Friday, May 13, 2011

Summer has arrived in Tucson! updated!!

Updates and flowers!

Visited with my breast reconstruction surgeon this week, and he continues to be pleased with how well I'm healing. I questioned that some, since I still have an open wound on my belly, although it is showing noticeable progress daily now.

My doc talked to me about how long it takes for nerves and the tiny blood vessels to regenerate. As in about 1 mm a day - that's one millimeter, about 0.03937007874 inches (four hundredths of an inch!!!). That's tiny! And they were cut at the top of my chest area, and have to grow down to the injury on my tummy. That's a bloody long way to go at 4/100s of an inch a day! No wonder it's taking so long to heal.

I'm accustomed now to much of the feeling/non-feeling of nerve regeneration. I experienced it when I went thru the radical mastectomy, particularly in my side and right arm after the removal of my axillary pad (the lymph nodes). The tingling - the numbness - the sharp shocking zaps of electricity sometimes. With this recent surgery, the entire area under my breasts (well, under the new teenage boob and the saggy old breast) was totally numb, and the area under the slash across my belly was also dead to all feeling. Much of the feeling has returned to my upper tummy area - though there is still considerable tingling. But I still have no feeling on my lower tummy - My hand feels my belly, but my belly doesn't feel my hand! Now I understand why!

Then, of course, there's muscle control. Or lack thereof. I have no idea if I will ever again be able to 'hold my tummy in' - it's sure pretending there are no muscles at all there as we speak! When I had my hip done, the muscles healed up in no time at all. These tummy muscles think they have the easy life now, no more stress!

Beyond all that, I'm feeling pretty good. I think my hair might actually have started growing a little bit. Not that anyone else would notice. I haven't trimmed a single hair since I let it start growing back in June (almost 11 months!!)!

It's way thinner than before, still very fine and limp, and either it's finally responding to my pulling on it constantly, or it's starting to grow!!

The good old 'they' originally believed that as soon as chemo was over, the hair and nails would start to grow again. Seems that the Herceptin treatments also have the same effect, of stopping all growth on fast growing stuff like hair and nails. My nails are still a mess, but I can see that the quicks are looking healthy, a good sign for the future! (Both the links to nails make for interesting reading, at least for me!)

I have a long way to go to have anything resembling stamina, but I'm handling regular chores with no problems, have a wonderful appetite (nothing ever bothers my appetite) and my Misha and I walk three times a day. I don't see my doc for another month this time, at which point I assume he'll tell me what's next. He did say it'll be a few months before we carve on me again, giving my body a chance to recuperate.

The walks with Misha are when I take pictures of the local flowers. Most of the cactus blossoms are gone now, but there is still a lot of color out there.

We have a tree here called a palo verde - green tree. Now that seems like silly name for a tree, but as you'll notice in this picture, the trunk of the tree is definitely green - almost lime green! And in the spring, the entire tree is covered with tiny yellow flowers - it's spectacular!

I love my friends - I've received an 'accuracy correct' email about my favorite green tree:

"in the interest of accuracy...

Palo Verde translated means Green Stick or Club. Named because the branches and trunk, on all three species of P.V. that we have here, remain green for the bulk of their lives. The green is chlorophyll and allows the tree to photosynthesize even when completely defoliated. Only in its later years, do the branches and trunk tend toward brown.

So, it's not such a dumb name, at all. :-)"

My hibiscus sure seem to like the weather here!

And just a few more for the fun of it!

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