And now, I present the second act of Bai Bai Bewbiez!
[[ HOSPITAL STAY DAY 1 | 10.11.2012 ]] --
The greater part of this day was spent sleeping off and on. They brought me food for breakfast, but it was still the liquid diet. That suited me just fine as pumping my body with the pain meds (PCA-style) every 20 minutes had made my head very cloudy. I had also been dealing with bad indigestion and some nausea. Good times!
As my parents visited early, my mom helped try to feed me some jello. Lots of ice chips were also fed to me by way of alternating between hubby and my mom at my request. Simple water didn't sound so glamorous, nor did it sound like the best idea yet.
Besides my parents visiting, my brother Sean stopped by. It meant to a lot to me that he took the time out just to see me. :) I was still very groggy, but I knew I was happy to see them all!
Dr. Mowlavi popped in to check on me. Took off my bandages and put some sticky yellow gauze junk on them and wrapped me back up. He was trying to encourage me to be released that day... hah! I wasn't even close to ready.
I won't get into it, but it was the first time I realized what I assumed was some oddly hard, cast-like bandage the night before happened to be my new foobs.
I realize some of you may be unfamiliar with tissue expanders used in breast reconstruction. Well, it's essentially a temporary implant. They insert it under your pec muscles as I mentioned. It has a limit on how much it may be filled, but is usually filled over time with saline. It has a port, I assume is much like port-a-cath, in which they inject the saline to fill them.
Once I have completed my radiation therapy and I have had enough fills to reach my desired size, I will have another procedure to replace my expanders with my permanent implants.
Another thing that came as a shock to me is that the expanders are HARD. Like, imagine slightly more pliable softballs shoved underneath your pectorals. I was not expecting to be filled when I awoke. And I definitely wasn't expecting to be filled so very much if I was going to be.
More on that later though... >_<;
I also found out I had 5 drains total. Two on the left and three on my right. I loathe them. That's all I will say. Ghastly pests they are.
On a happier note, although it was Dr. Kushner's day off, he also came in and checked on me. Again, PTL for this man. He ordered for my nurses to replace whatever pain medication was being dripped to morphine. I felt MUCH better and way less nauseous once that happened.
I still played it safe and stuck with liquid diet. I think I remember eating grape flavored popsicle? Haha... Still really out of it that day so my memory is a bit fuzzy on the details.
I was able to sleep better that night, which in turn meant better sleep for Jason too.
[[ HOSPITAL STAY DAY 2 | 10.12.2012 ]] --
Woke up well rested. Yeah, the nurses still milled in every 4 hours or so to check on me, empty my drains and scan my wristband to give me any meds I needed... but it was a nice, boopless night of sleep.
I started to grow weary of being bedridden right about this time. I knew I was weak, but had no clue until I was encouraged to get up and sit in a chair while I ate my first solid breakfast. Seeing as I have never before stayed in a hospital, it wasn't until this moment that I understood how gross hospital food really is. Lol. I did put away some oatmeal though. :D
My parents once again paid us a visit in the morning. One nurse lady that visited me and gave me a handbook on healing from a mastectomy suggested some things that would be useful to have at home - a wedge pillow and toilet seat riser. The thoughtful and sweet parents they are, took flight in quest to get these items for me so I'd have them once I was discharged. My mom and dad are so amazing. :)
I rested for a while before we later had a warmly welcomed fresh batch of visitors. Violet and Andrew (mommy-in-law and pops-in-law) were first. Also such amazing people. I am ridiculously blessed in so many ways, and one of them is the sheer amount of people who love my geeky butt!
My bestie Shalysa made the trip out to visit me that day too. So sweet! I know she's busy and it meant very much to have her make the drive up just to check on me and say hi!
After they all took their leave, my nurse was encouraging me to get up and try walking a bit. So on wobbly legs like a clumsy newborn calf, I got up with great effort with assistance from Jason and my nurse. They each had one of my arms and helped wheel my IV pole as we slowly trudged along. I am proud to say that I made it all around the nurses station on my first go!
Of course I was pooped after that. Lol, but I did it!
Now, those leg squeezy things that prevent blood clots from forming while you're stuck in bed, they are uncomfortable. After you've been wearing them for well over 24 hours, they chaff. I was insanely itchy. I had to keep them on while I wasn't walking, so they brought some baby powder.
This is another moment where my hubby left me feeling as though I was in the best care possible. He'd gently take off those cuffs and apply the powder. The way he'd do it were as if I were delicate and might have broken if he applied too much pressure. Love love love that man of mine.
Had more visitors in the evening. My parents returned and then we got the most beautiful news imaginable for any cancer patient; my surgeon received the results of my pathology report, which read there were no signs of malignancy. Meaning? SUCK IT CANCER! I PWNED YOU!!!
Hahaha... okay, so more like, I pwned it along with an army of others' assistance! But you know what I mean! Without all the prayers, doctors, nurses, medication, family, friends, etc. it wouldn't have been possible. Here I am though, and I didn't think I would be saying I am cancer free this shortly after my surgery.
Nothing short of a miracle, honestly. And what a glorious testimony to the power of prayer. I'm well aware I have had hundreds of people, many of whom I've never even met, praying for my healing. It's all in the Lord's hand, but he has mercifully answered those prayers. I will never take a single day of my existence for granted.
God wants me here longer for some reason. I look forward to discovering what that reason is. ^_^
A little after we got the grand news, our friend Samara visited. Also so sweet of her! I was much much more coherent that day, but still worry I was perhaps not bouncing on all just yet. Some of my timing may be a bit jumbled. Sad to say. Haha. However, I remember feeling overjoyed and loved from the news and throughout all my visits!
[[ HOSPITAL LEAVE | 10.13.2012 ]] --
Woke up determined to leave this day... I did everything I could to get out of there. Got up and walked around as much as possible. Switched from using the PCA pain meds to strictly Percocet to control the pain.
My wish was granted, and in a short time, we were discharged. I had my IV removed and was able to get dressed. To say I remember much else that day after being put in a wheelchair and taken to the car would be a lie. My head was still plenty foggy. All I recall doing is crashing once home.
I do know that my parents were there and had bought me all the aforementioned goodies from the day before and a couple others, including a nice chair and a tray so I could eat in bed.
Jason lovingly made sure I was comfortable and settled in. Woke me up every time I was meant to take my pain medication to prevent me from waking up hurting.
So, I slept and then slept some more. :)
[[ FIRST DAY HOME | 10.14.2012 ]] --
That morning my wonderful husband helped me get cleaned up for the first time since the surgery. Can't tell you how splendid even a sponge bath feels after being unable to be cleansed for days.
Violet, Andrew, Bre and our nephew Gavin came to visit us. It was uplifting to see them all, and I gave it my best to stay awake during their stay. I eventually had to give in and go take a rest. Earlier Jason and Bre went out shopping for a while. Did some grocery shopping and also got a small dining table for us.
Jason and I didn't own one before this because we normally sit on the floor in front of our coffee table and eat. Ghetto, I know, but it worked. Not really an option for me while I had trouble getting up and down. So all of them put the table together for us while I napped, and that allowed time for Jason to take it easy too.
Later they picked us up some yummy dinner from Wood Ranch BBQ. Of course I couldn't eat nearly as much as I would have had my appetite been back to normal, but it was awfully kind all the same!
Then my MIL and SIL washed my hair in the sink. It was the first time that had happened since s-day as well. That. Felt. Fantastic. Haha! You instantly feel more clean when your hair is, I swear.
[[ FROM THEN | 10.15.2012-TO NOW ]] --
That Monday the hubby and I spent time unwinding and adjusting to me being so debilitated. I rested and relaxed the day away. He babied me. :)
My brother Michael came by and visited us that Tuesday. I really enjoyed that he stopped by. I know how busy everybody gets, and his family just got home from a week long vacation, so I was grateful that he took the time to check on me.
Then at the 1 week marker from my surgery, we met up with Dr. Mowlavi to check on things. Again, just for a refresher, the exact procedure I had done was a bilateral nipple sparing mastectomy with right axillary node biopsy.
So, the question in matter had mostly to do with how my nipples would survive. Particularly my right nipple. Seeing as I had ductal carcinoma, where the tumor is inside and in my case had grown outside of the milk duct, they had to remove as much of that tissue as possible. This makes for much thinner skin left.
The day at the hospital when Mowlavi checked on me, my right side already looked a little worse for wear than my left. He put the magical medicated yellow gauze stuff though and let it be.
Anyway, we had a brief appointment. He looked me over and thought the left was in good shape. The right side was still an issue. He wanted to wait another week and then planned for a 'revision' in office if it didn't improve by the following appointment. We sent us with the yellow gauze stuff and directed us to swap it every day.
As that first week wore on, I slowly felt like I was regaining my strength but also found myself in more and more pain. Um, to the point of tears kind of discomfort. My chest was so tight it made my breathing feel restricted and it just plain hurt. Throbbing type of hurt. I wasn't able to get the rest I required to recuperate because I couldn't sleep through the night thanks to it.
I had been taking my pain meds on time and still didn't find relief. I thought maybe it had moved on to being caused by inflammation. So, we stopped the Percocet and started Ibuprofen. Yeah. Not so helpful either.
So God bless my babeh; he stepped up and did everything he could to expedite me to finding some relief. He called Kushner and talked with him. He recommended getting back on the Percocet for the time being and made time for me to see him the following morning.
At that appointment he checked me over. He was suspicious my expanders were over filled. I had been too. He called Mowlavi to plead with him to remove some of the saline, and he said he would but was reluctant to do so. Instead, he suggested prescribing some Valium for me. I always thought this was a drug used for anxiety, but apparently it's helpful with muscle spasms too!
To rule out anything else, such as pulmonary embolism, they sent me to the hospital to get a CT done on my chest. Christ had it all under control as usual and I had no signs of a blood clot formed or forming inside my lungs.
The culprit for my agony? Muscle spasms.
All that for such a simple answer!
Happy part is the Valium has helped alleviate much of my discomfort. My chest still feels tight, and at the end of the night, my ribs feel a bit sore beneath my "breasts". Overall I'm a lot better.
Now, yesterday we went to see Mowlavi again. I was awful nervous when he had us sent back to a room I'd never seen. It wasn't an exam room. It had a weird chair, and then I was put in a room and asked to lie down. He hadn't even seen my poor right nip and was getting ready to do a revision.
He decided to let it go another week, but I was given a prescription and homework. We've got this new solution we have to put on each nipple daily. Its job? To remove the excess icky skin. Yuck. And I can't sugar coat it. My right nipple looks gnarly. Real gnarly. Like, I'm concerned it may not be able to be saved type of gnarly.
I'm of course preparing myself for the worse, but as always, hoping for the best.
Today was the first day we applied this stuff, so we'll see how this goes.
Ah, I should also mention that I still have all 5 of my udders in place! Haha. Those drains are pesky indeed. There's no possible way you can stroll in a public place and not have people either thinking you're pregnant with some weird creature or have an odd way of storing belly fat.
I try to hide behind sweatshirts, but it has trouble hiding FIVE of these suckers.
This coming Monday they say I'll be able to get them removed. HUZZAH I SAY! So silly, but I know I'll feel much better once I don't have to lug these things around. Makes you feel like a gigantic octopus monster.
The other thing we'll find out is whether my nipple revision(s) will be simple or not. Praying they will be and this medicated solution helps.
I am getting stronger everyday. We went to see my oncologist for follow up on everything. He was thrilled with my pathology reports. He told us what we basically already knew. The plan is to put me on Tamoxifen after rads are finished. Ho hum.
I made sure to thank Dr. Wagner more than a couple times. I even hugged him, which I think may have caught him off guard. He helped save my life. It's because of his chemo regimen he had outlined for me that there was no trace of that cancer to be found after all!
That's where we're at!
Right now I'm looking forward to finally doing the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in San Diego. Not this Sunday, but next. In fact... I was originally going to wear a pink wig, but instead have opted to sport my short chemo regrowth. However, I'm going to get it dyed pink. :)
Excited about that... and frankly, am excited about life!
And the heavenly Father deserves all the praise for healing me so that I might be around still to enjoy it.
Thus concludes the story of Bai Bai Bewbiez! There will be more to come, but it shall be a new chapter in the same novel.
Until then, God bless you all and as always, thank you for your love and prayers!!!
"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves received from God." 2 Corinthians 1:3-4