Wednesday, 2 September 2009

69. Body changes, stitches, spots and looking back

It's been a whole month since I last posted, proof that life moves on. I've helped paint the house (in short bursts and a long overdue job!) and been on holiday in the meantime.. and in 3 weeks I will be starting Uni. Very excited!

Although my body has adapted and improved immensely, there are still a few minor problems I deal with but in the grand scheme of things, they are minor.

My internal stitches are not so internal anymore, they still appear to be making their way out of my body through painful and pus filled spots (sorry about that!) around my scar sites. The good news is that my scars are paling a lot now, but as the stitch spots appear they leave small fresh scar lumps on top of the original surgery scars. I am fed up with it, it's been 5 months now.

On my back where the lat muscles were taken under the skin, cavities were left (which is where fluid builds up initially) but now, after time, the skin has stuck down onto whatever is left underneath (other back muscles) and new scar tissue has formed. When I bend over they show as low humps on my back (stop laughing now people!) where the areas have thickened. It's hard to keep massaging the back scars.

The other thing that still bothers me is the lump of muscle that sits to the left of my left breast and my armpit. It really shows when I raise my arm up high. Although I don't like it and it slightly spoils the shape of my left breast, it's okay. Underneath my left breast where the crease is there is a knot of stitching internally and muscle where it was stitched into place - this still gets bruised. If I do anything raising my arms or I sleep on my front with my arms up it aches for a couple of days. I think this can be sorted out because I don't think it will ever go away, it's pulling a fixed point everytime I do something and will end up scarring over and over. I must speak to my Breast Care Nurse about it.

I still hurt if I try and doe some things, I shook a blanket out in the garden that my cat had been sleeping on and the action caused me intense sharp cramping in both armpits and down my sides that lasted for about 10 minutes. I have to be careful with sudden movements. I had a thing about falling over for a while and the jolt of landing on my outstretched arms and the damage I would do inside, but I have survived this far so I'm feeling more robust.

I am still learning to be happy with what I now have, which has been hard. Most women don't really rate their boobs but mine were so pretty and pert. This is not something I talk about but I did consider them a real asset, that I was lucky to have a good figure, but I have now kind of chopped it up a bit. I know it will take a long time, years probably, for everything to properly settle down and fade away. It's been a struggle and there is still more to go but, but just to put it into perspective I searched for a graphic video of my type of surgery, and on reflection the results are amazing considering the extent my body was chopped about.

I found this rather graphic video of latissimus dorsi reconstruction skin sparing and through the nipple hole. I don't have the extra little cut this lady had next to the nipple hole.

WARNING!! PLEASE DO NOT WATCH IF YOU ARE SQUEAMISH! The end shows how it all just comes together..amazing..and makes me appreciate how well I have recovered and makes me wince a little too. The skill of my surgeon and the path I have travelled so far, immense and intense!


I am so grateful to everyone who has got me to through this. I couldn't have done it without you all! Thank you!