Thursday, July 6, 2017

A Post-Mastectomy Mini-Vacay: Summer means Beach Time!

I love going to the beach! It is definitely my happy place. I get in the water but mostly, I just enjoy laying in a lounge chair soaking up the sun and the sounds. Thankfully, my son inherited my love for the beach and we always enjoy a chance to get away there.

This year has been a very different year for us with my cancer diagnosis and subsequent surgery. While insurance covered my surgical expenses, I still have an OOP and lost pay from some of my time off. My Phase 2 surgery is also coming up on July 25.  So, a big vacation was not in the books for us this year. I planned on just a day trip (the Padre Island National Seashore is only 2.5 hrs away) then got an email that I had earned enough points for a free night at La Quinta and it applied to the one on N. Padre Island. Score!! Overnight trips are so much better...especially for the driver (that's me!).

As excited as I was to get there, I wondered what I'd feel like once I did...the sun and heat on my chest, the sand on my incisions, and the overall fatigue (I definitely get tired faster than before still.).  Thankfully, it was fantastic!  We spent the whole Independence Day holiday on the beach and then watched fireworks outside the Padre Island Yacht Club (great show!).

The heat did not cause me any issues and, as a matter of fact, even with all the extra activity, I did not notice additional swelling or discomfort at the end of the day!  The first big wave that hit me straight on did take my breath away for a moment. It felt like I got punch in the abdomen incision area is still tender and some of those waves were uncomfortable. I just made sure to use a boogie board to shield my abdomen and I was fine. Laying on my stomach on the low lounge chair provided a little bit of a challenge to get up....the neighbors probably wondered why I hesitated each time I got up.

I think I was also much more conscious of my breasts than usual. Because they are sometimes a little on the numb side, I was hyper aware of them....worried that I might have a "wardrobe malfunction" and not notice! Didn't happen and I was apparently worried for nothing.
Sunrise at Padre Island national Seashore 07/05/17
The next morning we went back to the park just before sunrise for the Sea Turtle hatchling release. (If you haven't witnessed this, it's a wonderful opportunity to see and lean about these endangered creatures. This was our second time and I'd do it again.)

In the afternoon, we boarded a boat and went on a 3-hr bay fishing trip. I didn't catch much but my son did and we enjoyed a terrific lunch today at home because of it! The fishing did not bother me at all but I imagine I might have felt it pull some on my abdomen had I caught anything bigger than a little catfish.

Scars look great, no irritation. Mine were covered and not exposed to the sun at all so I can't say how they'd respond to that. I've heard they can get very dark and it's best to avoid sun exposure early on.

Overall, it was a wonderful trip that I wish didn't have to end! We enjoyed every minute and I'm so glad we got to get away before this next surgery.  Some things may feel different and a lot has changed but it doesn't mean that we can't have fun!  As long as your MD clears you for activity, don't hesitate to do things and embrace life!

Hope all of you are enjoying a great Summer!
What are your plans? Anyone trying something new? 

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