Radiation September 19th – 24th

September 19th

September 20th

September 21st

September 22nd

September 23rd

September 24th

 

 

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Radiation – Sept. 13th – 18th

Day by day, not particularly well framed, but you get the idea.

September 13th

 

September 14th – 15th?

September 16th

September 17th

September 18th – note shadow of arm – ooops!

 

 

 

 

 

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August 18th

What can I say? Chemo has really been kicking my ass… I seem to have a harder time than many with the reality.  Interestingly enough, after chemo the breast incision is much more painful, and the cording (though much less severe) and left arm tenderness has recurred.

These are from August 18th.

O, and last week the sad remains of my pubic hair fell out -it had been thinning unpleasantly, but there was a mass exodus of the survivors last week. Now I look like the rest of the aging Lolitas, muffin top and all (ten pound gain on chemo).

It’s not particularly comfy. Don’t mind the look so much, but without pubic hair to act as a cushion, all my tender and sensitive bits are directly against my undies, and I’d prefer them not to be.

Ah, well, this too shall pass. And the regrow should be fun… I’m guessing since it just *fell* out, I’ll be escaping the itchy season. Small mercies, eh?

 

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July 2nd

I went through my first round of chemo, and took a break from self documentation – chemo kicked my ass. My body continued to heal, though…

the folding of the nipple seems much less to me, and I’m looking pretty symmetrical. Most of the spots are the remnants of hives I got (most likely from Taxotere).

still visible: depression and flattening of the excised area, but diminished.
not bad in my book, and much better than it looked previously.

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June 14th

 

the left breast still looks a bit puffy to me – I was trying to hold as symmetrical a pose as possible to get a truer picture, but I don’t know if I succeeded.

and here the surgical distortion is very apparent, along with the strange coarsening of skin.

After this, there’s a break in photos, as I entered chemotherapy, and body distortion took back seat to simply getting through the day… and things kept changing. I’ve been using ScarAway on the incision almost constantly during the day and vitamin E at night, as well as using light massage to help minimize scar tissue formation.

The cording and seroma have almost completely vanished, the breast still feels a wee bit tender, but I’ve been able to revert to my normal braless state (thank ye gods and little fishes).

 

 

 

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June 9th

there’s still a little bruising and a bit of swelling, but the excised area is flattening out.

That flattening and indentation is fairly visible here. This is just under a month post surgery, and it is NOT the final reality.

 

 

 

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the next thing that happened

It’s known as cording, or ‘axillary web syndrome’. It’s not uncommon, though it’s more common in women with more extensive surgeries than I had. Depending on where you read, it self resolves in a few months, or it lingers on forever with flareups possible years after surgery. It’s best treated with ice, or warm heat, or gentle massage, or by stretching, or rest. It’s caused by over exertion too soon after surgery, or it has no known cause but tends to appear a week or so after surgery, after an otherwise unremarkable recovery. Developing a seroma can predispose one to developing AWS; AWS can predispose one to developing lymphedema – or there’s no connection. Radiation can aggravate the condition, as can any of the myriad other things that can lead to lymphedema (insect bites or stings on the affected arm, cuts, scrapes, sunburn, over exertion, etc etc ad nauseum). Women with lower body weights are more susceptible to AWS; it’s just not as apparent on heavier women.

http://www.stepup-speakout.org/Cording_and_Axillary_Web_Syndrome.htm

There seems to be a dearth of real research on the syndrome – it’s been recognized for years as a possible effect from surgery, but I guess it just wasn’t *interesting* enough to merit research.

It’s decidedly odd, this extra tendon like thing in my armpit, the pulling of it down my arm, the extreme sensitivity of the skin in that area… yet another aspect of my body changing out of my control,  and I do feel rather bitter that I wasn’t warned about this; I wasn’t warned about the seroma; it’s all been word-of-mouth and “what-the-fuck-is-this?” and quick web research on my part.

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