Friday was surgery day - so not surprising that it was a big blur. First I got irradiated so the surgeon could see lymph nodes.
This was memorable because of how the material designed to make me glow with divine light was delivered via four shots around my right nipple at the noon, 3 o'clock, 6 o'clock and 9 o'clock positions. What can you do but shake your head and wonder why there isn't a more humane way.
But that happened at noon and yes it burned like hell but didn't kill me and by two I was in surgery where they were playing music that I didn't exactly recognize, but I didn't object to either. And then I was out.
Soon - it seemed from my perspective - there was no music but I was drinking ginger ale in recovery and back in a room on a post surgery floor by early evening. My breast was gone but my husband said my sentinel nodes were clear - which I though meant no chemotherapy was needed.
I breathed a sigh of relief and dozed on and off - then ate half a turkey sandwich at ten or so.
Overnight it was hard to get the pain under control but it wasn't unbearable and I did get a couple of hours of sleep. Daughter 3 on one side and spouse on the other.
Around noon Saturday the reconstructive surgeon came into the room to check out his work and go over my progress sheet. At that point he grinned and gave me my Get out of Jail card. I could leave the hospital less than 24 hours after I checked in. So I did.
But as it turns out, there was a lot of action in that 24 hours and I don't know where Saturday and Sunday went. Flowers arrived, and cookies, and cute photos of kids I've become adoptive nana to, and beautiful baubles . . that I'm so appreciative for.
I've got bits and pieces of memories that don't quite fit together like a patchwork quilt but they form a big enclosing hug in my mind.
I'm a bit of patchwork myself, as I've still got tubes draining out of my chest wall & negative pressure suction bulbs hanging from the tubes. A little like clear pink Jellyfish sucking at tentacles. Wish you were here.
It was an exciting idea to be allowed to take a shower whenever I wanted to - and it surprised me when the surgeon said I could. But Sunday morning when I attempted it. I'm not sure any description can do justice to the episode except to say that that in spite of all the wonderful support I've gotten I felt utterly alone.
There in the bathroom with my poor husband who's about as far from a nurse as humanly possible but who has been doing a boatload of nurturing, I had a significant breakdown complete with sobbing and inability to even begin to put my camisole top over the gauze or otherwise deal with my chest. I was a wreck. I knew it. I apologized repeatedly. This is not the brave front wanted anyone to see - including myself.
By the end of the day both daughters #2 and #3 had helped with wound care and drainage and positioning ice packs and gauze. My son didn't wince or turn away. Apparently I have no functional modesty after this kind of surgery and these special people I love are somehow able to take it.
The day of falling apart turned into the evening from itchy hell and benadryl capsules and spray were added to the basket of supplies I keep nearby The antibiotic was suspected of being the itchy culprit so today, Monday, Keflex got the boot and the pharmacy got paid yet another visit.
The more things change the more they stay the same. I'm on ice. Again. This seems to be a cyclical story. In bed, ice on chest, propped up as per surgeon's instructions, and trying to nap on and off. Too early to really put the story together cohesively.