Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Recovering from Bilateral Salpingo-Oophorectomy

Today is a big day.

First, I got a haircut.  My hair is not exactly long, but it was out of control and in need of some 'shaping'.

Post first haircut (20 weeks after finishing chemo)

Second, I am now two weeks out from my Bilateral Salpingo-Oophorectomy and 'officially' cleared to lift more than a milk jug (not that I drink milk:).  Hellllllo independence.  So many daily activities that I don't even think twice about require lifting.  Going to the grocery store alone?  Out of the question.  Grocery bags are heavy!  Carrying my bike up the basement stairs?  Nope.  Not even my bike weighs less than 10 lbs.  Even moving a student chair at work?  Well.  I admit I did do that, but very carefully:)

So while I am celebrating my increased independence, I do want to spend a minute reflecting on the recovery that has taken place these past two weeks.

Tuesday January 28th I underwent a Bilateral Salpingo-Oophorectomy.  It was an outpatient surgery which means I returned home that same day.  The gynecologist who performed the surgery performs this procedure routinely on patients with high risk ovarian cancer and/or breast cancer.  I felt very confident in his skills.  I detailed day of surgery here.

First, I want to say that my final ovarian pathology results came back negative.  No cancer whatsoever was found in my ovaries.  This officially made a crappy situation 'best case scenario'.  As always, I am thankful for small victories.

Recovery from surgery thus far has also been going very well.  I went into surgery after a solid block of early season training feeling fit and strong.  My plan was and continues to be patient with my recovery, erring on the side of caution, as opposed to pushing my body too quickly.  With everything my body has been through since May including axillary lymph node dissection surgery, chemo, radiation, and now oophorectomy, I truly feel that allowing my body to fully recover will help it to bounce back more quickly as I start to ramp things up over the next few weeks.

Here is my rehab over the past two weeks:

Post-op Day 1: Walking was still 'uncomfortable' at this point.  Went for a short, slooooow walk with Shannon and Dizzy.  I am a firm believer in walking as soon as possible after surgery to improve circulation, promote healing, and get the gut working again.  All I will say is that it worked:)

Post-op Day 2: Another short, sloooow walk.  My good friend drove all the way down to Salt Lake  from Midway to walk with me.  She led the doggies while I just tried to keep up and stay upright on the snowy sidewalks.

Post-op Day 3:  Today was my first day out of the house.  I drove myself to acupuncture which presented its own challenges.  Getting in/out of the car and onto the acupuncture table requires more abdominal engagement than I imagined.  I will say that I quickly learned many compensatory techniques on how to NOT engage the abs for these tasks.   I also went to the gym and sat on the recumbent bike for 30 minutes and went for an afternoon walk.

Post-op Day 4:  Went for a very easy and very slow hike.  Turns out uneven terrain also requires abdominal engagement which was 'uncomfortable'.  Who knew?  Rode recumbent bike again.

Post-op Day 5:  Same hike.  Twice as fast with same level of 'uncomfortableness'.  I took the increased speed as progress!  Tried to ride trainer.  Once again I underestimated to amount of abdominal engagement required to swing my leg over the bike and to maintain the lower, more aggressive body position on my road bike (versus the recumbent or stationary bike at the gym).

Dizzy on one of our hikes.  No he didn't dig the hole.  But he (obviously) wanted to see if he fit!

Post-op Day 6:  Resorted to the stationary bike at the gym as riding my road bike on the trainer was difficult.

Post-op Day 7:  Returned to work.

Post-op Day 7-11:  More easy hiking and stationary bike riding.

Post-op Day 12-14:  Easy road rides on MTB.  Hurray for beautiful winter weather and being able to ride outdoors.

For the past week, on a scale of 1-10,  I have maintained a pain level of less than 2 for all of my workouts.  My plan for the next few weeks is to increase duration, intensity, and structure of my workouts as my body allows without eliciting any pain or using medication to mask it.  I also plan to ease into some body resistance workouts.

Short-term goal:  Ride dirt the first weekend of March

Long-term goal:  Race April

Me and my boys