Sensations (and Pain Meds)

Update: Grr. Having lots of those random shooting pains now.  One here. One there. Peuw. Peuw. (That’s the sound of them shooting around my chest, cartoon style, in case you were wondering!) I can survive them of course. I’m lucky that’s all there is. But they’re just enough to drive one crazy!

So how are things feeling? Pretty okay.

The long overdue story of pain meds I can tell you in brief: I came home from the hospital on a Monday. I was okay until Wednesday and Thursday, when the pain was kicking up a bit. It was survivable, just making me terribly cranky, and I didn’t want to go through the weekend with nothing on hand in case it continued. Getting pain medicine from my doctor in person would require another $200 taxi trip, and it had to be done that day because my doctors would be off on the weekend. So, I called Dr. Awesome and he offered to fax a prescription to my pharmacy.

I’ve used the same pharmacy for two years now. In a country with stores that sincerely don’t give a damn whether or not you ever return, building up loyalty, getting them to know you, is about your only chance of decent service. They know my situation and I have been very happy with this place. I called to make sure the prescription was in. They said yes, but they would not give it to me. I got one of the typical Belgian customer service (read: bullcrap) excuses, “I must have the original prescription to give it.” This is wrong on so many levels, namely that What’s the point of being allowed to fax prescriptions then?! and that I had done just this thing about 5 times before and never had a problem. This is not to mention the fact that Belgium’s rules are just as flexible in the opposite direction if they want them to be. (I have simply walked into an unknown pharmacy before and said I needed more codine pain killers and been given them. With no prescription, nothing but a pitiful face.) I argued and argued with her. She said, “Well, if we knew you, then that would be different.” I said, “You do know me! I’ve been coming there for 2 years!” Blah blah blah, she finally agreed “maybe”.

I sent my friend over with my passport and loyalty card, who came back empty handed. Not only did they refuse to give it over, he even offered to ring Dr. Awesome and have them speak to him and they simply refused. This is when I tried to march my hobbled self over there on person, but was thwarted by the street of busy shoppers.

By the time I went to the doctor this Monday, it was not worth getting a new prescription. But that’s a
good thing. The sensations I have now consist mostly (still) of both a bit of heavy numbness and sensitivity. The heaviness has eased a lot from what it was. I can take deep breaths, sneeze, all that. The stomach pulls (not really painfully though); it’s just the breasts that feel heavy, probably because of the numbness.

But the numbness is not complete. And it’s improving. The first days in the hospital, I felt a little weird about the new breast. The right one (with its original skin) felt strange, but the left one (made from the stomach skin) felt like someone had strapped a steak to my chest. It just didn’t feel like it belonged to me. I was slightly creeped out wondering how long this would last (some women complain about feeling that the new breasts are not part of them for years or indefinitely), but that sensation has completely gone. (Yippee!) Both sides have the same vague numbness. There are occasional shoots of mild pain, but mostly there is somhow a simultaneous lack of feeling and a hypersensitivity. For example, I can’t tell exactly where an itch is, but I do have them, and if I itch the wrong spot, it hurts the nerve in a way that it would not do on “normal” skin. It’s difficult to explain, but it’s much like the original mastectomy armpit feels. Regardless, the breasts now both feel equally mine, and that’s the sensation that really matters. I am very optimistic that I will have quite a bit of feeling before I’m done, which is lucky icing on the cake.

PS. I’ve added photos of my little toy to yesterday’s post.

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3 Comments

Filed under breast cancer, reconstruction ("upgrade"!), recovery, surgery, this time THIS year

3 responses to “Sensations (and Pain Meds)

  1. I am so glad that it feels like “you” now. Big changes are afoot (abreast?) and this is great news!

    We have the same troubles with pharmacies here … anything stronger than codeine needs to be picked up in person at the doctor and given in person to the pharmacist. As if hurting people needed to make two more trips!

    Argh. Glad you’re feeling better now.

  2. joelmaners

    Great to hear that you are feeling “whole”again.

    I’m sorry to hear about your troubles with the pharmacy. My wife is a pharmacist and she works at a local pharmacy owned by some very dear friends of ours so she can get a prescription pretty easily. I’d hate to think where we would have been without being able to get our pain and nausea meds. Right after our first chemo, we had to call late one night to get some Zofran IV. The owner of the pharmacy unlocked the building for us after hours and a nurse friend of ours administered the shots. If it hadn’t been for them, my wife would have had to suffer all weekend.

  3. Love the steak analogy. I believe the heaviness is due to your “upgrade”. I’ve heard of the same from friends who just had regular upgrades for no good reason. 😉

    Isn’t the “itch beneath the numb” the most annoying thing???!!! You must scratch… but, oh, so carefully. It’s a fine line we walk for “the girls.”

    Otherwise, are you pleased with your upgrade?

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