This Wednesday September 18th I am once again going into surgery. It will be the fifth time I have had to have surgery as a result of my Inflammatory Breast Cancer diagnosis. It also may not be the last. It amazes me how much a body has to endure in order to try and rid it of the cancer that has decided to attack.
As I think back to early 2012, I remember how healthy I was. I was fit, trim, had good muscle mass, was working out every morning and walking/running with my dog almost every day. I could sleep like a baby, always woke up refreshed and didn't have a care in the world.
Then the botched mammogram and my life changed. Within 24hrs of the mammogram my body (breast) was in pain, within a week the pain begun radiating to my armpit. Within a month I could no longer workout, my dog runs had become rides or walks and my energy levels were dropping every day. After a couple of months of continual antibiotics (as they misdiagnosed my cancer), constant visits to the hospital and the clinic, I was a mess. In pain all day, the pain kept me up at night and the worrying didn't help.
On June 8th the diagnosis was given and on June 14th I started a barrage of "treatments" to try and kill the cancer. Here is a short list of things that my body has endured over the last 19 months.
- 1 Botched Mammogram
- 1 Follow up Mammogram
- 1 X-Ray
- 1 Surgery to take biopsy
- 1 Bone Scan
- 1 Brain CT (yes they found a brain and a private island)
- 1 Surgery to install my Port-a-Cath check out this video
- 1 Surgery to remove my Port-a-Cath (358 days later)
- 1 Nine Hour Surgery to remove the cancer & reconstruct my breast
- 1 Staphylococcus Infection in my surgical incision (I'm still on Antibiotics for it)
- 2 CT Scans
- 2 Head Shaves
- 2 Ambulance rides
- 3 MRI's
- 3 Post Surgical Drains
- 3 Tattoos (okay just radiation dot tattoos)
- 3 Days of in hospital Intraveneous Antibiotics
- 4 Injections of Neulasta
- 4 rounds of Oral Antibiotics
- 5 Hospital visits for complications
- 5 Echo Cardio Grams
- 7 Massage Post surgical Massage Treatments
- 7 Straight days in UBC Hospital
- 11 Physiotherapy Sessions and counting (this is costing a fortune)
- 12 Injections of Neupogen (see this Neupogen video)
- 14 New Drugs to Take that I had never taken before
- 25 Rounds of chemotherapy (was originally only 17)
- 28 Days of radiation, see this video.
- 31 Blood Tests
- 100's of sleepless nights
I know there is a lot I am forgetting in all of that, suffice to say, after putting a body through that, it is impossible for it to not be affected. I am no longer as fit as I was, my muscle mass is barely there, my energy levels are low, my skin has aged tremendously, I cannot do sit-ups yet because of surgery, I cannot lift my right arm above 90 degrees because of surgery, I have short crazy hair that still surprizes me when I look in the mirror.
Now, I'm having to put myself through sugery again. I am scared, not so much about the surgery as I am about how much this will set me back on my road to fitness. I want my old body back (okay some of it is now in the garbage), I want my ability to sleep without meds back, and I want my spunky old self back.
I am, a work in progress, and I'm impatient, wanting everything to be back to normal immediately. However, like a fine wine, it will take time. Here is a short video I made, a few photo's from the last 17 months.