Thursday, August 22, 2013

Post Surgery Update

Thank you to everyone who prayed me through! I had a very successful surgery, there was no sign of the tumor, and no trace of cancer in the lymph nodes. I AM CANCER FREE!!!  It's officially official!

I am recovering quickly. Yesterday afternoon, I was a hurtin' unit after they wheeled me over from recovery into my hospital room. My pain shot up to an 8 or 9 on the pain scale, and it got a bit out of control on me. So thank you to those who visited yesterday, and I apologize for not being at my best.

Matt & I slept deeply but in short bursts through the night. I swear I got up to pee about 6 times. Matt slept on a nifty little single hide-a-bed in my room. He and the overnight nurse had to help me each time I got up. I had to retrain my urinary tract to do its thing after having a catheter during surgery. Oh, and here's a little tidbit from the "bet you didn't know this" file: Before surgery, they injected a radioactive dye into my breast to help the surgeon locate and extract the sentinel lymph node for biopsy. It turned my urine blue! Tidy Bowl blue. Well, it lightened up to a scope green, and then a pale spring green over the course of about 12 hours.

I came out of surgery with a thick Ace bandage wrapped around my chest, with 4 drains coming out of my sides. I think the bandage comes off tomorrow (2 days post- surgery). I hope so! It is really itchy. Two of the drains will be removed when the plastic surgeon comes to check on me in the morning. I will go home with two still attached, and have those removed next week at a follow-up appointment.  The drains look something like this:

This is not my tummy. I'm not showing you that.

They pull the excess fluid out of the surgical incisions using suction. I explained it to Maia this way, "It's kind of like when you want to fill a rubber ducky with water in the bathtub, so you squeeze all the air out of it, then put it underwater to fill it up." I think they should make them out of rubber duckies to give your surgery a more whimsical feel. What do you think? I should patent it!

I was given a pain pump to administer my own narcotic drip through my IV yesterday and overnight. It helped an awful lot, but by about noon today, I didn't need it anymore. I am currently on 3 oral medications:  a muscle relaxant because the pectoral muscles can spasm from being stretched, an nsaid, and a narcotic, all of which will go home with me tomorrow. I am staying ahead of the pain so far, which is very important.

I cannot believe how fast I am recovering. We'll see how I feel in the morning, but I went from slowly shuffling on shaky knees down the hall, attached to an IV pole and an escort on either side of me last night, to today where I was unhooked from the IV, fully dressed and walking easily on my own down to the small cafe they have on this floor to eat all 3 meals. This evening I am comfortably sitting up, fully dressed in my own cozy jammies, wearing my hair and generally feeling 100 times better than I did 12 hours ago.

Here's me this afternoon:

Of course, you can't see the bandages or the drains, the bald head or the nasty fingernails in this picture, but they're not what I'm all about.

Yesterday morning, as I was checking into the surgery center bright and early, the nurse doing my initial paperwork looked at me quizzically and said, "Are you the blogger? Were you the one with the news crew last time you came in here?" I said I was surprised she recognized me because my hair was so much different the last time I was there (to get my portacath inserted in April). She was not my nurse last time, but she said she recognized my smile and my laugh.

I can live with that. I pray that deep and abiding joy will always be something that defines me.


  1. Looking good!! :-) You'll be chillin' in the fourth grade room in no time. Glad to hear all went well. Prayers continue for a speedy, uncomplicated recovery!!