We saw the plastic surgeon today, and the nurse removed two of my drains. One on each side. They confirmed what we already knew, the wounds looks good, are healing nicely and I agreed to come back next week to hopefully have the other two taken out. The space where the drains were is just an open hole now, which may seep – totally normal – and I should continue to shower and keep it all clean. It will seal up on its own. I opted to stay in bandages over moving to the bra. The Dr. thinks that constant pressure will help force the extra fluid out of me.
Dr. K – the plastic surgeon – said the swelling under my arms on the sides of my body is very normal. I have very irritated insides with all the pulling and tugging they did and so fluid is surrounding those areas as my body’s own defense. My under arms are numb, which he said was due to all the severed nerves in the lymph node removal process. I have some raw spots on the backs of my arms from the ace bandages rubbing on me. Some of the discomfort is internal and from them monkeying around inside my body to get the devil out.
I asked how the pain meds work, if I need to keep up a schedule or just go on as needed. The nurse said as needed, and if I wanted to drop the norco (gives me funky dreams) I could just use tylenol with the valium. I’ll start that today and see how I fair.
I asked about the broken breast bone feeling I have in the middle of my chest. I’ve probably said this in earlier posts, but they detached my pectoral muscles to make room for the expanders to be inserted, and they pulled them away from the center, which is why my discomfort is focused right in the middle.
I asked if I can walk outside yet or leave the house and they said no. Not until the drains are out. They’d prefer I don’t sweat much and if I do to take another shower to keep everything clean. Since coming home I’ve had someone assist me in the shower. I was nervous at first – about my wounds hurting – but now I find the experience very endearing. Moms helping me like I was there own child, gently and gingerly making sure I’m completely clean and completely dry. There’s no modesty left for me. I’m so grateful for my ladies of the night who take such care in my well being. And cry right along with me when I can’t bare to look, and reassure me how amazing it looks. I love you guys.
The plastics team put a can of coke worth of fluid in each side of my expanders. After my stitches have healed, in about 3 more weeks, they will slowly fill each side with 50 cc of saline – that’s roughly a shot glass full. Ultimately the fluid will double its present volume – which is 350 cc. It looks like I will be about a C cup. But the breast mounds are much higher on my body and very firm, compared to those bitches that were trying to kill me. For someone who’s had huge boobs (DD+) since highschool, my cute little cleavage is sort of sweet. Sorry if this offends anyone, but seriously this is all about boobs, and here it is – completely free of stretch marks for now and forever.
Dr. M just called about the one tumor she had resampled – to get a second opinion. It was the main little bugger that I original found and started this whole shabang – she didn’t like how prominent it still was after chemo. But the pathology came back clean again – all dead tumor. There is no live tumor anywhere in me and because my lymphnodes in my arm pit were clear she said my prognosis is excellent. Only 20% of HER+ patients respond they way I did. She called me a miracle.
I wanted to know when the radiation conversation happens and when I can expect to start that circus. She’s going to have the radiologist call me and talk through what the options are. I still have a long way to go with the plastics folks before they are finished with me – 3 weeks of healing – and then nearly 7 weeks of these slow little fluid fills. And depending on the radiation I’ll still have a surgery in the fall to put in actual implants and perfect any little skin bits I don’t like from the surgery to feel “normal” or at least look less like I had my boobs removed. I’m hoping some of it can overlap – the filling and the radiation – so that I can salvage some part of my summer to see my auntie in Michigan and play with my cousins at the end of the summer before school starts up again.
This is the torture device I have to suck into everyday to expand my lungs. Hurts like hell but if I don’t do it my friends-turned-nurses are all over my shit. You suck in to raise the bar and hold it as long as you can bear. It blows.