Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The Countdown Has Begun

The countdown has begun and I'm in frantic mode trying to think of everything I need to get done before I don't know how long it will be until I can get things done again.  I'm trying to prep myself for time of just hanging out on the couch or in bed reading, watching movies, sleeping.  :)  There are days that does sound heavenly, but I don't know how many days in a row of that I can manage before I start to go a little crazy.

My pre-op and post-op instructions have arrived and I tell you "I will follow the doctor's instructions."  I want to be healed and back to doing as much on my own as I can as soon as possible.  That means I will be following the doctors instructions to the letter.  I will be surrounding myself with those who will help me follow doctor's orders and not enable bad behavior and let me do whatever my own mind thinks is OK for me to do.  I am having major surgery and want to expedite healing as quickly as I possibly can.

Knowing the doctor's orders was instrumental in making my final surgery decision.  I was facing major surgery regardless of my choice and tons of restrictions.  Regardless of my choice, my arm use and shoulder strength will be effected.  Transferring on my own will be impossible for a period of time.   If I had chosen immediate reconstruction, that time period would be at least 3-4 times longer than mastectomy alone.  I can't do that.  I'm already not sure how I can manage whatever time I will be recovering without going crazy.  I couldn't justify increasing that time right now.  Especially not when I don't know what I'll be facing as far as chemo and/or radiation time.  I need my strength and as a manual wheelchair user, I need my arms.

Managing breast cancer from a wheelchair provides complications of its own.  I've heard people compare using a wheelchair to bed rest since you're not really using your body like you do when you're walking on two legs.  That is true, but you are using your body in different ways.  I don't really want to start ranting here, just saying that if I am put on bed rest, it does not mean I can just go about daily life since I'll be in a wheelchair anyway.  Bed rest means BED REST and it comes with restrictions for all even those who happen to use a wheelchair.

I don't know if bed rest will be in my future, but I will be following doctor's orders and not doing anything that will reinjure myself, break open stitches, or land me in the hospital. (I hope!)  My plan is to heal as quickly as possible.  That's where I need your help.  I need prayers going up now and throughout this process for my health and healing, doctors, and a strengthened immune system.

I received my list of what herbal suppliments to stop taking at least 14 days before surgery and have already stopped taking the one thing that was part of my daily routine.  I will not be adding anything new at this point.  I am also to stop taking aspirin or blood thinners at least 7 days before surgery.  I will do that, but maybe not until right at the 7 day mark.  :)

I will be following ALL doctor's orders, but doctor's don't tell you everything about the best way to prep for all post surgery needs.  I have been collecting soft button front shirts, I will order a drain belt to help manage my drains, and I've been collecting books, movie ideas, other things to keep my brain busy during recovery.  I've started thinking about meals, but don't really know how to prepare.  Good thing I have great help arranged that will manage some of these details.

One important thing I'm trying to do is boost my immune system now and keep it boosted after surgery.  My research shows there are four main things to consider when boosting immune systems:
nutrition, exercise, sleep, and reducing stress.  I will be exercising at least as much as I was before diagnosis and will be focusing on strengthening my legs so my arms are not needed as much during transfers.  I will be working on getting more sleep and even taking naps.  :)  And, I am gathering information on make good immune system boosting nutritional decisions.  The good news is what I'm reading shows that I'm already making a lot of healthy nutritional decisions.  If you have any immue system boosting ideas, send them my way.  Now, about reducing stress.  How exactly am I supposed to do that?

Regardless of all my prep work, my immune system will be compromised and working harder than ever to keep me well.  I love you all, but my visitors will be severely limited for awhile after surgery.  In fact, I have decided immediate family members and caretakers only for awhile. Communicating with me virtually may be the best decision for everyone.

I feel like I'm on a fast moving train with no idea what's around the bend or where this train will stop.  I'm just thankful my computer can come with me on this journey and keep me connected to you.

Thankful thoughts for today:
Working Healthy
Casemanagers working hard to help with stress reduction
Rain barrels working
Dry basement
Seasonal fruit

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