So far, so good. Things are looking good and healing well after my latest surgery two weeks ago when a tissue expander was placed on my right side. I am not loving the discomfort I have. Feeling no pain, but the tightness is definitely there! It is that elephant-on-your-chest feeling. Not as bad as after original mastectomy, but still very uncomfortable.
I have not been doing my stretching and range of motion exercises on a regular basis, so time to get back to those at least once per day. No lazy days! I am a fan of the Coach Casey Eischen post-mastectomy exercise program. She designed it specifically for women recovering from breast cancer related surgeries after she had her own PBM and noticed a void in this area. Check out FoobieFitness.com for exercise tips, videos, and nutritional information. Here is the video with level 1 & 2 exercises. These helped me a lot after my original surgery two years ago and each one after that.
And here’s my progress pic: two weeks after tissue expander placement on my right side (left in pic).
First expansion: March 4. Exchange surgery: July 23, 2015.
This day (Friday; surgery was Tuesday) was one of the first post-mastectomy happy days. Had the first follow up appointment with my plastic surgeon. I was up on my feet by this day, but not yet running laps around the neighborhood. We pulled up to the hospital and a nurse came out to get me with a wheelchair. I wore my beautiful Pink Passion recovery gown.
Drain in right armpit
Dr. M noted that I was recovering nicely thus far. My drain output was very low on the two anterior drains (20ml/day each), so it was time to remove them. The sensation of the tube being pulled out was odd, but not very painful. The little pain I experienced was from the stretching of the hole in my armpit through which the tube passed. [Side note: I know the pic on the right is gnarly, but I gave you fair warning (top right of every page) that I include content that is NSFW/graphic, so deal with it.] The two posterior drain tubes were still kicking out about 60ml/day, so they were left in for a few more days.
The tubes serve a very important role during the recovery process: they remove the extra fluids your body produces as it heals itself around the incision and surgery sites. If those fluids are not taken away, seromas or hematomas can develop.
A seroma is a pocket of clear serous fluid that sometimes develops in the body after surgery. When small blood vessels are ruptured, blood plasma can seep out; inflammation caused by dying injured cells also contributes to the fluid.
Seromas are different from hematomas, which contain red blood cells, and form abscesses, which contain pus and result from an infection. – Wikipedia
Roses from a dear friend
I was expecting to be doing a lot of snoozing because of the narcotics, but was very surprised by how awake, alert, and active I was immediately after my return home from the hospital. I spent a lot of time online – most often in one of the FaceBook groups (See: Resources), keeping friends up-to-date, writing thank you cards, walking around the house, and general random stuff. I found that if I settled in on the recliner and forced myself to calm down and close my eyes, I didn’t have any trouble sleeping, but overall I was not beat by any means.
Check out this awesome video from Casey Eischen, BS, CSCS, CPT, CES, Health/Fitness Expert and Nutrition Coach, providing levels 1 & 2 of a great exercise program for women who have undergone a prophylactic bilateral mastectomy. More to come!
Exercises to Recovery from Phophylactic Mastectomy/Reconstruction
2/1: Check out a more recent post about exercise and nutrition: Foobie Fitness