PREVIVOR: A person who is not diagnosed with cancer, but has survived the predisposition, or higher risk, of cancer due to a genetic mutation and/or strong family history. After being armed with this information, a previvor can make informed choices prior to a cancer diagnosis.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

No end in sight

Despite all of the surgeries I've had in my life, I've always prided myself on remaining relatively healthy. I don't get "sick" too often. I have good blood pressure, good lungs, good pulse etc etc. I've always tolerated anthesia very well and never have been allergic to anything.

By the middle of the week, I was feeling pretty good. Even though my one remaining drain seemed to flow ceaselessly, I wasn't in too much pain. I really only took muscle relaxers at night when  I couldn't get comfortable. On Wednesday, when I sat down to work, I noticed my wrist was itching like crazy. I looked down and saw a red welt on it. I called Mike in there and asked him if it looked like a spider bite. He said no, but maybe it was another bug bite and he said he'd get me some alochol the next time he went out to the store.

I started working and in about an hour I realized my knee was itching the same way my wrist had been itching. On my break, I ran into the bathroom and saw a big red welt on my knee, identical to the one on my wrist. WHAT?! My mind started racing, and I wondered if this was yet another side effect from my meds. I quickly googled my antiobiotic and saw that a skin rash was indeed a side effect. Just to be on the safe side I called my pharmacist and asked if it was a side effect and not an allergic reaction. He said it could be either, but that I should call my doctor to be on the safe side. By that time, I had red welts on my feet and it was getting painful to walk. I called my PS and spoke to the nurse. I explained what was going on and she said she'd called my PS and see if she could call in another antibiotic for me. I went back to work, and realized that I was now itching all over. I tried to ignore it and continue working.

I got a message from my PS saying that she had called me in another antibiotic and it would be $35 (yippee...I might not get breast cancer but I may end up in the poor house) By the time I went on my lunch break,  I was in agony. I didn't know the extent of my hives, mainly because I was scared to look.  My feet and hands were swollen and not only was I itching, I was also in pain. I literally just wanted to curl up and die. Mike told me to take a shower and that might make me feel better. I took a shower and staggered back to my computer to continue working. My sweet boyfriend went to the store to pick me up some benadryl and hydrocortisone cream while I was trying to work. About an hour went by, and my hands were so sore and swollen that I knew I couldn't go on. I called my work and told them what was going on and that there was no way I could continue the other two hours I was scheduled to work. Before I changed into my pjs I started to put on my hydrocortisone cream. I hadn't seen the extent of my hives yet..they were EVERYWHERE. I was miserable.  I popped two benadryl and went to bed (this was at 7:30).

When  I got up the next morning I felt a little better, but when I went into the bathroom I saw that the rash was just as bad. I fixed myself breakfast, took another benadryl and went back to bed. I got up right before I was scheduled to work and after work I went right back to bed. I was not a happy camper by any means.

Friday morning, I woke up and hesistantly looked in the mirror. The rash was better! But wait...I took a closer look at myself and realized that instead of my lips, I looked like I had two cigars on my face. OH MY GOSH. I was a poster child for a botched Botox injection. I ate breakfast, took two benadryl and went back to bed, wondering why God was apparently mad at me and what leprosy looked like. I texted Mike that my lips were swollen and I was going back to bed. When Mike came home from the gym he took one look at me and said "Do I need to take you to the hospital?" I assured him that no, I knew the symptoms of anaphalyxis and I'd let him know if I started going into shock.When I woke up, my lips had almost gone back to their normal size and my rash was getting better. YAY! I worked that night with really no problem and took two benadryl before bed to be on the safe side. I looked in the mirror and saw while my lips had gone down to their normal size my cheeks looked like a chipmunks. Will this ever end?

I was feeling good, and most of the time I managed to forget about the drain I still had in (which was starting to feel like an extra appendage, and just part of me). I told Mike I would run up to the grocery store since the doctor had just said not to drive while I was on pain meds. I checked with some FORCE ladies (LOVE that website!) and they agreed that as long as I was careful, driving with a drain would be ok. I hastily threw on a wrinkled button down shirt (I don't even own an iron, and three tries in the dryer weren't getting the wrinkles out) and some stretchy pants and quickly applied make up (So I wouldn't look like a complete beast). I didn't think it'd be wise to try to fit a cami over the drains, or even my wireless bra so my fake boob was out. Oh well...if someone said something about my only having one boob I'd shut them up by saying that I'd had a mastectomy and making them feel bad. I ran into Kroger thinking I wanted to get in and out as quickly as possible. Of course, I passed a frantic looking mothing whose box of Capri Sun's fell out of the bottom of her cart. Normally, I would've helped her, but I knew I couldn't/shouldn't lift it. I kept my head down and practically ran past her, saying a Hail Mary silently for not stopping to help and wondering if this would need to be brought up in confession when I finally got to go. I kept my head down and hurried down the aisles, really not having anytime of list or knowledge of what we actually needed. I just knew I didn't want to carry too much out of the store by myself. I rounded a corner and lo and behold there was someone I knew. CRAP. She spotted me so it was too late to duck and cover. I plastered a smile on my face and managed some polite conversation for a few seconds. (If you're reading this, I really wasn't trying to get rid of you...I really wasn't in any position to see someone I knew). As I hurried away, I thought I could hear God laughing....

Last night, I had trouble sleeping because my arms and legs ACHED from all of the hives and havoc reaked on them in the past week. I managed to toss and turn fitfully until finally falling into a deep sleep around 3 AM. I woke up around 8 AM this morning, and vowed not to take a nap so I'd sleep well tonight.

Now I'm just praying that my drain comes out this week! School starts next week and if I have to go to school with one boob and a drain...well let's just say I should definitely rack up some major karma points for that one!

I also have a nice little 3 1/2 day weekend (I say 3 1/2 because I'm off Fri-Sun and only have to work 8-9:30 pm Monday night...thank you Sedgwick!) and would prefer to spend it without my 3rd arm.

My scars healing dermabond started to flake off in the area where I had the most problems last time. I almost had a heart attack but when I saw a nice pink scar underneath I breathed a sigh of relief. I do have a "knuckle" on the right side like I had on the left. The doctor didn't act like it was a big deal before so I don't think it'll be a big deal now. She did say she wanted to wait 2 weeks to start fills to let everything heal completely..which is ok by me. I know the skin is pretty tight on that side, so I'm perfectly ok with going as slow as possible!

Fingers crossed that I get my drain out by Wednesday! =)

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