Wednesday, 20 May 2009

61. Nip 'n' tuck 'n' physio

10 days have passed since my last blog post. I haven't heard from anyone about the results of my blood test so I must ask my GP tomorrow. I am getting fed up with not having a purpose in life. I have some goals to aim for but I have no routine and feel like I am in limbo waiting for Uni to start in September. Getting made redundant, being skint, struggling to pay the mortgage, surgery, decisions and mental wellbeing have taken their toll. I feel fed up and frustrated. I was just getting used to my body, its pain, restrictions etc and then I get talked to about nipples and more surgery.

I've not seen any photos of just nipples, I don't even know what procedure my surgeon has planned for me and I feel, again, that I have no choice in what will be done to my body. Getting nipples is not important for me at the moment, what I want done is the dented nipple patches (skin from my back) cut around the perimeter and left to reheal - flat. Imagine a jelly with a circle of card on the top - press it down and the result will be a rounded edge on the outside with a flat circle in the middle. That is how some areas of the my new boobs look. One area in particular has an overlap and I have to clean this with a cotton bud. These need sorting out and my surgeon agrees. do they make them? I can only find the procedure below on the net but then there are prosthetics too this seriously an option? I would like to 'try' some first. I think I want my scars to settle before I get nipples. I am also thinking about my future paddling and rub syndrome. With no feeling could they rub to nothing and I bleed to death slowly without knowing?

There are also the 'dog ears' on my back which are the ends of my scars near my waist. Due to the eye shapes of skin being taken from my back, then pulled together and stitched, skin gathers at the ends and protrudes. Its a bit like wrapping a round gift at Christmas - my body is not flat either and straight lines and bodies don't work. So these will go too.

The last thing that can be done at this stage is nipples. I just don't know how I feel about them. I don't want repeated surgery and so feel a little pressured by time to get them done. I quite like not having to wear a bra - not that I could right now and I am wondering if I could just wait until much later to get them done. I'd like to get all the painful stuff out of the way.

On Monday I went to Derriford for my first physio appointment. Lisa (the physio) was impressed with my scars but said I am a little stuck down in the middle. She said it almost feels like the skin and scars have fused on my ribs and that they must be massaged daily to free them. This tightness will not help my movement. The good news is my mobility is between 80-90% which is excellent considering what I have had done. She compared me to a single mastectomy lady who had problems after 6 months and even radiotherapy was less restricting than my surgery. Effectively the latissimus dorsi muscles have been wrapped over things under my arms and some of my tendons have shortened. I have some exercises to do and some press ups at angles to increase my pressing/pushing strength which is weak without the key muscles to do that (being my lats).

All was well and I left after making an appointment to see her again on 3rd June before my booked nip and tuck surgery. I then went to another department to make the pre-op appointment for the same day. On returning to the car some very kind person had parked six inches from my car on an unnecessary angle facing me with the difficult task of trying to get in the bloody thing. A man offered to get in the passenger side and get the car out for me after I briefly explained my lack of twistiness. I declined his kind offer and squeezed painfully into my car and sat and wrote note to the badly parked car owner and stuck it on their screen before I drove away. "Next time try and park your car straight with maybe enough room for both you and I to get in and out of our cars sensibly. Those of us recovering from major surgery do not see squeezing down a 6 inch gap to get into their car as a pleasurable experience! Thanks"

Annoyed I drove home, feeling a sore and tired. Then I opened an NHS letter. They moved my surgery forward a week. Again? My husband has just got time out of work to pick me up and I just made those other appointments. I guess I have to undo them and I have even less time to think about nipples.

Just over 2 years from now it will ALL be over. After my 400 mile paddle I will have my ovaries out and be done with all this crap. I am sick of being in an out of hospital and being nudged about the appointment system. I want my life back.