Just got back from seeing my surgeon again at the Juravinski Cancer Centre. I had seen him last Wednesday when he tried to drain a large hematoma that has formed on my left side. Today I went back and was examined by two Residents and the surgeon. The hematoma which is the size of a large banana has not softened or reduced in size.
“The last thing I want to do is take you back into the O.R. to remove this” he said. I agreed. The thought of more surgery has made me very anxious. I did NOT want to go back into hospital.
“Let’s wait another week to see if it softens at all. I know it is painful but if you can handle another week I’d like to wait.”
That was just fine with me. I have become accustomed to the pain and tightness that all the swelling and the incisions have caused. My skin has been pulled so tight with the excess swelling that it is raw in spots. The tissue expanders that sit under my chest muscles are being pushed into the top of my ribs so I can’t even take a deep breath. But I will gladly deal with all of that if I can avoid having more surgery. Hopefully my body will start to absorb the excess fluid and blood so that I can start with the reconstruction part of this journey. The surgeon can’t inject more fluid into the tissue expanders if I still have this much swelling. If only I could transfer the swelling I have into the areas that I need! Instead I have large globes under my arms that I’d love to shift to where I need breasts.
I am still not accustomed to the site or shape of my body since the surgery. Picking out clothes to wear is a challenge. I need tops that I can either step into or that button up the front as pulling clothes over my head is still a challenge as stretching my arms up that high hurts. No matter the outfit I wear, the reflection I see still shocks me. You become accustomed to one image and what you now see is something completely different. It is hard to process. Your entire body looks and feels very different. Even your balance and posture is thrown off. There are a lot of adjustments that need to be made after a bilateral mastectomy. Some physical, a lot psychological. My life before cancer was focused on my career. My work was what filled my days and gave me a sense of purpose. I was good at what I did and I loved doing it! Now my days are filled with doctor’s appointments, pain management and trying to regain my strength. Very different from what my days were before cancer. My purpose now is to heal and recover as quickly as possible and I am working very hard to do so. I am extremely fortunate to have such incredible medical care and even more fortunate to have the love and support from family and friends. I am now 4 weeks into my journey and have many months ahead of me, but I know that even though I may have some bad days, there are many more good days to look forward to. So can I handle another week, he asked? Hell, I can handle anything you throw at me doc.
I’m in it to win it.
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.