Disclaimer: Please remember that my cancer related posts aren't just for my regular readers, but for those searching for information because they or a loved one have been diagnosed. My posts are very honest, and I don't believe in leaving out details that someone may find helpful. So, if you're squeamish, or can't handle me talking about what used to be very private parts of my body, then you should hit that little x in the corner now.
So, my bilateral mastectomy was done 13 days ago. 13 very very long days. First, let me describe what was done so my later explanations will make more sense.
1) On my cancer side the breast surgeon went in through my old incision (from lumpectomy back in April) to remove all the breast tissue, which he compared to building a ship in a bottle. If you're not familiar with breast anatomy, that tissue goes back under the arm as well as up the chest wall a bit. Because he was able to use the old incision he didn't have to do any cutting on the nipple itself.
2) On my non-cancer side a standard incision was made. That runs from the side of my breast from the armpit to the nipple, then around the nipple edge. During the entire procedure of removing breast tissue it is looked at under carefully to make sure no cancer is found.
3) the plastic surgeon then stepped in and did her work. She placed tissue expanders behind the pectoral muscle that will be slowly filled over the next couple of months and later replaced with implants. Unfortunately the breast surgeon wasn't able to leave enough tissue at the sides of my breasts to cover the tissue expanders. Because of this Alloderm was used to rebuild those areas.
4) a drain is placed in each breast which allows fluids to drain off. Each drain must be producing less than 35cc in 24 hours before it can be removed.
My surgery was on Friday, Sept 12 and I came home on Sunday. I was moving pretty well, better than usual for that stage after surgery. And it all went downhill from there.
I was doing ok until about the one week mark when my pain level went crazy. I was at a "10" several times over a 24 hour period. When I was able to talk with my doctor she made an immediate change in my pain meds which was a huge relief.
Still, coming to the 10 day mark I knew I was not where I should be, and actually felt like I had gone backward a bit. My range of motion was diminishing and I could feel lots of cording starting in several places under my arms. Anyway, a couple days ago I started cutting my drugs in half and moving to over the counter drugs. Plus, one night in the wee hours it occurred to me the muscle relaxers I was taking are evil and I decided to break up with them.
And here, I am, day 13 with "issues". Like, I'm still in a lot of pain. FAR more than I should be at this stage. I should be moving pretty much normally but I very much am not. My drain output is still high for this stage. I will say, I have had another very difficult surgery done 5 years ago by this same plastic surgeon and I knew what to expect. This is beyond that. Today I went back to the doctor….