Two weeks ago today I had my double mastectomy surgery. On one hand it feels like only yesterday but on the other it feels like a lifetime ago. It has been a rough two weeks but each day I am a little stronger and a little more mobile. I can now brush my teeth, lift a coffee mug and cut my own meat. Woohoo. I have had to depend on family and friends for everything. And when I say everything I mean EVERYTHING! From helping me in and out of bed to meal preparation to organizing and administering meds (six different pills all at different times day and night). I have had to rely on others to help with the drains, bandages and personal grooming. From washing my hair and getting dressed to grocery shopping and meal preparation to laundry and pharmacy runs. I’ve even had wonderful neighbors who have come to walk my dog! Looking after me has been a full time job.
In all the literature I was given from the hospital and breast clinic to all the articles I have read on line, nowhere did it stress just how completely incapacitated I would be after the surgery and how much help I would need. I have had to depend on family and friends for everything and there is no possible way I could have managed without their support.
Only once did a nurse come to the house after I was home even though I was told I would have a visit everyday for as long as I needed. The average person would be overwhelmed with all the “nursing skills” required post-op. I am so fortunate that in my team of family and friends, I have a retired nurse. She has been instrumental in looking after all my “medical needs” and there have been many. She has remained calm when I had a fever, was gentle and efficient when my drains were leaking and causing me grief and she was comforting and reassuring when I was faced with the sight of the incisions for the first time. I can’t imagine how someone who has had no medical training could monitor, clean, drain and bandage all the surgical sites and tubes that I have had to deal with since my surgery.
I am not someone who asks for help. I go out of my way to try to do things on my own. I don’t like to rely on others. In this instance I had no choice and I have accepted and appreciated all the helping hands. I urge anyone who is preparing for surgery or treatment to really look at how much help you might need and to make sure you have reliable people to step in. If you don’t then speak to your doctors and get a referral for some in-home private care or consider staying at a convalescent home until you get over the hump.
I am no Wonder Woman. I could not have managed as well as I have without all the support that I have received. My caregivers are the real heros in my story. And I can’t thank you all enough. xoxox
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.