Sunday, November 28, 2010

lumpectomy & biopsy

My surgery was on Wednesday and wiped me out way more than I thought it would. I had the idea that I was going to be out of it the remainder of the day on Wednesday, then fine for the rest of the holiday weekend. This turned out to not be the case. I learned 2 very important lessons:
1) Vicodin is not my friend.
2) Your body needs more time to recover than you think it will.

The pre-surgery prep was standard. No less than 2 dozen people asking what you've come in for. Sign this form. Talk to this person. Change into a gown. Sign this form. And this one. Get your IV. Here's another form. A quick visit from the surgeon. Sign this form (I think in total I signed 16 things, and Bart signed several more for me. Crazy.)

I mentioned that I had to get some wires implanted to help guide the surgeon to where he needs to cut...ultrasounds are impractical while in surgery. This was by far the worst part. I started by getting a new mammogram on my right breast. While my breast was still clamped in the machine, I had to stand there for 5 to 10 minutes while the doctor inserted the wire. With a fishook on the end. While I'm clamped. It was awful. It felt like it was poking all the way through me.According to the doctor, the pain and difficulty were due to scar tissue from the previous biopsy. I really wasn't sure I was going to be able to take it. The left side was much easier. No mammogram, no clamping. He did it by ultrasound. The position of the tumor did not require the 'digging' that the right side did. Plus I think this doctor numbed it better. It was quicker and much less painful.
By now I just wanted to be done and on my way home. Ha.
I remember them wheeling me to the operating room, and skooching over onto the table, and that's it. I woke up in recovery feeling really tired and with a dull pain in my chest. About an hour later I got to go home. I wasn't feeling too bad, but I slept for hours and hours. Bart would wake me every 4 to take vicodin and make me drink water. I tried to get up and watch some tv and eat a little something at 8pm, but I just ended up throwing up and going back to bed.

Thursday morning was more of the same, except now I had a headcahe and backache to contend with as well. My sinuses were killing me, so I took some sinus medication in the hopes that it would releive some of the pressure in my head. I've had enough headaches and taken enough medication to know that part of the problem was 'rebound'. I stopped taking the Vicodin and switched to Tylenol. And more sleep. More water.
We went to my dad's house for Thanksgiving dinner, but I ended up sleeping almost the entire time. I was able to eat and keep down a tiny bit of mashed potatoes and turkey. The more time that passed, the less sick I felt...just tired. After sleeping 36 hours it seems ridiculous to be so tired! I still feel the tired, but am awake much more. My back and legs were cramping up from too much laying down, so I make sure to get up and walk around all the time. My chest aches a bit, but Aleve takes most of the pain away. I need to start taking it before bed though...the last 2 nights I've gotten up in the middle of the night after flopping over onto my stomach to sleep. My breastbone hurts from the mammography machine.
The incisions are looking pretty good. No stitches, no staples...I am held together by glue, of all things! I finally got the Sharpie off my right side. I will wear a bra 24/7 until the glue is gone and the ache stops. I will visit the doctor in a week. I will wait patiently for the pathology reports and a clean bill of health.
Thanks to all of my friends and family for their kind words of support and love. It does make the entire process so much easier. Thanks for lifting me up when I've been feeling down.


Jan c. said...

I was surprised, too, when I had hernia surgery in April, at how much it took out of me. Sleep sounded good all the time, for days. I didn't get the headaches and upset stomach that you got, but I would not have been able to face doing Thanksgiving the day after, that's for sure! The most surprising part was that things were sore for weeks afterward, and I would find myself wishing it was time to take more ibuprofen way before it was really time to hit the next dose. I started to think that something must have gone wrong and that I was taking an abnormally long time to recover, but really it was all quite normal. I just wasn't used to taking things easy.

All that is by way of saying, I hope you'll just take it easy and not expect to be hopping up in a week's time and falling back into your normal schedule. Anesthesia takes a toll, and incisions take time to heal. Even for supermoms like you!

Hope the doc calls to give you that clean bill of health soon so you can relax and concentrate on getting back on your feet.

Sue said...

Oh I do hope your feeling much better. It sounds awful what you had to go through. I will keep you in my thoughts and that everything goes well and you dont have to endure anymore tests like that.

Jen on the Edge said...

I'm glad that you're done with the surgery and hope that you'll recover soon so that you can start to enjoy the holiday season.

I am convinced that if men had to go through mammograms, there would suddenly be the invention of a mammogram that was far less uncomfortable.