Friday, April 12, 2013

Good news!

I went for an early followup because I have some lymph swelling and bruises that are traveling down my side.  The surgeon had no concern about those, but he did have the great good news to give me that the lab found no cancer in either my lymph nodes or the wider margin removed around where my melanoma was. 
 Pretty good for four days after surgery!
He continued to give me as little information as possible.  One example:
  • P: Can I please have a copy of the biopsy report?
  • Dr. T: Why would you want that?
  • P: Can I please have a copy of the biopsy report?
  • Dr. T:  Of course, it is your medical record, it belongs to you.
So the whole thing is over now, except for getting a body check twice a year.  I am also relieved  that I can now put salve on the healing wounds, which had started to get itchy.  The stitches are under the surface and will dissolve.
I am so thankful for the people who have prayed for me and brought food.  John has not been able to step up and do anything more, though he accepts I can do less.  He says "that's ok" when I say no to something he asks me to do.
What I have most learned from this is to put myself first more. To do things while I can.

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Surgery went well

Two lines of stitches under the steristrips.  The one on my arm is less crosswise to my arm motion than I feared.  The armpit one is the lymph nodes--the radiation procedure in the morning to identify the sentinel nodes took less than an hour and two nodes lit up.  In pre-op they had to bring in the expert to start the IV, but I don't have a big bruise from the unsuccessful attempt.

When the surgeon came to talk to me before the surgery I reminded him I was a swimmer.  He again said he preferred to have me completely out with inhaled general anesthesia.  I again said unless there was a strong reason, I preferred to have IV deep sedation (they gave me both Versed and Propofol).  He didn't argue, and he took my iPod to play my calming music during surgery (his view was while I would not be conscious, my unconscious would react).  During my pre-op appointment last week I asked the anesthesiologist about whether he was comfortable with deep sedation for the procedure and he said "we do it all the time."

I am so happy that I was able to do the surgery with the deep sedation.  No general anesthesia hangover, no sore throat from the breathing tube.  The surgery was at 1 pm.  I got home around 6 still feeling a little unsteady, but I was hungry for dinner and by the time I was done dinner I was feeling good if I didn't move much.  I woke up early this morning when the pain medication wore off, but Naproxen is all I needed this morning--no pain unless I stretch the arm (which I try to remember not to do).

I can shower once 24 hours have passed, but the instructions are very strong that I am not to put anything on the wounds.  I regret that--I've been convinced by the newer practice of keeping wounds moist.  But I will follow instructions at least for the first week.

Saturday, April 06, 2013

Homemade toiletries

I am very happy with my latest batch of homemade salve.  I use it on my feet and hands at night and on my scab.  I had bought a variety of healing oils and butters for some specific recipes (see below) and because I wanted to make a mixed oil for my face.  I also threw in the end of a batch of herbal salve that I bought, which had an olive oil and beeswax base.  So the list below is more a reminder of what I used and a source of ideas than an actual recipe.

I melted together in a bowl over hot but not boiling water:
  • raw shea butter
  • coconut oil
  • mango butter
  • kokum butter
The kokum butter is particularly hard and I think will keep the salve solid until the weather gets hot.  If you don't use it or are expecting warm weather, I would throw in a small amount of beeswax.

When I took it off the heat I added (roughly in order of quantity)
  • jojoba oil
  • liquid lanolin
  • niaouli essential oil
  • manaku honey
  • rosemary oil
  • neem oil
  • vitamin E oil
I put the bowl in icewater and whipped it now and then with the wisk attachment of my stick blender.  It came out a wonderful light texture and absorbs relatively well for all the heavy ingredients. 

I also made homemade deodorant using the first recipe here.  I figure that will be easier on the stitches under my arm than the crystal mineral deodorant (in spray form) I normally use.

While I'm writing down rough recipes, I want to note the ingredients for my homemade tooth paste, based on this recipe:
  • coconut oil
  • baking soda
  • fizzing calcium/magnesium powder
  • xylitol (a sugar alcohol that fights cavities)
  • sea salt
  • mint essential oil
In the winter it is hard, I have to dig it out with a small spoon to get it on my toothbrush.  But it leaves a very fresh feeling.