Thursday, February 27, 2014

Three cheers for PT!

Happy Thursday! I hope everyone is having a good week.

So, I tried my three-mile run (no walking) this morning. It's just not happening yet. :( I did make it about 20 minutes straight running, before a sharp pain in the left pec (I think it was the pec....could be a nerve issue) stopped me in my tracks. My athlete instinct kicked in and I wanted to fight through the pain and then I QUICKLY realized how stupid it would be to run through the pain! I stopped and walked, then ran a few minutes here and there to finish up my 5k. I'm still encouraged at how far I've come in a month and will keep working at it....maybe by next week?

In other news, I graduated from PT yesterday!

My "graduation shirt"

In one of my pre-op meetings with my plastic surgeon, he mentioned that he typically gives his patients a referral to physical therapy starting four weeks after surgery. It was up to me whether or not I wanted to go, but he said his more active patients definitely thought it helped. After surgery I lost most range of motion, unable to lift my arms above my shoulders. I also lost most of my strength in my upper body, mostly because it feels so WEIRD to engage my pec muscles (thanks to the fact that there is now a foreign object jammed beneath them). While I worked diligently on stretching exercises at home (which the hospital gave me when I was discharged), I was only getting so far. I decided to start PT five weeks out from surgery. My therapist is a women's health specialist and I give her full credit for getting me back to the nearly full level of functioning I am at today.

Typically my therapist would spend about 30 minutes breaking up the scar tissue around my incision sites and working all the way around the expanders. She also spent a lot of time working on the drain sites...they are small scars but there is some nasty swelling and scar tissue there! Now, as an athlete I have been through a lot of PT/deep tissue massage/ART on my legs before and I always thought that was pretty painful. But, OOOOUCH, I have never experienced pain like someone digging their elbow into a fairly recent surgical site! We're talking full-on tears right in the middle of Athletico. But I have to say I always felt a million times better the day after these appointments. The last 30 minutes of the appointment we would spend strengthening and stretching. We also worked on functional movements. On my first day she asked me for a few goals. I told her: 1-I want to get back to swimming 2-I want to be able to run without feeling awkward and 3-I really want to pick up my dog!!

We worked really hard on goal #3. She put weights (25 lbs to match his weight) in a box and would have me practice picking it up and placing it on different height shelves. I am proud to say, GOAL ACCOMPLISHED!

So happy mommy can pick him up again!

And with that, I am now officially discharged. I will likely need to go for a few more sessions after my second surgery and that is absolutely fine with me! If anyone reading this is facing a mastectomy in the future, put physical therapy on your list of musts for post-surgery. Just make sure you ask for a therapist that has special training in women's health issues. It's very important that they understand what your body has been through, since it's a very unique situation.

That's all I've got for today. Have a good weekend!

-- HER

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