OK. I’m back. Here is a short and sweet history of my week:
Tuesday: 7am, pre-op stuff. No food or water or even gum. Shots in both breasts for dye to mark my sentinal nodes for biopsy. The Surgery. Post-Op: extremely groggy. Nauseous, not really good. Got up in middle of the night three times to use restroom, vomited copious amounts each time. Discovered my lymph nodes are clean – YAY!
Wednesday: Want to go home. Now. Badly. Had to wait until 5pm. Forced two bites of croissant and kept it down. Walked to the bathroom with the IV stand in one hand and my drain pack in the other. (For more on draining, check it out: http://breastcancer.about.com/od/reconstructivesurgery/p/surg_drains.htm). Dr. Bourne let me go grudgingly. Hubby looked doubtful. He tried to feed me salmon and chocolate cake. 48 hours since I ate something. Wouldn’t have the salmon, too dry. 🙂 Lots of kisses from kids and mom and sister who just arrived from California! Went straight to bed with three vials of meds on the nightstand.
Thursday: Happy to wake up in my bed. Have to empty and measure drains regularly. Pin them to clothes. Be careful not to tug at them. Looked at the work. Almost fainted. Two tubes coming out of my ribs. Tightly bandaged chest. Needed to re-bandage, too tight! My sister JoAnne washes my hair in the kitchen sink. Aaaaahhhhh! Feels so much better. By Thursday evening, feeling more like myself. Walked around, wrote a paper. Started bleeding and went to the doctor. He applies pressure, changes bandages and says I might be able to remove the drains next week! “If you start bleeding like that again, just apply pressure.” I can also take a shower tomorrow! JoAnne picks girls up from summer school. We eat dinner and I crash. (By the way, my chest does not look like this picture. Dr. Shaun Parson did an outstanding job – the drains are on the sides of my body and much of my breast tissue was conserved).
Friday: Wrote two papers first thing in the morning, while drinking coffee. Heaven! Kisses to the girls. Received a steady flow of cakes, flowers, gift cards, get well cards, phone calls and emails. Where is my cell phone? Haven’t seen it since checking in at the hospital….My sister insists on taking pictures, as if I want to remember looking like this. Brother from California arrives with wife and daughter. Josie, Ava and Jae swim in the Hyatt Place swimming pool while Willey and I buy me a new cell phone. We all go out to eat at Hodori for lunch.
Saturday: Take Ava to dentist. She gets sealants. “She’ll need braces,” the dentist informs us. Great. Go home and watch “Samsoon,” an old Korean TV series my friend Grace sent to me by mail. Sister, mom and I are hooked! Sister leaves Saturday night. Brother comes to drive her to airport. It’s all too short, this family time. I decide to forego Vicodin and just take Ibuprofin instead.
Sunday: Happy Father’s Day! I wake up with my chest on fire. It feels like two people took a knife to it. Wait a minute…..they did! Willey takes the girls out while I work on three assignments for The Principalship class. This is the last week of my first summer session and I have many things due. Hoping I can take the drains out tomorrow, they are seriously cramping my style. I looped them on a necklace and feel like a cheap Flavor Fav imitator.
Tomorrow, I see my plastic surgeon and I hope I can get at least one drain removed. It’s disgusting, this plastic vial of blood and waste collects and you can’t get away from it. Every once in awhile, I feel a sharp jab at my ribs and it’s the tube, jutting out. It’s difficult to disguise. Tuesday morning, I see my oncologist surgeon who will review the results of pathology report. At that time, I will have a better idea of next steps: radiation, chemo, hormone therapy….not sure yet. I go back to my class Tuesday night.
I’m doing well. Of course, I have moments of anger. Why do I have to go through this? Why can’t I go to Hawaii this summer? Or Canada, Alaska, Austin, TX….anywhere but here, doing this.
But I can’t think that way.
Pity parties do no good. Plenty of very good people are going through much worse. I have to overcome this and overcome it well. My daughters are watching.