We did it! With the love and support of my husband, friends, family, and blog readers (not to mention my skillful surgeons) I made it through surgery successfully! Yay! (knock on wood )
The day of the surgery itself is a total blur to me. I remember the prep. I remember the chats with my surgeons Dr. Bernik and Dr. Friedman and the anesthesiologist before I went into the OR. I remember the doctors sticking up for me and my right to have my iPod during the procedure right before I went under (despite some resistance from the nursing staff). I remember waking up and feeling like total crap. I remember throwing up multiple times. I remember the pain when they transferred me from the OR stretcher to my bed. I remember the persistent nausea that clung to me for hours upon hours – preventing me from talking or even opening my eyes. I remember asking the nurse when I woke up at 3am when the nausea would end and her telling me I had to sleep it off. I remember the beauty of the sky outside my hospital window as the sun rose up into the sky and shone its light onto the magnificent architecture of the buildings across from me and I realized I wasn’t nauseous any more. (Hubby later told me he made sure to grab the bed closest to the window knowing I would want to see the Manhattan skyline when I finally came to. Thank you my love!)
Most of everything else about the day of the surgery is a blur. I was told the surgery itself took about 2 1/2 – 3 hours. The sentinel lymph node biopsy they did led them to remove just one lymph node that tested negative for cancer and reaffirmed the scan findings that showed no more cancer in my lymph nodes. So thankfully we did not have to remove a ton of lymph nodes for testing which means my chances of getting lymphodema down the road are pretty slim.
Now they are sending my breast tissue to the lab for testing. It’s important to find out the make-up of the tumors (especially the new one that appeared since my last set of scans) so we can properly target any future treatments. Of the three tumors that were in my left breast, each could require a different targeted therapy. I will find out the pathology results at my post-op meeting with Dr. Bernik on Wednesday.
I will also be meeting with my plastic surgeon Dr. Friedman at some point this week. I saw him the morning after the surgery and he told me that he was very pleased with how everything went and that he was able to put a sizable amount (120 cc’s) of fluid into the tissue expander already. Then for the next 3-6 months I will be required to travel back to NYC every 2 weeks or so to visit Dr. Friedman while we stretch the skin to the desired size for my new implant. Which will require yet another (albeit less intense) surgery down the road.
Today I’m just happy that I am feeling better and the pain is lessening. Today is the first day I’m going without pain meds since the surgery. It’s only 12:30pm – but so far so good. And all in all, the pain really hasn’t been as horrible as I thought it would be. I think having a c-section was way worse!
I still haven’t looked at my chest (or what’s left of it). Not quite ready for that yet. I’ve been crying a lot the last few days. Just frustrated with this never ending cancer journey and so wanting to be done with it already but realizing it will never truly be over.
On a positive note, Hubby and I are enjoying the time together. The surgery has only helped us grow closer and more secure in our love for one another. Which is great. But we both miss our darling Miss M like crazy. I don’t know how I’m gonna wait another 5 whole days to see her, kiss her, smell her, hold her. But we are just so thankful that during this time she is surrounded by the love of some of her favorite people and we know that she is being well taken care of. We get videos and pictures with mini updates on what she’s doing all day long. It puts a smile on our faces and takes a lot of the worry from our hearts.
Again, I want to thank everyone for your healing prayers and encouragement. The day after my surgery I awoke to over 40 different emails, texts, and facebook messages from people all over the world wishing me well. It made me feel so loved and supported amidst the hell and pain of life immediately after my surgery. Thank you. Really. Thank you.
Big hugs to everyone. And much gratitude for everything that you do for me and my family.