trying to be a little better to my body.  Today I tried to “take it easy” and not have my usual rough house session with our girls after their nap.  We did get a little rowdy before bedtime, but it wasn’t too much.

Everything that I feel these days is limited to very mild discomfort.  Rachel asked me at my appointment what my highest level of pain has been since I last saw her.  It took a  moment, but it was nice to report that I haven’t felt any discomfort over a level 2 (and that was thanks to a swift kick to the noob at the park (on accident)).  I haven’t had to continue alternating doses of acetaminophen and ibuprofen throughout the day for a while now.  Today I did take some ibuprofen because I’m not winning awards for staying uncomfortable.  No one is.  So, while today hurts a little – it’s only a little bit.

Tomorrow will hurt a lot.  I’m going to see Paul.

They’re heeeeeere!  And they’re purple-ish.  The photo doesn’t do the color mismatch justice.

05/02/12 – Prosthetic purple nipples

I don’t want to get too involved with these nipples.   I also don’t really want to establish strong feelings or opinions about these because they’re only serving as a mock-up for my most likely to be reconstructed nipples.  I got this idea from another woman’s blog.  She had a bilateral mastectomy and delayed reconstruction after radiation and chemotherapy.  She didn’t want to do nipple reconstruction because she was just tired (understandably so).  So she wore these for almost a year and ultimately decided to do the nipple reconstruction. That being said…

I ordered “dark” thinking that meant a pigment closer to my own.  But these have a very, very purple tint to them.  And the “nub” part of the nipple is like a pencil eraser.  I don’t think reconstructed nipples would stand this proud.  It’s like it’s constantly below freezing where ever they manufacture these bad boys girls.

Anyway, enough of my purple nipple bashing.  I’m going to wear them, look past their faults, and see if I like them.  I think I like the idea of the nipple reconstruction and areolar tattoo, but I want to be positive.  I had a chance to look at a few areolar tattoo photos when I first met with Dr. Louie at my consultation so long ago, but I’m not sure if those were photos of Dr. Louie’s patients or just general stock photos that a lot of reconstructive surgeons have as exemplars.  These are little things that can be addressed at my pre-op visit in June.  I’m sure, by then, I’ll have a lot of other only semi-relevant crazy things to rattle off at that time.  Here’s hoping I tone down the crazy before that time.

Today I had my follow up physical therapy appointment at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance.  I gained 30 degrees of rotation on my left side and less than 30 degrees on my right side.  I would be able to remember details about both sides if I didn’t focus so much energy and fretting on my left side.  It’s kind of annoying; I’m aware of it.  But Rachel, my therapist, said that I am progressing well and that I may be able to return to gentle yoga classes after our next follow up visit.  I am going to continue to do all of the exercises, stretches and massage that she prescribed at my first appointment, and she also gave me three new stretches to add to my daily routine.  One is a yoga-like pose (sphinx pose) to help me stretch out my abdomen and hopefully release some of the scar tissue.  While the stretch itself is easy, the sensation of my abdominal scar stretching out is one that takes some getting used to.  It still is mostly numb but I have full sensation in patches.

Instead of my regular photos, I decided to try on my purple prosthetic nipples and share them.  Avert your eyes if you’re not keen on it.

05/02/12 – Prosthetic purple nipples zoom

05/02/12 – Prosthetic purple nipples in action

05/02/12 – T-shirt time