Sunday, December 30, 2007

2 weeks post surgery and still in a funk (and a drain!)

In about 2 months time, I went from getting a suspect mammogram to a mastectomy and the beginnings of reconstruction. A part of my body was cut off. One of the drains is still in, 2 weeks after the surgery. I have taken so much antibiotic that I smell like sulfur.

I have worn the same clothes for 2 weeks. A woman from the breast cancer support group thought to give me a “mastectomy camisole”. This is the only piece of clothing that I feel secure in. There is a pocket for the drain. It is soft and gently hugs my skin. I wash it about every other day, and then put it right back on. It is like a comfort blanket.

I take a shower every day, but I don’t enjoy it. My drain hangs, precipitously, at my side. If it dangles, the irritation and soreness gets worse. Once the tubing got hung on the doorknob – real pain. And I have to sort of look at the still mangled looking area where my right breast used to be.

I hope the drain will be removed tomorrow. They tell me I have to have 2 days of under 30 cc’s of drainage. Yesterday there was 28 cc’s. But it looks like I’m draining more today – this morning there was 18 already. I’m trying to stay still, do nothing, anything to stop the drainage and get the damn thing out.

I am uncomfortable with the “aggressiveness” with which my cancer has been treated. My cancer sites were small and early stage. But because there were 2 separate sites, mastectomy seemed to be the only option they would give me. My pathology report, as far as I understand now, looks good. The margins were clean. The invasive cancer was only 9 mm at its widest – 1 mm short of warranting the chemotherapy where you lose your hair. I have yet to meet with the oncologist. I’m in no hurry. I expect that she will want to put me on the estrogen-blocking drug, and I’m not keen on the idea. My cancer cells were only 10% responsive to estrogen, which they say is low. I've heard that the estrogen-blocking drug causes weight gain, sleeplessness, and aching bones. Just what I need.

Basically, I want my life back, and I want to have more say in what happens to me. I want the drain out!

At this point, I’m not even sure I want reconstruction – a silicon breast and more surgery. Yet the expander was put in. I didn’t have enough time to consider all of this.

I wish that more women defiantly wore their breast cancer instead of opting for fake “boobs”. I wish that I felt more comfortable walking around with just 1 breast, and not feeling like I have to “cover it up”. I actually like the feel of the no-breast side of me now. There is no need for a bra, it feels a little free-ing.