I greatly appreciate your continued prayers and positive thoughts. I apologize for not posting here earlier. I have been in a great deal of pain and could not use my computer.
I was actually able to make a few postings from the hospital on facebook via my phone. However, it was too difficult to use my phone to access my blog. And, I prefer not to provide much detail on facebook. I post basics like – having surgery, released from hospital etc. But, I can’t imagine getting into any great length in that forum about my condition.
So, my condition . . . I can say, unfortunately, that I have never experienced this much pain in my life. This surgery has left me in more pain than I ever imagined possible. That being said, I can, oddly enough walk around my house (albeit slowly) and get up and down my stairs. But, I can not sit or lie down comfortably at all. I have four surgical sites. These sites go from the middle of my back (near my spine, left side) then under left arm, then left breast (where I now have a newly reconstructed breast – quite impressive – I mean I was stunned to see it the first time, couldn’t believe how real it looked – I just don’t know how they do it) and then the next surgical site is on the right side where the surgeon had to replace the expander.
When I woke up in the recovery room the first thing that I noticed was that my right side (where the first expander had collapsed or ruptured) was not causing me pain like before the surgery – after it collapsed, it caused a great deal of discomfort and so I was very relieved – even in the recovery room, where you are usually in a bit of pain, that it had been replaced. It was a great feeling to feel the pain in my arm gone, such a relief.
Well, since I have returned home from the hospital the pain in my left side (front and back) is pretty out of control. The last four nights have been the worst. I have drains that come out of my back (these are normal for surgery and are temporary – allows the body to drain fluid away from the surgery sites and to heal). Anyway, you have to watch the drains to make sure you don’t tug on them or let them fall or hang free from your body as the weight of the drains can pull on the tubes that go to the surgical site.
I had drains with the last surgery, of course. And, I managed these without any problems. They were just an annoyance, a little painful, but, really, no big deal at all. Well, for some reason this time – maybe because the drains are in a different place, I don’t know – I am having a lot of trouble with it. I am not sure though really, if it is the drains that are causing trouble or that I am just more troubled by the drains because I am in more pain than last time. Who knows. But, one of the drains got pulled on pretty good about three days ago, it got caught on my clothing and well, since I have been having shooting pains anyway, I didn’t notice that the drain was the cause on this occasion.
So, I don’t know, maybe the drain got moved, not sure. But, I have been in so much pain, it really has been just very, very bad.
I have constant pain which is bearable and what I would expect after surgery. But, then I have this gasping, really horrific pain that comes on and completely debilitates me, not to mention my caregiver. I have freaked out more than one friend at this point. My parents have been here the past few nights. This is just awful, they are up with me, can’t do anything but watch me scream out. Last night was a doozy. We’ve been up all night essentially. My poor parents. My Dad was very upset that I would not go to the hospital. But, I know I won’t feel any better there and going into the emergency room – well, they wouldn’t know what to do with a plastic surgery issue. I have plenty of pain pills here, including morphine – but, it all makes me pretty sick. I have some pain pills I can take and these drop it down a bit, but, that is all I can get out of it.
I have a pain management doctor – on vacation.
I have a primary care doctor – on vacation.
I have an oncologist – on vacation.
My surgeon, however, is still in town (she leaves tonight for a week). So, I see her today. We’ll see what she has to say about my pain level.
Let’s see what else, I don’t know. I am just suffering and I guess this is just how it goes. But, no one I know who has been through this procedure has complained of this kind of discomfort, they all think it is unusual. I am starting to wonder if something was left inside of me. Is that even possible? I mean could something have been left in my back? I am just in so much pain.
The pain seems to be worst at night, I look forward to 5:30 am everyday as that seems to be when I get a bit of a break from it. And that doesn’t even make sense. Except that I am up, moving a bit.
I have a good attitude, I really do. I had a great attitude going into surgery (at least I thought I did). I say this because I keep hearing: “your attitude about the surgery makes a big difference in how you feel” and “so much of it is mental”. I think if I hear anything like that from anyone again an alien will tear its way out of my body and bite off their head.
Sounds pretty gross and graphic, sorry. But, seriously, I can’t take this pain . . . or people telling me it is somehow in my head simply because it is not normal.
And, now, I am sounding ungrateful and bitchy and rude. But, I just am in so much pain all of the time. It is like two levels I go through – one level is the constant one – the one that I can deal with and the other level is the stabbing pains that go on sometimes for a few hours – almost always at night and after I have been lying down. It is the stabbing pains that are just beyond-belief-get-me-a-gun-put-me-out-of-my-misery kind of periods – sometimes lasting an hour, sometimes two or three. Last night the longest stint was nearly three hours. Popping pain pills, popping anti-nausea pills in order to handle the pain pills and all of that really not relieving the situation.
So, there we are, I’ve told the grim truth. I know of some people who will read this and be disappointed in me that I am not coping with the pain better, sucking it up so to speak. But, I just can’t, it is so bad. And I want this written here so that someone who is considering doing what I have had done will give some thought to not doing it.
If I could do things differently, I would not have had this surgery. No way.
I find it disgusting the focus that is placed on replacing your boobs, the very boobs that tried to kill me. The emphasis on having a new, improved, great “rack” is sick. Not once was the option of not having reconstructive surgery ever presented to me. I have since found out that surgeons are supposed to present that to you. But, I think the presumption is that most women would be pretty unreceptive to that idea – not having breasts. And, perhaps I would not have been receptive either, I don’t know.
But, I do know that this whole time I have been going through this cancer roller coaster, that I always felt very uncomfortable going from chemotherapy and oncology appointments – you know, the life saving stuff – to plastic surgeons. I saw three different plastic surgeons. They are all competent and skilled. But, I have to say, it has been a creepy road – this plastic surgery stuff. There is something creepy about a surgeon basically telling you that when they are done with you, you will look so much better than before, that you will be glad you had cancer. That is the feeling I have had for some time.
I know now that I should have trusted my gut, that what I was feeling meant I should have run right out of that door.
I am not saying that I would not have ever wanted to have reconstruction. But, I just want to live. I want all of my focus to be about that, living, surviving and enjoying the life that I now have.
I can’t imagine if I were to have a recurrence in the next year and to have to look back and know that instead of spending the past year getting new breasts and suffering the pain of all of that, that I could have just enjoyed being well . . . well, you see where I am going.
I am just tired of pain, tired of being sick and tired of being afraid.
I can’t make any of my cancer fighting foods since surgery. I know it sounds nutty, but, that scares me. I didn’t eat for a week after surgery and now that I am eating again, well, let’s put it this way, it isn’t what I would want to put in my body on a regular basis. But, it is food and it is the food that I am able to manage.
The cancer I had (had, had, had, had, HAD), I know it is past tense. I know that. I feel that, I believe that. I also know that with 50% of the cases it comes back within the first year out. I hate talking about statistics, especially crappy ones. My point is just, I don’t want to look back and say this is how I spent my time – getting new breasts, being in pain, not being able to go out and enjoy my life, work, produce, create. I miss all of that. And, statistically, well, no, I am not going to say it. I just wish I had not had this surgery. i wish I had never had the expanders placed in my chest.
Well, I guess i better go do something else now while I am in this window of less pain. Every day I keep thinking that maybe today will be the day that I don’t have the stabbing episodes. Maybe it will be. Maybe tonight I will sleep. Wow, that would be amazing.
Please pray for me that today is that day.
Thank you for your continued prayers and positive thoughts.