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    *I APOLOGIZE FOR TAKING SO LONG TO FINISH THIS SERIES UP. I was just checking on the MSW board and realized not only had I not finished, but I had actually typed most of this up and just not posted it.
    Because of that, it is lengthy sorry again, but I wanted to wrap it up.
    A lot of the delay was everyday living and getting by with more fatigue than usual. Also, I don't know if the mastectomy has anything to do with it or it was just me & my MS, but I have had more cognitive and concentration issues since surgery.
    I am working on those. Recognizing and admitting that fact is half the battle, but I am definitely not where I was before the surgery. Of course, I am a different person, physically, but also emotionally. Lord willing, Who has brought me through all this, I am a stronger person and able to help others facing breast cancer.
    Thanks to all who have 'listened' to my journey,

    While at the hospital I found it was best to just follow orders and listen to the staff's advice. Even if they'd never had a mastectomy themselves, they knew A LOT more than I did.
    Hospital stay went pretty smoothly. I tried to limit visitors because I was always so tired and was very self conscious about the drainage tubes and bulbs plus my body image of no boobies.
    If someone is with you, just make your wishes known. Even though at times I didn't want visitors they came anyway and I found that I was glad they had come. It cheered me to know how much people cared. The flowers, cards, balloons and gifts helped lift my spirits too!
    sometimes, we just have to let people serve and give to us. Most women aren't good at that, I know I'm not usually. This was one time, though, I was relieved to relinquish power and let others take care of me.

    After about 3 days (3 nights, 2 days- I think) I came home.
    I actually dreaded it because I knew I wouldn't be able to replicate the position my hospital bed did that was so comfortable.

    At home, at least, no one pokes needles in you, or squeeze your arm or stick things in your mouth every four hours!!!

    The love seat in our study where the TV is, was my 'bed' for a long time. Borrowed my dad's extra recliner for several months, but finally gave it back. It was nice when I was able to sleep all night, except it was an old one that you had to pull the handle to get the feet up. That hurt a lot at first! Get help on pulling and tugging as much as you can!

    Actually, I will be sleeping on the loveseat again tonight. I have probably not slept in bed but a few dozen times since july surgery. I'm a side or belly sleeper. If I sleep on my back, I snore and bother hubby. I can't wait until I can sleep in bed like a normal person!

    At home, you have to do whatever makes you comfortable. If you have help, be sure and use them, even if it seems silly like asking them to hand you your cup from the end table. I used my lidded, spill proof cups. The ones with a straw were easiest on my arms, I didn't have to lift my arms to get a drink.

    Staying hydrated is VERY important! You lost blood during surgery, it's normal, especially when removing body parts! Your body has to replace that fluid plus the meds are probably depleting you, so drink lots of water or drinks that have electrolytes.
    Limit caffeine & soda, as they will just dehydrate you further.
    BEWARE of large cups of drink. Believe it or not, some will be too heavy and hurt to lift up for a drink.
    If you are taking care of yourself, make sure that someone puts everything you need on counter or low shelf so you won't have to strain to reach anything.
    I also had my DH loosen all bottles I might need before he left for work. Objects are going to be a lot heavier than you think.
    The first time I picked up the milk jug I almost dropped it all over the floor. What a mess that would have been!

    I wanted to be alert and not a baby about hurting, so I skimped on my pain pills. Not a good idea!! The dr gives you pain pills to help you heal and relax. I didn't like resting so much and taking so many meds but I feel sure that doing so helped me recover faster. They say your body heals while asleep or resting. For 2 weeks that's all I did.
    My mom-in-love keep the 2 pills every 4 hours as needed down me on schedule. I'm sure she did this out of love for me and not wanting me to be in pain. Not because I was a pain in the butt when awake, surely not!!! LOL!!!

    Showers were interesting. Thank goodness we have a handicapped one already. The shower head comes off and I sat on one of the built in seats while my sweet hubby washed me up. When I was well enough to do it myself, both still came in very handy. If you don't have a shower bench, you might can borrow one. If not, it's a good investment, especially if you already have weakness and balance issues. This will make both much worse!

    I discovered that I could brush my hair with less pain if I leaned over brushed mostly on the side or upside down. Now though is not the time to worry about your looks, but some things have to be done. Tangled hair, mines long, drives me crazy!!
    Oh! be sure and trim all your nails before surgery. It may be awhile before you can do it yourself. Of course, when you feel like getting out, someone can drive you to a get a mani/ pedi! I found that I didn't even have energy or desire to do THAT.
    I was blessed. One of my dear friends and her teen daughter came to the rescue!
    They gave me a mani & pedi at home!
    If you can, while recovering, pamper yourself like this or some other way. It'll make you feel prettier and therefore more positive, which is a big plus in healing!

    **Changing of the bandage. I doubt if anyone can do this themselves. I don't know, you would have to check with your dr. I advise asking days before the surgery in case you need to line up some help.

    I can't remember how often the bindings and gauze had to be removed, wound cleaned and then all rewrapped properly. Plus putting back on the special compression bra, all without pulling out the drainage tubes.

    It seem to take FOREVER to go through this process. Though actually I believe it was an hour or less. I'm sure everyone varies in time, technique, etc. I was a germaphob. I was so worried that I'd catch something and not be well before my grandchild was born.

    Though washing throughly when handling bandages is normal stuff.

    From my experience, I learned to lie still usually on bed and just let hubby take care of things. The nurse had instructed him on how it was done and whenever I tried to help, I usually ended up hurting myself or messing something up.

    Beyond that, I have no other advice than follow your dr's instructions exactly.
    Oh! timing dressing changes just a little bit after taking pain pills worked well for me. The tugging and moving to unwrap and rewrap does hurt, but gets better the more you heal.
    While bandage is off be sure you or whoever is taking care of you checks affected area for anything unusual. One of my drainage tubes developed red streaks around and out from it almost overnight. When we called the dr., he wanted to see me immediately. He even started me on antibiotics since it would be almost 24 hrs before he could see me.

    This is where technology really helped. My DH took several digital pics of the site and sent them to drs' office email. The antibiotics helped, but the tube still had to be removed. It was almost time anyway, but it was still draining blood and pus.
    Complications set in later.

    After the dr. removed my drainage tubes, he also gave the okay to not wear the compression bra and the bandages were removed.
    I remember feeling anxious about being exposed.

    My incision was glued together. That was a first for me! Even though it was my 14th surgery. Almost seven months later, I'm glad for the glue. My scar is pretty thin and straight.

    Even when the dr gave me the 'go-ahead', get back to a 'normal' lifestyle, I still was very careful. The seemingly 'little' things would hurt. Found I had to face the side by side refrigerator and use both hands to open it or else I got a sharp stab or pulling feeling in whichever side of the hand I used.

    Don't worry, this won't last forever. Everyone's different and depending on what all was done, you'll heal at a different rate from just about everyone else.

    I was highly motivated! I WAS going to be over 1000 miles away to where my 1st grandbaby was being born.

    Even traveling by plane, being at the hospital or at home, I had to keep reminding myself to rest and let others do things for me.

    While healing is not the time to be superwoman!

    Even with getting a UTI and infected drain site, all the antibiotics that went along with that, almost exactly a month after surgery the doctor gave me the okay to travel by plane with compression hose and to resume normal duties. Just not lifting anything heavier than my upcoming newborn grandchild and stopping whenever something hurt.

    The journey to healing was in no way over, but the worst was behind me.

    In two days it will be seven months since my double mastectomy.
    The doctor has released me to do anything I wanted to do! He said he didn't want to see me again for six months! Woohoo!

    I overdid the exercising the next morning and paid for it for about two days. I now have slowed my pace and gradually increasing how long, how much and what type of exercise I do.

    I have begun lifting weights. Just the one time so far, did a short (10 minute) workout I found on the internet to help with belly/ butt and the 'doughnut'. Without having any reconstruction done, nor buying any prosthesis, my chest is a little concave.

    On the site, I learned how to dress in such a way to minimize the fact that I am breast free. I have finally accepted my new body image, though of course, feel it needs improvement!
    I don't think i'd be normal if I didn't believe that!!!

    My belly is bigger than my chest so I have decided to concentrate on losing weight and exercising that area before doing any weights or strenous exercise to build up my pectoral muscles just yet.

    Today I was tickled to death to talk to a friend from church. Somehow she missed that i'd had a double mastectomy in july. It dawned on me that she'd seen me numerous times since then at church, even hugged me and hadn't even noticed the difference in my body! It has finally sunk in that the way I view my body is different than they way others see it.

    My journey isn't over. I guess it won't ever be as long as i'm living in this body. But I am much more confident about the future and am overjoyed to be cancer free.

    I know i've taken quite awhile in writing my 'story' (in length and time), but my prayer is that it helps someone reading this to cope with breast cancer, whatever stage you may be in.

    "All things are possible for those who believe." Jesus

    Breast Cancer and MS

    I have read your posts re: your journey with breast cancer and MS as I also have RRMS and breast cancer. I was diagnosed with MS about 7 years ago and with triple negative breast cancer 3 years ago. I had a right mastectomy followed by 16 total rounds of chemotherapy. No radiation. For a while I did my Rebif shots while I was on chemotherapy. My oncologist and neurologist were OK with that. Then I wimped out and went with chemo only. I also had 2 major reconstruction surgeries.

    I participate in a discussion board maintained by the American Cancer Society ( but no one there has both MS and breast cancer. We are a rare breed.

    Good luck with both of these beasts.


      bless your heart!

      Originally posted by jessiesmom View Post
      I have read your posts re: your journey with breast cancer and MS as I also have RRMS and breast cancer. I was diagnosed with MS about 7 years ago and with triple negative breast cancer 3 years ago. I had a right mastectomy followed by 16 total rounds of chemotherapy. No radiation. For a while I did my Rebif shots while I was on chemotherapy. My oncologist and neurologist were OK with that. Then I wimped out and went with chemo only. I also had 2 major reconstruction surgeries.

      I participate in a discussion board maintained by the American Cancer Society ( but no one there has both MS and breast cancer. We are a rare breed.

      Good luck with both of these beasts.
      you certainly have had your battles too!
      i REALLY didn't want to do chemo or radiation. i'm glad i didn't have to decide, i'm afraid i would have wimped out and not done it.

      so glad you made it through. i pray that you're doing well.

      there are many more of us with the MonSter and breast cancer and other diseases than we realize.

      that's why i wrote all these posts to help those who maybe didn't want to really talk about it, but needed to know that they're not alone.
      also wanted to open up a little discussed topic so others who felt comfortable responding/ sharing, whatever would have a place to do so.

      thank you so much for sticking with me and reading my posts.
      again, sorry, it was all so long to finally get through. but then again, i'm sure you understand

      take care & God bless ya!
      "All things are possible for those who believe." Jesus