Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Cleared for take off

Saw my plastic surgeon this morning and I've been cleared!

I can raise my arms above 90-degrees, push, pull, lift, do cartwheels, climb rock walls, cook (OMG, how I've missed cooking) . . . BUT . . . I need to "work up" to all this. She's "very very pleased" with how things look (although we may tweak again in several months, but we'll wait on that for now). I'm healing up well. The skin on Lefty has completely healed (that's the prior-irradiated side that was having issues). The intermittent swelling is normal and will come and go and I need to back off activity when I swell. How long will that go on? "Everyone's different," and "it could take months." Maddening, but good to know I'm within the range of "normal." Really, that's all I'm shooting for right now. I have time to work up to extraordinary.

I was, of course, pretty pumped up for this appointment, and as with most of these meetings, it was momentous for me, but not for the doc. We were together all of 7 minutes. She took "after" pictures. Her PA removed the stitch from the revision she did a month ago. I'm following up with her in 6 months - 6 MONTHS!? This is so crazy different from cancer Round I, where I saw someone every other day, it seemed. So while I was doing a happy Scooby hop in my mind, there were no high-fives, no hugs, no shrieks of joy, no grins of glee from anyone else. I made my next appointment for May (MAY?!) and away I went.

This is the way it always is. Anticlimactic. Another day's work for the doc, another hashmark in the "success" column. But when it's YOU, YOUR body and YOUR chance to return to life as you know it, it's momentous. So you gotta get out of there and celebrate.

How am I celebrating? Well, first I hit the MGH gift shop - seriously, a great store. Laugh all you want, I've gotten some wonderful things there. I stocked up on some stocking-stuffers and stationary. I paid up, bid my Valet Parking buddies farewell for another month (follow-up with breast surgeon mid-December), and hit the road. Now I'm home, completely wiped out.

Which brings me to the next point. Even when one's been "cleared," there is still a long way to go. In my mind, pre-op, I think I thought of a switch being flipped at the 6-8 week mark: She'd say "go ahead" and I'd be back to burpees in the basement. No ho-ho-ho, friends. This little body needs to ease back in. I think my greatest immediate obstacles are swelling and stamina. Got to keep that swelling at bay, and as we know, too much activity = puff-Sarah. And as for stamina - well, even morning rush-hour traffic knocked the stuffin' out of me. This is Boston. Driving is a blood-sport.

So where am I now? In bed, albeit with one of my favorite cozy OVER THE HEAD fleece PULLOVERS on. Toasty, ready to rest.

Which brings me to my last point - one I'll write more on later - but thank goodness I am under the care of my amazing PT. Now she can take over and run the show . . . she knows what's safe to do and what's worth waiting for. I see her tomorrow and am so excited for a new sheet of exercises to help me get back to buff. I simply cannot imagine being cut loose by the surgical staff and floating out here, wondering what to do next. I can't stress strongly enough how important I think it is for us post-surgical girls to get in with a specialized physical therapist. I'm already ahead of the game motion-wise, just after 2 weeks of therapy with Nancy. And you know how I love to be ahead of the game.

I'm at the "shuffling around the hospital floor" stage, exercise-wise . . . one foot gingerly in front of the other . . . taking it really slow. But the point is, I'm finally allowed to work my way back, to climb up out of the hole, up into the sunshine.

Can I get a hands-in-the-air hallelujah?? Wahoooooo!




  1. Hallelujah! So happy you are done with the big part. The rest will come with time.

    Hugs, Jennifer

  2. Remember "high five, low five, in the middle...?" I'll give you an in-the-middle for now and maybe a high five when I see you next week?? So excited for you! Way to go and HALLELUJAH!

  3. Yayyyyy! I'm happy to hear this. Sounds like good news for you and I'm happy that soon enough more of normal life will return.

  4. 2 hands up HALLELUJAH from down the road! "Happy Scooby hop" - LOL!
    I'm soooo glad to hear this; what great news!

  5. Cue the Music...Hal-le-lu-jah! Great news. Another big milestone for you. I have my annual checkup with my DIEP flap surgeon today. One thing I can tell you is that at this point, 2 years out, I got nothing to report to her! All is good. You'll get there too and I'm so happy you are one step closer.


  6. Good for you, Sarah! I have been following your saga and am so pleased to see the progress you're making. -- Christine

  7. Just catching up on your WONDERFUL news of being cleared for all things above shoulder height!! Yippeee!!! My girls and I did several high fives and a few actual ballerina twirls with hands over head! They asked why we were doing these things and I said "for Sarah". That was enough for them - they wanted more twirls!! Here's to you and lifting your arms. One more check mark on the amazing journey of yours! :-)