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Sep 26, 2014

I may be on tv y'all!

... and I'm all like "well BET called and..." 


You know its because I'm SUCH big deal.

*sarcasm*

At the beginning of the year, back when I was all excited about the possibilities in 2014... I was challenged by some other bloggers to choose a word or a concept to make my focus for the year. After some thought and meditation, the word and concept that I chose to focus on this year was RECEIVE. Read: My theme for 2014 is Receive

Being the girl that I am, I started out gang-busters with energy this year and after one stumble after another and a few side steps and pauses... I lost track of my theme word and concept. Fortunately for me, the concept did not give up on me.

It never hurts to be kind and leave a good impression


Someone I met years ago, was contacted by a friend of theirs who was looking for breast cancer survivors willing to share their story. She remembered that I was open and transparent about my journey and asked to connect me with her friend. I agreed, believing that the conversation would most likely result in sharing information about breast cancer and African-American woman that would end up in a magazine article or a blog post. October is around the corner after all.

I spoke with the kindest sister. And as she explained what she was working on, who she worked for and her request... my heart soared. I joked with her then that once we got off the phone, I was going to dance for a little while because I was just that happy.

Finally! Somebody wanted to talk about what I was seeing all around me. Black women DO get breast cancer. Young black women are not exempt. We have to have these conversations and be open to really sharing the knowledge and learning -- and then taking action about our breast health. 

A breast cancer awareness promotion for BET


While I do have friends who refuse to watch BET (Black Entertainment Television), due to their programming (sometimes it just seems to miss the mark), I actually do watch the network and I see that they are making some great changes. Being asked to participate in a breast cancer promotion for this network was a dream. I can't even say a dream come true because I didn't have the foresight to dream of it.

As much as I talk about black women and breast cancer all over social media and this blog (in real life too)... I often feel like a lone voice shouting into a wind tunnel. Breast cancer impacts our community hard and yet we really don't talk about it too much. That is a shame. At any rate, I took the train to New York and hung out for 2 days with some of the most fabulous, beautiful, accomplished, centered and generally awesome women I've ever met.

No lie... these chicks are BAD! I was in fan-girl mode most of the time I was there. Truly just thrilled to be included in their presence. Being able to speak freely about the journey of breast cancer, the importance of awareness within the black community and listening to other women share their stories was amazing. Absolutely amazing!



I only had the presence of mind to take a few pictures on the set during some down time. I wish I had thought to take a few more. The entire crew was awesome, the director was even more awesome and it was generally a great, great time. I learned a lot -- about the process of filming and about myself. I sincerely hope that more opportunities come my way that are as awesome as this.

The promotional pieces will most likely be shared on BET.com but some clips may make it to the television network as well. (fingers crossed)

It was my first time on a video shoot so everything was new and fresh to me. Really interesting work goes into creating films. My appreciation for the work shot up 1000%. The joy for me was in the connecting with other women -- both the survivors and the women on the set. I blog about this journey because I feel like I'm supposed to honestly. But also because I want people to see ME, and to see other survivors of breast cancer as women just like them. We're not super-woman, we're not aliens, or cursed... we're just women who had to go through a hard thing (a really ridiculously hard thing) but we looked at the journey and decided to fight.

I like being the "that could have been me" girl because the truth is, it could be you. Or your sister. Or your mother. Your neighbor. Your favorite barista. Your girlfriend on the bowling team. Anybody. Breast cancer can strike ANYBODY. So rather than behave as though its not possible, we (the survivors) and the medical community have to share with you what we know that will help to reduce your chances of getting it... while also preparing you for ways to find it and treat it if you do get it. And you have to listen and not be afraid.

Not everyone survives breast cancer. That is just the naked truth. But many of us do. And many of us go on and lead absolutely wonderful lives (as exciting or boring as you'd like). New technologies and medical advances happen all the time. I firmly believe that early detection is your best weapon. And that means, doing breast self-exams regularly, getting regular mammograms, talking with your doctor about concerns and generally being aware of changes with your breast and following up quickly.



Since this blog post has prattled on long enough, I want to leave you with a few thoughts:

  1. Your breast health matters. Because YOU matter. We tend to put ourselves last in everything. And while it is noble, it is not necessary. Your health matters. Your family and friends need you. They need whatever that special sauce is that you bring to their lives. So if you really want to be superwoman and everything to everyone... take care of your health. That way, they've got you in their lives forever. 
  2. Your doctor is there to help you but if they don't listen to you... you can find another doctor. Look, I like doctors. One of my most favorite-est people on the entire planet is a physician (my cousin Melvin) and I wouldn't trade him for anything. He's easily one of the most brilliant people I know. Just like most doctors are. What they also are, is HUMAN. That means that they can make mistakes, they can have bad days and well... sometimes you just might not like them. Guess what? All of that is okay. If you go to your doctor with concerns and they don't take you seriously, try a little harder to get them to see that you're very concerned about your health and then explain why. If they still won't comply with your requests (some docs will hit you with "but you're too young, its probably nothing, I wouldn't worry" blah blah blah).. FIND ANOTHER DOCTOR. It is their job, but it is your life. Choose you... 
  3. IF... if, if, if, if, if... you are diagnosed with breast cancer, it does not automatically mean that you are going to die. I promise you, when I heard my diagnosis that day... I thought I was going to drop dead on the spot. It is frightening to hear that you have cancer. But the truth is that for most of us, breast cancer is very treatable. But you won't know what you're working with until you see your medical team. So you have to take a deep breath, hold the hand of someone who loves you... and walk forward. I'm here if you need me, as are most pink ribbon sisters. We got you. (but it is an IF, not a when...)
  4. None of us like tragedy or bad things, and all of us are too stressed and very busy... but believe it or not, breast cancer can be a blessing to your life. (Don't shoot me...) I know it may be hard to accept this -- it was hard for me to accept this when I heard it during my treatment -- but in hind sight, breast cancer did bring some blessings to my life. 
  5. Love is possible after breast cancer. So is REALLY GOOD SEX! I ain't even going to try to explain this further. Y'all know what I'm saying... 
Don't let the fear of what might be... keep you from loving yourself enough to take care of yourself. Examine your breasts monthly. Take notice of any changes in your breast (skin changes, pains, lumps, rashes, etc.) and talk to your doctor. But most of all, make the choice right now... to put your health first. The world needs just what you bring.




http://fabulous-boobies.blogspot.com/p/new-here.html

Sep 24, 2014

Give yourself a lymphatic massage

Self Lymphatic Massage | My Fabulous Boobies


When I was in physical therapy for my lymphedema,  I wasn't taught how to self-massage to move the lymph that collected in my arm back towards the trunk of my body. In fact, I didn't know that it was something I could do on my own until I had a conversation with another survivor some time ago.

After a bit of searching online, I discovered these wonderful instruction videos.

However, I haven't been good about actually doing the massage regularly. I plan to work on that because my arm needs to be smaller and I don't want the pooling of lymph fluid to start to break down my skin or my muscles.

The first time I went to physical therapy, I started to feel a draining in my sinuses when she did the facial massage. I thought it was weird and woo-woo... But she let me know that it was normal and meant that the fluid was moving as it should.

The surprising thing about lymphatic massage is that it is a very light and gentle touch. Not at all what I think of when I think of massage. But, it does work. So, I'm sharing these two videos so that others can see how the lymphatic massage works for your arm. And also how to massage your face to open up your sinuses, if you have that problem (congestion in your face/nose).

Anyone can do these massages... but they are extremely helpful for those of us who suffer from lymphedema.  (Along with consistent use of your compression garments)


Self Lymphatic Massage for the Arm









How to drain your head (good for congestion, allergies, etc.)






Sep 22, 2014

Forever young...

I think a lot about what life would have been like if I'd never gotten breast cancer. If I had stuck with that guy I was dating... if I had kept that job.. Or if I had moved to that country. You know... the what ifs.

But then I look at my life and realize that I have a peace now that I've never really experienced before. And a relationship that makes me happy in a way that I can't say I've experienced before. All that I've been through brought me to this moment.

You've got to love that.

I'm a big Jay Z fan... and I have become a Beyonce fan over the past couple of years. I guess since she's become a mother. Her love for her husband and her child... and her life... is palpable. Jay Z (love that dude) found a match with her that I'm not even sure that he thought was possible before. I relate to that feeling so very strongly.

This clip from their HBO special shows highlights of their life. I love seeing happy couples and families. These two are happy together. And it is a beautiful thing to witness.

I am reminded that no matter how hard it gets some days... and how hard my cancer experience was... all things conspired to bring me to this moment. I won't be forever young, but while I'm here I get to experience this and relish the beauty in my life right now.

That makes it worthwhile.



Sep 18, 2014

I want a new look - PURPLE HAIR!

This is 10 years of me. Why come I look the same?

've been thinking... I look the same. All the time. To be honest... I've looked the same for a very long time. It is somewhat disconcerting that I can share a picture that I took 10 years ago and people are not sure whether I took it a year ago or that day. My boyfriend asked me the other day if I was a vampire.

Talk about awkward.


I guess there are worse problems to have. And I will definitely tell you that the time I was in active treatment for breast cancer was NOT kind to my face at all (or my body... meh). I was puffy and bloated looking for 2+ years. Thanks chemo and radiation!

But here I am, years later... and finally... FINALLY... I want a new look. Yay me, right? Well... not exactly.

I have no idea how to create a new me... new look. 


I need to find a new barber or hair stylist that works with natural hair. I found some pictures and videos online of women whose hair cuts and color I admire and would like to try.

I found these pics of the haircut I want. Now... my hair currently isn't nearly this long but this is a cut that I can grow into. I keep going through these ridiculous phases of growing my hair out and then not knowing what to do with it, so I chop it back down to the scalp.

I am really cool with my super-short hair. I love the way my hair looks freshly cut in a sharp taper. But I sort of dig the curls too and this cut gives me both worlds. And I can let it be as subtle (short) or startling (grow long, maybe weave length in?) as I'd like.



Her name is Veronica and she blogs at Pretty Girl Rock Blog. Definitely go and check her out -- she's adorable and has a nice blog. I found these pics at:  http://kinkycurlycoilyme.com/inevitable-change-a-portrait-of-my-new-natural-hair/  (another great blogger to follow if you're into natural hair and stuff like that).

*Isn't the internet fabulous? I just make all types of friends daily... and they give me so much interesting stuff to think about and look at. Love it!

I'm thinking purple hair will be fun... and funky.

So... continuing on this "I need a new look" concept... I've also decided to embrace my inner bohemian chick and get some color. But I don't want just any ol' color. Oh no... that wouldn't be me. I want PURPLE HAIR!

Continuing to scoot around the internet, I wondered if kinky/curly natural girls rocked wild colors. I've seen sisters with the bright red hair. And blonde of course. But I can't see either one of those on me. I tried dying my hair red... ew. Isn't that just a sad face? On that sad red TWA (teeny weeny afro)?

I think my natural skin coloring will look a little odd with the really bright red hair. So, I'm hoping that purple works.



*There's no logic in this. Don't look for any... I've warned you.*


I found this sister on youtube... and FELL. IN. LOVE. WITH. PURPLE. CURLS. She colors her hair often... and gives product reviews and makeup tutorials. I think she's adorable... check her out: Coloured Beautiful http://colouredbeautiful.com/new-hair-color-manic-panic/

Seeing another natural sister with a short cut rocking wild purple hair... gave me unspeakable joy. I'm going to mimic her flow a bit and color my hair purple too. (I looked at all the color offerings from Manic Panic and... I am going with purple.)


http://colouredbeautiful.com/new-hair-color-manic-panic/


So, now you know the plan. I want purple curls on a funky frohawk-ish cut. Definitely different for me. But, I obviously need a change of some sort. Who looks the same for over a decade?

Well... not this girl. Not anymore.

I'll be grabbing some Manic Panic Purple Haze Semi Permanent Vegan Hair Dye and getting to work very soon. Thanks to youtube and google, I learned that these wild colors aren't permanent and they wash out after a few weeks. Manic Panic is vegan and doesn't have the harmful ingredients that other over-the-counter hair dyes have. THAT made me feel better. Cuz ya know I'm not really into putting icky stuff on my skin or my hair. I feel comfortable trying this out. If I hate it... I can just wash it daily until it washes away.

One caveat though... in order to get that really bright color, you have to bleach your hair first. Yikes. I won't be doing that the first time. I'll just put the purple over my natural off-black and see how I like it. I'm sure it won't show up except in sunlight or direct light but that's fine. I need to ease into my crazy anyway...

Recap:

  • I need a change. Some FUNK in my look. 
  • I want a new cut (not the same one that I've been wearing since my 20's).
  • I want to grow some hair but not all over. Don't want that kind of pressure. I like short shaved sides.... a lot. 
  • Found a haircut inspiration (see above).
  • Decided that color could be my friend. 
  • Opted to just go crazy and get purple hair. I mean... why not? 
  • Is not above thinking that this may be mid-life crisis thinking... don't care. :D
  • Will be getting a new hair cut and dying my hair purple. 
  • Will be using Manic Panic Purple Haze to get it going. 
  • Will share pics and a video once I'm done. 




What about you? Are you doing anything new with your look?  In a future post, I'll share my clothing inspiration looks. Whewww... totally cute.

I think I can be cute and sexy without jeopardizing my health (using bad dyes) or being boring (wearing the same hair cut for 20 years). 



P.S.  If the purple turns out horrible... you may only get a few sad face pics and no video. Hey... just being honest. Nobody likes to look terrible on the internet forever.

PPS. I will try to take a much better picture than that sad subway picture with the little red fro. (I was heading to the barbershop to cut that mistake off!)

http://fabulous-boobies.blogspot.com/p/new-here.html

Sep 15, 2014

My lesson for now: You are human. Flawed and Fabulous.

Flawed and Fabulous (My lesson for now) | My Fabulous Boobies
The other day an absolutely spectacular quote drifted through my news feed on Facebook. I had seen it before and yet it sparkled and glittered that day as though it was written with my name on it.

I am doing better with this survivorship thing. For the most part, I'm healthy and whole. (okay, minus lymphedema, arthritis and a reconstructed breast) Despite those few flaws, I am perfectly fabulous. Yet... I sometimes feel so much less than that.

I smile often, I laugh a lot... but I get sad. Not depressed but just sad a bit. I think about the past, what my life was like before the summer of 2008. And I wonder what it will be like in 2018.

When my boyfriend and I aren't seeing eye-to-eye on life... I fantasize about running away... only to remember that leaving means searching for a new medical team and the comfort of my safety net and family support. Which keeps me anchored here. The fantasy of the unknown doesn't draw me as strongly as it once did.

That makes me a little sad too.

Then I saw this quote... and I chose to focus on being alright. Imperfections and all...

I am Flawed & Fabulous. 


I really am. Every day more people are diagnosed with breast cancer. Or some other type of cancer. And every day some people die from this disease too.

In between that living and dying and struggling to beat this disease... life is there. Love is there. Opportunity is there to just finally accept who you are completely... flaws and all.

I've never felt more broken than I do now. And in some ways, I've never felt more free. It is odd. And wonderful too.

The woman who penned this great piece, doesn't get much credit online for her words. As a fellow writer and creative spirit, I feel sad for her for that. I searched for the writer of this piece so that I could give full credit to her. Her name is Courtney Walsh and you can find her here: https://www.facebook.com/dearhumancaw/timeline

Flawed and Fabulous (My lesson for now) | My Fabulous Boobies
http://fabulous-boobies.blogspot.com/p/store.html

Buy a t-shirt!

I created t-shirts for this blog, long before reading this quote. But once I read it... I fell in love with it because it says, so eloquently, what I've been feeling lately. If it resonates with you... buy a t-shirt. (You'll be supporting a great breast cancer blog in the process)

Click here to buy a t-shirt:  Truth Tees store  





Sep 9, 2014

Starting your day with hot water & lemon

Start your day with hot water and lemon |  My Fabulous Boobies


For the past few months, I've been trying to increase my water intake. I purchased this great water bottle that I keep beside me all day long so that I can sip my water in peace while I write. It holds 72 ounces and is easy to carry from room to room. I guess a glass would work too but I used to lose track of how much water I was consuming by the glass. This way... I can glance at the water bottle and then feel guilty because it looks the same as it did two hours before.

*laughs*

I have to trick myself sometimes... I'm rather hard headed. And I can get absorbed in what I'm working on and lose all track of time.


This is the bottle. You should get one (just click the image) because its GREAT!


My goal was to drink two of these bottles each day. I have failed miserably at my goal. But I'm still going to try to get there.

Woops... I meant to drink more water.


But... one thing I've finally learned in life... when you struggle with achieving a goal, you don't give up the goal, you try a different path. So, I'm trying something new.

Hot water with lemon in the morning


I love a nice hot cup of coffee in the morning. With hazelnut flavoring and some creamer... man! That's pure heaven. However, I am a slow drinker (of everything except alcohol) and it will take me all morning to drink a cup of coffee. Well... it could be the jumbo mug I use too but still... all morning is too long. And while I'm drinking all that coffee, I'm not drinking any water. Plus, coffee dehydrates you... so its counter-productive to my goal of increased water intake.

I read a brief article about the health benefits to drinking hot water with lemon in the morning and it intrigued me. So, I decided to give it a try. I've been a bit inconsistent with my experiment these past two weeks, but I have to admit that starting the day with hot water and lemon - and that's it - actually is really refreshing AND it sets my palate in the right direction for the day.

Each morning that I've started with my hot water and lemon, I've been less likely to eat something sweet or bad for me. More often than not, after my drink I picked up a piece of fruit to eat... instead of a donut or muffin.

Score!

And I've been more likely to drink my water (from my trusty Arrow H2O on the GO 2.2 Liter Beverage Bottle). So by default, I have been drinking MORE water after starting my day with hot water and lemon, than I did on the days that I started with coffee, or soda (bad girl!) or even juice.

Health benefits


They say that the hot water and lemon cleanses your palate for the day and starts your digestive system. This helps your body with nutrition absorption. It is also supposed to flush your kidneys and your liver... as well as your lymphatic system. *does happy dance* Anything that helps my lymphatic system in anyway... I am all for it. ALL. FOR. IT! Since mine is sluggish thanks to that pesky mastectomy I had to have.

Any hoo... here's a list of how helpful it is:
  • Hydration
  • Helps with constipation (The American Cancer Society recommends warm lemon water to relieve constipation)
  • Weight loss 
  • Helps your immune system (vitamin C from the lemon)
  • Flushes the liver
  • Helps clear your skin
  • Fights against bad breath
  • Balances pH levels in your body
  • Fights inflammation
  • Relieves joint pain (lemon water helps remove uric acid in the body which is a source of joint pain from inflammation and arthritis)

Easy steps (I mean, how complicated is hot water and lemon?)


You don't need scalding hot water... room temperature water or warm water is good too.  Add the juice of half of a lemon (or more if you like the taste or are a larger person) to the water and then drink. If you don't have fresh lemons, bottled lemon juice (organic preferably) is just as good. Just use a tablespoon (or two) and drink 'er down.

Drink the hot lemon water before eating anything else for the best benefits. Lemon juice is acidic so it can be rough on your tooth enamel. Brush before drinking it or wait some time after and then brush. 

That's it! 


I really recommend giving this a try. You don't have to be a cancer survivor in order to see benefits from this little habit.

* If you're feeling frisky... add some sliced fresh ginger (or ginger powder) for an added kick and more health benefits.




Links for more information: 


http://www.livestrong.com/article/215380-drinking-hot-water-lemon-in-the-morning/
http://www.cancer.org/treatment/treatmentsandsideeffects/physicalsideeffects/dealingwithsymptomsathome/caring-for-the-patient-with-cancer-at-home-constipation

Sep 8, 2014

Ahhhh.... these back spasms!

 

Dealing with back pains after a mastectomy and breast reconstruction

So, in another episode of "what they didn't tell me before I had this treatment"... I'm going to let you in on my big secret. Well, one big secret. I live with a lot of back pain. And by a lot, I mean... a lot. My back spasms at irregular intervals. Sometimes I can go for days or even weeks with little to no pain. And then pow! My muscles are cramping and spasm-ing like crazy. 

I don't think the pains come out of the blue. Usually I've done something... lifted too many heavy things, played too much with my guy, sat in front of the computer in one place for too long, too many days in a row (usually tilted at a bad angle)... and so forth. I am very human in the way that I am inconsistently taking care of myself in "new normal".

When I had my mastectomy in January 2009, I thought that I would be getting my reconstructed breast a few weeks/months later. I initially wanted to go into surgery for my mastectomy and come out reconstructed. Basically go under anesthesia with two breasts and wake up... with two breasts (one reconstructed, the other natural). But, thanks to the team of tumors that invaded my body... and the places that they chose to live like squatters in, I was encouraged to have radiation therapy after my mastectomy (and before my reconstruction) to be sure that the cancer cells were eradicated.

Radiation would have been detrimental to the newly constructed breast. So, I had to wait. The process ended up being a 10 month wait, living with one boob. *insert screw face here*  If I tell you that it was uncomfortable to try to move about the world with one big ass boob and flat like the pavement on the other side... I still wouldn't be giving you the real deal about how effing awful it was for me.


You say you have one boob and then no boob? Chile...

It was bad. But I got through it. 


I decided to have the TRAM Flap reconstruction procedure. I didn't want an implant. After 4 months of chemo and endless doctor visits and a mastectomy and radiation... I did not want to put something in my body. Not even an implant. But I wanted a boob. I needed a boob - for my sanity. So I researched and discussed it with my surgeon and decided that a TRAM Flap would be great. This procedure takes your own body tissue from your abdomen and uses it to create a new breast. In 2009 it seemed like a great option. I learned about a DIEP procedure but couldn't find an available surgeon to do the surgery. I couldn't even get on the schedule of the local doctor at Georgetown Hospital to even discuss it. And I didn't have the desire to keep moving about the earth as a lopsided girl. Just wasn't going to work.

The TRAM Flap takes abdominal tissue and abdominal muscles to create the new breast. The surgery is intense... I was in surgery for 12 hours. TWELVE HOURS! I was in the hospital for a few days, in intensive care for the first day or so and then in a regular room for a couple more days. I could barely walk when I got out. Barely walk. Keep in mind, your core - your abdominal muscles - do a lot of work for your body; keeping you upright, giving you the strength to move, to carry things, to lift things, etc.

For a time, I walked seriously curved over and I was off-balance. Majorly off-balance. Prior to breast cancer, my breasts were pretty large. I wore a size 36H bra. Yes... that is an H!  Ya girl had some nice ta-tas. LOL... if you're into big breasts that is. But I was off-balance because while I replaced the flat side of my chest with a newly reconstructed breast, it was not the same size as my natural breast.

One side of me was an H-cup. The other side of me was a D-cup. My new breast was about half the size of my old one. And my surgeon would not do the reduction for my natural breast for a few months. She felt that having both procedures at the same time would have been too much for my body. I was, after all, still recuperating from breast cancer treatment. I wasn't as strong as I used to be.

Eventually I was reduced and my balance was better. (Not perfect because the natural breast wasn't reduced enough and I'm still lopsided - UGH - but its not as horrible as it was)  Yet, I kept having back pains. And after a lot of tests, my oncologist concluded that it was just arthritis and something I would have to learn to deal with. So... I did. Deal with it. Thank you tylenol and motrin (sometimes percocet) and thank you heatig pad!

Your back hurts but you can't pop painkillers like candy... what do you do?

The list of can't do's and shouldn't do's is long


I started experiencing lymphedema symptoms after my radiation treatment, which meant new problematic side effects to cope with. I was told that there is no cure for lymphedema. My advice was to avoid lifting anything over 10 pounds with the affected arm, keep the arm covered/protected from insect bites and to wear a compression sleeve. After the TRAM I was told to be careful with over-extending myself because my core is weaker now that some of the muscles have been moved. I'm also learning that hernias are possible and abdominal bulges are not uncommon for patients of TRAM flap procedures.

*sigh*  I thought I was getting a new boobie with a side of tummy tuck for my 40th birthday. Perhaps I should have thought twice about that implant situation. Talk about a bad gift idea (and to myself no less).

So, here I am a few years later, my lymphedema is manageable but not great. I would like to go back to physical therapy and/or find a licensed lymphatic masseuse and physical therapist that can help me to reduce the size of my arm with that fancy machine they have and to wrap my arm weekly. The compression sleeves help but they aren't as effective (to me) as the bandages. It would also help if I regularly gave myself lymphatic massages. I have a great video... just need to take 20-30 minutes every few days and get it done.

My core is weak. I take the blame for that because I think I need to ignore the fearful stuff I was told and that I read online... and get into the work of working out. But I am afraid. I can't lift much on one side, my belly is weak and hell... I'm not that young anymore.

How to cope then?


This is where it all gets funny. When I was looking for answers to my back spasm problem... I discovered yep, that's a side affect that happens to a lot of women. Yep, its awful and it sucks. Welp... you're alive though. That's my interpretation anyway. #useless 
only a few options. Most of what I read basically said...

Uh... I'll take HELL NO... for $1000 Alex.
However, I did stumble across two suggestions for relief. The first suggestion was botox. Yep... the same botox that people put in their face so that they don't look old, can be used to stop my back muscles from doing the spasm dance.

Uh... I'll take HELL NO... for $1000 Alex. 

We're not doing the botox thing. At least not now. The other suggestion seems more reasonable. Yoga.

From the reading that I've done... it seems that yoga is like the greatest thing in the world for me. Unfortunately, I am the clumsiest person I know... and picturing myself doing yoga seems well... hilarious and unproductive. Hilarity aside though... I will be using basic yoga moves to help get beyond this back issue. I'll keep you updated on the clumsy yoga chronicles.

To recap:  

  • I had no idea that lymphedema was possible after my mastectomy. I was told that since I'm young its not likely to happen to me.  *insert screw face*
  • I was told that there is no cure and the best thing I can do for my lymphedema is not to lift heavy things and to rest my arm. I'm also supposed to sleep with it elevated to give the lymph fluid a chance to move back towards my trunk. *insert screw face* I sleep like a wild woman... that's never going to happen. 
  • I wasn't told that removing my abdominal muscles for my reconstructed breast would affect my core strength (or give me crazy tummy spasms occasionally too). 
  • I wasn't told that hernias or abdominal bulges were a possibility either. 
  • I wasn't told that my quality of life after my mastectomy and reconstruction was going to be marginalized by the side effects that I cope with. 
  • I was told to be careful with exercise, but I wasn't told to look for low impact exercises that would be good for my body without putting too much stress on the parts that were weakened by surgeries. Yoga and swimming... coming right up!
  • I wasn't told that because I was a younger woman, it was more likely that I would have pain problems after breast cancer surgery than my older pink ribbon sisters. 
  • I was told by my oncologist that over-consuming Tylenol would be a problem for my liver. However, I wasn't given an alternative plan of action to cope with or offset the pain. I rarely take Tylenol now, unless the pain has driven me to tears. But Tylenol works! LOL... so, I just don't take it around the clock like I used to. 

If you're experiencing back pains after your mastectomy or breast reconstruction... you are not alone sister. Not by a long shot. I've decided to incorporate yoga into my life. But there are other options dependent on what type of pain you're having. Take a look at the links I've shared below for some good information. And definitely talk to your doctor or medical team about your pain management.



Resources and information:

Mayo Clinic - Information on pain after breast surgery

NY Times article - No easy choices for breast reconstruction

http://fabulous-boobies.blogspot.com/p/new-here.html

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