I should have been elated, right? It was my last visit with the Reconstructive Surgeon, unless I have worsening issues with my abdominal bulge in the next six months, year… This means, officially, everything that had anything to do with my breast cancer diagnosis and surgeries is over. Not everyone gets to say that. It’s over and I got to walk away from it. Emotions are like roller coasters when it comes to situations like these and you never know how you might feel at any given moment. It’s OKAY. Pay attention. Let yourself feel whatever you feel. Let it out. Keep moving forward.
Back to balancing allopathic and naturopathic care. It has been our MO to see the Western doctor for a diagnosis and recommendationand then the naturopath. Two approaches; more informed decision making. However, once I received the breast cancer diagnosis, we were most comfortable going completely with allopathic care.
This means I only gave myself enough pressure to choose between two options:
- lumpectomy + radiation
The most comfortable decision for me was fueled by, “What if it comes back? Our kids are 10 and 13 years old. Just get it out of me. Get it all out of me.” Plus, I wanted nothing to do with chemotherapy or radiation, if it could be helped. Early detection made a big difference for us and our options.
I was more comortable removing body parts than risking the effects of these treaments and my fears (reasonable or not) of their failure to prevent recurrence. That was what drove ME. However, this is something each woman is going to have to come to terms with herself. I cannot make that decision for everyone. According to one of my surgeons, the attachment/identity some women have to their breasts can be far greater than their wanting to do anything at all. Some may choose to go an alternate route, and, there are many. Some have nothing to do with Western medicine at all.
While there was a 6mm cancerous nodule to remove, we found out later, after pathology, that it was actually 8mm and there was a second one, a 3mm cancerous nodule off the the side on the same breast that they discovered. This was undetected by the mamogram, the sonogram and the MRI.
I found great relief, in our decision to remove the entire breast. Not only that, that we removed the second as well. Now, part of what made me confident in this decision is the dedication and integrity I sensed my breast surgeon had for providing me with information to weigh – sitting with me for an hour or so at a time to go over things at different stages – as well as the pride in continuing to study and master the latest and greatest knowledge and skills in her area of surgury. She has been provided accolade after accolade for truly caring for her patients and for the incredible strides she has made in the breast surgury field.
That being said, I did not wish to do more research than I could handle, once I made the decision to go for a bilateral mastectomy and DIEP Flap reconstructive surgery and felt a peace over it. Prayer and well wishes helped beyond imagination. Two surgeries in, I did everything by the Western medical book. All the blood tests, CT Scan, MRI, pre-ops, etc…
I stayed away from herbs, red wine, shaving, accupuncture, chiropractic, etc.. as directed prior to my surgery.
But at this stage of having been cleared completely of cancer and been given a clean bill of health by my oncologist, I am working with both him and our former naturopathic doctor. Both are happy that I am taking a well rounded route to continued healing and overall recovery and rebuilding.
This video is a snippet of my first day on the homeopathic remedy our naturopath put me on. I am posting this three days post starting on the regimen, and so far, so good!
There are many roads to healing and recovery. I am grateful I have come this far and have been able to incorporate more natural ways into my healthy lifestyle again!
4 WKS Post Op – Bilateral Mastectomy & DIEP Flap Reconstructive Surgery and…
- … she can soon be off daily aspirin, so off all meds until medical oncologist visit in 2 days and receives instruction on 5-10 year meds, based on results from tests on tumors from mastectomy!
- … her cough is all but gone.
- … all four drains have been removed!
- … she can start using beautiful c-section scarring cream, sent by a friend, on her abdominal surgical site and “new” belly button.
- … she can wear a lined 3 panel abdominal binder to support her abdominal muscles which may have permanently distended (possible premature torn stitches from force of coughing post op, which may need repair at another surgery.)
- … she is increasingly mobile prior to fatigue waves.
- … has started doing light chores which also encourage day to day range of motion exercises (loading top of dishwasher, folding laundry in fragments, light reheating/easy cooking, wiping down counters, stove, and made coffee a couple times!)
- … showers by her big girl self and has learned how to blow dry her hair, minimizing fatigue, by resting her bottom on the vanity.
- … continues to drink water heavily to stay super hydrated and stays committed to eating lots more fruits and veggies.
- … walks at a faster pace than last update and even more upright – almost all the way upright, though not quite.
- … still feels she has to catch her breath after standing, talking too long or just at the random times fatigue hits.
- … should wait another two weeks to: sleep on her side or fully prone on her back. So still on recliner overnight.
- … should wait until further notice before doing ANY abdominal exercises, but is okay to take short walks. Must stay away from any bouncing exercises or weight bearing activity.
- … has received some in person help and visitors.
- … managed to SLOWLY & WITH PLENTY OF BREAKS roll up rugs, wash living room pillows, blankets… when she was without hubby and big kiddo, and puppy had scary rash that might have been from a tick or, highly contagious to humans, ringworm!
- … took a ride with a friend to the vet to resolve that. Hooray! NOT ringworm but collaretes – not contagious & went away on own – but, hey, puppy shots due so that worked out great! Mindful not to hold puppy on leash herself, so as not to risk him bolting and straining her abdominal region.
- … received an out of state college best buddy, who offered to keep her company while big guys were on an overnight backpacking trip and also so all three guys could attend an end of homeschooling year gathering… said buddy brought her delicious home made pesto, farmers market burgers, made her lie down in the afternoon, shared stories about her favorite people, hit the grocery store, the post office and even registered the dog for us at town hall, as puppy now had all his shots!
- … received a local visitor and her lovely daughter, who brought much needed bandaids and itch cream, to help with our little guy’s barrage of bug bites, he couldn’t stop itching, flowers and a sweet breast cancer awareness key chain that says “Celebrate Life.”
- … received help from friends to pick up boys and take them to places she can’t yet drive… the homeschooling end of year gathering(s,) weekly music ensemble, IOWA tests (end of year homeschool tests we opt to have boys take to assess where they are at academically,) pick up and drop off of Mom from train station from the city/NJ.
- … has been out to lunch with hubby and kids when between doctor’s appointments and starving and didn’t do too badly. Again, carefully paced herself with walking to and from car and made sure to sit comfortably and stay plenty hydrated.
- … notices her body getting back into itself as when she is hungry, she is HUNGRY! Whereas, it might have been a more gradual sensation before surgery.
- … has less swelling between her breasts and the bulging abdominal muscles.
- … managed to nurse back to health our little guy, who did catch a cold, with homeopathic remedies, honey lemon water and diffused essential oils, without catching cold herself! Woo hoo!
- Has no idea when she’ll return to her entrepreneurial endeavors and will allow time to take as long as it needs, for her to fully recover.
- … is learning more and more that God is not only in the mountain high moments, the valley low moments, but the day to day ups and downs along the way and that’s pretty much all that matters, no matter what.
(Flowers from friends!)
Cool story on the blue flowers: There was a possibility that I would leave the mastectomy without my own nipples. Thankfully, due to the placement of the tumor(s) and my surgeons’ skills, that was not the case. Either way, I had discussed with a very good friend that I would tattoo blue roses (without having looked up their meaning) instead of tattooed nipples or no nipples…. or a butterfly on one and a dogwood flower on the other side I could animate when bored (joking)… She found me the most unique blue rose in the last photo. We’ll still get our blue roses tattoos later! The paper blue rose was a gift from a 15 year old homeschooling friend of ours. Cool coincidence!
The peonies are from another close friend’s garden who is endlessly dropping off, picking up – I can’t even count on my fingers!
The potted flowers are from my sweet friend who has no idea those were our wedding flowers!
There was another set of flowers, a basket of daisies that just wouldn’t give up on life. They finally did but I didn’t snag a photo. It was early in the recovery and from a very cool homeschooling dad & family.
You know the story behind the blue flowers!