Thursday, October 27, 2016

Anniversary of my Double Mastectomy

It is CRAZY (but awesome!) to think that yesterday marked one year since my surgery...the day I started cancer treatment. While most things were a blur after my diagnosis, I vividly remember the day of and the day after my surgery. I remember waking up the morning of my surgery, and showering with the antibacterial soap they want you to use before surgery. I remember going downstairs to start my day as I always do (or prefer to do, but some mornings I must admit I am lazy!) and read my Bible and pray. I was nervous, but as I sat in my newly-delivered Healing Chair, the strength and love of God, along with all the cancer patients who have gone before me poured over me, and gave me peace like I've never felt before.

I remember hugging my dad as we were heading off to the hospital, and I can still hear him telling me "I love you more than you'll ever know," after which of course I bawled LOL :-) I remember arriving at the outpatient clinic, because first I had to do the super fun nipple injection for the sentinel node biopsy (which, sadly, was a bust - hah, get the pun??? - because they ended up having to take all of my left axillary lymph nodes). When I came out from that, I got to spend some time with my dear mother, and a dear friend who always knows how to uplift my soul.

After that, it was time to head over to the surgery center. After a short wait, it was surgery prep time! Vitals taken, IV hooked up, doctors visits (I was excited when I found out both of my surgeons were actually in the house, because 3 days prior neither of them were supposedly going to be able to be there), changing into the sexy gown and socks, and saying my final goodbyes to my breasts...and to my tumor (BYE FELICIA!!!!!!).  Soon it was the to head to the operating room. Right before they wheeled me back, they gave me some of my beloved Versed, and I was ready to party in the operating room at that point! Lol.

The next thing I remember was waking up from surgery. I will never forget this, as it was one of those vivid and surreal moments. I temmener waking up, realizing I was alive, and excitedly thanking God. Then quickly, the pain set it. That was VERY unexpected to me, as I figured the intense pain would come once pain meds wore off; I did not expect to wake up in excruciating pain. Once I realized I was in pain, I started to panic: cue heavy breathing. Heavy breathing equated to bigger chest expansion, which quickly proved to provide even more intense pain. I was able to calm down quickly, and I remember tears rolling down the side of my face as the nurse administered more pain medication. I remember thinking how happy I was to be alive, but simultaneously being terrified for the road ahead of me. Shortly after, my mom came back, and once I saw her face I felt peace again, and the rest is a blur.

I don't remember much of that evening, except my family and my best friend and her mom came to visit me (and brought beautiful flowers), which made me smile.

At some point during the night, the second worst part came. My nurse Tessa, who was AWESOME, came to make me get up and go to the bathroom. Lol. I LOL just thinking about it now! I was like ha ha, you're funny! I can't even feed myself (literally, my mom spoon fed me, because you cannot move your arms whatsoever...well, you can, but OUCH!). Unfortunately, she was NOT joking, and what is normally a simple and easy thing to do was the most excruciating task I've ever endured.

The first part was sitting up. OK, so just sit up...not hard, right??? Nah, it's just that when your core contracts to lift you up, it pulls on your sharp pain!!! OK so you've sat swing your legs around and then stand up. More core and pulling. Then shuffle walk to the bathroom, while trying to actually move as little as possible. Finally, I made it to the bathroom. Then, of course, I had to sit down on the toilet. I thought that would be the easy part, but there is a lot going on in the body when you squat down! Lol...anyways, I remember as I was sitting down, I could have sworn my expanders (implants) popped out through my sutures!!! It was the most intense, burning, searing pain I'd ever experienced. At some point then, I had to stand back up...ahhh, the reverse squat, also not too much fun! Then it was hand washing time. I remember feeling so humbled by the fact that I didn't even have the ability to push down on the soap button, because just that motion caused too much pain. I will be forever grateful to my mother, who patiently helped me through all of this!!!

Anyways, it got easier and easier every time. The ride home the next day was NOT fun; every little bump jarred the heck out of me, and there were moments (and many more moments over the next few days) that I thought I HAD to be bleeding from my chest! Lol, but of course it was all fine, thankfully!

My pain was kept under control pretty well after that. The only painful thing was the positional changes, and i found that braceing my chest with a pillow helped tremendously! I am thankful for my parents who helped with the drains!!! And I will never forget all the love people showed me during that time...the love and the prayers were what helped me get through it all ❤

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