This week I have really noticed a big improvement in how I feel. I have more energy (in fact I’ve gone two days without an afternoon nap) and my appetite is returning. I even had my first “craving” for a toasted bacon, lettuce tomato and avocado sandwich…and it was good! The days seem to go by quickly even though I don’t do much. Everything takes longer. I move in slow motion having to think of each thing I do ahead of time so as not to pull at my incisions or stretch the wrong way to aggravate under my arm where my lymph nodes were removed. Choosing what to wear is a challenge. Can I get the garment on without raising my arms? Is it loose enough so as not to apply pressure to my skin? How it looks is low on my list. Somehow my days pass by at a rapid rate and I’m not really sure what or if I’ve actually accomplished anything.
Come night time, I am tired. My swelling is always at its worst and my pain has increased. I have been trying not to take any pain medication unless absolutely necessary. I am not taking any “narcotics” anymore, only Tylenol 3’s ..and again only when necessary. Last night I went to bed exhausted. It had been a full day, by my standards anyway. I got myself ready for bed. I have a series of pillows that need to be adjusted in order for me to lie “comfortably” in bed. There’s a large wedge that keeps me sleeping in a sitting position, stacks of pillows on both sides of me to keep my arms elevated and two pillows that go under my knees to keep the strain off my lower back. Once I am in place there is no moving. I am cocooned into my bed and there I stay til morning. It’s at night that my mid starts to race. Devoid of any other distractions I start thinking about what’s happened, what is still to happen, upcoming appointments, etc. As I was trying very hard not to take any pain meds, my chest started to throb and I could feel my incisions pulling as the swelling stretched my skin. Also at night since the surgery, I experience severe nerve pain in the top of my thighs. It starts as pins and needles and then increases to a hot burning sensation. If you touch my skin you can’t feel any heat, but inside it feels like someone has put a hot iron on my legs and it is burning through my skin. Last night was no exception and I found myself staring at the clock at 2 am. I could not get comfortable. I could not relax. I could not stop the pain…and certainly couldn’t sleep. I got up, having to dismantle my pillow fort, and wandered the house hoping I could shut off my mind which was racing and ease the pain I was feeling everywhere. After an hour, frustrated and desperate for sleep, I gave up and took two Tylenol 3’s. I did not want to take them. I felt like a failure. Once again my body was defying me and calling the shots. I had to concede. There was no winning last night. I needed sleep and I needed relief from the pain. Defeated I went back upstairs, rearranged the myriad of pillows and slowly lowered myself back against the cushions waiting for the meds to kick in and my body to relax. It took almost an hour before I could fall back asleep as I chastised myself for giving in.
Today I don’t feel as well as I did. I’m tired and sore…and disappointed in myself. Each day of this journey is a battle, even if only a small one but still a battle. I will try again today to push through and see if I can win over the resistance put forth by my body. Why am I having to fight against my own body? You’d think that we’d be on the same side!
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.