The last few weeks have been weird and frustrating and painful. I keep thinking that there’s a bigger lesson in this for me but there are times when I just want to have a bad attitude and not look for any lesson or silver-lining. Unfortunately for me, a bad attitude never lasts long and ends up being more comical than anything. I just can’t stay fussy. I try. In fact, in the last two weeks no one would blame me if I was irritable. For whatever reason, I try to be fussy and it just doesn’t stick. So the alternative has been to laugh and cry. And I’ve done a lot of both.
After the PT appointment where I had scar tissue rip and I saw my life flash before my eyes, I have stayed in horrible pain. I made it through that first weekend by keeping ice on my chest, taking meds and taking it easy. I spent that weekend in Toronto and still got to do everything I wanted to do. It just took me longer to get places and I cabbed-it more than I normally would. By the end of the weekend I was in bad shape and decided to go see my doctor ASAP.
I saw my plastics guy first. He said that my pain was nerve pain and it was out of his scope of skills. He’s referred me to the pain clinic. I just happened to have an appointment with my breast surgeon that same day, and he sent me to an acupuncturist. He also recommended lidoderm patches. In the last two weeks I’ve been to my plastics doctor, breast surgeon, an acupuncturist (2 appointments so far), a naturopath/kinesiologist/chiropractor/witch-doctor-type of guy, physical therapy (still), and my family doctor. The pain clinic is just now reviewing my file and I hope to get in with them next week. I’ve used natural NSAID creams, ice, heat, pain meds, muscle relaxers, Tylenol, blue goo, tens units and lidoderm patches. I’ve cussed a lot. I’ve tried controlled breathing techniques. I’ve prayed. I’ve read about hypnotherapy and the power the mind has to redirect blood flow in areas of our body….yes, I’m that desperate. And I’m still miserable. I’ve been on the phone constantly with my parents. Usually crying and frustrated because every doctor or practitioner says, “I don’t really know how to treat you. I think we might need to …” And if I get any relief at all – its temporary.
I’m two fills away from having surgery. TWO FILLS. I can’t get a fill until we understand what’s going on with the pain in my left expander and get my back/shoulder to stop hurting. Yesterday my family doctor changed my muscle relaxer (to one that won’t make me so sleepy) and started me on steroids. I tried to resist more meds, but I’m desperate. If we can just get me stable so that I can have the fills and get into surgery then everything will be better and this will all be over. Right now, surgery would fix a lot of this. My doc says that my expanders are actually expanding out and in. Which means my left expander is sitting on my rib cage, with nothing protecting the nerves around my ribs. Hence, the nerve pain. If I had an implant there, it wouldn’t be putting so much pressure on those nerves.
I’m really tired of this and I’m really upset that all my posts lately have been around how uncomfortable I am. In fact, I hate that part most of all. I don’t like feeling like I’m complaining or throwing a pity party. I really try not to do that, but I don’t want to write something and pretend like everything is unicorns and rainbows when it’s not. I’m obviously an extreme case of someone that’s not handling the end of expansion very well but if you saw how tight my expanders are right now…you wouldn’t be surprised and you’d understand that I’m in the minority. Most of the practitioners that I’ve seen in the last few weeks all say, “I’ve never seen anyone this tight. This is going to be a learning opportunity for me.” Thanks. Geez. This is one time that I don’t want to be the guinea pig. I just want someone to say, “Let’s do this. It will fix you and let’s just get you comfortable so you can get those fills done.” At the same time…I’m still not sure where two more fills are going to go, but the bottom part of my expander is where I need it to be.
Thankfully, the last two days have been more manageable. In fact, I found a massage therapist that has treated mastectomy patients and I’m going to see her today. Maybe she can help me with the knots in my back and shoulder. I’d really like to start this weekend out with little-to-no pain. My father keeps telling me just to “hang on,” “stay focused,” “don’t let the pain get to you, Mandy. You’ve gotta power through,” or “hang on to your lifeline and when it gets tough, just tie a knot and hold on tighter.” I’m doing that…but it’s been difficult. I’m thankful to have a little bit of a break right now from it all as I sit at my desk with ice tucked into my shirt (shhhhhh I’m hiding out in my cube so no one sees that I have ice packs on my shoulder and left expander). I’m sure it’d be difficult to explain if someone walked in right now and asked me what I’m covering up with my scarf. I’m kind of comically hostile though so I might have fun explaining to someone, “Yes, I am indeed, icing my boob and if it makes you uncomfortable then email or call me. I have documents to finish and a video storyboard to review. You can just suck on it ‘cuz I’m tying a knot, hanging on and my rope is long enough to wrap around a few more necks.” Of course, all said in my best southern accent with my biggest/brightest smile.