I've had to do a lot of tough things in my life, but my surgery on Monday was probably the toughest. I felt peaceful and calm going into it (both of my surgeon's were able to be there, yay!) which was good. I felt REALLY good about it once they gave me that happy twilight medicine stuff right before they wheeled me back to the OR! ;-) lol.
It amazes me how fast blood circulates through the body. Almost immediately after giving IV drugs into the vessels, you feel the effects from head to toe. But I digress...
When I woke up from surgery, there was a ton of emotions. Good emotions about the cancer being gone, and everything went as planned. Not-so-good emotions about the pain. I thought my chest and sides were either on fire, bleeding out, or a combination of both. I've never experienced that kind of pain before, and I panicked because I thought something was very wrong. The nurses were all great, and were patient and helpful in managing the pain. I also cried out to God, and thought about all the amazing women I've met who have fought this same battle, and have won. I was also upset when I found out they took all my left lymph nodes, instead of just the sentinel biopsy (the surgeon said they felt swollen and what not, so she took them). I know this is a common procedural, but I was hoping and praying that the lymph nodes weren't involved, but better to take them than to leave them in there! And of course we will know more once the final pathology report comes back.
I eventually got wheeled to my little room at some point (which was actually pretty nice, minus a bathroom). I remember my friends and family coming to visit, which was soooo nice and reassuring!
My nurse that night, Tess, was awesome. She was very kind, gentle, and patient. I don't think I could have made it through that night without her and my mother! I was unable to do anything, which was incredibly frustrating. If I wanted a sip of water, I needed help. If I wanted a bite of graham cracker, I needed help. If I wanted that annoying strand of hair out of my face, I needed help. While it was a very humbling experience, I am so thankful for their help. Especially when it came time to use the bathroom.
Going to the bathroom after surgery was the second hardest thing ever. I had figured I could just use my abs to sit up, but that intensified my chest pain so much that I would just fall back onto the bed. Once I finally made it upright, I felt that burst of excruciating pain again. While both sides hurt a lot while standing, the worst spot was below my left breast. I panicked again, as I thought the sutures had split open and fire and blood was now pouring from it. Tess and my mom reassured me I was fine, it was just the new tissue expanders shifting with gravity, putting pressure on the incisions.
I thought I was either going to hurl, pass out, or simply die right there (having very low blood sugar was not helpful).
Fortunately, none of those things happened, and I made my way down the hall to the bathroom. Once in the bathroom, I needed help holding my gown so it didn't fall in the toilet. I needed help getting the toilet paper, as I couldn't reach out far enough. And we all know how long it takes me to pee...lol. Once that was finished, I had to stand up again to go wash my hands. I figured since I was still upright, moving from sitting to standing wouldn't be too difficult. So I just stood right up, and immediately felt the shift of the expanders, along with the intense, burning pain. The whole episode took about 20 minutes...just to go pee!
Anyways, I got some rest that night, and got some food and fluids down me. The hospital dinner they gave me was chicken, green beans, and mashed potatoes, which was all actually VERY yummy!!! So that was a pleasant surprise :-) Getting dressed in the morning was also very humbling; I felt like a giant American Girl doll, but nowhere near as cute! (If I were an American Girl doll, I would totally want to be Samantha. Even though they retired her. Lol).
The ride home wasn't too terrible, but I did notice how terribly rough and bumpy a lot of the roads are! Once I got home and settled, I just watched movies and the first part of the Royals game with my boyfriend (who also took good care of me, bringing me whatever I needed, and would patiently position my little heart pillows under my arms until they were in juuuuust the right spot). I wish I could have watched the entire game (all 14 innings!), but I am glad we won!
Yesterday was still a struggle with pain. Not too bad during the day, but last night it increases again greatly. Again, crying out to God and remembering other survivors got me through those tough moments. I was fortunate to have friends come to visit, which was soooo nice,and my mom washed my hair in the sink (this was painful, but I must admit I did sleep better!). And I did get to watch the Royals win! :-)
Feeling much better today, as I'm not experiencing that intense, excruciating pain as often. I can even feed myself now! Even though I'm never hungry now, which is weird lol. I also took a record 5 laps around the table this morning when I got up to use restroom! 😆 I felt like Eric Hosmer or someone rounding the bases (bases, chairs, same thing!). 😉⚾ I have an appointment later this morning with the plastic surgeon to check my incisions and what not, and if I said I was not terrified of looking at myself for the first time, I'd be lying. I also hope I get my drains taken out. Even though they're not terrible, they are just a (helpful) nuisance! Lol. I know that God will get me through this!!!
Thank you for reading, and I will update soon!!! God bless! 😊💟🎀👆