My Toes Rejoice!

A dark purple with a pretty flower.

It is true, they were squealing like wee little piggies going wee wee wee all the way home from getting my FIRST pedicure since January’s pre-surgery pedis. My one chemotherapy wish was to get a pedicure once I was past the laws and limits of my immune system. Today marks just over two and a half weeks since my last infusion and by now my immune system is well enough to fight the beasts (bacteria, fungus, whatever beast a stronger immune system is needed to fight) that cause the avoidance of such activities.

I am not allowed to have fingernail polish on my fingers, but pretty toes are allowed for surgery. Mel bought me a cookie basket with flip flops to celebrate the anticipation of my being able to get pedicures after my final chemo treatment (she came along to keep me company during my pedicure, but do to a recent incident of her foot running into a tattoo gun, that made a tattoo, that she wanted, on her foot… she couldn’t get a pedicure also). Michelle came and got a lighter shade of purple.

I do have obvious lines in my fingernails and toenails from each Taxol treatment. My nails are cut super short because they lift super easily if I get them caught on something.

I spent my morning up at the U of U and Huntsman. My mom had some concerns that my fingers/fingernails were showing some signs of clubbing – which when you see serious cases of clubbing, it is pretty intense, my nails just curve a bit funny at the moment. Clubbing can be caused by problems with the heart or the lungs. Taxol can cause some big abnormalities with your fingernails and toenails, but between the clubbing and the tachycardia I have had since the Adriamycin chemotherapy, it seemed wise to double check the function of my heart before I go into surgery. They tested my heart and it came back at 51% (which they say is normal), but my heart used to be at 72% (which I assume must be better than normal), I believe the nurse was talking about “pumping strength” when I look up information related to echocardiogram results. They are going to check my heart again in September to make sure it is improving rather than getting worse (and I hate to say that this big of a difference may be one of the reasons I get worn out so much easier, but I am not a doctor…).

My Oncology Nurse Practitioner also did labs to check on everything, especially my white blood cells, red blood cells, platelets etc. to make sure that I am in tip top condition to heal from surgery. Everything came back fine, they will also check these again in September before they start me on Tamoxifen.

I also asked about what to expect with my menopause situation, not that I am complaining about not having Aunt Flow (Flo?) come visit once a month. I have wicked hot flashes that I get every day and a lot of them. They are a bit embarrassing, and just not my favorite thing in the universe (plus I am not super excited about running on that much less estrogen for the next 60 years of my life – you bet I am going to be kicking a** and taking names at age 90). She told me that I WILL (due to my age) get my monthly visits back, but WHEN is very up in the air. It could be a month, two months, or even a year. Radiation and Tamoxifen can play a part in when she comes to town to say “hello.” I will leave the guest room prepped for her arrival (don’t you love euphemisms).

Tomorrow is the big surgery day, I am pretty nervous, but ready to get rid of these STITCHES AHHH!!!! A few people weren’t quite sure what this surgery was exactly – this is a latissimus flap breast reconstruction on my right side to place the breast expander back in. In December I will have a latissimus flap breast reconstruction of my left side and at that time they will be able to place actual breast implants on my right and left side (my aunt describes her surgery here, which was on her radiated side like I will have done in December). Anyone want to make bets on how many JP surgical drains I get this time? Four? Five? Six?.

Author: Mandi

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  • I will be thinking of you tomorrow … hopefully 2 drains only!!! They suck ass.

    • Thanks Michelle! I got 4 drains, booo! 🙂

  • pinkunderbelly

    Beautiful toes! Love the flowers. In honor of All Stars, some of my baseball-mom friends got white polish with the big toe painted like a baseball, with red stitching. So cute! Hoping the surgery goes well and the lat flap is a smash success. Progress!
    PS My guess is 4 drains. Hope they come out soon as they do indeed suck ass. 

    • Baseball toenails sounds cute! Good guess, I got 4.

  • More drains.  Ick. I have significant tachycardia without the adriamycin, but I’m glad you are still in the normal range.  I’m thinking of you today and hope everything went great!

    • Yikes! Significant is not good. Surgery went well, now just to get that whole healing thing to work this time!

  • My best wishes and thoughts go to you. I am a friend of Derecks and I too asked him to pass along my thoughts. 

    I am getting caught up on your blog, and you seem in great spirits. 

  • Medicine-woman (Mom)

    it is so interesting how and what the medical world quantifies as normal and abnormal!  A 72% ejection fraction (how much b lood the left ventrical can pump/eject or squueze with each heartbeat) is what they measured prior to the chemo.  Dropping to 51% is a significant drop, however, it is typical working with chemo, that as long as the % doesn’t drop below 50% then it is ok.  50% OK, 49% not OK, odd huh?  But I guess there has to be a cutoff point!  But research has shown that as long as the ejection fraction isn’t allowed to drop below 50% and linger there for any lenght of time it almost always recovers to normal function–but the narrow parameters always made me nervous when I worked with heart failure patients, 51% OK, 49% oficiall diagnosis for heart failure.  I can say this now that the surgery is over and all is well!  However, I would not be the least bit surprised if you need to be on oxygen a little longer than last time or if you have more frequent bouts of tachycardia–but don’t let it freak you out, just mention it to the Dr.s (the ones that know who they are really talking to anyway!).

    • I figured the cut off had to be around there somewhere, but they considered me in the safe zone. She did get a second opinion from another oncologist, who wanted to do the follow up test and keep an eye on it.