Thursday, June 23, 2011

Drain, Drain, Go Away

I am finally "drain-free"!  

As my surgeon took the last one out today, I said to him, "That wasn't so bad."  And he answered dead-pan, "Well, unfortunately, you have had enough experience with them."  He's right....I feel like a sieve.  I have more "holes" in my torso than a slice of swiss cheese!  Just kidding, but there are quite a few of them; eight to be exact.  Four from the first surgery and four from the last surgery.  Getting comfortable is still a feat of endurance!  All around my chest area is so much swelling plus the swelling on my sides, that I kinda feel like the Michelin Man...not such a good look.

My surgeon has always called the need for skin grafts the "Plan B" (for when your breast skin fails you as mine did).  He was so proud that he had not had to go to "Plan B" with any of his patients.  Well, he will remember me, for sure, as you never forget your "first".  I did tell him that I could have done without being the first of his to have to go this far, but I am so glad the option was there. 

He also officially declared me "cleared for reconstruction".  The skin has taken well and after a couple weeks of letting the swelling go down and letting it "sit"; my body will be ready for him to get back to the job of reconstruction.  What a relief to now be at this point!

Tomorrow I go back to the "chemo ballroom".  I am so glad that the nausea from the anesthesia is gone.  I don't know how I could have walked INTO the ballroom feeling nauseous.  I am still not looking forward to it, though.  My oncologist told me that this initial dose of Herceptin (the three week dose) will be a little longer the first time; and then shorter after that.  Although I would love not to have to have more chemo medication, this is another layer of protection.  After coming this far, there is no quitting allowed now!  I just have to "put on my big girl pants" and get on with it!

A  good friend recently told me to envision this as climbing a mountain.  But not a "straight-up climb"...rather a circular climb slowly to the top.  This has really helped me in envisioning my recovery from here on.  And I can do the circular climb rather well.  It was the straight-up arduous climb I was trying to do that was getting too difficult.

It will take a couple weeks, but I should be feeling much better soon.  And my husband and I have planned a vacation for the middle of August, which we are looking forward to enjoying with a group of our friends.  OK, things are looking up.  I'll just keep climbing up that circular pathway. 

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