Double Mastectomy: 4 Weeks Post Surgery
There's really very little to report about the past week (which was also Thanksgiving week) as far as progress or recovery.
I still had my left drain, which sloooowwly decreased in volume and turned more of a rusty dark brown from the dark maroon shade it had been. All the annoyances of having a drain continued throughout the week--sore drain site, poor mobility in my left arm, having to hook (and hide) a tube and bulb to my clothes, sleeping on my back with a wedge pillow, taking regular tylenol, ibuprophen, muscle relaxers and pain meds, etc.
The bruising and tenderness on my left side has subsided significanly (though not completely). The nerve pain and skin sensitivity continued through most of the week as well, although that has been less pronounced in the last couple of days. Unless I get the chills. Or yawn. Then ZING!
I kept my activity levels way down all week, per my breast surgeon's instructions hoping to keep that drain from producing any extra fluid. I spent most of everyday sitting or laying down, doing very little walking, and no lifting anything more than a couple of pounds.
We took a family trip to the beach for a few nights over Thanksgiving with Ben's parents, which is about a 4 hour drive from us. In full honesty -- I did NOT want to go. I was in a horrible mood leading up to the trip, physically uncomfortable, wasn't excited about dealing with a drain on the road and not in my own home, didn't want to make small talk, wasn't sure how to pack or what I'd be comfortable wearing, and was worried about the drive down being painful. But, I knew the kids and Ben needed the trip and the change of scenery might help me break out of my funk, at least a little bit. So I went -- but I'm sad to admit--not cheerfully. And I was definitely dead weight and completely unhelpful when it came to packing, preparing, planning, and parenting on this trip. Ben and his parents get ALL the credit for that!
While I did put my toes in the sand for a short period of time each day, I spent most of my time on the couch wrapped up in a blanket, and stayed medicated each evening to try and remain pleasant(ish) to be around.
Besides being physically uncomfortable, it was far too depressing for me to sit on the beach and see everyone around me in swimsuits getting tan and sandy, exercising and moving their bodies, when I was restricted to full-coverage bulky clothes, hiding a surgical drain and rock hard expanders and allowed little-to-no exercise. Many of my favorite beach activities were prohibited or awkward or uncomfortable. That (and the ever-presence of breasts in bikinis all around me) made it very difficult to temporarily forget my struggles.
I would say my mood was *slightly* lifted by the sand, the sun, a change in scenery and some holiday time with family. But boy was I in a rough spot when it took all of that to lift my spirits just a little bit. Yikes!
When we returned home, I was determined not to return to the dark dungeon of my bedroom recliner and Netflix and made myself get up, get dressed, and move around the house more over the weekend. Then, this morning at my appointment, my left drain was finally removed and I was (re)cleared to begin increasing my activity. Sweet relief!
My surgeons both said around 4 weeks most people "turn a corner" after the double mastectomy and expander reconstruction surgery I just had. Today marks 4 weeks, so I'm hoping that's true. Getting that last drain out will be a HUGE help in that, I'm sure.