On Monday, my second drain FINALLY came out. Ok, it wasn’t really the eternity it seemed….it was all of 18 days. According to my surgeon, pretty darn average (doesn’t he know I like to be better than average????). When it was out, what was the first question I asked….anyone? Any guesses? That’s right:
“CAN I RUN?”
I think he is pretty tired of hearing variations on this questions (e.g., “Can I do the elliptical? Can I run a marathon with the expanders in?) because he looked at me blankly and said, “sure.” In fact, his answer was essentially, you can do whatever you want, just listen to your body to determine what’s comfortable, (hmmm…I don’t know if this guy has ever operated on a runner before) AS LONG AS YOU DON’T LIFT YOUR ARM OVER YOUR HEAD. I can run without putting my arm over my head. I think.
Next question- when can I walk my dogs. Answer: 4 weeks out. After 4 weeks I can lift my arm and start lifting light weights, and I can walk my dogs. More importantly, I can finally shave my armpit. It’s getting nasty, I can tell.
Back to the running thing though. Lucky for me, I had a run club that night. I went in thinking I’d give it a try, and if need be, I’d walk. Except…it was REALLY cold. So, I realized once I started I was committed, because I wasn’t dressed for walking.
I started my run. Woah, this was weird. Basically, I was aware of something inflexible right in the center of my chest. And it seemed to shift ever so slightly with each arm swing. As did the support directly under my breast. I also realized that the front zip bra I had bought specifically for wearing after my mastectomy (since I wouldn’t be able to pull anything over my head, or reach around to clasp something in back) was REALLY tight. And felt even tighter over this foreign breast on my left side. But, it wasn’t painful. Just weird, and mildly uncomfortable. I stopped swinging my arm, and it felt a little more reasonable. So I kept going. I kept it slow- it was really hard for me to not chase down the fast crew, but I didn’t. And by about 2 miles in, I was able to start to swing my arm a bit. But by 3 miles I was glad to be done. And I wanted that bra OFF. While I sat socializing with my friends, I actually unzipped the bra under my clothes (it had a secondary clasp to keep it somewhat on. Oh that felt so much better.
The next day- another little 3 miler. Felt good. Bra still uncomfortable though.
The next day, I wanted more distance, but was worried about doing too much bouncing and arm swinging, so I did a trail route that incorporated a lot of stairs that I would have to hike. Hiking doesn’t cause the same discomfort. But I forgot how hard (cardio wise) those stairs were. Whew, it was a workout! But I managed 5.
Day 4 (I know, I know, probably time for a day off, but I had another run club, and miles to make up!) I hiked in the morning (not running= time off). I ALSO, tried on an older looser sports bra that I could pull on over my hips. OMG, SOOOOOO much better. I ran 3 miles that night in the same bra, YES this helped immensely.
Day 5….I took a day off. 🙂
Day 6- it’s the weekend, and long run day! But I had to lead a group walk. And again, it was so cold. I arrived super early, and squeezed in nearly 7 miles in advance. Then led the walk- 2 miles. Then went back out for another 3. I realized I hadn’t eaten in several hours, so felt a little tired. Made a quick pit stop, topped off my water bottle, and realized my left fingertips were tingling ever so slightly. Uh oh. Except- this hasp happened to me before from the cold. So maybe it’s nothing. I opened and closed my hand several times, and jogged back to my car. Had some gu, and worked my hand a few more times. It stopped tingling. So, onward I went, but I was nervous about going too far. I had hoped for 12 running miles, but decided maybe I should stop at 10.
Once home, my legs were achy. Not my usual post long run achy. Crampy achy. Ugh. Is this the Tamoxifen? Also, I felt sleepy. Not, I just did a long run tired. I want to take a nap tired. I’ll be honest, I’ve been feeling that every afternoon this week. Ugh. I hope it doesn’t last.
Day 7, Sunday. Would have liked to have gotten more miles in, but had to be at a race site at 6 am. Thought about arriving early and running before setup, but it was chilly, it was dark, and I didn’t know my way around. So instead I stood on my feet for 4 hrs. Ugh. And squeezed in 7 miles. And then had a beer. YES, a beer. FINALLY. It felt so good, even if I could only handle one.
I ran 3 more times between Monday and Tuesday morning, and each time it felt more and more comfortable. I could finally swing my arms. And pick up my pace. And then, the icing on the cake, I came across this story from RW 4 years ago…so similar to my story it’s uncanny. And it gave me confidence that I can DO this.
But for the next few days, it’s break time, ’cause I just had my first expansion and I feel like I have a softball attached to my chest. 😯