Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Its been a week since my surgery

Its been a week since my mastectomy with immediate reconstruction and things are going really well.  First, the surgery was successful and I am at home recovering.  This surgery was WAY bigger of a deal than the hysterectomy and I have even joked that I am not calling the hysterectomy a surgery anymore because this was a surgery! But, I can tell each day that I am getting better. There has been some pain and a lot of discomfort with this one.  But, I am encouraged with each passing day.  I also went to my post op surgeon appointment yesterday and she thought I was doing great.  And, the pathology report came back and all test results were negative for any abnormal cells so I have previved breast cancer!!!!

To give those of you who are interested a more detailed information about the surgery, here it is: My surgery was scheduled for 11 AM on Thursday May 5th.  I had to be at the one day surgery building at CMC at 9 AM.  Nathan was in Texas working and he was set to land in Charlotte at 8 AM.  I took the girls to school on Thursday and I really felt that both girls had less anxiety about this surgery than the last one.  I guess they are getting used to Mom having surgery.  My Mom also came with me for the surgery and she ended up having to pick Nathan up at the airport while I drove myself to the hospital, because I did not want to be late.  It was a good thing, because the hospital called me at 8:30 and said that the surgeries for that morning were moving along and they were ready for me.  When I got there, they immediately took blood work and checked me in.  Within another 15 minutes I was back in pre op.  All of the nurses and other who took care of me were very nice.  My anesthesiologist friend, Richard, was also there that morning and came in to see me before surgery.  It was a good thing because my veins were not cooperating with the IV (the nurse had tried 3 times!) so he with his mastered skills had to put my IV in.  After all of the prep and a prayer with Nathan, I was being wheeled back to the OR.  I do remember coming into the OR. It looked very similar with many people buzzing around and bright lights and big machines.  Within a few moments, I was asleep.  When I woke up, I was in recovery and I felt like I had been asleep for about 5 minutes.  I could see a clock in recovery and it said 5:22.  The room was spinning around and I remember saying, "excuse me mam, but the room is spinning."  She said no problem.  Then, I was out again. The next time I woke up about 30 minutes later, the room was no longer spinning and they were bringing Nathan and my Dad back to see me. I was very groggy and I could tell it was a much slower coming out from under the anesthesia than last time. I called both my girls, who were with Mom and had a brief, but positive conversation with them.  My Dad stayed for a bit, but he soon left and Nathan stayed with me for the rest of the night.  I do not remember much about that night except they gave me a morphine pump to use and I slept a lot.  The nurse also came in every few hours to "millk" my drains.  During the night I did use the morphine pump a few times, but it would put me to sleep immediately.  When I woke in the morning, Nathan went home to shower and change and my Mom came to help me at the hospital.  I knew that I wanted to go home that day, if possible, and to do that, I would have to get up out of my bed.  Both of my surgeons came by to check on me and said that I looked good and that if I wanted to go home, I would need to use the bathroom and manage my pain.  So, I was determined that I was going to get home.  The nurse gave me some oral pain meds, which took much longer to kick in than the morphine pump, about an hour.  When I went to sit up, I was very overwhelmed by the sharp pains that I experienced in several areas around both breasts and under my arms.  It was excruciating, to say the least and I had never experienced any pain like that before.  I looked at my Mom and said I did not think I could get out of the bed and she said, "Oh yes you are!" which helped me get my determination to do just that.  It was very slow with many winces and cries out in pain, but I did make it to the bathroom and I was able to go with ease (thank the Lord!). Then, my Mom helped me sponge off and after the pain meds started to kick in I could get a little more comfortable, if I did not move! I was able to go home after lunch that day and Mom took me home.  Nathan brought the girls home from school to see me and we had a short nice visit.  It was so good to see them.  Both girls were going to go to a different friend's house to spend the night so they packed their bags and I dosed on the couch.  I was so thankful for my friends who allowed the girls to come over for a fun, safe night.  I really felt good knowing that they were being so well taken care of.  My parents and Nathan took care of me that night and evening and it went okay.  Still sharp pains every time I moved, but the pain medicine helped me sleep.  I was able to sleep on my back, but definitely not my side.  The drains had to be "milked" and calculated every 4 hours or so.  Mom helped me with this since it was just too much for Nathan.  That was okay though, he was a trooper.  Since it was Mother's Day weekend, Nathan took the girls the next day to see his mother for the rest of the weekend, which was so nice because I was able to just let my Mom take care of me and the girls did not have to see me in so much pain.  By Sunday, I took the anti-nausea patch off that they gave me in the hospital and the next pain pill I took, made me sick to my stomach, so I was not having that and decided to switch to Advil.  I really felt that Advil helped alleviate the pain, just as well as the heavy narcotic except it did not make me sleepy.  Mom suggested I take a benadryl at night to sleep, which I did and that helped me sleep some.  Over the next few days, those sharp pains subsided and really I would describe how I feel as uncomfortable and tight, not really in pain.  I have been doing all of the arm exercises they asked me to like lifting my arms over my head and stretching them, as well as, the breathing exercises to ensure I would not get pneumonia.  I also walk 3 times per day, first around the house, then Mom's pool and I am now up to walking about 10-15 minutes around the block.  I still feel tired and I take one nap per day, but overall, I feel good about my progress.  The meals and visits from friends that I have received have been amazing and have taken the stress off of me to make sure that my family and "helpers" ie Mom and Dad, are being fed too! The next things I am going to focus on now is not having any complications like infection at the incision or hurting my expanders in any way. So, I am still in process and will continue recovering at home.  Thanks to everyone who has helped me in this journey!


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