- Reality Bites: The surgeon told me it would take three to six months to heal. She was right. I am still healing. Each week gets better.
- Drugs: The Gabapentin (Neurontin) worked for me. I convinced my Surgeon at the end of month one that the pain was more than expected and exhausting me. She finally agreed the Motrin was not effective and to prescribe Gabapentin to relieve the nerve damage discomfort while healing progressed. This drug does not help all mastectomy patients - approximately 30%. I have been lucky that it definitely made a difference for me. I took it for about four weeks and have been off for almost two weeks now. I have regressed slightly in my range of motion without the Gabapentin. I am still deciding whether to restart. The skin, chest and underarm sensitivity is so much better now.
- Breast Free: Living breast free is not a big deal and does not bother me at all. I am learning to dress differently. I felt like a tween when purchasing these little sport type bras to wear under T-shirts in the warmer weather. And, who knew I would be the Scarf Lady?
- Overwhelmed: Slowing down at work and in my life has been stressful. I still feel so behind on everything. I am not very good at letting things go and uncomfortable saying no and hate to miss stuff ...
- Community: I have a more mature understanding and appreciation for community. So many generous souls. I am still benefiting from many kindnesses.
- Changed: I have made some changes at work. Cancer does create a space to think about priorities. I hope to make some other changes this year but recognize I can only do things step at a time.
- Marriage: I am thankful for my Commuter Husband ... he has been loving, compassionate, sensitive and caring. I suspect he has been strong when perhaps he wanted to cry. While an odd path to marriage improvement, that is exactly what has happened.
- The Right Decision: I made the right breast cancer treatment decision for me and my diagnosis: bi-lateral mastectomy with no reconstruction. Living my life unimpeded by medical procedures, invasive treatments, hormone drugs, side effects and cancer risks was always the end game.
I go back to the surgeon next week - on my 48th birthday.