I'm 43 today and cancer-free! Life is good. Before I forget I want to chronicle the past 10 days.
Jan. 7, 2011:
4 am Papa J woke me up in time to brush my teeth, take my pills, and dress myself. He dropped mom and me off at St. John's at 5am where we arrived at surgery admitting/registration. It was standing room only and took forever. Afterward we were ushered into the pre-op area. Mom got to come with me because she's part of the medical community. I undressed and slipped into a thick gown, which had a heating hose attached to it pumping hot air through it, and kept me very warm. I was suited with an IV in my arm by the cutest, young male nurse from Louisianna. Dr. Parker came to visit and wish me a speedy recovery. I was weighed and had dropped 14 lbs. in the month of December. I gained 23 during chemo. I was met at the entrance of the O.R. by the aneasthesiologist (sp) who shot something into my IV to make me calm. That's the last thing I remember. Then I was waking up at 10:50pm in the recovery room.
Jan. 8, 2011:
I was alert in recovery room although I was aware of the moving walls the entire time I was there. I spoke to my surgeons, my mom, and Erich. Erich then went to wait in my room for me. It was Friday night in the O.R. at midnight and it took awhile for the 1 attendant in the hospital to come push my bed into my hospital room. It was after 1am when I arrived according to Erich. I was situated and Erich went back to my parents house and I went to sleep. I was up by 8am that same day. I had excellent nurses who came to me hourly to check my vitals (blood pressure, which was extremely low post surgery, temp, pulse, and then to listen to my heartbeat through my new breasts). The rest of the day I was alert and happy to receive family. By Sat. night I was itching all over my body, we think from the Dalotid (narcotic) I was receiving through my IV. I asked for Benydryl and slipped into a sleep that lasted 2 days.
Jan. 11, 2011:
I began to wake up Tues. And I woke with a headache. I was finally given a Cymbalta with water and I threw it up. I had been without food and water since Thursday. I finally had the OK to eat and drink. I loved water, but didn't want to eat. Popsicles were the best. Tuesday the physical therapist came to get me walking. That was the first time I felt pain. Walking felt like I was tearing apart. I began to force myself to eat what ever protein was on my food plate.
Jan. 12, 2011
Wednesday I got up to walk the hallways again. Dr. Grunwald came in to check on me and decided it was time for me to be released. Erich brought the boys to the hospital for the first time. Fred was immediately frightened by how I looked. He didn't want to come very close to me. Erich drove me to my mom's house and she drove the kids. I settled into mom's house and Erich took the kids home. I spent the next 2 days at my parents' home getting stronger and more energy.
On Friday I asked Stacey to pull Fred from school and meet my mom to bring him up to her house. He had been having a tough time without me, so I thought he should be with me. We spent the afternoon together and he seemed to be extremely happy to see me alive and better. Erich came to get me that evening and Fred stayed the night with his Nana. Friday night I slept through the night for the first time in a week! I was happy to be home. The only issue I had at this point was that I hadn't moved my bwels in over a week. Sat. morning, with the help of my ever-loving husband and a suppository, I finally pooped. Ah, yet another way cancer has brought Erich and I closer.
So, this brings us to Sunday, my birthday. Dr. Chung tells me I am cancer free. My tumor was found to be 6cm large. It turned out that I had one sentinal (main) lymph node infected with cancer and one small node next to it that was also infected with cancer. She removed a total of 18 lymph nodes, which included the 2 infected. So, they removed the tumor and had clean margins all around it as well as the lymph nodes. All other pathologies on several more lymph nodes in the left breast and tissue in the right breast showed no cancer. She tells me I am cancer free! I gotta say I'm breathing a sigh of relief.
And on the lghter side: My new body rocks! I love my new boobs. Dr. G was able to make me a FULL "c" cup. They are firm and sitting high and small and perky. My tummy, although still very swollen, is so flat. I can see my feet now when I stand up and look down. Dr. G told me that Dr. Chung found 2 very large, strong arteries in my breasts for her and that she was able to excavate 2 fabulous arteries to transplant from my abdominal muscle. Dr. G found a mountain of scar tissue from my c-section in 2004 and took a great deal of time to clean that mess up, which included using mesh to pull together my abdominal muscles that were severed in the c-section. She is very pleased with her work, which lasted a total of 14 hours. My new belly button is almost completely healed now. I sufferred from several blisters from the adhesive tape, but those are healing and ready to flake off. I see Dr. G on Tuesday so she can remove the 5 tubes and drains that are coming out of my boobs and abs. I am still laying down, but healing every day. Happy birthday to me.