Friday, November 21, 2008

My story - part 4 (mastectomy)

Making the decision to have a double mastectomy was one that I went round and round with. The cancer was only in my right breast. I went online and started gathering information on types of reconstruction options, weighing all sides. I decided that I did not want to chance it that the cancer would come back in the left breast, so I opted for a double mastectomy. Plus, the chances of a symmetrical reconstruction were better when done to two breasts, instead of trying to match the other. The surgery was scheduled for July 23rd.

The day before, I had a bunch of appointments. Even though there was no cancer on the left the doctors wanted to do a Sentinel Node Scan to mark the "gate keeper" lymph nodes and remove them for biopsy . . . just to be sure. I got to the hospital that morning with my friend Shane, he was my photographer for the day, and they had the wrong information. They were about to inject me on the right side . . . a quick call to the doc, confusion settled, let's proceed. They injected me with a bit of radioactive blue dye and put me under a machine with a large lead cone on my breast so they could isolate the lymph nodes. All the while, my friend there thanking his lucky stars that he was not born a woman!


The surgery was scheduled for 7am the next day, which meant getting up at the butt-crack of dawn in order to get there by 6am. Strangely, I wasn't nervous at all. I had been through surgery before, and had come to terms with losing my breasts so it was just like any other day to me. My dad and step-mom drove me down to the hospital and the waiting game began.
With my step-mom in the waiting area.

After meeting with both surgeons and the anesthesiologist they began the prep. I don't even remember being wheeled out of that prep area to the O.R. Before when I came out of surgeries I would be very emotional. This time, nothing. Must have gone in with the right mindset this time!

I was thinking that after the surgery I would have no boobs at all. That wasn't the case, the tissue expanders they put in were filled to 300cc. When they removed the bandages to show me how to take care of the drains, I was pleasantly surprised to see that I had foobs!

The weeks following the surgery were painful and boring. It felt strange having foreign material in my body. I just kept telling myself . . . only for about 8 months, just until reconstruction can begin. Next step . . . radiation.

2 comments:

Meaghan said...

Hi how are you? Always thinking of you and sending you good thoughts. I read your interview on Nana's Box, it was great!

AngiDe- Nana's Box said...

Hey, just wanted to let you know that your feature is up and running. Hope things are going well for you!

Angie
"Nana's Box"