Two weeks post surgery and it’s time for my surgical follow-up. I met with my plastic surgeon and he looked at all my incisions and the drains. We were required to keep a record of the amount in each drain each day. He took a look and said they could come out. That’s the first piece of good news I’ve received!
When the nurse removed them, it felt so weird to feel the tubing slide through my body. But they’re gone now and I’m super happy about that.
But my arm is still sore as is my armpit. I have quite a bit of nerve pain in my triceps area and I’m not able to stretch my arm straight out in front of me, or to the side, or overhead. I will be seeing an Occupational Therapist for this and a condition known as lymphedema. This is seen more in cancer patients who have had one or more lymph nodes removed. Basically my arm, or parts of it, could swell at any time now; even years from now. This is NOT what I want to happen, especially since I’m left-handed. So until my OT appointment, I’m wiggling my fingers a lot and trying to stretch my arm a bit more.
Which leads me to the next part of my appointment where I ask my surgeon if I can start to drive again. He told me to slow down. He said I could drive short distances, but no highways, and I had to have someone with me. I guess being able to completely straighten my arm is a requirement for driving… Just kidding; I knew that!
Though with this arm pain, I am still limited. I actually did get a huge, over-sized sweatshirt on, but for the most part, it’s still best if I wear things that button or zip up in the front. It makes getting dressed easier and it makes changing the dressing easier as well. This also applies to my bra. I know, this may be TMI for some, but honestly, I’m talking about my breast cancer journey here, so it’s relevant.
Before my surgery I had one button blouse and one zip up hoodie. A friend loaned me two more button up shirts. The problem is that none of them coordinate with any of my leggings! And I’m not ready to wear jeans! It’s all about the comfort during recovery! So I ordered some things to help – zip front sports bras and zip front sweatshirts. I think I’ll keep on wearing sports bras after the recovery because they are really comfortable.
One of the things I like best about the bras is that they have a small piece of fabric at the bottom and top to cover both ends of the zipper, so they don’t bother my skin.
I purposely selected longer sweatshirts & hoodies so they would cover my rear-end and got some colors that would go with the leggings I had.
I’m much more comfortable now!
But I have to admit that amazon frustrated me. Since we’re already talking about bras, I can tell you that I’m not small. I’m tall and broad and a little over-weight (I’m working on that!). This means I need a larger bra size. But guess what? Unless I wanted to pay $50-60 per bra, it was very difficult to find colorful ones in my size! When I went to look at the larger sizes, most of what I found was white, black, or beige. BORING! Ok, I understand the need to have the basics, really I do, but I still want to wear something pretty.
Though, there is one more part to this follow up appointment. There was a bit more bruising than the doc would have liked to have seen, and there was one area that was a little darker than the rest of my skin. He said we’d watch it for a bit and see what it looked like at the next appointment, which is next week.
See all posts on my breast cancer journey here.
This post, Surgical Follow-Up, first appeared on HeatherGaffney.com – copyright 2020; all rights reserved.
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