Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Surgery & the days since

I headed to the hospital for my bilateral mastectomy on Dec. 5th. My mom was in town from Kentucky so my kids were all taken care of & my husband was able to be with me every minute of my time in the hospital. I honestly don't remember much of the day of surgery or the day after. I remember being taken back to surgery & I remember waking up & wanting Rich. I remember getting up the next day, taking off my wrap to take a shower, looking at myself in the mirror, & having a good cry. I remember getting in the car to go home. That's about it. I know people came by to see me & I'm sure I talked to them but I don't remember who they are or what I said! It was a pretty miserable two days & I'm glad I don't remember it very well. Everything that involved moving my upper body hurt.


I spent most of my first week home in my recliner. My sweet husband slept on the couch so he could be close. I would tell him to go to our bed and he would just say "you might need me" and lay down. I couldn't do anything for myself for that first week. I had four drains & I couldn't even get myself in the shower or wash easily. I'm so grateful for him and my mom. He took care of me & she handled the kids but when he had to go to work, she took right over. I have no idea how people do this without the help that I had. I'm glad I don't have much hair - I couldn't even get my arms high enough to wash it! I couldn't get myself out of the recliner! I hope I'm getting you a good idea of how helpless & useless I felt! I hurt & was like a giant baby. I compared to myself to a baby more than once when Rich was helping me tie my shoes! The drains were actually the worst part. They pulled & were so uncomfortable! Once my drains came out - I lost two at the one week mark & the other two at the two week mark - I started to improve quickly.

The month passed quickly. I still have to be propped up when I sleep & I still don't have a very good range of motion in my left arm. They removed five lymph nodes & two had cancer in them. This means radiation is a must have. The doctors also seem to be un-convinced by the bone biopsy. There seems to be nothing that the spot on my pubic bone can be aside from cancer so I will be having radiation on my pubic bone as well as my left breast & underarm. The spot on my bone is confusing to me too. It is cancer, it isn't, it is, it isn't. I've finally resigned myself to the fact that all my doctor's think it is & they are going to treat it as such.  Accepting that means I accept that I have metastic breast cancer & I may never have complete remission. But that's a post for another day after radiation and more discussion with people who know more about this than I do. Either way - I'm doing fine today and I'll be fine tomorrow.

I go every Monday to see my plastic surgeon & get 60cc of fluid in my tissue expanders. I'm at around 400-450cc right now & will probably keep going until I reach 750-800cc. After I'm done with the fills I start radiation. I have to do 33 rounds of that & then I'll get to have my second breast surgery 4-6 months after that. My incisions are looking great & I think they are going to scar nicely. I'm eager to see the end result. I go back to work next week & I'm ready to move into my new normal.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Jerina. I came across your blog as I looked up information on double mastectomies. I hope you recover well and fast from surgery and all goes well with your reconstrucion. I have two more chemos before I start preparing for my surgery. I have been diagnosed with invasive lobular breast cancer on my right breast and biopsy has shown that at least one of my lymph nodes had been comoromised. My doctor does not see the need for a double mastectomy, but I am only 34 and have a baby boy so I will mae sure I get both breasts removed regardless of my BRCA 1/2 results. I know zero information regarding my father side of the family as I have never met him and it is just me and my husband. I am glad I read your report on the days after surgery. I know it is major surgery but I know now I will need help. I wonder how you are approaching your arm recovery. I am a teacher and will probably remove all lymph nodes from that side. I was advised to start phisiotherapy the day after surgery but I am not sure how that would be possible. I will make sure to follow your blog. My thoughts and prayers go to you and your family. God bless you! Juliana from Brazil

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