Friday, 15 August 2014

Post Mastectomy: three week progress report

It’s now three weeks since my unilateral mastectomy operation and here’s my progress report... 

In terms of energy levels: I’m surprised how well my body has bounced back.  We had flights booked just one week after the op which seemed rather optimistic but I coped reasonably well and, after a quiet few days, I’m now doing lengthy day trips with lots of walking.  No problem at all.
The scar is healing up well – I was lucky enough not to suffer from any swelling.  I think the area of sensitive skin on the back of my arm may have shrunk and similarly the area of total numbness on my chest seems smaller.  Perhaps that’s just me getting used to the weirdness.

But, and this is really bugging me, I still have very restricted mobility with my arm.  I can move it reasonably freely below shoulder height but lifting my arm above shoulder height at the side is painful, so things like putting my hair up is still depressingly difficult (especially as my hair is now way too long and I don’t want to waste time on a haircut – just a few more weeks and the whole lot will fall out anyway).

Before anyone tells me I should be doing my exercises, I should add that I am exercising my arm all the time.  Yes, I may be sitting in bars drinking the local plonk, but I am also doing shoulder arms circles (more than once the waitress has come to take my order as a result).  When in the car, I am sitting with my hands behind my head (sounds good, but my chin has to practically rest on my chest).  And my children laugh at me doing the ‘train’ motion with my arms as we walk (actually, so do the other tourists). 

Every time I exercise for any length of time, my arm loosens and I make progress.  Then a few hours later I do the same exercises...and find I am back at square one.  I can feel a tight cord in my armpit when I lift my arm and it currently doesn’t seem possible that I will ever stretch that cord enough to allow full mobility 

I guess I just need to keep the faith...and keep exercising.

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