Friday, June 22, 2012

It's Like Sunburn...Only Worse.

I thought I might ramble on a bit about what "post-recovery" is like.

Since the tubes and drain came out on Tuesday, I've been living life "normally," whatever that means.

My range of motion in my right arm is interestingly limited. Interesting because it feels like if I stretch or reach too far, I'll rip something under my arm. My NP (nurse practitioner) told me that it will feel like that, but that I shouldn't worry about it; I won't rip or tear anything. So every day I reach both arms above my head, reach my left hand over and take my right hand and pull my arm over to the left. Wow, ow. Be grateful you can do that without pain. I hope I never take it for granted ever again.

I also do the wall crawl. I stand toes and nose to a wall and place my right hand as high as I can on the wall, which is about with my arm "to the square," (i.e., my arm at a 90 degree angle to my torso). Then, I crawl my fingers up the wall. Again, wow, ow.

Since I'm allowed to drive now that the drain has been removed, I've been out and about. The first thing I did Wednesday was go grocery shopping. And bought a 10 lb. watermelon. Got it into the cart okay, but getting it out was interesting, one arm and all.

Since I was going out, I decided to go ahead and wear my "falsie." It's just a shoulder pad-like form with batting in it. At first I took a bunch of the padding out because I thought it was waaaaay too big. Then I put more than half of it back. I used to be a B cup. I think I'm a C now. That's what 30 extra pounds have done for me! (The excised breast was definitely still a B, as radiated breasts tend not to grow.)

Anyway, so I wore the falsie Wednesday and Thursday, but at about 5:00 on both days, I was in excruciating pain. A pain so familiar, yet how could that be? Today, I finally realized what that pain reminded me of.

It's like having the worst sunburn ever. Times ten. No, times a hundred. That's the familiar part. Now imagine wearing a sandpaper bra on a sunburned boob (or for you guys, think of the most tender part of your body being sunburned and then wearing a sandpaper garment over it).

There you go! Now you know this pain of which I speak.

The NP had told me I wouldn't need the painkillers anymore but that 800 mg of ibuprofen would do the trick for whatever I felt. And she said to taper off down to 600 mg and then 400 mg until I didn't need it anymore. I'll tell ya', ibuprofen wasn't cutting it for this pain, so each day I took a painkiller in the early evening. And then a muscle relaxer before bed. Still sleeping nicely, thank you very much; not missing you, Mr. Insomnia.

Today I experimented with no falsie to see if it was pressure (ever so slight as it was) on the sutures or if it was really just the fabric against the sutures. Turns out, it's the fabric, though the pain wasn't quite as bad tonight. It did help that I bought and installed a bra extender so the pressure on the under-the-arm sutures wasn't so bad.

Tomorrow I shall swing freely (sans bra) with a large shirt to test the theory further.


  1. So glad to hear you things are progressing... hang in there!!

  2. Ah, "free boobing it" as Lloyd and I call it. It's the best. Is the "sunburn" from radiation, or just from the surgery? I need to catch up on your blog posts. Glad you are feeling better. Your sense of humor hasn't changed. Hugs.

    1. It just feels like sunburn, which also feels like the burn from radiation. I didn't have radiation this time. In case you don't catch up on previous blogs, it turns out you cannot irradiate the same breast twice. Glad to see you're making the rounds again!

  3. I was looking for modern quilts and came on your posts. My friend Linda, she has the same thing going on right now, but first time, so it will be radiation and lumpectomy. I pray no spreading to lymph nodes and fast healing. She is pretty upset but a strong Christian & we are all praying for her. Guess this is a common thing. :(

    1. Karen - Yes, unfortunately, 1 in 8 women. 10 years ago I had the lumpectomy, chemo, and radiation. In some ways, this experience is much better (chemo is the pits). Prayers made all the difference for me, so I will "pay it forward" and include Linda in my prayers. Thanks for stopping by!


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