So, it’s all done and dusted!
All surgeries for the moment are finalised, finished and done! My prophylactic bilateral mastectomy on February 28 was a complete success. I say ‘success’ because not only did I receive confirmation just days afterwards that my breast tissue was ‘all clear’, but I have also made it through almost 2 weeks now without any breast or chest pain at all.
From the very moment I woke up, I haven’t had any feelings of pain where my breasts once were. I will admit that there was the odd ‘nerve’ pinch pain here and there, but once the drains came out that pain subsided. Lucky me!!
I have had a feeling of ‘tightness’ in my chest for the past 5 days, but I was pretty sure that this would all be alleviated with a fine needle aspiration to remove the fluid that’s been building up since having the drains removed. When I had a scan of my chest area yesterday, I learnt that there is a little fluid hanging around, but the tightness is just a combination of the expander, my peck muscles and underarm numbness. I can’t complain at all!!
A lot of people have asked me this week about the ‘bad’ times, you know the part of this process where I haven’t felt great, amazing, happy or good. I must admit, when I was first asked the question I found it really hard to answer. I’m typically a ‘glass half full’ girl, but I’m also very aware that life isn’t always ‘sunshine and lollipops’.
Wednesday was a rough day for me! There I said it, I’ve had a rough day in my road to recovery. Here’s why it was rough, and I really do need to remind you that before you continue reading, you really need to understand that what I’m sharing here is the ‘real’, the ‘honest’ and the ‘raw’ side of the whole prophylactic bilateral mastectomy process.
My day started with a real surprise, but I’m going to come back to this shortly because what happened to me was a real shock. It’s something I’ve never dealt with before and I really didn’t know how to respond or react when it all unfolded. To be honest, even as I type this out, I’m not really sure whether I want to share it here….but I’m torn between being open and transparent, and the regret I might feel when people read about what I happened to me. I’ll revisit my ‘mishap’ at the end..
Moving on from my morning shock, I had to prepare for my first ‘day out’ since surgery, which comprised of me heading to the hospital to have a scan of my chest and a needle aspiration. In the end, as you’ve read above, I didn’t have an aspiration and I’m just dealing with the tightness in my chest.
The appointment at the hospital ran over time, so we didn’t have time for me to come home before the school pick-up run. I had my roller, so I thought I’d be right….
Our girls have swimming after school on a Wednesday, so I was able to hang out ‘resting’ on my little roller at the pool while they swam and I know it sounds very relaxing, I will admit that it was a little warm and my compression vest was starting to make me feel itchy. I found myself a shady spot to try to sweat a little less, but the itchy feeling had already started and I was just hoping it wouldn’t get worse.
You’d think after such a big day that I’d be heading home right after swimming, but no, not the Griggas family. It was time to pick up our International Students, the two lovely Japanese girls staying with us under the College Homestay program. It’s the first time we have been involved in this and we have all been excited about it.
Our new and temporarily larger family all headed to Woolies on the way home to pick up some supplies and to give the girls an experience wandering around the local grocery store, but it was now late in the afternoon and I was definitely starting to feel very tired. My knee was sore from rolling around on the knee-roller and while I know it’s no real ‘big world problem’, I could feel myself starting to fatigue. I was rolling around the aisles and managed to sit down on the roller a few times just to give myself a little rest.
I did silently think that I was weak, but I quickly reminded myself of what my body had been through and instead of being cranky about feeling tired, I decided to think positively and thank my body for working so hard this past 13 days to protect me from any feeling of pain and suffering.
I realised something as I wandered around…..it dawned on me that while I’ve had it good and trouble free for almost 2 weeks, my body has been silently working hard in the background protecting me from any issues, troubles, worries or concerns. It’s been fighting a battle without fuss, all to help me feel strong, happy and relatively trouble free after having a major surgical procedure, followed by a minor foot operation just 10 days later.
I suddenly had a new found respect for my strength! Strength you say? Believe it or not, despite me being addicted to training, motivated by movement and a lover of everything socially associated with training on a daily basis, I’ve never really seen myself as being ‘strong’. That is until now!
I am strong! There I said it and I’m not going to feel guilty or embarrassed about admitting it out loud. I’ve always hesitated to dish out a compliment to myself, in fact, I think as a woman, we are almost taught to reject positive compliments dished out to us in life. It’s often that we pick on the ‘bad’ things about ourselves instead of focusing on the amazing wonder that is our diverse life, but this is just silly and I’ve definitely got a new perspective on how I now see myself! Isn’t it funny, because if you consider the way I look right now on the surface, I have probably never looked ‘worse’. I’m bruised, swollen, I have stitches across my chest on both sides, I’m in a moonboot, rolling around on a knee roller to be mobile and I have only washed my hair once in the past 2 weeks. To top that off, I haven’t done any exercise now for 14 days and my muscles are starting to show the impact of this, my skin is loose, it’s dry, I smell permanently under my armpits and yesterday I got my period!! I’m bloated, moody, stinky, puffy and strangely I feel stronger and more beautiful now than I ever had in my whole life. I can’t explain why, but I’m rolling with it.
I’ve reflected a lot in the past couple of weeks about so many different and deep things, most importantly about body image, beauty and the true meaning of loving not only those important people in our lives, but also the art of loving yourself.
But…..with black comes white, with yin comes yang, so with strength comes weakness and here’s mine. Remember I said that something strange happened to me on Wednesday? I won’t lie, I’m still nervous about sharing it, but I vowed to be honest and I’ll stick to my commitment and share all of the experiences I have during this journey.
DISCLAIMER: Before reading this next paragraph, please remind yourself of the strength that comes from complete and raw honesty….and if you’re going to ‘judge’, perhaps think twice about continuing to read on……
I woke up yesterday and found myself in my weakest moment since having my prophylactic bilateral mastectomy…
I’ve been sleeping downstairs on the recliner, mainly because I can’t get myself upstairs with my foot and while I could crawl up, It’s challenging to get myself up the stairs with the inability to use my upper body for strength. I’m pretty much stuck down stairs for the moment!
So here’s what I woke to….
After sleeping on and off, tossing and turning and getting up more times in the dark of the night than ever before, I found myself a little annoyed. You see, I don’t usually get up during the night EVER! Not to pee, not to drink, not because I’m restless and certainly not to our girls anymore, who love to sleep soundly in their own rooms nightly.
I tossed and turned and didn’t really get much sleep throughout the night. Not having much sleep didn’t bother me, but being uncomfortable, awake and having to roll myself to the loo at least 3 times during the night, all I wanted to do was get some rest. I finally nodded off around 2:30am, dreaming soundly, of what I think was some sort of training event with some of my favourite training buddies. It was bliss!! These two guys were in my dream, so perhaps I can lay some of the blame on them!!
I was dreaming about us racing, preparing for an event, taking the last toilet stop before we started the race…..then it happened!!! I relaxed, my dream began to become my nightmare as I woke on the recliner realising that I wasn’t just taking my last pee before a big race, but I was literally pee’ing myself in real life!!! WTF!!! I can’t believe that I even just typed WTF, but it was such a shock to me at the time, I couldn’t believe that as a grown woman, I woke to complete wetness. I’m not just talking about a trickle, not just a dribble, but a whole bladder full of wetness soaked through my pyjama’s, soaked through my under sheet, soaked through both of my blankets and soaked completely through to my new secondhand bargain Gumtree recliner!!!!
Holy crap!! That’s what I thought!! It was around 5:30am, I picked myself up off the very smelly and wet recliner, rolled my way to the toilet, finished off what felt like a very full bladder of pee and then made my way back to the couch to somehow get all the bed linen into the laundry on my roller.
It wasn’t long before little Miss 7 woke up and made her way downstairs. I sought her help, her refuge, her compassion, a hug, some love and we both laughed so loudly at the story. I found comfort in sharing my secret with her, she was so supportive, helped me clean up, made me feel relaxed about the whole thing.
This is the same daughter that wants to grow up to be just like me!! Remember the blog I wrote about being ‘normal’, I wonder if she still wants to be like her mum now!!!
We did joke about it going into the ‘family vault’, especially as I wasn’t so sure at the time that I wanted her to go to school and let her friends know that her mummy pee’d the bed…..but after a day to think about it, I feel quite comfortable about sharing my experience here in my blog. This was Leigh’s reaction when I told him I was going to include it…..
It’s my way of letting my friends, family and those strangers following my journey realise, even with a wonderfully positive mind and a super-strong body, no matter how much you try, it’s clearly impossible to control everything – especially a full bladder.
Some disinfectant and a good scrub later and everything’s back to normal. My super husband was kind enough to make sure I was comfortable back in my bed/recliner after my little ‘speed bump all before he took the girls off for the morning school run.
So there! It’s done! It’s out there now and while I may be at risk of some friends perhaps questioning why on earth I would even put that all out there…..those that know me best will know that it’s just the way I roll.
I just can’t help but be honest!!
Maybe you can make me feel better about ‘outing’ myself as an adult bed wetter by sharing a moment in your life where something strange or weird happened to you. Or is it staying locked safely in your family vault?