Friday, July 16, 2010
home sweet home
Well here I am, 48 hours post-op and home sweet home. What a whirlwind these past 3 weeks have been.
Day of surgery I went to the radiologist and they injected my left breast with 4 shots of radioactive dye around my nipple. I then waited a hour and a half and had a scan done--to be sure that the dye went to a sentinel node in my left armpit. Because on the breast MRI I had funky looking lymph nodes they wanted to be able to biopsy a sentinel node during surgery.
I arrived at the hospital with Scott and my mom, and met Patti, my dear friend and cancer doula at main admitting. From there we went to a pre-op room (where I stood on the bed wearing pink boxing gloves--ready to kick cancers ass (thank you Anne, what a great gift!). I was surrounded my friends and family in the pre-op room. I couldn't believe the amount of positive energy that was radiating off everyone and onto me. The laughs, prayers, and conversations sustained me through the operating room door and onto the table.
When I arrived to my room after my time in recovery I was alone. Not alone as in emotions--but alone as in an empty room. Recovery had neglected to tell my entourage waiting in the surgery waiting room that I was on my way. I was in extreme pain and alone. I had no nurse, no pain medication and no one to comfort me. I can't recollect how long I was alone--but either way I began to panic and my pain increased due to my inability to relax and breathe normally. By the time family arrived and a nurse, I was a ball of nerves who just lost her breasts, a good lump of lymph nodes and her ability to maintain control. And expanders that were placed under my chest muscle to one day provide me with breasts again.
I was frozen with anxiety and pain. Luckily for me pain medication works quick. I was able to relax and focus on recovery. I was unable to move my fingers (which were swollen and numb), my hands, my arms, any part of my body really. My sister graciously scraped off lip gunk, my mother held up drink after drinking and Scott fed me throughout the night. I had mini victories while Scott tried to get sleep. I was able to take off my glasses, change the TV channel and itch my eye. I was thirsty and hungry, which translated = Scott didn't get any sleep.
Yesterday morning I was again surrounded with friends and family. I made great strides over the night. I had two visits from my surgeon and one from my plastic surgeon. They stated everything went as well as it can go, great news. There was no visual of cancer on my chest cavity wall--or in my left armpit node that was biopsied! I got to go home, sweet victory.
Last night was horrendous. Being home made it tolerable, but I needed assistance getting up and to bed (a process that pulls at my chest and is pretty painful). And I have never been so itchy in my life. NO RASH, but itchy as a son of a bitch. I called the 24/7 nurse to double check I could take benadryl. My skin was covered in the orange surgical cleaner, layers of sweat, dead skin cells and panic. I took the medication and was finally able to get some sleep. Today the itching persists, though we are working to remedy the situation. Today I have feeling back in my fingers and am swollen like a pumpkin. Not in my chest as you would expect, but my belly, legs, arms, EVERYWHERE. I currently can't even fit into the new pj bottoms I bought to wear.
I have four drains, that according to my sister look like hand grenades; two on each side. I am bandaged and wearing a pressure wrap, the drains are safety pinned to the bra. Scott has taken up nursing as a hobby and empties the drains, writes the amount and lifts me in and out of bed.
Today I showered--or I should probably say...I was showered. It was a family affair that happened in shifts. Scott helped me wipe off the orange gunk, then we put a garbage bag (which had holes cut in for the head and arms) over me to keep my bandages dry and my sister and my mom washed my hair. After all was said and done I was clean, sore, and felt like crying. It was glorious.
So here I am, 48 hours post-op and writing my blog a little drugged up. I assure you witty comments and grit will return. Thanks again to everyone for the positive energy and thoughts. Healing is a process of both the mental and physical--positive energy seems to be the highway connecting the two--and without each of you, I would be stuck in traffic.