Post Reconstruction T+21: Pain Management

My Happy Place - #biminibliss

I am three weeks post-op today, and unfortunately, I’m still somewhat miserable. My pain management doctor – one in the medical group I had not seen before – switched medications on me about two weeks ago and it has been a really rough time. The extended release medication he put me on simply did not work. All of the bone aches I had left over from chemo returned with a vengeance, coupled with my reconstruction-related pain. I returned yesterday for a follow-up and saw a doctor who was familiar with my condition/history. Thanks to him, I can report that things have improved in the last 24 hours.

Like most mornings, today I woke very early from a dead sleep feeling like an elephant was sitting on my chest with a fire lit under its ass. My sides below my armpits alternate from burning to numbing to stabbing pain. I had a lot of bruising in this area, so I’m not really surprised that this area is hurting so bad. I did see my surgeon three days ago and he told me that everything looks good, so what I’m experiencing doesn’t necessarily mean anything is wrong. This is just part of the healing process…a process I wish I could press the fast-forward button on.

My Facebook "On This Day" - 1 Year Ago Today

My Facebook “On This Day” – 1 Year Ago Today

When it comes to pain management, there is something to said about expectations. The expectation is that your pain should be manageable, not completely absent. With all the surgeries I have had, never have I had zero pain, even on narcotics. During my hospital stay, the nurse made her rounds every few hours to provide me with something to make me comfortable. I still had a lot of pain, but my pain was manageable. When my pain is manageable, I’m able to at least get up and move around instead of sobbing and feeling sorry for myself.

After I came home from the hospital, I tried everything I could to either take my mind off the pain or position myself to lessen it. The recliner has become my friend: it is easy to get in and out of, and it puts me at a horizontal angle that makes it seem like my chest isn’t going to explode. I still have my stitches covered with gauze so the steri-strips don’t stick to my surgical bra. Peeling off the gauze feels like peeling my skin off, so I’m careful to work slowly and gently remove it. The incisions at my belly button, and the two below it, are still very sore; however, they are secondary to the generalized pain in my stomach and side where they harvested the tissue to rebuild my chest.

I don’t want to be all doom and gloom. I did have one “little victory”. A few days ago, I was able to put on one of my pre-mastectomy bras and wear it for a few hours. It is not advised for anyone to wear a bra with an underwire so soon after reconstruction, but I just had to see for myself. It looked great. It gave me hope, and it almost fit.

8 Comments

  1. edsazebra

    I am so sorry you are in so much pain. I can relate some what to the awful joint pain! It stinks . I wish I had the power to take away all your pain you are experiencing my friend ! Hang in there my friend,never loose hope. Thinks will start looking up soon , sending lots of gentle hugs, love, and healing prayers your way. Xoxo

    Reply
    1. dana (Post author)

      Thanks much, Bonnie! xoxoxo

      Reply
  2. Lisa Harris

    So sorry that your pain has not been manageable, that’s the worst! Hopefully, the new medicine continues to help and your body can heal instead of fight to feel better. I sure empathize with you. Here’s to the blog written from Bimini-hoping it’s soon! xxxooo

    Reply
    1. dana (Post author)

      Thank you! It is much better in the last 24 hours. I can’t wait to go back to Bimini. LOL

      Reply
  3. Kiki

    Love you! XOXO Kiki

    Reply
    1. dana (Post author)

      Love you too!

      Reply
  4. Danielle Sheridan

    Reading through your posts breaks my heart because I want to be able to take your pain away!!! Documenting your journey is such an amazing way to help others that may have to go through similar situations and to educate the rest of us. You are a true inspiration Dana – you are strong, you are positive, you are simply amazing. Thoughts and prayers for pain relief soon!!!

    Reply
    1. dana (Post author)

      Thank you for the kind words! I really appreciate it. I do hope it helps someone that is going through the same thing. Finding the “new normal” has definitely been a challenge for me…

      Reply

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