Scarring … and healing

Because my skin is still peeling and raw, the oncologist decided to switch therapies early today.  Instead of getting the wide swath of radiation, I’ll get just a “scar boost” for the next 9 days, and then switch back to the regular radiation.  The scar boost is 9 MeV electrons, shot through a metal mold cut to match my scar plus three centimeters on each side.  Today was my first scar boost treatment.  It was a little strange, since the metal mold was almost touching my skin, but mercifully quick.

I also saw my physical therapist today, and regained good use of my arm.  I have to be treated regularly during radiation, as it scars up with each radiation treatment, and the excess lymph makes my hand and arm swell.  But while I was there today, I asked her to take a look at my old pain (you know, the one that kept me in bed for all those months when I was pregnant, and still flares up just a bit now and then?), and she did.  And GUESS WHAT?

She fixed it.

Just one sharp P-U-S-H and she popped the right side of my pelvic bone back in place.  Apparently it got pushed out of whack when I gave birth to Widget lo these many years ago, and then when I was pregnant with Little Bear, it all fell out of joint again.  And was still out of joint.

Add that to the miracle that she worked on me several weeks ago —

Did I tell you about that one?  Well, I have no fancy words in my box today, but here’s the long and the short of it.  That pain?  The one in my shoulder that started when I was carrying around that heavy tumor-filled boob and didn’t ever go away?  Even when the breast was removed in January? 

That pain was because my RIBS were out of place.  Three of ’em, in fact.  One, two, three.  You see, normally the ribcage is all nice and circular, bending around from the sternum (that’s your breastbone) to the back and tucking under the vertabrae nicely.  Only mine?  Mine were not so nicely tucked under.  Mine were, um, tucked OVER.  One, two, three.

And that’s what was causing my pain this fall, winter, and spring.

All this coinciding nicely with Julie’s Hump Day Hmmmm… fate.  I can’t accept that I was fated to get sick, but perhaps the string of problems that led me to my new breast surgeon could be chalked up to fate.  Or God’s design.  Or multicolored carpeting for that matter, but no matter the reason, I am so grateful that I ended up with the surgeon who took out both breasts right away, finding cancer I didn’t even know I had, and strongly recommending that I go visit Bretta for follow-up treatment.

Because finding Bretta?  Is one of the nicest things about this.

Need a miracle worker of a physical therapist?  Look her up.  Bretta Fabian, at GWU Center for Integrative Medicine.  She’s helped me with lymphedema therapy, scarring, my out-of-place ribs, and even an aftereffect of childbirth I didn’t know I had.  Awesome.   

23 Responses to Scarring … and healing

  1. creativecrocheter says:

    Yeah, for pelvis and ribs back in place! PTs who are good, are VERY VERY good. (Yes, Hunter at Kaiser, I’m talking about you.) Thanks for sharing – everything – and may your burns heal swiftly during this respite.

    And whether it be fate or not, I’m glad that, when the opportunity to help others learn from your experiences arose, you had this forum for sharing with the rest of us.

  2. Stimey says:

    That is incredibly wonderful news. Silver linings, right?

  3. jen says:

    sister, just look at you go.

  4. Less pain, regardless of what caused it in the first place, is a great thing. I’m so glad for you!

    Sending prayers that the rest feels better soon too!

  5. Jen says:

    She sounds wonderful! I hope I can find someone like that here in michigan! You sound like you are feeling better….you were in my thoughts and prayers yesterday!

  6. canape says:

    Well I love her too then.

    I’m so glad she is helping you.

  7. Lisa says:

    Yippee! Yippee! Yippee! I think we need to invite her to Mom’s club for some refreshments and consultation!
    Glad you are feeling a little better and hope the scar therapy goes well.
    Is Widget up for playgroup tomorrow? I know a really nice taxi service ;).

  8. NYfriend says:

    Wow! The pelvic “fix”, well that didn’t surprise me – and I am so very, very glad that finally someone was able to help. But the ribs, the RIBS, holy cow, that was a shock! Now how did that happen?? Were the ribs able to move so much due to the weight of the tumor plus the relaxin still present in your system? Or something else?

    As for the radiation treatments, are these 9 days “bonus” days to be tacked onto the full course? Which is like 5 days or so right?

    I hope you feel a bit more rested. Fatigued is exactly how I’d feel if I was trying to keep up your schedule! And that’s without any radiation! I know you’re anxious to be back out there in full, WhyMommy-force. 🙂

    I hope your skin feels cool and soothed soon. (The StJ balm helps heal the nerves too.)

    Big (gentle) hugs to you!

  9. MammaLoves says:

    That’s unbelievable. I can’t imagine the pain you’ve been suffering for so long with your hips and ribs. Jeez. Let Bretta know we love her.

  10. Brooks says:

    WOW! Amazing. What a relief to know the cause of that pain. You are getting put back together — slowly, yes, but surely! Rest and let those bones, muscles, joints, tendons, etc. get used to the correct position!

  11. Dawn says:

    ya know, just reading this makes my body feel better. oh the power of suggestion.

  12. Big (((HUGS))) to Bretta, the next time you see her, from all of us… Because we can’t thank her enough for helping you to feel better.

    I’ve been so worried about you for these past few days, and can’t tell you how happy it makes me to know that you’ve found some relief from the pain at last.

    Rest, now, Sweetie.

    xo CGF

  13. Photochick says:

    God Bless that dear woman – and God Bless You! I’m so glad she was able to relieve pain for you. Lord knows, you don’t need any more than what you’ve already been through… I pray for you, and will continue to do so. Much, much love to you & yours. Take care and God Bless!

  14. juliepippert says:

    I’m so glad you’ve gotten everything back in place.

    Let me tell you about a good lotion for radiation.

    The lotion is made by George’s and is Lotion Plus, which is an aloe vera based lotion. It does come unscented. It’s made locally here

    However, it is available over the Internet:

    You can shop around (that’s just an example link, not a place I know or endorse…I actually buy some stuff through Amazon but they use different suppliers for best deals) and see what place seems best.

    Or I can run over and pick up some for you. I bet you even know the store I mean. And I’ll send it up to you.

    So glad Bretta is so great.

    Also? had some ideas about your workplace deal pop into my head. I’ll get them to you sometime soon.

    You take it easy. Take care of you.

  15. De in D.C. says:

    I think getting all your body parts in the proper alignment is going to do wonders for your healing process!! I can’t imagine the fatigue/pain you’ve been suffering from the pelvis alone, nevermind the radiation. Now that’s one less thing your body has to worry about healing. Hurray!

  16. Susan K says:

    That is great news!! Hurray for Bretta. While you HAVE her, make sure you get exercises from her to strengthen those muscles around the hip. You can’t do it now I’m sure, but write it down and file it where you can find it. Because I suspect a hip that has “popped out” twice will pop again (when, oh, say, you are sitting cross legged on the floor and your four year old decides to jump into your lap). Once you are feeling better, you can add that exercise to your routine and keep that from happening again!

    I am SO GLAD you had such a great day. I hope that THAT helps you deal with the fatique -losing that pain has GOT to help.

  17. whymommy says:

    You are all so kind. . . today is better. Just tired and restless again. Thank you. And I’m serious about seeing Bretta . . . she joked yesterday that she’d like to see all new moms for a “tune-up” and would be shocked to find anyone in full alignment!

  18. Linda Lawrence says:

    Wow! Great to hear about the back pain, or should I say lack of it! Hurray!

  19. deb says:

    Your hips and your ribs fixed. That’s awesome. There’s a woman at the gym that is on the same approximate schedule as you, with regards to her breast cancer. She’s in the middle of radiation as well right now. I always think of you when I see her and talk to her. Take care of yourself Susan.

  20. clifford says:

    “Just one sharp P-U-S-H and she popped the right side of my pelvic bone back in place.”

    Um, ow.

    Will you think less of me if I curl up in a ball and suck my thumb?

    You are the tuffest girl on the block. Son.

  21. NoRegrets says:

    I’ve always been frustrated by physical therapists because it just seems to go so slowly. But maybe I’ve never had a good one. I’ve recently found that a physical trainer who is really good can do just as much as a physical therapist. I had migrane issues associated with my back and finally started going to the trainer in January. It’s/he’s made a world of difference. Let me know if you need/want something like that.

  22. […] When I went through radiation treatments after my mastectomy, a bright red burn appeared on my chest pretty quickly.  It spread from just […]

  23. […] bone scans, early, to check if this pain in my ribs might be due to metastasis instead of simple misadjustment or weakness from the radiation. I know that metastasis isn’t the end of the world (I have so […]

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