My Cancer Journey - Recovery & Prep for Chemo
Updated: Feb 10, 2020
I lived in an amazing neighborhood in 2012. The people who lived there were so caring of each other. In 2011, I had a hysterectomy, and they took turns bringing dinner to the house every day for two weeks. Talk about a ton of food...wow! After my cancer surgery, they wanted to do the same. I told my friend who was organizing it that daily was too much. We agreed to dinner every other day for a month! So sweet!
We knew when I came home that I would still have drainage tubes. I wanted to continue walking every day but I didn't want the tubes hanging out (and possibly catching on something). So my husband fashioned inside pockets in the zip-up robe I bought so I could lay the tubing in the pockets and still walk.
I also knew that I would not be able to wear a bra for a good long time so, in advance, I purchased a number of button up blouses to make dressing easier.
I was given meds to take when I was at home - Percocet for pain, Collace to soften stools, and an antibiotic called Clindamycen. I took everything as prescribed for the first few days. But Percocet can make you constipated and the first time I went to the bathroom (and sat on the pot for 1 hour because I couldn't do my business), I immediately started to ween myself off the pain meds. The pain was tolerable and much better than not being able to poop. The Collace didn't do crap, btw! (haha)
I walked every day, slowly at first, but at least 30 minutes and quickly expanded that to 1 hour. Either Jose would walk with me or a friend would...there was always someone ready and willing to walk. There's nothing quite as special as friends taking a walk with you.
About two weeks after my surgery, Jose took 2 friends and I to brunch nearby (my first outing after the surgery). The shirts I had bought were thin summer shirts. Well, we all know what happens when we get cold and aren't wearing a bra. I only had one nipple but I didn't want to display it for everyone so I asked my good friend what I should do. She told me to wear a silicone 'tata' cover. I had never heard of such a thing. It sounded simple enough. She even gave me a set (a dear friend for sure!). I slapped that baby on and away we went. Halfway through the brunch, as I was sitting at the table eating, I felt my tata cover fall into my lap!! It was sitting on my lap under the blouse...no one had noticed. So I surreptitiously reached under my blouse and pressed the cover back over my nipple. Whew! That was a close call, I thought. Embarrassment averted! Well, we continued making our rounds at the buffet tables enjoying the delicious food for another 45 minutes or so. Finally it was time to leave. As we were walking towards the front door, I realized that my tata cover was no longer on my tata...it had fallen off again (are you kidding me!?!). It could have fallen somewhere around the buffet tables, at our dining table, or anywhere in between. Yikes! I imagine that I gave our young 20-something waiter an education he wasn't expecting!! (I later found out that you're not supposed to put lotion on your breasts before using a tata cover...who knew?)
The doctor determined that I would need 4 doses of chemotherapy, 3 weeks apart. First dose was set for October 25th. A week or so before the 1st dose, Jose and I were required to go to a chemo class. It's about an hour long and they go over what to expect and how to protect yourself from infection (the body becomes much more susceptible to infection during treatment). Things like wearing gloves to peel a banana, washing citrus before peeling it, always washing your hands, things we don't think about on a normal basis. And I would have to take my temperature regularly. Any spike in temp or anything and I'd be making a trip to emergency.
I was feeling good and ready for the next step. I attribute my quick recovery to being in shape and to exercising during my recovery. I walked and walked and walked. And I'm grateful to everyone who helped in my recovery.
Moral: Get up and start moving as soon as possible after surgery!
Next up: Chemotherapy