Training for Sanity

Given that October was Breast Cancer awareness month and November is a month of giving thanks, I feel the next series of posts would be appropriate and timely. People often ask, “are you training for anything?” or “what’s your next race?” My exact response, “I’m training for my sanity.” In fact, I was elated to hear I qualified for national race in August with the opportunity to attempt a spot on Team USA at USAT Nationals (Olympic distance triathlon). Instead, I arranged my priorities this year opting out to focus on a number of things. Actually, mostly personal issues.

Twenty sixteen has been anything but an easy road. My physical training has given me the endurance to fight even mental and stress battles throughout this year. While I did not have any races on my calendar for the first time in the past 10 years, I had PLENTY of events on my calendar keeping me booked the entire year including: doctors’ appointments, meetings, working full-time (2.5 jobs!), volunteering on a planning committee for our annual triathlon for kids with motor or movement disorders, being involved in 4 family weddings, and building our dream home.

For the first time, I will openly share some personal issues over the next series of posts with this one focused on booby scares promoting breast cancer awareness. Lately, my time has been consumed with numerous appointments in my already so crazy and hectic schedule.

One day this summer, my work day went from someone thinking I spilled something on my shirt to finding out it was coming from my breasts…and hours later, finding out it was from my bra! Long story short, after an emergency doctor’s visit, a new shirt and bra to finish my work day, I found the source of this so-called “leak” later that evening from a medical forum which lead me an article (that mysteriously disappeared), however, here’s one article that briefly notes the leak issues: Victoria's Secret bra leak.  It was coming from a small gel-filled sack (that’s hard to determine without cutting the padding) in the Very Sexy bra line at Victoria’s Secret. However, they were nice enough to replace my bra with a discount on a new one. From my investigation, apparently the leaks and claims of toxins in the bras have been resolved quite some time ago.

The leak and the bra...yes, this was at work in a pediatric clinic!
My next booby issue occurred a couple months later. I went in for an ultrasound due to a swollen left breast (I was wishing they were both swollen!). While there, they suggested a baseline mammogram because I’m 35! Needless to say, I was cringing under an ugly pink gown (my favorite color is blue) going back and forth for ultrasound and mammogram with unsure results. Calcifications were detected and the only way to be certain was to have a biopsy. The needle biopsy was unsuccessful due to the location. I’m not ashamed to say I blame my small boobs. Therefore, surgery was the only way to biopsy these calcifications. A lot of women have them but 20% of the time it can be cancerous.  If found, however, you have to follow-up every 6 months for 2 years to be cleared. During my consult visit with the surgeon, they suggested to remove the fatty tumor spotted on the ultrasound in the left breast and biopsy the calcifications of the right. I could have opted not to have the surgery. However, it would have to be closely monitored and that would be a hassle. So, I decided observing was not the best approach and I needed to move forward and check this off my list until I’m 40.
The pink gown - probably not my color but, at least it was comfortable. 
Surgery day arrived and one of my gracious friends just happened to be in town and took me to the outpatient center. I was quite nervous to go under the knife for the first time (outside of oral surgery for wisdom teeth). They asked multiple questions throughout the prep and the nerves just grew mainly because I didn’t know what to expect during and after. They even asked if I had fallen recently and my response was “yes, I took a dive on the sidewalks during a run and have open wounds on my hands and knees.” My response wasn’t really relevant to the content of the question addressing concerns about physiological changes to the brain (dizziness, light headed). However, it was relevant to the future question about open cuts. Reminded me of the time a cop pulled me over for driving over the lines at 2am and asked if I had been drinking and I said, “yes, I have Starbucks.” My husband quickly intervened and said “no she hasn’t been drinking” and we switched seats. The anesthesiologists and nurses were phenomenal and kept me at ease. The nurse anesthetist asked if I had any last words or questions while holding the potion to knock me out at her fingertips over my IV. “Um, yes…” as I looked at my husband who arrived, “will I pee or poop the bed while out?” The entire room was in laughter. I was seriously worried about my dignity. The anesthesiologist said, “honey, what happens in the room, stays in the room.” Rest assured, it was very likely NOT going to happen.

I recovered well with 2 incision sites, without any use of pain pills and went to work the next afternoon. My running and biking workouts resumed a couple days post-op. I was happy with the outcome: non-malignant results and no pain! In fact, I asked about breast implants. Apparently, that’s quite more invasive than I thought…and enough to still scare me off.

My surgeon and her team rocked. And, of course,
my biggest fan, as usual, by my side.
A week and a half after breast surgery, I had to look forward to another but more invasive surgery involving general anesthesia which will be continued in the next post of this series.

Doctors typically provide all pre and post-op instructions however, these are just a few tips for first timers undergoing minor breast surgery under light anesthesia and what to expect for recovery:
  • Since no deodorant (fear of stink, I know), no make-up or jewelry, no hairspray or lotion (basically nothing that makes you feel girly or pretty) is allowed prior to surgery, pack a bag with deodorant, button down shirt, and a couple bras (flexible sports bra, bra that snaps in the front) so you can decide which one is easier to put on after surgery. Plus, a sports bra adds more support and this option was better for me due to one of my incisions being located on the side.
  • Ice packs are good to have on hand or in advance, to minimize the swelling and pain if any.
  • Soreness and pain varies from person to person and the extent of surgery, but I didn’t feel hardly any pain except some soreness at the incision sites (unless you use those pec muscles a lot or touch the incisions). 

Quote of the day: A strong woman knows she has strength enough for the journey…but a woman of strength knows it is on the journey that she will become strong. 
~ Luke Easter

Bible verse of the day: Consider it pure Joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 
~ James 1:2-3


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