Prophylactic mastectomy: how I feel 5 days after the surgery and how everything went

Hey there! I’m alive, I’m safe and sound… I’ll start from saying that I’m very thankful for each and every one of you who supports me so much! It’s very good to have that. Today I want to answer a question how are you feeling so even though I won’t talk about every single thing it’ll still be long so grab a cup of coffee / tea / orange juice and enjoy!

 

Wednesday & Thursday

On the surgery day Alicia stayed with her grandmother and our babysitter came at 4.30 am to stay with April so that me and Nathan had enough time to get to the hospital. Streets were pretty much completely empty and it’s easy to know why – most people were sleeping at that time. They called me around half an hour after I got to the place and first I had to go by myself and then they called Nathan. They told me to put their hospital gown on, took off all my earrings and stuff like that. My breast specialist was the first one who came to me, she asked me how I was feeling and stuff like that and she hugged me while leaving the room which was really cool. Then two nurses came, one of them asked me a lot of questions which I answered several times already before. She put an IV in and a little sticker behind my ear that was supposed to help me with having a nausea after the surgery. Second nurse was the one who stayed during the surgery. We joked around, talked about things not only surgery related but other stuff too. I like people working there and I knew it before because I gave birth in the same hospital and even in the exact same place. Soon after that an anesthesiologist came and when she was done they called Nathan who stayed like 10 minutes only and then two women came to take me to the OR. I put a cap on my head, said goodbye to Nathan for a few hours and when they moved the bed I cried… They stopped it for a moment so that Nate could hug and give me a kiss one more time. I’m not totally sure why I reacted this way but I suppose these were all the emotions that then started to come closer to the surface.

I don’t remember anything after he gave me that kiss. I don’t even remember leaving the room. As if I fell asleep a few seconds after we said byes. Very weird. I woke up after the surgery was done, five hours later.

The first thing I asked was “where’s my husband?” A nurse said that he was on the way and when he came I cried again and again, I didn’t know why exactly but here a big thing was the anesthesia I had (it happened last time too). They started checking my vitals, I could start eating and drinking if I wanted to but at that point the only thing I wanted to have was coconut water which Nathan brought for me. After a while they told me that since we’re in a place where people rest after surgeries and it’s a chaos in general they want to make things easier for everyone so that they keep rotating people. So they asked Nate to go out for a while and I cried again so much. He said he’d go to a store to buy something for me to eat and he’ll be back which I agreed on and even then I couldn’t stop crying. The nurse said that she’d stay with me the whole time and she did. And when Nate sent a text to me to ask how I felt I sent to him a text that was half in English and half in Polish. I realized when he said: “hmmm, I don’t speak Polish :P”.

After several hours they brought me to a regular room in a place where babies are born so I could hear some but not too many. I had a private room which they always try to do but if there’s not enough space they put two people in one. Fortunately it wasn’t the case this time.

I didn’t sleep much at night because nurses kept checking my vitals. When Nathan came around 8 am (he could stay for the night but he didn’t) we talked a little bit and then we asked one nurse to make sure that nobody will come in so that we could rest. So they put a piece of paper on the wall saying that we didn’t want any visitors and if anyone (including doctors) wanted to go in they had to talk to the nurses first. We slept almost 4 hours. And before he came I saw my plastic surgeon who checked everything and said I could go home. I didn’t go right then, we stayed some more and we got home around 6 pm. The nurse wanted me to walk some first and see how I felt. She said that if there was anything wrong she’d call the doctor and ask to extend the stay. I had the room paid up to 11.59 pm that day but if the doctor said I had to stay longer (which I could ask for myself) it wouldn’t be a problem. But when I walked I felt better than nurses expected so I decided to go home.

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Friday

I can’t sleep being flat on the bed because it’d cause swelling and I want to avoid that. One woman who underwent the same surgery found my blog and turned out she lives very close, like right by our neighborhood almost. She said that she has two wedge pillows she slept on and she can rent them to me for a while. Awesome! I sleep on them, take a look…

These two colorful pillows are under my knees so that I don’t slide too much. It’s not the most comfortable position in the world but it’s not the worst one either. I didn’t sleep too well but it wasn’t terrible, I woke up once only when I tried to change my position because it was pretty painful.

And yeah, pain is the worst. If it didn’t hurt I’d feel better. The nurse told me that this surgery is more painful than removing uterus or c-section. I don’t know but I need to tell you that it’s hard. I can move my arms to the sides, back and forth as far as my body lets me, I can do stretching exercises and so on but for around week to two weeks I’m not allowed to even try to put my arms above my head. I need to let everything rest and let the cuts heal some. And it’s not easy because I can lift a half a liter bottle but I can’t open it. If I want to flush the toilet I need to use both hands because one isn’t strong enough. Nathan has to pull my pants up because it’s too much for me. I’m not able to take a cover on me or put my socks on. And it’s not that it hurts when I move only, it hurts all the time even when I’m in one position. I can’t straighten my body all the way so my neck hurts. When I’m on the bed it’s hard for me to get up because not only that I can’t push myself with my arms – there’s no way to do that – but also even when I use my stomach muscles to pull myself up my chest still hurts. Because what hurts are my chest and armpits. The nurse said that the pain is mostly my muscles so I have muscle relaxers. I take half a dose of a pain killer  because I don’t want anymore and one muscle relaxer. It helps but doesn’t take the pain away all the way. I had no idea that we use our chest muscles to do every single thing because I normally didn’t feel that. Now when everything is so irritated it’s easy to realize that. But you know, I’ll make it! In general, the nurses were impressed by my attitude, they were surprised that I don’t take so many pain killers and so on. My plastic surgeon said that he think we’ll finish everything quickly. It’s really cool to hear things like this. And I don’t do it on purpose to hear that at all, if I needed more pain killers I’d take more but it all shows me that my body is healthy and strong overall so that it’ll heal fast.

Let me tell you, I cried a lot in the hospital and at home. And it’s not about me regretting the surgery because I don’t regret it. It’s more about the fact that I’ve never been in a situation like this before when I have to ask someone else, when I can’t do almost anything by myself. I’m depended on Nathan. And the other thing is that I really don’t like pain. And also, I can’t take care of April. She sometimes comes to me, raises her arms and wants me to pick her up and I can’t do that. Than Nathan takes her and I know that it’s harder for me than for her but, you know, I was with her the whole time so it’s a big change. Now for example she’s been crying for twenty minutes and it seems to me like she’s so tired that she doesn’t know what to do with herself. And he’s there with her trying to calm her down but nothing helps. After he puts her to sleep he’ll need to help me… I also don’t like hearing her crying like this and I can’t do anything. But you know what’s great? The fact that April started sleeping through the whole night! I hope it’ll stay like this.

 

Saturday

It makes me wonder that my instructions and my doctor say that I can’t drive as long as I take pain killers or as long as I feel pain. But… how?! I can’t imagine since my range of motion isn’t the way it should. Driving a car in a situation like this wouldn’t be safe but we’ll see what I’ll think when I can move some more.

About medicines… Today I wanted to try to stretch the time between my doses and see if I still need them every six hours. If I don’t try I won’t know and the drugs make my vision be blurry, everything is weird. And my head is fuzzy, I’m sensitive to sounds and so on. You know, there are always side effects  and it’s hard to like them but sometimes you need to pick the lesser evil. I’d like to stop taking them at all and I hope I’ll make it soon. Today in the morning I took one muscle relaxer and half a doze of my pain killer and in the afternoon I didn’t take any pain killer. It’s a progress!

In one of my last posts I showed you how drains look. They put four of them during my surgery and they don’t really bother me, I attach them to the belt I have on my chest and I don’t feel them. The only thing is that when I put a shirt on or something it sticks out and it looks weird. Before the surgery I bought a few button up shirts because these are the only ones I’m able to put on. I bought all that in Walmart and I also have a very soft, warm and fuzzy robe that I paid $7 for! But anyway, my plastic surgeon said that maybe during my next visit they might take at least two of them out if there’s not that much liquid in it. I doubt they’ll take all of them out but we’ll see on Tuesday.

I woke up twice at night because I didn’t feel comfortable. I can’t wait to be able to sleep flat, really. Today I went for a walk because I can’t be at home all the time. I didn’t walk too much but it’s still something, I felt better after breathing some fresh air.

Today my body feels a little better in a way that I’m still tired and I take naps during the day but I can move some more. A little bit but still! I need to admit that the last real shower I took was on Tuesday before my surgery, after that I wasn’t allowed to do so for 24 hours and now I can but… I’m kinda afraid. I don’t know it’s weird that I have the drains and stuff and I can take a shower. My mind works here but I’ll ask Nathan to help me tonight so I’ll have it done.

April is fine and tolerates the changes, however, during first two days in a new place with her babysitter she didn’t want to sleep at all and she played for a while with the babysitter’s daughter but later she just wanted to be held and was fussy. It’s a big adjustment for her because it’s not only a new place but also the first time outside the house with someone new. But now she seems fine and she tolerates the facts that I don’t carry her well. Nathan put her on my lap a few times but it doesn’t work well either because she moves too much and it hurts me. I’m glad she’s not crying all the time because of that but on the other hand I wish she wanted more… Complicated ;).

 

Sunday

Each next day is easier! Today I want to start doing to more exercises to speed up everything. From my surgery my appetite wasn’t that big so I don’t push any food in me, I eat enough not to feel hungry. I don’t take any medications anymore at all and I try to rest a lot not only because I’m still tired but also because my body just needs to focus on healing. Honestly, I’d like to have one or two days with no kids at all so that I can relax more but it’s not that easy. I have my first post-op appointment on Tuesday with my plastic surgeon and I think that there’s a chance they’ll take my drains out because there’s not much fluid in them. Today we need to go somewhere and buy a sports bra that’s closed in front so that it’ll be easier for me to put it on since I can’t put anything on through my head yet. I flush the toiler with one hand now and I can pull my pants up by myself sometimes ;). And now I’m going to take a nap!

Talk to you next time 🙂

Aga

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See also:

+ Keep your fingers crossed, it’s today!

+ Breast amputation and reconstruction is NOT a boob job!

+ Goodbye my breasts, you served me well!

+ I’m a “mutant” – what is a Li-Fraumeni syndrome?
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glosowanie

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