New week. New normal.

My return to work was not as bad as I had anticipated. I was really nervous about seeing my coworkers and needing to answer questions and look different and be overwhelmed. But it was nothing like that. Our offices moved while I was on my leave, and my new office is on a floor without the rest of my project team. So I was able to tuck myself away and just get comfortable with being in the office again. I saw a few of the co-workers I was closer with, and those updates were fine. I did avoid a celebratory lunch with our client and entire team on the Thursday though, as I didn’t want that to be my “return” to everyone. I have our first client meeting on Thursday, so that is what I am mentally preparing for.

These are still kinda the same. Still conscious of my breathing. Even if I am sitting and talking a lot (like sharing my story when people ask), my breathing becomes a bit heavier and I need to take moments to take a deep breath. And at rehearsal tonight, I was able to do all the choreography (which is mostly walking movement), but really needed to focus on my breathing to keep my breathing more steady.

I still am taking pain medication 4 times a day. And learned the owie way that I still need this. However, I really am trying to work on extending the time between doses and lowering them too. Because really. Over a month now? Geez Louise!

I can now open doors with my left arm and carry bags. I still describe the area as tender, but more if I am stretching the area, like expanding my chest or lifting my arms above my head. But just being neutral, there is no pain (although I am still taking the pain medication). And the needing to roll onto my side to sit up from laying is starting to reduce in the amount of roll required for this movement.

The bruising is going away on all three incisions, and I am actually a bit sad that they seem to be getting less noticeable. They had become a part of me I was used to and I want them to stay!

And I think I am getting some sensation back in my left underarm and breast. It still has that “numb” sensation, but now the skin in that area sometimes feels itchy, but I can’t feel when I itch!!

– Moon Face = Still there. Cheeks so big I feel them growing and they are actually slightly painful.

– Abdominal Swelling = The work my chiropractor has been performing in this area seems to be helping. And then it comes back. So we will just keep working on this.

– Difficulty Sleeping = Still there. I have had days straight of not being able to fall asleep until between 3 and 4 am. But the early waking seems to be better. I can now sleep until about 9am, if I fall asleep mid-early morning. And it seems like the pattern I have is that for 3 or 4 days, I get about 3 or 4 hours of sleep in a row, and then my body is so exhausted, I can get an 8 hour sleep. On the days I don’t have Arrine, it allows me to sleep in more. Otherwise I am needing to get up at 7am no matter what to get her to school. I am still using Jasmine and I have hops in my pillow to help with sleep naturally.

– Eating = I think I am just getting used to the metallic taste in my mouth. And how food tastes now. How it doesn’t taste as good as I remember.

– Knee Swelling = The swelling isn’t as severe now. Before it would flare up just from being on my feet a lot. Now it only really flares up if I am being more physical, like with my workouts or at dance. I still get swelling from just walking throughout the day, but not so bad that it hinders my knee movement. Now they only seem to swell so much that hinders movement from more intense physical activity. Squatting all the way to the ground, or sitting on my knees with my bum on my feet can be done, it just takes longer to get down there and needs focus to get back up.

– Acne = The rheumatologist in the hospital told me the good news about the prednisone is that it should help with my acne. Which I would say has happened. My face is quite clear now, and I really just have redness and scaring from previous breakouts. However shortly after being released, I noticed an acne “rash” on the side of my head. This has now almost cleared up, but then another acne “rash” started on my chest and over my left shoulder. And when I have read other resources about prednisone, they have stated that it can cause acne. So who knows??

– Skin = Something I never mentioned before, is that my skin feels different to me. Like when I feel myself. The texture is different.

Still seeing him! But now it is down to just once a week. He keeps working on aligning my ribs, the swelling in my knees, just overall adjustments, my abdomen and the incision areas. I look forward to these appointments, because it seems like we are actually DOING something.

Just been pumping iron as per the plan. I am happy that each time I am able to increase weights and now I have been told to start working on increasing the reps too. AND I was able to do pushups from my knees!! I wasn’t expecting that I would be able to, but I tried the other day, and I did them, and then I cried. I was so happy with my progress. Man. It is so hard to feel so behind with everything. But I keep telling my body, “Muscle memory!! Remember your muscle memory!! You know what you are supposed to do!”

I have another appointment on Friday. Boom.

So Now What?
This week I am working half time again. Which seems to be a really great balance right now. My first lung specialist appointment is next Tuesday. I am to get a chest X-ray this week in preparation for it. I am desperately hoping that he sees the improvement he needs to see, to start reducing the prednisone dose. But at the same time, I am trying to prepare myself that this won’t happen. Just to avoid the disappointment.

I like being alive. And that’s what I focus on each day.