I’ve Got the Surgical Drain Blues

Flowers from my dad.

Today I was scheduled to get my final drain out (3 weeks! I have had this thing for 3 weeks!), and I had to call and cancel my appointment because it isn’t ready yet (grrrrrrr). Not only was it just a few cc’s above the needed amount for the last 5 days, today for good measure it opted to jump up to be 10 cc’s over the amount to get it out this morning. My first expansion was also planned for today, getting it done would make it so that I can actually schedule starting radiation. Now I continue being in hold mode wearing my BFF, the dreaded drain. I am rescheduled to go in Friday, cross your fingers that it decides to chill out soon. I had originally hoped to have started radiation before I went back to work.

I go back to work Monday! (it can be part time if I am not up to a full day). My stamina is still somewhat limited. I am getting a bit more active each day. I started driving the end of last week (freeeedoooomm!!!!). I tend to ache mid evening and I discovered that having your latissimus dorsi removed from your back really impacts your core strength. If I am up and moving around for a few hours I start to experience lower back pain. I imagine as I get my stamina up and start exercising I will find this occurring less and less.

Menopause from chemotherapy started for me about mid-May. I have been battling night sweats and every other crazy side effect that it causes. Unfortunately for women with breast cancer, almost every solution for menopause and its symptoms involve estrogen. Estrogen creams and pills and lots of the hormone that no doctor will ever prescribe for me for the rest of my life. My breast cancer cells were 90% estrogen receptive, so for me to take estrogen is like adding gasoline (and maybe some gunpowder) to the fire. I struggle with the fact that estrogen is dangerous for me, but I am not sure I want to live the rest of my life with so little estrogen.

Menopause is what happens when your body stops releasing eggs and cuts back on its estrogen production from your ovaries, guess where you go when your hormones start back up? You become a teenage girl! I had cramps one day and got super excited (YES, excited over cramps). My thought was that I was possibly ovulating or maybe starting to menstruate.

A few days later I started having crazy bursts of crying and all sorts of emotional craziness that would make anyone’s husband’s head spin (my husband stayed somewhat sane because he just knows I am cancer crazy these days). I am talking emotional fits about having a child (whooooaaaaaa if you know me, kids have not really even been in the “maybe” zone and all of the sudden I am freaking out about maybe not being able to have them). After these crazy emotional outbursts happened a couple of times I realized that this HAD to be hormonal, I may be slightly crazy, but not this kind of crazy. My hot flashes are fewer and further apart (rather than a few an hour I have a few a day). So I think it is reasonable to assume I am going to come out of menopause sooner than I had expected, this is not confirmed yet, but it seems to be the case for now.

Embarrassing story for the day (not that discussing my emotional outbursts over babies aren’t embarrassing enough). I was at my family reunion this weekend wearing a sleeveless shirt and lifted my arm. I discovered armpit hair under that arm. I didn’t have a little bit of armpit hair, but A LOT of armpit hair. I hadn’t even bothered to check them in the past few weeks! This means this week I shaved my legs and armpits for the first time!

I also look like I have a good amount of fuzz on my head. I need to get Mike to take a picture of it so I can share my fuzziness..

Author: Mandi

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