Waking up from surgery is an odd experience. My body is fighting off sleep and yet trying to stay snoozing at the same time. This leaves my mind in a dream-like state that is heavy with fog. I don’t move much, other than my eyes to determine my surroundings. I feel the cuff inflate to take my blood pressure and I hear the continued beeping from the machine at the top of my head. There is a nurse to my right. She sees me wake slightly and walks over to introduce herself; her smile is warm and her eyes are kind.
I ask her how the surgery went, in my mumbled words. She says it went well and that my husband can give me the details once I move to the final recovery room. I feel the wet warmth on my cheeks before I realized I had started crying. The tears fall quickly and I can’t quite seem to find my hands, so the nurse wipes them from my face. I mumble out an apology but she quiets me and tells me there is no need to be sorry. She tells me it’s all ok and my husband will be here soon. My eyes get heavy and I drift back to sleep.
I didn’t expect to cry when I awoke from surgery. The reality and relief of the day was more than I could keep inside. Surgery is over and this horrible disease has left my body.
The surgery went well; both my breast care surgeon and plastic surgeon were pleased with it. I will know the details of pathology on Monday but for now I will rest with the thought that I am cancer free.
I went home after surgery as planned. Joe has been taking excellent care of me and I’m still not sure how I ever become so lucky to call him my husband. Jacob slept at Grandma & Grandpa’s again last night but came to visit us in the afternoon yesterday. He was his typical energetic self but still found a moment to stop and give his momma some kisses.
I feel pretty good. I’m sore, tight and in a little pain but not nearly as bad as I had anticipated. The pain medicine helps and for that I am grateful. They also make me quite tired, as I’m sure the anesthesia leaving my body also does, so I spend most of the day sleeping. A summary of how I feel:
- My left arm is still numb at the top, so there is no pain around where my lymph nodes were. I haven’t been pain-free in this area for months.
- My chest feels a bit tight and I have to remind myself to take deep breaths. This is painful but it is encouraged so I keep breathing properly. The chest pain is interesting because it’s muscle pain. The expanders were placed under the muscles in my chest to allow the skin to stretch and for radiation to occur. This is not a pain I have felt before so it isn’t something I could anticipate.
- My entire body is actually quite sore. My elbows hurt terribly Tuesday night into Wednesday morning and my back is still sore. It’s getting better each day though. I’m sure laying on a surgery bed for 4+ hours would give anyone back pain!
- I can’t lift my arms very far and lifting anything over a few pounds is impossible but I can already see improvement since just yesterday!
- The drains are a little bulkier than I anticipated. I have 2 on my left side and 1 on my right side as planned. I expected them to be a little more snug to my body than they actually are. It’s easy to tell something is hanging around under my shirt and I have a fear of pulling on one accidentally.
- Getting up and down is challenging. It’s amazing how much our muscles intertwine throughout our body. It takes a few minutes for me to get up but I attribute a lot of that to be stiff from sitting for too long.
- I’m spending my days – and nights – in the recliner, which I am incredibly grateful for. It is powered so it moves up and down easily and I can adjust to different positions. Combined with a ton of pillows and I am relatively comfortable.
- Both of my expanders were filled with 150 cc, which is great news to start. Because of where my cancer was, it wasn’t certain that there would be enough tissue to fill my left expander initially.
All things considered, I feel pretty good. I already feel better than I did just yesterday so I’m excited for the relief I will feel tomorrow and the next day.
The prayers, love and support that we have received this week has been incredible. We are surrounded by love and are so grateful for the incredible support system that we are blessed with having. Thank you all for your kindness!