Tuesday, August 10, 2010

48. minor depression, thoughts, and my can do, can't do list

i've been doing really great mood wise, but out of the blue i was hit with some depression. i was bummed out all weekend. having experienced depression most of my life i am quite familiar when i am in a funk. it really sucks. i worry if i will get out of it. thankfully, most of it has lifted but i find myself still sensitive and a little overly emotional about things. but perhaps, that is normal based on some of the circumstances i am experiencing.

i find myself looking ahead to exchange surgery. i am also fearful. not of the surgery, but of not liking the final outcome. i have known at least 3 women who have had their exchange and been very unsatisfied.

i want to make sure that i communicate to the p.s. that i am really happy with the look and projection of my expanders now. i don't mind that they look a bit fake. well...a bit...i do want to get a bit more naturalness to them, but i think that will happen with the over-expansion.

i experienced quite a bit of discomfort and pain from the last expansion. it lasted about a week and a half and i coped with the pain by just dealing with it during the day. at night i needed to take a perc/oxy to help me sleep comfortably. i am mostly pain free now and haven't needed anything for pain since last wednesday.

i just realized yesterday, i am almost 4 months post-op. i was remarking to my surgery buddy - megan, that it feels like it was forever ago, and at other times it feels like it was just yesterday. it is all very surreal. i still don't think my mind has fully comprehended what it has gone through both physically and emotionally. i do find however, that i am better able to articulate my experience and what i was going through pre-surgery better, now that i do not feel that my life is threatened anymore.

i can also relate with another blogger's feelings about how we blame ourselves for the ordeals of going through surgery, complications, and pain. there is a guilt i feel when i had the collapsed lung and c-diff, that it was my fault, because "i chose" the surgery. but then i have to gently remind myself, that i didn't have any other option because at any moment cancer could chose me and i would have to do the surgery anyways with most likely not optimal results.

and that leads me to another bizarre thought pattern. i feel guilty that my reconstruction is fantastic. i am deeply grateful and my biggest fear going into this was my body would react in a negative way and reject the expanders or implants. (this is still a possibility). i feel it is not fair to the women that do not get a say in their choice of reconstruction because they have been diagnosed with cancer and end up not having the luxury of having the type of reconstruction i have had - that being the nipple sparing mastectomy with minimal scarring.

i would be interested in hearing feedback from other women who have had reconstruction about your thoughts on this. do you feel guilty over having a choice on your reconstruction? or, do you feel anger or jealously over someone else's reconstruction because you either had a poor outcome or no say in they type of reconstruction you were offered? or, do you have mixed feelings because you have been diagnosed with cancer, and didn't get to choose?

i haven't left a list of can and can't do since my last fill so here goes:

can do:

  • swim, although not as strongly as last "can do" list - i've lost a bit of my strength
  • pick up children - although it was difficult after the last fill for the first week and a half
  • i can still sleep on my sides...albeit it is starting to get a little bit uncomfortable with the increase in size
can't do:

  • sleep on my stomach. i tried this morning but it was completely uncomfortable and unnatural
  • hug very hard. my chest is getting really tight and it is uncomfortable to have that much pressure on my chest
  • *tear - i can't get completely cozy with the little kids i babysit when cuddling with them. i have to be very careful that they don't jump on me when they are excited. they are so cute! even though they are so young, they know how to be respectful and understand that they need to be careful with me.
  • wear tight clothing. it feels so restricting and causes my skin to ache and feel an itchy kind of pain. this means i don't wear bras anymore, and it also means i have grown out of most of my tops; thus i need to go shopping.
  • ***edit: added sunday august 15*** - handle stress or life's curve balls with out becoming a complete sobbing or shaking mess. being in a constant state of underlying pain takes it's toll on the emotions and anything has been able to trigger me...even minor incidents like watching the news.
on another interesting note, i have decided to stop shampooing and conditioning my hair. i am very cautious about what goes in and on my body and since 89% of ingredients in our everyday personal care items haven't been adequately assessed, i don't want to subject myself to possible toxins and carcinogens. just in case you are thinking that i am nuts, shampoo is a modern day invention that has only been around since the 1930's. people in the past all managed to do with out, so why can't i? the hair and scalp is self-cleansing and moisturizing once you let it adjust to no stripping of natural oils from shampoos/detergent.

so far, i have gone 1 week with out 'pooing my hair. instead, i have been washing with 1 Tbsp of baking soda to 1 cup of water, and "conditioning" it with 1 Tbsp of apple cider vinegar to 1 cup of water. so far, so good. if you are interested in this, there is a wealth of information about no 'pooing on the internet and many people have made the change. check it out!

i will take pics of my hair at some point to show you that it can still look fabulous!


  1. I just found your blog and am looking forward to reading through it...I have BRCA2 and had a pbm in January of 2007. Shortly after, one of my good friends was diagnosed with stage three cancer. I did (and sometimes do) feel guilty about having the "choice" of a mastectomy pre-cancer diagnosis...there are times where I still feel as though I don't quite have a right to claim my scars because they didn't come with cancer. I can tell you, every single woman I have met that has had cancer treats me as though I'm in their club...I find such strength and encouragement in that...and maybe one day I will be able to claim my own strength without a disclaimer;)

    I posted the address of my blog...it was on MySpace but I recently moved it...I blogged as I was going through my testing and surgeries as well.

    I look forward to reading through the rest of your blog!!

  2. hi sara! so nice to meet you. my middle name is sarah...with an 'h'.

    i look forward to reading your blog as well and will add it to my blog roll.

    i am glad i am not alone with my "guilt". i think it is sort of along the lines as "survivor guilt".

    have a great day and thanks for commenting on my blog!


  3. I just went to my family reunion this past weekend. I only found out that I was BRCA2+ a month ago and posted the "letting the family know" letter on our family page on facebook.

    Anyway, there was a Chinese auction and one of the items was a tote bag that my aunt made. It was a pink bag that said "Save the Tatas" on the front. She said that my letter inspired her to make the bag. Ironically, I ended up winning the bag. I was happy that I won, but also a little guilty because there were two other relatives there, one who's a breast cancer survivor and one who is living with breast cancer, but all of the attention was on me and I don't even have cancer.

    I also have to tell you that I love reading your blog. It's comforting to know we are not alone :-)

  4. I am only two weeks post pbm, and I have felt guilt about the impact this has had on my family; Even though my husband and I decided the timing and everything together. I have two little kids and my husband has to take care of them and me. It is just not easy. I made this choice so I can be around for them, but right now my choice is impacting them and thrown a bit of a curve ball to all. I know this to shall pass, and grateful I have a husband who is so wonderful and able to care for all of us, but there are days when you just can't help how you feel!
    Stay strong! Everyday is a journey!

  5. Hey Rach!
    I guess I kinda feel guilty. I more so feel as if I am being vain then anything else. That I am having revision because I am not happy with my results, yet so many women have no choice with recon, and how things look after bc. I know it's not being vain though, I had a mastectomy and whether it be due to breast cancer, or preventative it still is a traumatic experience. And I suppose since we do have to live with these new breasts, we might as well be happy with them..seeing how we do have the option. I am sure any women in this position would feel the same.
    I recently updated my blog! When you get a chance take a look!
    I am glad to see the non shampooing is going well! :)