Phew! I made it a whole month post-mastectomy! I have been pleasantly surprised with how smoothly things have gone to date.
That first week was hard. The drains were uncomfortable, the numbness was really prominent. After the drains came out it all seemed to be relatively easy from there. I was fortunate to have no issues with my incisions, they have healed well without any infection. It was challenging to not sit and poke at the scabs when they were just sitting there but I managed. It was the days before and after the drain removal that were hardest for me emotionally. Bandages were off, incisions looked rough, and I was just drained.
My seromas (fluid build up) are there and aren’t seeming to be getting any bigger or smaller so we are just watching to make sure I don’t develop an infection. These came up after having my drains removed (since the drains were draining that fluid, makes sense). I’ll tell you to feel the ‘sloshing’ sensation sure is odd, but having the fluid there makes the absence of the breast tissue less noticeable.
I am grateful that I can say that other than the numbness causing a raw sensation in the armpit I have absolutely no pain or discomfort. I have been able to gradually increase my walking distance and stamina, I am able to reach over my head, and I am so happy to say that as of week 3 I have been able to have normal hugs with my kids. I cannot even describe how good that feels!
I am still a little more protective of my chest when the kids and I are snuggling on the couch reading a book or watching a show, but a flat pillow or folded blanket is all I feel I need. It’s more so to protect the incisions as they continue to heal over the next few weeks. I was happy to be able to have the kids “decorate” my scars this past weekend to introduce them to something that is a little less scary overall. This caused an influx of emotions from both kiddos, but they did have a ton of fun coloring away.
This past four weeks has felt simultaneously like a slow-moving snail and has gone by in a flash. This continues to be my experience throughout the journey. The moments when you are in them seem to drag on forever and then looking back has finished in a blink.
I was trying to patiently wait for my pathology results. I was relieved to be called by my surgeon on Friday last week to tell me that they did in fact get clear margins and my lymph nodes were clear! I am “cancer free” in the sense that it has officially been removed from my body – YAY! I am not a big crier, and it almost felt like a twilight zone experience at first – dazed and confused. Receiving the results without a big ‘to-do’ of going into the clinic perhaps impacts my reaction…
I am relieved and yet still holding a half breath. We need to still get through radiation, surgery to remove my ovaries, and then reconstruction down the road. It hasn’t been easy and we are making the most of the experience as we go. Bring it on world, haven’t stopped me yet.