Well, I am starting to feel a bit normal, which says a lot considering I still have tubes in my underarms and no feeling in my chest. The surgery was, well, the most painful surgery I have ever experienced - but I should remember I did undergo a double mastectomy with reconstruction at the same time, so, it wasn't going to be the most comfortable surgery I have ever endured. I did stay overnight at the hospital, which, if you have ever stayed the night at the hospital, you will know you get everything BUT SLEEP. They wake you every 4 hours for medication, bathroom breaks, ect. So, I was ready to be home when I came home.
For the most part I am healing pretty quickly. I don't feel as much pain at this point, and I can take a shower (no soap though, UGH). I think a lot of what you experience is mental, but you do feel pain from time to time. I just feel fortunate that I could exercise today for a good 32 minutes. I guess I should start from the beginning. The first day is by far the most painful. I don't remember this, but I was in so much pain I was crying and the anesthesiologist had to do a hard reset on me. After I came to, I was being rolled into the short stay room. After that, the pain was there, but always under control. When I came home, it was hard getting up and down the first day, but thank goodness for TGU because I actually used much of that technique to get up and down. I am 4 days post op and I actually feel pretty decent. I can move my arms, workout lightly, get things unassisted, take a shower, put my own clothes on - you know the basics that you sometimes take for granted when you realize you can't do it on your own.
One thing I will say that makes this difficult - I look different. Not my face - but my chest area. Dr. Gallagher and Dr. Roughton did a FANTASTIC job, I mean, on the plastic surgery end they didn't have a TON to work with, but she made the transition much easier for me. Dr. Gallagher saved my life. She removed all the cancer growths in my breasts and lymph nodes. My left side looks well, not like me. The first time I saw the divet where my lymph nodes were located I was quite shocked. I understand that I will NEVER look the same again, and that is a tough pill to swallow at age 31, but for me, I realized it was either have cancer kill me, or get it out of me. I think anyone would choose the latter. I am really proud of both of my surgeons. I honestly couldn't have asked for a better team to work on me. They saved my life and made me look right at the same time. I understand that things will be different - I have absolutely no sensation on the front of my chest (ZERO). I do get phantom pains sometimes, which was something we expected, but it isn't bad. It just feels weird. Overall, I am happy to be over this first stage of cancer treatment.
Stage 2 is chemotherapy. We are not 100% sure if we will have to undergo chemo, but we do know that I will be taking the medication herceptin. That is about all we know for sure. It really depends on what the pathology exam shows from this past mastectomy (yes they sent ALL the tissue to a pathologist). Once we get an idea of what the pathology results show, we will know how aggressive the treatment for chemotherapy. I was lucky to have caught this in the earliest possible stage. If you are going through something similar, the best advice I can give you is BE PERSISTENT. Some doctors will tell you, you're crazy or it's in your head - well, let me tell ya, it wasn't in my head it was full blown cancer. So listen to your body.
I hope to update you guys a bit more frequently, but I had to recover a bit in order to get my thoughts together. I feel okay now and ready for physical therapy to actually start for me, but I have to wait till the tubes are out (less than a week).
Much love and thanks for reading. .