Wednesday, June 18, 2014

More Garden Pics & Surgical Update....

First things first.... When I did the DIEP Flap breast reconstruction, they did something called a rib resection. I only saw one diagram that showed them going through one of the ribs in the chest to get to blood vessels. And I thought, "Okay, they will cut the rib to get to the blood vessel and then it will heal like any other broken rib". And for six weeks I've been waiting for my rib to heal, but it still hurts like hell, especially when I sneeze, do side to side motions, or strenuous activity like vacuuming or mowing the lawn.

The other night, as I was laying down, I felt a bone kind of sticking up about two inches to the right of my sternum. After feeling around and pressing on it for a couple minutes, I realized that there's no bone that connects to my sternum. Then I looked up the meaning of "resect", and it means removal. I don't know why I didn't realize it, but the procedure removed part of my rib....and the end of it is so sore! Yuck!  Hopefully that will stop hurting soon.

Anyway, so here's the latest on the gardening adventure, hoping it will lead to a healthier me... 

First "mini" harvest of green beans

All these are Bell Peppers!

Bush Early Tomatoes

The Sunflowers are sprouting, and I'm still waiting on the Pumpkins to sprout too

Next to happen is planting some Naval Orange seeds, Cherry Tree seeds, and Pomegranate seeds.  Soon my yard will be full of food! 

Friday, June 13, 2014

The Garden

When they put the top soil in the garden boxes, I didn't realize it was mostly clay. My garden did well for a while, but the plants weren't really growing and they started to turn yellow. Part of it was over-watering, because the clay held so much water. And part of it was that there were no real nutrients in the soil. 

So...I've been busy. I got 80lbs of manure and organic plant food, planted lots of new plants in the garden, and re-tilled the whole garden by hand for the second time. The first time was with compost and this time with the manure and food. Whew! But hopefully now it's not going to kill the plants. It was driving me crazy to see my neighbor's plants that are HUGE and beautiful, and mine were all tiny and yellow.

I also planted a cherry tree and I still need to plant my fig tree. But everything already looks better!  On top of that, the Oncologist said that all the labor will help my veins!  I head back the hospital infusion lab today for my monthly dose of Herceptin.  Hopefully they only have to stick me once this time!  (Update:  I got stuck twice again)

Here are pics of the garden.... 

Rows of bell peppers in green, red, orange and yellow

Green beans and corn.  Still a little yellow but getting bettter

My herbs are growing really well!

I still need to plant my fig tree with the other fruit trees

Cherry tree (although better for flowering)

The Peach Tree, Two Apple Trees, Plum and
Pear Trees are all doing well.

Natalie's angel catching sun for the garden

Watermelon has sprouted along with the Canteloupe

Overall looking MUCH better


I also planted a Dwarf Lemon Tree, Lime Tree and Grapefruit Tree

And Potatoes!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

I'm Gonna Dye!!

They say you have to wait six months after chemotherapy to dye your hair.  (Who are "they" anyway??)   From the research I've done, this is what I've found about what they have said.  Chemotherapy changes your body chemistry.  This includes skin, nails, hair and everything in between.  The way your body reacted to chemicals prior to chemo, is not necessarily how they will react afterwards.  And chemo stays in your body for a long time.

But, this grey hair, no matter how sophisticated people tell me it looks, had to go.  It's only been five months though, so I didn't know what would happen.  Some women experienced rashes or allergic reactions.  Some women got green hair.  Who knew how my hair would end up?  And because my skin had such a bad reaction to the steri-strips, I didn't know what to expect.

I bought the box of hair dye a month ago in anticipation.  I nervously decided today was the day, and I put that stuff on there!!  I only left it for 17 of the 25 minutes, just in case I had a reaction, so it's not as dark as what the box shows.  And yes, I left the birthmark, although it looks ridiculous right now with my hair so short.  But in time, my hair will grow, and I will go a little longer next time with the dye.

The one thing I did notice that was different, I guess because of chemo, is that my hair didn't have any shine after dying it.  But that's easily solved with some hair gloss.  Anyway, here's how it looks!!

Pic taken for Greenville News at Natalie's swim meet.  Look how grey!!

6/10/14  "Before"

In progress....

6/11/14  "After" 

And here's the progress five weeks after surgery....

Belly button is going in and elongating. The incision is healing and changing to a lighter color.
And I'm looking forward to lipo for the buldgy areas. 

Finally, a flat stomach!!!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Surgical Update

I met with the surgeon this morning to see my progress after my surgery four weeks ago.  He found and removed a few stitches that had broken through my incision lines, and took a look at the place on my hip where my incision opened up.  The good news is, there's no infection anywhere, and it will heal up in just a couple weeks with just a bandaid (as opposed to "wound care").  

Also, he said that I'm healing so well and so quickly that he's moving the follow up surgery closer.  I won't have to wait the three months.  I'll meet with him in just a month to schedule the next surgery.  This one will be to resolve any small issues like the roundness over each hip and add more fat to the new breast.  It should be a very easy surgery.  Nothing compared to the last one.

On top of all that, I won't have to wait the full six weeks before lifting my 60lb son, Eliah.  Because I've healed so well, he gave me the go ahead to get back to life.  Although I still need to be a little careful with activity, because my rib is still healing, I can do most everything now.  Whew!

The next step is to start wearing silicone sheets on the scars, because apparently something in silicone makes scars go away.  So I will head to the drug store this afternoon for those.  Other than that, I'm on the mend! 

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Four Weeks Post-Breast Reconstruction Surgery

Well, I had my breast reconstruction four weeks ago today. I've had lots of energy, so I've been walking downtown or on the treadmill, doing some floor exercises, and some light stretching.  Then I decided to do spring cleaning (again).  I've steam cleaned the carpets, moved furniture to clean behind, and even cleaned out all the closets.   However, I kind of got ahead of myself with doing stuff, and was quickly reminded to take it easy.

On Saturday, I reached down to scratch my incision line, and it split open on my left hip.  It's not too bad, but does require some wound care... and rest.  Apparently, my body is refusing to dissolve the stitches.  Not only are the stitches rising to the surface, but they are, at four weeks, still fishing line material.  I pulled a three inch long piece of fishing line out of the middle of my stomach a couple days ago.  Since then, the middle part of the incision is finally starting to heal.  But my body isn't even trying with these stitches!  So frustrating.

Anyway, I meet with the plastic surgeon in a couple days to take a look, but there's not much they can do except address the stitches as they break through.  In the meantime, I'm eating pineapple to speed healing, taking enzymes to dissolve the stitches, Chlorella to help build new cells, and trying to take it easy, although sitting still is quickly driving me insane.

Three steps forward, one step back with healing.  Overall, I'm still very pleased with how it's going, despite the hiccup.  A lot of the swelling has gone down around my hips.  The doctor will still plan on fixing any remaining bulges with liposuction in just a couple months.   And I'm starting to think about a tattoo that will cover most of my body now. Hahaha (I'm only half kidding).