1 Year, 10 Months, 17 Days: Anesthesia causes what? POCD?

kintsukuroiPost-op (make that post-op x6) I have been struggling with a few things.  A few new things.  I have been brushing them away for months thinking it was me, or that it was just mentally dealing with loss and change and well… losing my boobs, it seems that there may be more to it.

So… I finally decided to start researching it a bit. Research brings me peace and dare I say sanity… or at least moments of it.  😉  I found a great article that, well… I identified with a bit too much really.

Since the surgeries I have felt so darn tired, seriously tired.  I have blamed my commute, my schedule, sitting too much, my sleep schedule, myself… at first I gave myself a lot of grace knowing that my body was healing… but I am now at the point of asking myself WTH?  And my mom is asking me if I need to see a doctor – she isn’t used to me sleeping like this either.

Since the surgeries, I can’t lose weight.  If you have followed the blog, you know I had liposuction and a fat transfer during surgery 4 and 5, which resulted in swelling and a bunch of work to get the fluid out of my system.  Well, it seems that whatever I have done in the past to help with keeping me at my fit weight just simply don’t work.  I blamed fatigue, sleeping too much, sitting on my arse, and myself… of course.  Humans like to do that.

Since the surgeries, I have memory deficits, not huge ones… but you know… that whole forgetting people’s names thing… it is awful… and kinda huge in the moment.  Never used to happen to me.  Now I find myself messing up names of people I have known for years… soon everyone will be “dah’ling” or “heeeeey.”  Oh and spell-check is a requirement now… not an option.

Since the surgeries, focus is an issue.  I have always been a multi-tasker, but this is beyond that.  Initially I kept my mind busy and stayed preoccupied, using distraction as a method of pain management.  Ya know, holding conversations while surfing the phone… it was that or narcotics.  I chose to just always be doing multiple things to think about anything but the pain, especially with surgeries 3 and 4.  Now, I can honestly only read a few pages at a time before I have to transition to something else.  Thank God I finished my MBA before my diagnosis… yowza!

Since the surgeries, PTSD… yes… PTSD… Apparently about 23% of patients develop PTSD after breast cancer surgery.  How this has manifested for me is anxiety, especially social anxiety.  This is very frustrating considering I have been speaking publicly to all sizes of groups most my adult life.  Now I find myself facing social anxiety at the idea of meeting friends out for dinner.  Seriously.  My friends.  What is happening?

I mean, I knew that general anesthesia takes months to get out of the system, and just because you no longer feel the effect of the general anesthesia, local anesthesia, pain medication, etc… it doesn’t mean your body is clear of it, only that there isn’t enough remaining to have the intended impact of the medication. The body has a lot of work to do to clear all that out and face it, healing is hard work.  The skin heals over so much more quickly than everything happening internally.

It can take weeks to months after major surgery for the body to recover from the metabolic effects.  I knew that, kind of, not that any doctor told me but some pre-surgical reading I had done hinted at it.

In the span of 1 year, 6 months and 19 days I have had 6 major surgeries:

  1. 2/13/15 Biospy – they removed 1.4cm of tissue with a stereotactic needle… and placed three tumor markers, it counts….
  2. 3/26/15 Bilateral Mastectomies
  3. 6/17/15 Expanders placed
  4. 12/3/15 Implants placed
  5. 4/5/16 Replace above-mentioned implants with new ones
  6. 9/1/16 Nipple reconstruction

My body can’t hardly get rid of the general, local, combined and the after effects of the prescription pain medications, muscle relaxers and antibiotics before it gets hit again… like a being hit by a mack truck over and over again.  Thank God that is over, but I have to admit… this new laundry list of items to work on is hardly a walk in the park.  BUT, at least it is offering a pathway to answers and solutions.  Next step will be to research kick starting my metabolism.

On the flip side, at least I know I am only broken and not defective.  I can and will be mended.

For those interested, here is the article.

#‎strongerthancancer‬ ‪#‎embracingtheadventure‬ ‪#‎killerleftboob‬ ‪#‎hawtrightboob‬ ‪#‎breastcancer

One thought on “1 Year, 10 Months, 17 Days: Anesthesia causes what? POCD?

  1. Great post, and enjoyed reading the article. Definitely relate- a topic worthy of more consideration in cancerland, especially BC where multiple surgeries are more common. Thanks for the report out. I am two years out from my year of treatments, and my tiredness is so much better, though I am still not as resilient as I once was. Best wishes for a spunkier 2017.


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