surgery

The day after bilateral mastectomy...

Melanie Community Member September 05, 2008
  • Life is different today... I'm boobless in Seattle!  I can't believe I'm already home.  Itchy, attractive drains hanging off each side, percocet in hand... but not feeling all that bad.  I'm surprised I feel this good and I'm very relieved it's over.  I was just sorry I was asleep and missed the party my husband and good friends, Joy and Stephanie, were having in the waiting room!  It was nice to know they were there waiting for me and cheering me on.  I am blessed that so many people were praying for me and holding me up.  People I haven't heard from in years have found me to tell me they are thinking of me.  It's a very humbling experience.

     

    I'm glad to be home as sleep was very elusive in the hospital.  Lights on and off, machines beeping, blood pressure checks every few hours, 6 different nurses in 24 ...no, 23 hours.  Insurance gives you 23 hours and boom... you're kicked to the curb!  What's next...drive-thru surgery?  I did appreciate the hospital stay, especially the push button pain meds! Hospital food - not so much.  I spent my evening in the hospital Hilton kicking back, nodding off and listening to GOP Vice Presidential Nominee Sarah Palin's speech.  WOW!  I was glad I stayed awake long enough to hear her... she's a pistol!  Now the race is becoming interesting.

     

    I've got to wait for results for the node and tissue biopsy until Tuesday and find out what's next.  My long time friend, Nancy, came to see me at the hospital before I left today.  We speak the same language now.  She's in her third battle with cancer.  Breast cancer the first time at 44 when she had a lumpectomy, a double mastectomy 8 years later, and now 8 years later again, ovarian cancer, a hysterectomy and rounds of chemo... again.  Nancy has BRACA1 gene mutation.  Her sister had breast cancer before she did.  Nancy has 4 daughters and one of those daughters is having a biopsy this week.  Nancy is a breast cancer sister, a fighter, a survivor, a prayer warrior.  She is funny and crazy and I love her to pieces.  She has my same doctors, a scary family history, and way too much experience with treatment protocols... and now we are sisters by circumstance. 

17 Comments
  • PJ Hamel
    Health Guide
    Sep. 08, 2008

    Melanie, hope those path reports come back all clear! I'm sending you good karma and blessings - PJH

  • Anonymous
    Willy
    Oct. 21, 2009

    yeah, gotta love sarah palin, she was a pistol, right to the head of republican ambitions, hope she runs for prez in 2012, obama needs a second term.

  • Anonymous
    Susan
    Jul. 12, 2009

    hi,

     

    Hope you are doing well!  I just scheduled a double for Aug. 5th.  The doctor wanted to do a single masectomy  but I just can't bear to do this again.  It just feels right.  Yours is the first I've heard of how you felt after coming home.  I've never had surgery in my life.  I'm 48 yrs. young and have two small...
    RHMLucky777

    Read More

    hi,

     

    Hope you are doing well!  I just scheduled a double for Aug. 5th.  The doctor wanted to do a single masectomy  but I just can't bear to do this again.  It just feels right.  Yours is the first I've heard of how you felt after coming home.  I've never had surgery in my life.  I'm 48 yrs. young and have two small children  and 9.  I want to be around to watch them grow.  Thanks!

    • Anonymous
      Melanie
      Jul. 13, 2009

      Hi Susan,

      At the end of July it will be 1 year since the mammogram that found the stage 1 IDC in my right breast.  It's been quite a year.  Things I never thought I'd have to know or do are for the most part, behind me.  I can truly say that for me, the anticipation was probably worse than the actual journey.  Recovery from...

      RHMLucky777

      Read More

      Hi Susan,

      At the end of July it will be 1 year since the mammogram that found the stage 1 IDC in my right breast.  It's been quite a year.  Things I never thought I'd have to know or do are for the most part, behind me.  I can truly say that for me, the anticipation was probably worse than the actual journey.  Recovery from the mastectomy was the worst part.  All those nerves that get cut want to protest so it feels pretty scratchy - more so toward evening.  Take your pain pills on schedule so the pain doesn't get ahead of you.  You won't get addicted as long as you need the medication so don't try to tough it out if you don't need to.  Be aware that pain pills are really constipating so be sure to get as much fiber and liquid in your diet as possible.  I knew I didn't want to go through this a second time either.  My family history is pretty scary so I knew a recurrence was highly probable.  I had a biopsy in the left breast for suspicious cells a few years earlier which showed signs of precancerous activity.  I was so fortunate the cancer was found early before it got to the lymph nodes.  It was small but very aggressive so I opted for chemotherapy.  They gave me so many options it made my head swim!  I finally asked my oncologist who was a survivor, what she would do if she was in my situation.  I think I already knew the answer, but it helped that she confirmed my gut instinct.  I had CFM which was longer (6mo. of weekly treatments) but easier on my system.  It didn't make me sick... just tired.  I didn't lose all my hair but enough that it looked pathetic so I wore hats and finally a wig too.  My hair is growing back... getting thicker but still only about an inch long.  I had my first haircut today!  It was sticking up and looking silly so I had the back tapered to my head and the rest evened out.  It had an undergrowth like fur!  My stamina is returning - I'm feeling fine and life is good.  Next year at this time I know you will be fine too.  Your kids are the best reasons in the world to get you through the journey.  I'll send up a prayer for you August 5th.

    • Anonymous
      susan
      Jul. 13, 2009

      Hi,

       

      Thanks for the reply.  I think I'm just angry sometimes.  I went for a mammo in Dec. and got the all clear from the Diagnostic Center in January only to find an enlarged lymphnode (which turned out to be several) in early February.  They totally missed it and you can clearly see the cancer and nodes in the mammo (I have them). ...

      RHMLucky777

      Read More

      Hi,

       

      Thanks for the reply.  I think I'm just angry sometimes.  I went for a mammo in Dec. and got the all clear from the Diagnostic Center in January only to find an enlarged lymphnode (which turned out to be several) in early February.  They totally missed it and you can clearly see the cancer and nodes in the mammo (I have them).  Stage 3.  I've already had chemo but after 8 treatments (ACT) the mass is still there (they say they don't know if its diseased tissue, scar tissue or dead tissue).  They recommended a single mastectomy but I opted for both.  Like you, I don't want to do this again.  Thank you for your prayers and info.  It is the recommendations you pointed out that are the most valuable.  You can't find that info anywhere.  I refuse to give up and I'm apprehensive but ready to get rid of this nightmare and put it behind me.  Thanks again!

    • Melanie
      Jul. 15, 2009

      Good grief... I think I'd be mad too!  Unfortunately, what's done is done so try to use your anger toward beating this stupid rotten cancer.  "I'm mad as hell and I'm not taking this lying down!"  I had days I didn't feel like fighting.  It was a huge boost when I decided to let my friends and relatives know what...

      RHMLucky777

      Read More

      Good grief... I think I'd be mad too!  Unfortunately, what's done is done so try to use your anger toward beating this stupid rotten cancer.  "I'm mad as hell and I'm not taking this lying down!"  I had days I didn't feel like fighting.  It was a huge boost when I decided to let my friends and relatives know what I was going through.  I think a lot of women try to fight it alone, but this is not the time to be the strong silent type.  When I emailed my progress reports out, I always got prayers and words of encouragement that carried me through the times when my faith was low.  There was so much more support out there than I imagined.  People I hadn't heard from in years came out of the woodwork to give me positive energy.  People on this website also helped.  They've been where you are and they understand what goes through your head.  Your kids are your number one fan club.  Love is a powerful drug.

       

      Take care Susan.  Life is more precious when you've faced cancer.  It will get better each day. - Melanie

    • Anonymous
      susan
      Jul. 15, 2009

      Thanks Melanie, you are amazing.  I don't plan to give up anytime soon.  This disease has no idea who it is dealing with.

       

      All the best,

       

      Susan

    • TexasOlGal
      Jul. 17, 2009

      Hi. I'm getting the bilateral mastectomy next Tuesday (July 21). Had lumpectomy on June 18th, but radiologist found a second area on the mammogram, it was biopsied at the time, and was positive. (I consider a "positive" pathology report NEGATIVE!!!) So getting them both off next week. Hey, I can handle it. I had a root canal yesterday! LOL! I'm an old lady...

      RHMLucky777

      Read More

      Hi. I'm getting the bilateral mastectomy next Tuesday (July 21). Had lumpectomy on June 18th, but radiologist found a second area on the mammogram, it was biopsied at the time, and was positive. (I consider a "positive" pathology report NEGATIVE!!!) So getting them both off next week. Hey, I can handle it. I had a root canal yesterday! LOL! I'm an old lady (69), but I'm tough (at least as far as anyone else knows). My husband passed away last November, and I was diagnosed in May. Really mad, but know I have to do what I have to do. I'll be tested for the gene (which I'm sure I have, since mother had the breast thing), then have the prophylactic hysterectomy to forego the ovarian thing. They're taking away all my femininity one surgery at a time, but I don't have a man in my life anymore anyway, so who needs it? Yeah, right.

    • PJ Hamel
      Health Guide
      Jul. 17, 2009

      WHOA, what a time you've had! Sounds like you still have a sense of humor - I admire you. Keep fighting. Keep walking forward; no retreat. You'll get through this - stay in touch here. We can help - PJH

    • Anonymous
      susan
      Jul. 17, 2009

      Thank you for your thoughts.  Yes, my kids keep me positive and I plan to get through this with a positive outlook for the future.  Albeit a little scary, I can't wait till its over.  I have too much to live for so I plan to be here for a long time.  Thanks again!

    • Anonymous
      Anonymous
      Jul. 17, 2009

      Thanks much, PJ, and all of you. Yes, I have a sense of humor. (But it sorta hides my fears, anger, and grief sometimes.) I'm still grieving my husband, and now I get to grieve the loss of my female parts. Good grief! I'm serious....grief can be good. I had a UTI 3 months after my husband died, 2 months prior to the cancer diagnosis. Went to...

      RHMLucky777

      Read More

      Thanks much, PJ, and all of you. Yes, I have a sense of humor. (But it sorta hides my fears, anger, and grief sometimes.) I'm still grieving my husband, and now I get to grieve the loss of my female parts. Good grief! I'm serious....grief can be good. I had a UTI 3 months after my husband died, 2 months prior to the cancer diagnosis. Went to the primary care doctor, who immediately wanted to prescribe antidepressants. I told him there was such a thing as normal human mourning on the loss of a life partner, and I wanted to travel that journey without additional chemicals. He got snippy, said, "well, it is your choice, but . . ."   and I said, "Yes, it's my choice." And when I left that office, I knew I'd have a new doctor soon! I went to my diabetes doctor for my usual 6-month checkup 2 weeks later, told him I needed a new doc. He asked if I had any medical concerns that needed immediate attention. For some reason, I said that it had been a long time since I'd had a mammogram. (This comment was divinely inspired, I'm convinced.) He ordered the mammo and the rest is history. Well, it will be history after Tuesday, when the boobs get cut off! But I can and will handle what I have to do. Did pre-op check-in today, and sorta told my sad tale. The little nurse said, "Hang in there!" I said, "After Tuesday, I won't be hanging at all!!!" You youngsters don't know what I'm talking about! LOL!

    • Anonymous
      susan
      Jul. 17, 2009

      Wow, that's a lot to handle but I realize we women are pretty tough.  You can take all of that stuff away from us surgical and we are still women, better than ever.  I plan to use this experience as a kick to remind me how precious life is and how much better life can be post cancer.  Looking forward to getting there and wishing you all the best...

      RHMLucky777

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      Wow, that's a lot to handle but I realize we women are pretty tough.  You can take all of that stuff away from us surgical and we are still women, better than ever.  I plan to use this experience as a kick to remind me how precious life is and how much better life can be post cancer.  Looking forward to getting there and wishing you all the best in your journey.  You can do it!  You'll be in my thoughts!

    • Melanie
      Jul. 18, 2009

      Whoa!  You have been dealt a pretty nasty hand.  Way too many losses in such a short time.  I hope there are people you know and love close by who can fill the role of cheerleaders.  Just know that the women here are all rooting for you.  I have a friend, Pat, who was diagnosed with BC.  In the middle of her treatments...

      RHMLucky777

      Read More

      Whoa!  You have been dealt a pretty nasty hand.  Way too many losses in such a short time.  I hope there are people you know and love close by who can fill the role of cheerleaders.  Just know that the women here are all rooting for you.  I have a friend, Pat, who was diagnosed with BC.  In the middle of her treatments her husband was diagnosed with cancer as well and he passed away very shortly thereafter.  Her faith and her friends carried her through the darkest days.  Pat is healthy and happy again... life does get better.  It's okay to cry and get mad and feel rotten because the things happening to you aren't fair... but just know it will get better.  Every day is a gift.

    • PJ Hamel
      Health Guide
      Jul. 18, 2009

      Melanie, Susan, "Texas" - You are all amazing. WE are all amazing!!! We're survivors, and we ROCK ON. (And yes, I do know how they hang... and hang, and hang...) Wink PJH

  • Anonymous
    Anonymous
    Mar. 31, 2009

    I had a prophylatic bilateral mastectomy on March 20th this year.My entire maternal side of the family all passed away between the ages of 35 to 52. I had a Left breast dcis, radiation, then uterine cancer also followed up with radiation. Now after testing positive brca2 mutation, I elected ,with the aid of all my dr's to do this. I am just afraid that now...

    RHMLucky777

    Read More

    I had a prophylatic bilateral mastectomy on March 20th this year.My entire maternal side of the family all passed away between the ages of 35 to 52. I had a Left breast dcis, radiation, then uterine cancer also followed up with radiation. Now after testing positive brca2 mutation, I elected ,with the aid of all my dr's to do this. I am just afraid that now I will have the cancer reappear somewhere else. I wonder if I made a mistake. I don't have any psycological problemsyet,but I'm sure I will. I would like to talk to someone who has had the same elective surgery and feels good about it. I am 57 years old and all of this started in March 2001.Feeling alone. Mary Lou

  • Ms Tiffany
    Sep. 07, 2008

    ...Your doing well. I'm sorry you have a friend going through all this for the 3rd time but you have eachother to lean on. Take care

  • Maria Gifford
    Sep. 05, 2008

    Hi Melanie,

     

    Good to hear from you, but even better to hear that your surgery went well and that you're home recovering comfortably. Your posts are always an inspiration to read -- you have such a kind and positive tone to all you say. Thank you for sharing your experiences with us. To return the favor, see these related SharePosts:

     ...

    RHMLucky777

    Read More

    Hi Melanie,

     

    Good to hear from you, but even better to hear that your surgery went well and that you're home recovering comfortably. Your posts are always an inspiration to read -- you have such a kind and positive tone to all you say. Thank you for sharing your experiences with us. To return the favor, see these related SharePosts:

     

    The "Sisterhood" of Breast Cancer 

    http://www.healthcentral.com/breast-cancer/c/9009/27841/sisterhood

     

    Strength of the Sisterhood

    http://www.healthcentral.com/breast-cancer/c/78/33371/sisterhood

     

    Rest well, take good care of yourself, and keep us posted on how you're doing.

     

    Best,

    Maria