Well hello everyone! It's been a while but I'm here and I've got great news to share, as well as a summary of how surgery went. I'm approaching 1 month out and feeling pretty good, on days when I push too hard I definitely feel it and pay for it later, but I started "exercising" last week (long walk) and picked up Evelyn for the first time this weekend. So progress is coming, slowly.
The first two weeks following surgery were all a bit of a blur #blameitonthenorco. The first two days were pretty awful and had me regretting doing the hysterectomy at the same time as the mastectomy. I really only had use of my legs, so getting in and out of bed was pretty darn difficult. In addition, I had trapped air under my diaphragm which caused some pretty significant pain. But once I got rid of the gas, the recovery from the hyster was pretty smooth. Now I can say that I am happy I don't have ANOTHER surgery to recover from! Here's a few pictures from the last couple weeks...
|The night of surgery, it took 8.5 hours!! This was before the gas pain kicked in so I'm still smiling.|
|Kate made me a get well soon card at school. That's her name along the bottom (the p is really a backwards a). The best gift I received! That orange guy? That's mommy with "boy hair"|
|Day 3 of recovery, so happy to be home! I didn't leave this recliner for a solid week, laying flat was a big challenge|
|This girl wanted mommy snuggles so badly, we finally snuggled on day 3, with the help of a mastectomy pillow. My heart was complete at this moment!|
|11 days post surgery, I could tolerate sitting with her without the pillow, though it was tender. Still had my drains in at this point, which was awful, I would get them out on day 14.|
|13 days post surgery and SUPERBOWL! Kate had a jam packed weekend and fell asleep on my lap (which never happens) so I enjoyed my snuggles with her too. The new boobies make nice pillows!|
|Silly faces with Evelyn on day 17|
Non-surgery related, my hair is coming back in STRONG! I have reached milestone #1, which is enough hair to NOT see my scalp underneath. Not quite ready for a haircut just yet, but its coming along nicely. My eyebrows are also coming back in, thank goodness, because I am so tired of drawing them on. The eyelashes are pulling up the rear, coming in slow. I'll be so happy when they are back in, eyelashes are functional as well as fashionable!
Now, what does the future hold for me? Some pretty great stuff apparently. I had my first "survivorship" appointment with my oncologist and we talked pathology and recurrence rates. When they did my surgery, they sent all the tissue they removed (breast tissue and lymph nodes) to pathology to look for any residual cancer cells. And guess what?!?! IT WAS ALL NEGATIVE!
OH YEAH!! That news called for a celebration. All your prayers worked my friends, you all helped me get to this point! It's called a complete pathological response (cPR) to chemo and it carries with it the best prognosis possible with my diagnosis.
So this is what I'm fighting the next few years. Because I had triple negative cancer (very aggressive and can be difficult to treat) my greatest risk of recurrence is in the next 3-5 years. BUT, because I had a cPR, that risk is only about 10%. If I can make it beyond 5 years, research shows my risk of recurrence is nearly zero, for some reason triple negative cancers don't seem to return past the 5 year mark. So I just have to make it to 2022 and I'm in the clear!
This whole cancer journey is such a mindbender. I have gone through a total range of emotions, from feeling like I am totally going to beat this and its just a bump in the road, to feeling like I have a death sentence and I won't see my girls grow up or get old with Mitch. Now that I'm on the other side, its time to start balancing these emotions.
While I'm aware of my chance of recurrence, I'm not going to let that paralyze me. I'm going to take better care of myself (my body has been through the ringer the last 6 months!!) and my family. Take the time to play with my girls, take pictures and videos to remember this time and go on dates with Mitch. And I hope to give back somehow to my new community of women as well, be of help to other young women fighting this same battle.
What I do know is I am not the same. I will not get the pre-cancer Lindsay back, but that's ok. Because this Lindsay is a total bad ass! She beat cancer and isn't looking back,