Sunday, March 04, 2007

Sunday March 4th

It is finally over! I am happy to say my mastectomy surgery is at last behind me. Thanks to everyone who sent encouraging thoughts to me. They helped out tremendously.
I went into the surgery center at the hospital on Wednesday morning at 8am. Jon and my mom both came with me. I went into pre op about 8:30 to get ready and change into my really hot hospital outfit that drowns my body and get my IV started. I was told at my pre admission appointment that they wouldn't be able to use my port which was frustrating. Then the nurse told me that they could use it but it would take awhile for the "IV team" to come and tap it. I should have just had them do that in the beginning but the nurse made it sound like such a pain I went ahead and let her start an IV in my hand. It hurt from the beginning. She said oh your hands are small and the IV is hitting the "y" in your hand so they had to keep pulling it out/in when giving me my meds. I was also told on the pre admission appointment that I shouldn't take my Ativan (anit anxiety med) before coming to the hospital and that they would give me something when I was there and admitted. I of course asked the nurse about this right away and she said when we get you down to radiology they can give you something. The nurse even wrote the word yes on my right side so they were sure that they did the surgery on the correct side. Kinda funny. Here I am waiting for our trip down to radiology.

We were sent down to radiology at about 9am. When I asked the ultrasound lady about my anti anxiety medication she said, who told you that we would do that? I thought oh here we go, everyone is passing the buck off so they don't have to be the one to tell me that I don't get to be drugged up for the procedure. We waited for about 20 min and then they did have someone come down to give me something to calm my nerves. During this procedure they have an ultrasound technician mark 4 places that they were to inject the nuclear medicine. This medicine would travel through the breast tissue and drain into my lymph nodes. They use it to identify the sentinel lymph node during surgery. The sentinel node is the 1st one of the lymph nodes that drains the breast. This is the node that they want to remove to test and see if cancer has spread. So the procedure consisted of the radiologist giving me 4 shots of lidocaine or whatever it is they use to numb you up, and then 4 shots of the nuclear medicine in the same spots. After this we were wheeled back down to the pre op area to wait. I was supposed to go into surgery at noon but they were running a little late. I met my anesthesiologist and he was asking me all these questions about being under general anesthesia and then asked if I wanted some more of the anti anxiety med. I paused for a min and then he said "I am not stingy with my medicine so just tell me if you want some. " From that moment on I was wondering, "Is this man single? I think I love him." Of course I opted for more. Jon pointed out that he was wearing a wedding ring and that I was already married. Jon was being a smarty pants and the doc had said "We need a catheter for this gentleman in the corner." It was funny. It seemed like everyone Jon, my mom, and I joked around with that morning were all very straight forward and not having any of our joking attitudes so it was a relief after met him.
I went into surgery right around 1pm and when I woke up in the recovery room I remember asking what time it was and they said 3:30. The next little while was a blur. I remember that they people wheeling me from recovery to my room were training on how to push the hospital beds. The guy was instructing the girl on how to take the corners wide. I then remember getting to my room and them wanting me to move into the other bed and thinking there is no way that I can move myself. They were quick to point out that they had a "slide" that I had to roll over on and then they would lift me into the other bed. Thank goodness. The nurse was the first person I noticed because I used to work with her at Chili's. Her name was Lacey. She was so nice. I loved all my nurses. Jon, my mom, and his parents were all in my room within minutes. Also there were a few nurses that came in with several flowers and a cookie arrangement. They were all so pretty and everyone that came into my room over the next few days said is smelled so wonderful in there. They hooked me up to a morphine pump that I could control when I felt sick. When my mom and Jon's parents left I got up to go to the bathroom and was really light headed and ended up getting sick. They weren't sure if it was the anesthesia or the pain med. It was a long night. Jon left at around 7 or so, I think. They gave me some anti nausea med and also an anti itching med. The anti nausea med just made me pass out.
When I woke up in the morning I was still feeling pretty nauseous. My surgeon Dr. Chiavetta came to see me and said, it didn't look like I would probably be released that day since I wasn't tolerating the pain med very well and my blood pressure was really low. He did say that the initial biopsy on the lymph nodes were clear and no cancer was found in them. They would get the biopsy report from the breast tissue later that afternoon. My friend Laine came to see me that morning and then Jon brought Olivia up to see me around lunch time. They ended up changing my pain med to perkacet at lunch time and I seemed to feel somewhat better. Karen also came to see me that afternoon and then my brother came around dinner time. I ended up getting the runs after dinner time which was surprising because I had been told the pain meds always seem to plug you up so I was taking stool softener. My girlfriends Aislinn and Alyssa came to visit for awhile in the evening. The surgeon came back again to see me Thursday evening and said that they did find cancer cells in the breast tissue. They found Ductal carcinoma in situ. I asked if it was only in the area that they would have taken out in the lumpectomy and he said that he wasn't sure. He said that they cancer they found was probably the beginning stages of my cancer. This wasn't invasive cancer yet, so the chemo had killed the cells down to the point that it was contained to the milk ducts. Dr. Chiavetta did say that this cancer was very hard to get clear margins on when they do lumpectomies so if I had decided to do a lumpectomy there would have been a good chance that they would have had to go back and do a mastectomy anyway. All in all he said that he felt very confident in the route that I took for surgery. I felt so awesome that I followed the personal revelation that I had received telling me to do the mastectomy. Thanks for everyone's support on that decision.
They left just in time to miss me running back and forth from my bed to the bathroom for the next couple of hours. I also ended up throwing up again that evening. They were thinking that again I wasn't tolerating the pain medicine very well. I ended up switching over the Vicadin the next morning and felt much better. I was loaded up on the anti nausea med Friday morning again. I almost fell asleep in my breakfast. Powerful stuff, but I really needed the rest so that was nice. My parents came to hang out that morning and just ended up watching me sleep. My mom ended up staying with me until I was released and learned out to empty my drain. I have a a 5 inch incision across my right breast, and a 3 inch incision under my arms where they removed my lymph nodes. I also have an opening on my side about 6 inches under my armpit where my drain is coming out of my body. The drain itself is pinned on my shirt so it doesn't pull against my skin.
When I came home I saw this huge banner hanging up in my window from the Activity girls at my church. It was so nice.
Olivia and the neighbors Pam and Ann that watched the kids on Wednesday also made me these posters.
What a nice welcome home. I had a bunch of flowers and a couple different cookie bouquets.
Olivia stayed the night with my friend Aislinn on Friday and was able to play with her daughter Bella. Friday night went okay. I am so sore from only laying on my back to sleep. Jon took all the kids and went down to the boat and RV show in Denver with Aislinn and Desi and also his parents. It was nice to relax round my house. My mom came over in the morning and my sister Amy who is in town hung out with me in the afternoon. My Dad brought us lunch from Chilis. It was my Dad's birthday yesterday. Thanks for spending your Bday taking care of me dad. Happy Birthday. My girlfriend Abbey stopped by for a bit yesterday afternoon to say hey and my sister Heather brought us a yummy dinner. Our friends Tommy and Sheri and a few of their kids came over to visit us last night and the girls played with the kids and helped us get them into bed.

Last night was a little more bearable. Jon helped me set up the pillows so I could at least lay on my side. My parents came and got the kids and took them to church this morning and just planning on relaxing some more and taking it easy. Here is a pic of me this morning holding tight to my ice pack!


Tammy said...

i'm glad you're home and doing pretty good and that you're using the pain meds! sad that they found cancer, but glad that you had already decided on the mastectomy and so weren't hit with that news as well. you are in my prayers.
tammy aka ouchpapercut

kirstensmom said...

Hi Eliza,
I'm so glad to hear that you are home and recovering well. I have been reading your blog since I sent a card for you from the Breast Cancer challenge on Splitcoast Stampers. You are ever so brave, courageous and most inspiring!! Take good care of you and your family and I wish you all the very best for a speddy recovery and life getting back to "normal" for you.

Kelly S from Canada

Renee said...

(((HUGS))) to you. I pray that things will be better for you from here on out.
You've been on my mind and in my prayers a lot. I'm so glad that this part is over for you.

Toni Nelson said...

I'm glad you're back home again, hopefully the worst is over for you now. Wish I could be there! I hope you recover soon and give me a call when things settle down!

Cindy Motherway said...

Wishing you the very best Eliza...over the next week or two while you recover from your surgery! I am happy it's behind you! Take it easy...