May 18, 2017

That’s it….they’re gone, along with the cancer.

Surgery was two days ago and all went well.  There was no sign of disease in  lymph nodes and pain is minimal.

When I say minimal, I really mean ZERO.  It amazes me that they removed a part of my body…well, two parts, really….and I didn’t even need a Tylenol.  Nurses came in and asked about pain level on a scale of one to ten and I was hard pressed to express any at all.  They tell me that’s fairly normal, unless I move my arms too much.  Then all bets are off.

I took one pill because I thought I was supposed to.

I guess I won’t be using the oxycodone they set me up with.

At a pre-op doctor visit I was given orders to wear no make-up, lotion, deodorant or nail polish and no wig on surgery day.  Have you seen the movie, “Hook?”  Remember the scene where Captain Hook is begging Peter Pan to give his wig back, sparing his dignity?

Yeah.  I know the feeling.

If you missed it, you can check it out here.

Also in the instructions  were suggested exercises designed to strengthen me so I could get out of bed without using my arms.  How the average person, who maybe hasn’t exercised in a while, is supposed to do this in a two week window boggles my mind, but there you go.

A solid core and dynamic “get-your-butt-off-the-floor-without-arms” exercises served me extremely well in this case.  And people thought I was just goofing around all this time!

Did I tell you how much I love anesthesia?

Every other time I’ve had to be put under it was always after I transferred myself from the gurney to the operating table.

Then they’d have me count backwards till I was out.

Next thing I knew, I’d be looking through half opened eyelids at someone trying to rouse me.

This time I don’t have the faintest recollection of performing the table transfer on my own, counting anything or of anyone waking me up.  Weird.

There’s a vague memory of being wheeled into the OR and BAM! Lights out.

I was watching the ceiling pass as someone pushed my rolling table down a hall to my room. Hubby was waiting there with food, which I was too loopy to eat.  Just wanted to sleep.

Full consciousnesses, or what seemed like it at the time, returned slowly.

My surgeon arranges for his mastectomy patients to have private rooms on the hospital maternity floor, which was very life-affirming, with babies making baby noises and new moms around.  Both of my sons were born right here all those years ago.

Hubby got to spend the night with me, but had to sleep in a rather uncomfortable chair that protested loudly whenever he moved.

I know those sounds were the chair and not passed gas reverberating off of its vinyl upholstery, but between that and the nurses coming in to take vitals throughout the night, neither of us got much sleep.

That’s OK…we’ll be discharged sometime in the morning.

To make bathroom trips, I was ordered to call a nurse.  “That’s crazy,” I thought.  “It’s only about 20 steps away.”

Swinging my legs over the bedside and stepping onto the floor,  I was so wobbly I’d have fallen over without her help.

WTF?  Was it the anesthesia?

Granted, I had been in a bed for a few hours, but seriously?  I shuffled unsteadily, my gait resembling that of a 120 year old geriatric patient.

Eating a little crow, here!

Under my hospital gown, I saw myself dressed in the most beautiful, dainty, feminine bra.  NOT!!!!

This thing was big enough to fit two of me and was stuffed full of surgical pads that I was not to remove until the doctor saw me in a week.  It covered me from my collarbones half way to my navel and had to be worn 24-7.

What’s left under there?  I’m almost afraid to look.

From incisions under each arm, clear plastic tubes emerged uncomfortably, leading to bulb-shaped plastic receptacles hanging at about waist level.  They drain fluids and have to be emptied and cleaned at different times each day, their contents measured, color-checked and recorded.  If it looks good, They may be removed at my first check up.  Fingers crossed!

We waited for one last visitor before I could be released.

She came mid-morning to check on me and gave me some pillows to put under my arms, cushioning the surgical area.  One was a heart, the other was pink and cylindrical, filled with micro beads. Both were sewn by generous, caring people just for breast cancer patients.

She also presented me with a pamphlet containing physical therapy exercises.  They looked simple enough, but for the next week, I’m to keep my arms below shoulder level.  No lifting anything heavier than a water bottle.  No showers.  Only sponge baths.

OK…if you say so….

That walk to the bathroom taught me a thing or two.


  1. I agree with Nor. You have the strength of an army, all in one compact body. Your mindset is amazing. I hope many people see this. You are doing women a great service. Love you much!

  2. You are one tough lady and a fantastic writer! You should publish this so more people could read it. It’s amazing that you can take a heart wrenching situation and inject humor! You go girl! Love you and love reading about your journey!

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