Saturday, July 16, 2011

10 Days

It's been 10 days since surgery.  10 days since I lost my breasts.  I don't really feel any different.  I don't feel any less feminine and I doubt anyone is really noticing for the most part.  Though, to be fair, I haven't been out and about much.  Today, in fact, was my first real outing.  I first went to the cancer center for a blood draw and then to the last Harry Potter movie with my husband and daughter.

Getting dressed for the movie was a little harrowing since a new shirt I had bought before surgery didn't fit right now.  Since I still have all 4 drains, they take up a lot of space around my abdomen area and the shirt wouldn't button around them.  I feel like they are really noticeable but, probably few other people notice.  I just look sort of bulky around that area of my body - not to mention the whole "boobless" thing.  However, I doubt anyone is noticing the lack of breasts, if they are going to notice anything, it's going to be that I look like I'm smuggling something in under my shirt.  I bet the people at the movie theater really wanted to frisk me for contraband candy and drinks!  Boy would they have gotten a surprise!

At this point, I'm not in too much pain.  I do take pain pills every morning and then once or twice during the day.  I don't *need* them at this point, but since I don't have to go anywhere or do anything it's nice to be comfortable.  I'm also taking the nausea pills since the pain pills seem to make me a little sick to my stomach and, unfortunately, this seems to really hit me in the car.  I've thrown up in my husband's car twice now in the past week.  I don't recommend that.  My husband doesn't recommend it either.

The pain I'm having at this point are from three things.  One is the irritation of the drains which just hurt and are annoying.  As I start to move around more, they pull more and become more of an annoyance.  I think I'll be able to get one or two out next week though so I'm really excited.

If you've never had drains before (I have, unfortunately), they are not fun!  It's a grenade shaped device.  Part of the drain tubing is left in your body after surgery to...well, drain the fluids that you don't want left in your body after surgery.  You have to empty these drains twice a day (in the beginning, we are down to once a day now) and then measure the output.  Trust me when I tell you that it's gross.  Really gross.  There are things about your body and things that come from your body that you truly just don't want to know about.  Really!  And the array of colors that you find in the drain are...well, disturbing.  So, each time after you empty a drain, you measure the output and record it on a grid for the doctor and then you squeeze the drain before closing it so it works as a suction to suck out the unwanted fluids from your body.  This is the third surgery that I've had drains.  My in home nurse (AKA my husband) empties the drains and I don't look.  Though, after this surgery, I have looked some.  I've gotten braver - either that, or the pain pills have just made me stupid.  I'm not sure.

Once the amount in the drains is below about 20 cc a day, and the colors are clearer (it starts out dark red...ugh), then you are usually ready to have the drains removed.  I was told I would have drains in as long as 5 weeks!!  I have 3 now that are under 20 cc a day so I'm really hoping that I'll get at least 1-2 out next week at the doctor visit.  Happy Dance!  Now, taking the drain out is not supposed to hurt - it's described as feeling like a snake coming out of your body (such a comforting image) but the drains I've had pulled out hurt like hell.  A LOT!  The first time I had a drain removed after my stomach surgery last year, I was screaming in the doctor's office.  They said, "Hmmm, that's weird, it doesn't usually hurt...."  Whatever!  It was agony!  Needless to say, I'm not looking forward to having these drains pulled out, but I'll just be happy when they are gone!

Now that I've thoroughly grossed you out about drains (and trust me when I tell you to NOT Google "surgical drain" - TRUST ME - just DON'T!), I'll move on to nipple pain.  The second source of my pain at this point is nipple pain.  Now, if you are paying attention you are pretty confused by now because you know that I no longer HAVE nipples!  A-HA, you got me!  However, I am having "phantom pains."  My husband and I talked about this before surgery and wondered if it would happen.  Just like a person that loses a limb but still feels pain in it - I am feeling my pain from the incisions as pain in my nipples!  I'm not in a lot of pain from the incisions and most of my chest is horribly numb (so disconcerting!) - but the pain I do feel from the breast removal is registered in my body as nipple pain - little shooting pains through my nipple!  It's not all that weird until I remember that I no longer have a nipple to feel pain in.

However, the main source of my pain right now is from under my arm.  Especially my left arm where the lymph nodes were taken.  It's very sore.  I really can't reach with either arm, I can't pick things up off the floor or take things off of shelves. I can't scratch my back or even the top of my head.  In fact, I don't have much movement in my left arm at all.  It hurts a lot.  Try putting on deodorant when you can't lift your arm!  Ha!  Seriously, go try it right now and let me know how that works out for you.  So, not only do I have the drains pulling but I also have this pain under the arm.  I can only describe it as a pulling - so that whenever I try to move my arm, it's like a sharp agonizing pulling pain under my arm that extends down my side and then down my arm.  I was told I'll need physical therapy after I get the drains out to make sure I get the full motion of my arm back.  I think I was told that they took 4 nodes which is not very many - but those 4 sure make a difference!

All in all, I think for 10 days out, I'm doing really well.  I'm not really missing my breasts.  It's weird to not have breasts, that's for sure.  But, it's okay too.  I haven't really missed them, but then, I haven't really been living life either - I've mostly been at home on pain pills.  So, I might have a different perspective when I'm "sober" and out in the world.

In the meantime, though, I'll stick with my haze of pain pill happiness. Breasts?  What breasts?  Who needs them?

Boob Count = 107

1 comment:

  1. It sounds like you are doing very well , but I have to say that YES !! you totally grossed me out on the drain part but it was interesting hahaha , I love to read your blog and fallow your journey ,Thanks for blogging :)