It seems like just yesterday that I was up all night fretting over my surgery date to arrive. I can't believe a week has already passed and that I am home healing from a bilateral mastectomy. Several people have asked how it went so I will try to share the experience. I am horrible at taking pictures so I apologize that there are none to share.
My surgery was scheduled for August 5th at 10:30 am. We arrived at the hospital at 9:00 a.m. to have the pre-op stuff done. My nurse was very nice and we hit it off from the beginning since we had one thing in common...cancer. She is currently going through chemo treatments to fight lymphoma. It was nice to have someone take care of me that has the same understanding of the cancer world. I think it made her a little more sympathetic. She probably thought Steve was a little crazy because he started right from the beginning with the teasing. I think she was really convinced that he was my boyfriend and that my husband was a loser. I hope he set her straight before we left. Some people aren't sure how to handle him. But I must say, it is nice to have him to try and lighten the mood. We sure haven't had very many laughs lately.
She took us to the surgical waiting area and then started my IV. I still like her even though on the first try she had to dig around in my hand looking for the vein and then ended up "blowing the vein". She had to try again with a vein in my forearm. Luckily on the second try she was able to get it started. I have to say it was one of the most painful IVs I have had in my lifetime. It even made Steve get a little light headed just watching how much pain I was in, and Steve never gets queasy. He is the one who always takes care of the battle wounds at our home.
She then told us it wouldn't be long. We were the surgeon's third case for the day and he had been on schedule all morning. Well we ended up waiting 2 hours longer. The case before us had complications so it put the surgeon way behind. It is so hard to lay there waiting to go to surgery. I don't think my nerves could have waited any longer when finally it was my turn.
The surgery lasted for about 2 1/2 hours. I actually woke up in recovery pretty well. Luckily I didn't feel nauseated. Funny that I just remember looking at the clock on the wall and panicking that Seth had football practice in an hour and I was worried I wouldn't be able to get him there and that he would be late. The nurse then wheeled me to my room. In the hallway I saw my neighbor who is a nurse. I remember trying to get her attention but feeling so out of it. I'm not sure what I said to her but I know it was pretty slurry. I'm sure she sees it all the time when people are coming out of anesthesia, but still how embarrassing.
Once I got to my room my mom was waiting for me and I just slept. I don't remember much more of that day. Steve had to leave to get the kids and bring them back up to the hospital so they could see me. Then we planned for them to spend the night at grandma's house. I was very happy that Steve was able to stay with me at the hospital that night. I think however he slept better than I did. Hospitals are not a place to get rest.
I was able to be discharged the next day with directions from the doctor that going home and going to bed is NOT a good thing. He wanted me up and walking as soon as possible. I was a little nervous to go home with fear of the pain I was about to endure. Surprisingly, I was in very little pain. I was able to manage it with just Ibuprofen. My kids were shocked to see mom up and walking so soon after surgery.
The last week has consisted of just taking it easy and trying to not over do it because I do feel so well physically. Emotionally I have a harder road ahead. I have not had a day go by that I don't break down in tears 2-3 times. I know it is just an adjustment and that with time it will get better. I have a lot of people around me that support me so much. I know I won't have to do this alone.
We met with the surgeon on Wednesday and he was able to take out my drains...ouch!!. He also had a great pathology report for me. The report showed that there was residual cancer still in the breast, which I fully expected because the tumor was so big to begin with. And the plan was to only shrink the cancer with chemo. However, he was able to get negative margins(which means he was able to get ALL the cancer). He also took out more lymph nodes during surgery and they all tested negative as well. It was great news!! That means no more cancer in my body. Hooray!!
The plan now is next week physical therapy, radiation will start at the beginning of September. It will be everyday for 6 weeks. When radiation is finished we should have 6-8 months to just heal both physically and emotionally. It will be a nice break from chemo, surgery, radiation, and test after test. A break we all need in our family.
I feel very fortunate to have made it this far. I never thought I could do it. I'll be honest I have very little faith in my own strength. But somewhere I was able to reach into my own inner strength to get this far. I still have my very bad days, but overall I feel pretty good. And my hair is starting to grow back!! So things should only get better from now on.
Thank you for all your prayers! I know that because of your prayers I was able to come out on top!