This post will be an account of the Day of Surgery as the day progressed. There are a couple of video’s from the day and assorted photos.
This is the day of my Full Mastectomy and Lymph Node Clearance.
I was diagnosed on December 4th 2017 with Stage 2 Breast Cancer. Double Positive. HER2 Positive and Estrogen Positive. My cancer was fast growing and aggressive. The decision was made to go straight into am aggressive course of Chemotherapy followed by Surgery. Other treatments would be confirmed as the treatment progressed. Radiotherapy and further Chemotherapy are possibilities but confirmation of whether they are needed will not happen until after surgery.
I have gone through 6 months of Chemotherapy. It was an aggressive heavy dose. 5 Red bags of various chemo drugs and Cancer treatment drugs like the targeted therapy drug Herceptin. The first day of Chemo treatment was 12 hours. After this it became a 5 to 6 hour day every 3 weeks. I was critically ill after the first 2 rounds which resulted in the dosage being reduced slightly. It helped though I had a really hard time going through Chemo.
Now it is time for Surgery and the day is today.
It started with an Alarm going off at 6am. We have to be at the hospital at 7:30am.
When we arrived we were met at the Theatre Surgery reception by a lovely nurse who gave us the introductory talk…… the only thing was I couldn’t hear her talk. I could see her mouth moving about but I couldn’t understand what she had said. I was freaking out. I actually do remember saying “I am sorry but I don’t know what you just said to me”.
They showed me to the waiting area then a nurse took me into a patient room to get ready and fill the forms in etc. I do remember putting the gown on and laughing about the socks but eventually they realised I needed some help so they called my Mum. I really was freaking out.
They walk you into theatre. It was pretty traumatising. I think we have established by now that I am pretty freaked out by the surgery. I am scared. I am not sad about it. I am just actually scared. I walked in and it is quite scary. There is a room full of people in all their surgical gear. The Surgeon is Dr Steven Thrush. He is one of the best in the country. I have a lot of faith in his skills. I am still scared. He asked if I was ok. “No… I just want to run”. I just wanted to run. Run a very long way away. But I am brave. I am a warrior. I can and will do this. I know its a part of the treatment saving my life and I am more than ok with that. Loosing my breast is a small price to pay for my life. I am still scared. I lay down.
They ask you to confirm what you are having done. I couldn’t say it. I just couldn’t bring myself to say it. He had to hold my hand and slowly say it and ask me to repeat and confirm. I did but that was really really hard. Then I don’t remember anything else at all…… until recovery.
I woke in Recovery. My first words were “pick up your lego”. Quickly followed by more sleep. Second time I woke it was to announce that the recovery room would benefit from a Glitter Disco Ball. Now come on….. waking up thinking Disco is kind of cool even I know that LOL. I bet they all laughed at me. I also asked the Registrar to High Five! Oh I do make myself laugh. I hope they all laughed.
I think I look ok all things considered. Hospital gown not winning me any fashion awards but hey ho. That’s the least of my concerns today.
I have taken a photo of the surgical site. I am now minus my right boob. It has gone. Of course I cried. But strangely now the fear has gone and I woke up ok I feel pretty relieved. I realise a lot of the fear was about the Anesthetic and wondering if I would wake up afterwards. Well I woke up. I survived surgery. Now only did I survive & wake up I went Disco.
I must say I am very impressed that whilst in recovery they assign you a recovery nurse who stays with you the whole time. That nurse is assigned to you and you alone. That is quite reassuring. It is nice to know that as you come round someone is watching you and won’t be distracted by anyone or anything else. She was lovely. Really very kind. I felt very well looked after.
Once I was on the ward it all became a bit hectic. Just as I was settling in they decided they were short of beds so no sooner was I there than I was being moved to Trauma ward. That caused some tears. It felt quite unsettling and I was probably still quite anxious so I must admit I called mum in hysterical tears to come get me and take me home. I was in pain too. A shot of morphine soon sorted that out and after the nurse had sat with me for a while I felt calmer. I know hospital at times isn’t the nicest of places to sleep but it really was the best place to be while recovering from major surgery just a few hours before.
A cup of tea helped too. Oh how very British. A cup of tea helps everything feel so much better. The surgical socks are super tight and hot but not in a sexy hot way in a really warm uncomfortable way. Do I really have to wear them for 6 weeks ?? I need to talk to my GP about that.
Anyway the deed is done. The day is over. The bit I have been dreading all these months is finally done. I made it. That is another big part of the treatment.
I thought this would be tougher mentally. But maybe after all that it was the fear of the surgery I had to get past and that is over now.
I am sure at some point I will mourn the loss of the boob. But for now I am strangely ok with it. It seems a small price to pay for gaining a life. A life that I plan to really enjoy and make the most of every day. I always have loved life. Now I love it even more and realise just how amazing it is in all its everyday normal glory. Even the surgical socks. I was always quite a motivated person. I never was someone who played the self pity or sad game. I could have felt sorry for myself this year. Being diagnosed with cancer. I actually just feel sorry for cancer. It picked the wrong girl to mess with. I plan to kick its arse and live strong every day that I can. None of us truly know how long we will live. So there is some truth when people say live every day like it is your last. Ok you have to be a little sensible. You do have to plan to live after all but certainly don’t waste a single day feeling sad or glum. Make the most of life. You can’t choose what will happen to you in life. You can choose how you deal with life. You can choose how you live it.
Live it strong. Feel every emotion and never be ashamed to. Only be ashamed if you fail to see the positives in life. Always look for the things that are good. If you have bad stuff going on then see it as a challenge to make better. What the human spirit can endure is incredible. Life is not meant to be easy. In fact its when times are hard that our strengths really show themselves. Fighting Cancer this year has really made me focus on the people and things around me that are positive. If there are things that are not great then either do something about it or stop moaning. I stopped moaning about my messy garden I started laughing instead… and found a gardener. You see there is always a solution. Sometimes the solution is something we can’t control. I have had to put my life into other peoples hands this year and trust them. What I could control is my journey through the treatment. I chose to document it. I chose to look for the positives. I chose to be honest when I was scared or in pain. I found a way to laugh at the most ridiculous moments. There are people going through way worse than me. They will find their way to cope too. I hope they also find their strengths. Mine isn’t surgery – but maybe next time I will not be quite to scared.