Belly Breathe

We watch a lot of Sesame Street in our house. When I woke up after surgery, I kept reminding myself of this song staring Common, Colbie Caillat, and Elmo (of course).

I sang it constantly in my head during those first few days, just trying to get through the frustration of everything in the hospital – the song itself is somewhat relaxing and its message is therapeutic too. Before surgery, I wrote how listening to the guided imagery helped me to stay relaxed – I really didn’t stress at all before the surgery, not even in the pre-op area. My therapist is constantly telling me that if I concentrate on deep belly breathing, it can be quite relaxing and help to mitigate stress. This is something I tend to have trouble with – like during the biopsy when I realized I was holding my breath for so long that I was afraid to let it go because I didn’t want to move! But laying in the hospital bed after surgery, I had a lot more time to remind myself to breathe, and I sang this song in my head (along with the entire soundtrack to Pretty Woman, which I was convinced was playing through a speaker somewhere in the room and I made my mom listen at every vent and wall, although I was the only person who could hear it – ah, morphine) until I wanted to poke my ears out with whatever jagged object I could reach (unfortunately, they don’t leave a lot of jagged objects lying around in hospital rooms).

Well, since Thursday, my belly has had its own time to breathe now that I don’t have to wear the abdominal binder. But that is proving not to be as relaxing as I thought it would be. On Thursday I was in pain by the end of the day not wearing it. My whole belly was sore as well as my back. On Friday I wore the binder, and even though my belly felt better, I still had the annoyance of the itchiness, the velcro biting, and the constant rollover (sort of like when pantyhose roll down over your stomach as they off). Yesterday, we went out to do errands in the morning, went to the library for story time, and then out to dinner with my parents. The whole day (except for a two hour nap) I wore the abdominal binder, along with jeans and a belt to keep them up. When I got home, I couldn’t wait to let my belly breathe! I felt so tight and restricted.

But then, all night, I tossed and turned from the soreness in my belly (along with the soreness of my breasts from laying on one side too long). No position made this feel better. I’m sure it had mostly to do with my jeans and the belt. I think I’m probably going to be stuck in drawstring pants for a while longer (this is something I never thought I’d complain about, but I guess when you wear sweatpants every day, you kind of look forward to a change).

In other news, I’m very excited – this afternoon I’m going to my first local FORCE meeting. I’ll get to meet some other local people who are BRCA+ and hear their stories too. Unfortunately, when I meet them I’ll be wearing sweatpants, but hopefully they won’t judge me too much on that.



  1. I read the previous post and this one, and I can tell you- you are MUCH BETTER at pinpointing location and type of pain than I am. You are very specific! I guess I am as lazy at pain description as I am in the kitchen. Never been good at the breathe/meditate/relax thing, either…

    At the risk of sounding like a broken record, give yourself time to heal. You won’t be 100% physically or mentally for a while. Allow yourself that.

    1. Doc said it could be a year before I’m myself again. It’s just deceiving when you have a day that’s totally great and you feel “normal” and then a day when everything seems to hurt. It’s also deceiving because I get huge bursts of energy and I feel fine, and then suddenly I’m lethargic and nap for two hours. I hate to use the cliche, but it’s a rollercoaster. Guess I’ll get used to it though.

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