Back tracking a bit as I’ve missed a few days…..
Tuesday night was the night before surgery. It was 6 days ago but it feels like a month has passed. I was able to squeeze in a quick evening ride on the mountain bike with some friends followed by a fun evening out at Tomatillo, my favorite Mexican joint in Dobbsferry. I had gone back and forth on wanting to keep the night to just G and I but being surrounded by good people and yummy food was the best way to go.
I had to check into the hospital at 7:30 Wednesday morning for a bunch of pre-op stuff. Some I’m sure are routine for every surgery but since I had 3 surgeries planned there was a few other things that needed to be done. My surgeons had to “mark” my breasts with permanent marker to use as a guide during the procedure; they also had to inject my left breast with radioactive die that will help them during the lymph node dissection. This along with another die they injected during the surgery made my fluids turn aqua blue. Apparently my face would be a hint of blue as well…nobody got to see that though. Damn, I was hoping for my own Avatar moment…. Surgery was on schedule for 9:00am. Still, all of this felt so surreal. Things start to get pretty fuzzy after I took the velum so really the last thing I remember is G giving me a big hug and kiss and me climbing up on the operating table to receive my “margarita”. This is what the anesthesiologist called my cocktail that she prepared for me. Next thing I knew, 9 hours had passed ( can’t remember the last time I slept for 9 hours without waking up) and I am in this room hearing voices all around me and people holding my hand and stroking my face. It was Dr “B” and the nurses in the recovery room. I was told the surgery went really well but that it was a lot longer than they had expected. That could only mean one thing. The cancer had spread to my lymph nodes and they had to go back and take more. All I felt at that moment was the tears dropping one by one, rolling under my chin and thinking “oh my GOD no. This has to be a bad dream. I’m still sleeping from the drugs “. I felt this sweet kiss on my forehead as I look over to see G right next to me. Our journey has just reached a whole new level. On a scale of 1-10, “it goes to eleven”.
The next few days ran together as I was heavily medicated, ah…narcotics are a wonderful thing. I remember feeling so tired and sore. The medicine helped but I could still feel the pressure in my chest and under my arms. It was as if I had just done a million pushups with a small child sitting on my back. I had not wanted visitors and really could not talk on the phone, so I just spent the time dozing in and out and trying to build up my strength so I can get ready for the next step. I have received so many wonderful messages from people- I realize I may not even be able to get back to all of them, but I want to thank you all for the beautiful words and the loving energy that I felt every minute.
I thought for sure I would be able to leave the hospital by Saturday but that did not work out as planned. Through some innocent miscommunication, I missed my 4 am pain meds and woke up at 5:30 feeling like I was going to throw up. Just when I thought that was the worst of it, the pain came on like a freight train. I could feel my heart beat in ever part of my body. I thought my chest muscles were going to crush me. The pain had taken over and it was so hard to get back to some sort of peace. If my doctor had not entered the room when she did, I don’t know how I was going to make it through another minute. Minutes felt like hours but soon enough I had drugs being pumped into my veins as quick as my body would accept them. I don’t remember much of the rest of the day as I tried to sleep the memory away and tried to find my peace again.
Sunday, I woke up feeling like a whole new person. Still sore, still tired but there was a sense of calm about me and all the nurses and family could see the huge difference. I was ready to head home!
I am home now. It’s just me and my guy and oh how nice it felt to be back in our bed. It takes a bit to find a new routine but so far so good and the first night home was a relatively uneventful success. I am not sure if the serenity I feel today is the drugs they have me on every minute or if it is the incredible support that I have received through these first steps. I would like to believe that it is the positive energy that surrounds me and the love that continues to be with me. I could not and cannot face this alone and I’m so blessed to not have to. This road is going to be a long one but “we got this one”!