Monday, August 13, 2018

Physical Therapy Has Begun

It's been 3 1/2 weeks since my double mastectomy, and I still have a drain in.  I hate it.  It's more and more painful every day, it's limiting my recovery since I can't do the stretches I need to on that side, keeping me stuck in button-up or zip-up shirts, and I won't be able to start radiation until it's out.  I've been in surprisingly good spirits throughout this whole cancer mess, but this drain has me weepy, depressed, and angry.

Despite the stupid, hated drain, I've started my physical therapy appointments.  Usually those don't begin until after all drains are out, but my range of motion was limited enough that my surgeon wanted me to go ahead and start now.  I'm supposed to begin radiation at the end of the month, and without some intense physical therapy, I won't be able to get into the position needed.

I saw my physical therapist for the first time last week (other than the initial measuring appointment pre-surgery), and she said I have significant cording on the right (where all my lymph nodes were removed), and am very tight on the left, where scar tissue has formed.  I have 3 PT appointments this week, 3 next week, and 2 for each of the 4 weeks after that.  They'll continue during radiation.

My first PT appointment was torture - and the therapist used that word before I could.  I don't think I was capable of speech at that point.  I was crying.  My sister, who was watching, was crying.  The therapist was teary-eyed.  My therapist advised me to take a prescription painkiller before all of my future appointments.

Part of PT is massage.  Not the relaxing Swedish massage you willingly pay for, but massage to break up scar tissue and stop my chest wall from fusing to the muscle underneath.  I do an at-home version every morning and night, and Jamie has been helping me with that when he's home.  My morning and evening routines now include emptying the drain; chest wall massage; removal, washing, and reapplication of silicone scar strips; exercises/stretches; and lotioning to keep my skin healthy.  It takes a good 20 minutes or so each time.  And my therapist added 2 new exercises today, so let's just up that to an even 30.

I like my therapist, I really do.  I told her today that I appreciate what she's doing even though I really don't like her while she's doing it.  I know all of this will help.  And I can do it.

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