Being my own advocate

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The severe swelling I have is not getting any better. I don’t see my surgeon until next Tuesday so I need to do something in the meantime to move things along. I spent hours yesterday searching out physiotherapists who are trained and certified in lymphatic massage. I found some and immediately sent messages to them via their websites. Only one sent me an “automated response”. I replied and have heard nothing. I have also called twice and left two messages…and have still heard nothing!

I don’t understand how a medical facility that boasts superior care can not have the  wherewithal and or enough manpower to return an inquiry that involved two emails and two phone messages. The automated email I received said “we understand that help, pain management and recovery is what you need right away, which is why we are happy you’ve chosen us.”  Talk about over promising and under delivering! I have been watching You Tube videos to try to see if I can learn how to break up the hematoma myself and learn what techniques I can to help reduce the swelling. It’s very awkward trying to massage oneself especially when the area is very painful and you don’t have full use of your arms. Until I can get this bloody hematoma, no pun intended, to break up I can’t begin the injections into my tissue expanders to start the rebuilding of my non existent breasts. Everyone says to be patient, that these things take time. I get that, but when you are the one waiting and time just keeps ticking by without any noticeable results its very disheartening. Next week I also see a another oncologist for my “second opinion” on whether I need further treatment for my cancer or whether just closely monitoring things will be enough. It’s all a lot to process. Everyday is another battle to fight…even if that battle is just finding enough strength to stay awake long enough to search for a physiotherapist. It is difficult not to become overwhelmed and depressed when even the smallest of tasks is exhausting.

Today, I decided to treat myself to a nice long bath. I’ve only been showering as I didn’t want my incisions to get too wet. But today I thought I’d run a bath and only fill it waist deep so as not to compromise the sutures. It was lovely to sit in the warm water even though I couldn’t lay back and sink down like I would have liked. Even still, I relaxed and enjoyed the scent of lavender from my bath salts. What I forgot though was how the heck was I going to get out? Normally I would put an arm on either side of the tub and push myself up to a standing position and step out….but when your arms are compromised and you can’t push, getting out of a soaking tub is a very big hurdle. I had to grasp the side with my better arm and try to get onto my knees before I could then get my balance to hoist myself up to a standing position. What an ordeal. The relaxation that I had enjoyed briefly was all gone, replaced by the strain of trying to get out. If it didn’t hurt so much it would have been quite comical. I can only imagine how I looked trying to wriggle my way up and out without using my arms.

Tomorrow will be one month since my surgery…June 13th. A lot has happened since then and I know that I am making progress but not at the rate that I would like. Unfortunately cancer has its own timetable and as much as I would like to speed things along, I am at its mercy.



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President of As You Like It Marketing & Communications Inc. Award winning speaker and author. Breast cancer fighter and blogger. I’m sharing my journey…the good, the bad and the ugly. Hoping to help anyone else that has been touched by breast cancer be it you or someone you know or love.

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