two week post-op recap {my bra story}

Hey night owls! It is 11:30 pm here. I wish you could come over and have a snack with me and I could just tell you all of what I am about to type. One thing about me, I really like to talk. I will talk anyone's ear off who is kind enough to listen. I have had several sweet friends come by to chat, check in on me, and even fold my laundry mountain. And when they are here I literally talk non stop from when they step in the door until they leave. Maybe it is because I have a lot to say, not necessarily valuable things to say... but things nonetheless. But It is probably because I am spending the bulk of my days alone right now. Two weeks and 4 days ago we took the kidlets down to Texas to spend some time with their grandparents while Cameron and I talked my double mastectomy. I have written previous posts about why I needed this procedure and how everything has been going up until this point. You can find all the posts related to this topic in the tab "BRCA1- MY STORY" under my photo on the right. 

It's been pretty tough not having them around, I would say that maybe that has been the hardest part in this whole process. Not that I don't ever want to let them love on their grandmas for a couple days, but come on, three weeks is a little much. It has been SO quiet in the house. And Cameron and I had to admit to ourselves last night that without our kids, we are pretty boring. 

But, a big but, I needed them gone. To rest and to fully heal, physically and emotionally. I would not have been able to provide for them even their most basic needs the last two weeks. So we sent them to some people who love them to the moon and trust me, they weren't suffering. 

 

I have had a lot of recent questions about my progress, so I thought I would share some details. 

WARNING: THE EST OF THIS POST CONTAINS GRAPHIC INFORMATION ABOUT MY SURGERY AND RECOVERY. IF YOU ARE SQUEAMISH, OR MALE, OR BOTH YOU MAY CONSIDER EXITING NOW. 

 

Okay, sorry for that unexpected public service announcement. I would just hate for someone to be reading along and suddenly be very uncomfortable. lol. 

So, we left off last Monday before my post-op appointment and I left you all on pins and needles wondering if I would get my drains out. Well, to my surprise, I did! I hardly drained at all after three days, so I was pretty sure we had botched the whole operation. But my doctor said that due to my age and health, I just don't have much extra drainage and they were fully expecting this kind of healing. 

Getting the drains out was super strange. Keep in mind that I don't have much feeling. In fact I am still almost completely numb today. The nurse told me to take a deep breath in and hold it. Then while I was holding my breath she would pull out the tube. And when she had the tube out she would tell me so I could let my breath out. It felt like... well like someone was pulling a tube out of me. Which was really strange because that isn't a normal sensation. My left side is a little less numb, so that one hurt a little, but just at the surface, skin level. 

The minute the tubes were out I felt like a new woman! It was quite freeing. 

Successes from last week was still slow going, but I decided to start trying to put some clothes in the wash, which I was able to do. I could also put dishes away and load the dishwasher. I can pull normal shirts over my head now, as opposed to zip-up hoodies or button-upshirts. I can open the house and car doors. I am completely off of pain medication, Demerol and Advil. I am sleeping through the night, in my own bed laying on my back with two pillows! 

But some things are still difficult like twisting off the lids of jars, laying on anything but my back, and stretching a sports bra on over my head, and eating an entire pan of brownies. Notice I said difficult, not impossible. 

 

I did get some great news from my surgeon, the pathology from my breasts that was sent into the lab at time of surgery to biopsy for any latent, sneaky cancers can back clear! Praise Jesus, we beat it! That was the whole point of this so I am super happy! My friend told me that we have a name, people like me, we are called PRE-vivors. Because we survived the cancer before we got it. I like that. 

 

I am really doing very well, much better than I ever expected to be at this point. I truly believe that God has honored the prayers of all of my friends and family. So much scripture was prayed over me. It is stunningly remarkable, God's lovingkindness in both the big and small things in life. 

 

Today I had another couple appointments, one to check in with my beast surgeon to see how I am healing, and she said everything looks great! Then I met with the plastic surgeon for my first fill. Remember, I have tissue expanders in my chest right now. I describe them like deflated basketballs. They have a port in them, just like the air port on a basketball. The doctor uses a magnet to find the port so she knows where to place the needle. Then she places a needle and fills the expanders with saline, about 50-100ccs at a time. 

So this afternoon my friend took me to my appointment because something came up at work with Cameron. I was excited to have her along because she is a PA student, so I felt like she would be interested and not at all weirded out, and she is super sweet and just a lovely, kind person to have around! 

So the doc filled me up a little bit, I got 50ccs today, and she said I could expect to have a dull muscle ache for about 48 hours. And I do. I am actually pretty sore again and I'm not sure I will be able to lay down in bed tonight, it might be back to the faithful electric recliner. Right now my back is what aches the most. The muscles in my chest which are being stretched over the expanders are pulling my shoulders forward and I am trying hard to fight back so that I'm not a hunchback when this is all said and done. But I think that is contributing to the pain. I also was very active today compared to all the sitting, reading, and computer tinkering I have been doing. Today I went to Target, to my appointment, did a little shopping in Wichita with my friend, and helped Cameron stain the bunk beds he made for the boys. It's nice to be able to do some things again, but my energy level is super low.

 

Today after my appointment, the Dude and I had plans to leave straight and go to Dallas to see the kids and spend the Father's Day weekend with our dads, but because of the issue at work, we have to wait until the morning. I'm a little disappointed, but I am just so happy that we will get to see those sweet faces and hug them TOMORROW!! I know that I can now take care of at least their basic needs, and they will be greeted back home with a pile of outdoor toys to keep them happy at home for a few more days. 

 

I am working on a FAQ post concerning everything that's been going on lately concerning BRCA. If you have a question, leave it in the comments and I will try to answer it! 


Thanks for coming along and loving me through this process. I am thanking God for YOU!!


~Elizabeth