Good riddance November

Dec 1, 2011 | On Being Positive

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Lynne Tapper

I am a lifelong endurance athlete with the dual goal of training and racing until my bones turn to dust and sharing that passion with as many people as possible.

Today marks the fifth week in a row that we have driven to the great state of New York and back (sometimes in one day). That’s a record for us in the eight years we’ve lived in Connecticut.

We went for the 4 week post-op with my plastic surgeon on Tuesday. I was very excited to get the steri-strips removed (they had not fallen off on their own, as they are sometimes prone to do).  They cover the incision that was made at the bottom of both breasts through which all the work was done.  I was also excited to get permission to return to swimming.  I have walked every day since returning home on November 7.  I did one indoor cycle workout to test out how that felt earlier this week.  But, I am eager to mix it up a bit.

So, when I was told that my incisions were healing well, I was optimistic that I’d be cleared to get back into the pool.  Needless to say, I was disappointed when I was told that “Yes, I could go back in the water.”  But, “No, I couldn’t swim for another 8 weeks” 8 weeks?!

These next 8 weeks are a critical time for the implants to settle into their final position.  Basically, yoga, weight-lifting, swimming, heck anything that causes repetitive use of the pectoral muscle could force the implants out of position and compromise the final results.  I’ve come too far to risk ruining all of the good work.  And I’m certain that when I swim, I swim hard.  So, I get it. I just wasn’t expecting it.

As we left the doctor’s office, I said to Leland, “I had no idea that I wouldn’t be able to swim for a total of 12 weeks!” I don’t remember reading that in any literature or being told that by any medical professional or any other woman who had undergone this particular surgery.

My friend Janice asked me yesterday. “If you had known that you couldn’t swim for 12 weeks, would you have decided against the surgery?”

Certainly not.  What’s 3 months versus a lifetime of not fearing a breast cancer diagnosis? All I’m saying is a little heads up would have been nice. I am even more pleased that I chose this time of year to have this operation.  The weather is certainly colder so I’m not eager to get into my lake (well, yesterday when it was 60 degrees and sunny, I was a little tempted).  While I was looking forward to getting back into my local pool,  I’ll just have to wait another 8 weeks.

On the plus side, this is a small price to pay.  And, I’ve continued to heal rapidly.  The doctors said to us that most patients notice significant improvements in how they feel and look at 6 weeks and again at 12 weeks post-surgery.  I’m eager to reach those benchmarks as well.  I’m feeling great and have a much better energy level compared to only two weeks ago.  While I’m disappointed that my swim workouts will have to wait until next year, I’m happy that my day-to-day experience is improving.  It’s not like I’ve already figured out when I can swim anyway.

January 26, 2012. But who’s counting?


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