Drain free, as free as the tubes go…

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Oh what a feeling. My last tube was removed today and I am elated!!!!

I had my first followup appointment with the Reconstructive Surgeon today at the Juravinski Cancer Centre. It was a quick appointment. I didn’t actually see my surgeon, but his intern instead. I had met her in hospital so I knew she was familiar with my chart.

Before being examined I was asked “how I was doing?”. I said I thought I was doing well given I was still just under two weeks since having had surgery. We reviewed my long list of meds and I asked to have a less potent pain killer prescribed. I don’t like taking pills and now that I am getting stronger I wanted a milder form of pain killer. We discussed my remaining drain and I told her that I had been measuring and recording the output and for two consecutive days there was less than 20cc’s of blood. She agreed that the drain could now come out. I lay back on the examining table and felt the pull and pressure in my chest that happens whenever I lie back. “You’ve experienced a lot of trauma on your left side; from the removal of the tumour, to the insertion of tissue expanders, the bleed that we had to deal with after surgery and general swelling involved with a mastectomy and sentinel lymph node dissection. It will take a lot of time until you look and feel somewhat normal again”. At this point I just wanted the fu#king drain OUT! Before I knew it, the nurse had cut the sutures and was tugging on the tube. Unlike the drain on the right side, this one didn’t come out easily. It was stuck. The drain had started to adhere to the tissues in my chest and so when they tugged it, more than just the drain came out. I won’t get any more graphic than that. The tube is out but I still will not be able to shower for awhile as the hole in my chest is bleeding and seeping crud. But I am drain free and that feels WONDERFUL!!!!!!!

The next thing to be removed were the bandages across the incisions. I have two long incisions that run from the middle of my armpits across my chest to my breast bone. I didn’t know that these were going to be removed. From everything I had read, the steri-strips would eventually come off on their own. Apparently not. The intern lifted the edge of the bandage on one side and in one long pull, peeled off everything that covered my incisions. I wasn’t prepared for that. Not how it felt and definitely not how it looked. The incisions are horrific looking. I can’t imagine how this red, puckered, Frankenstein looking mess could possibly ever evolve into something that is supposed to somehow replace the breasts that I lost. It is unfathomable. It is a lot to take in. It is a lot to process.

Tonight I am celebrating being tube/drain free. That is a huge relief for me and I am so thankful to be at the stage I am at. It is going to take some time for me to get over the shock of my new appearance and I need to keep reminding myself that this is just the first step in a year long process of reconstruction. Will I look like I once did…NO, but I will look like me, just a different me.


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President of As You Like It Marketing & Communications Inc. Award winning speaker and author. Breast cancer fighter and blogger. I’m sharing my journey…the good, the bad and the ugly. Hoping to help anyone else that has been touched by breast cancer be it you or someone you know or love.

3 Comments Leave a comment

  1. Hi Patti! Saw your Facebook post about your blog. We haven’t been in touch lately but I just wanted to let you know wishing you all the best and I’m along for the ride! Cancer sucks but you are a warrior!! Your wit, strength and determination will prevail. XO


  2. Delighted you are drain free – trust me all those ugly incisions will heal and not be so upsetting to look at, they are still just brand new. Get it though that it is a real shocker at first.
    Hoping your pain level is more manageable now – think of you every day.


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