Here is the rundown of my visit today with the new surgeon. Mostly she recommended the same as the previous doctor. I asked her to go over the results of the chest x-ray and ultrasound. The chest x-ray was normal, meaning no abnormalities showed up, so that was good. The ultrasound shows a lot of cysts, more in the right, which has the lump, than the left. They are not concerned about the cysts and said it is normal to have some cysts. The blood work indicated no problems with my liver. This is also a good thing. I asked about a bone scan and she said normally they don’t do one unless the lymph shows cancer after the surgery but she agreed to go ahead and schedule me for one before surgery.
We talked about reconstruction and in fact before coming in to see me they contacted the plastic surgeon and convinced him to try and work me in to see him today since my home was no less than one hour away and since I was already there and the plastic surgeon was down the street. He agreed and told them to send me over as soon as I was done at the breast clinic.
I had hopes the reconstruction could all be done at the same time the mastectomy was being done. However, the doctor explained his reasoning for wanting to do it in steps, and his reasoning made a lot of sense. So I will be looking at two to three surgeries all together, the last will be very minor and only require a local anesthesia. The second will be to insert the implant and to also do a bit of a lift and tuck on the other breast. During the first surgery is when they will do the mastectomy and also remove some of the sentinel lymph nodes to check for cancer. Then the plastic surgeon will come in and insert an expander and tidy up what is left of the breast. Over the next several weeks I will see the plastic surgeon once a week for him to check my healing as well as to slowly start adding saline solution into the expander to stretch the skin so there will be room for the implant.
He said I will be in pain after the surgery, and my arm will be sore. I gather movement will be difficult. If I had to work in an office where I had to drive to and from or had a job that was very active then he said they would want me off work for one month. Since I work from home in front of a computer that requires very little activity he could see after a couple days of recovery, how I might be able to sit for an hour the first time and do some work and then a couple hours the next day and slowly build up until I’m able to work all day, but I would be tired and I would need to rest. I will talk with my boss about this and see what he thinks whether he is willing for me to slowly build up to working all day or if he would prefer I just take a week or two to recover fully before working. I could always receive calls and talk someone through anything they might need from me. The main thing is I do not want to jeopardize my recovery.
This Saturday I will be seeing my Naturopath and I will bring her up to speed on what the surgeons have told me. I had a hair analysis done so we could get a good read on whether I am lacking any nutrients my body needs. We’ll be discussing that Saturday as well.
I felt good about both doctors today. Neither one of them sugar coated anything. They also fully understood my concerns. I did find out that I would not need to request any changes in the anesthesia. Their normal procedure is to use regional or local anesthesia and as little general anesthesia as possible. Part of the reason is because they do the surgeries at the Health Center and not the hospital and they do not keep patients over night. They do not have the facilities or personnel for overnight care. What will most likely happen for me is I will need to be there by 7am so they can perform all the prep work along with injecting the dye that is used to help find the sentinel lymph nodes. Then perform the surgery around 9 or 10am. They said the surgery would not take long and I would go home that same day.
I will have to stop all my vitamins and herbs a week before surgery. They said some of them can cause issues with bleeding. I read this about garlic and I think one or two others I take.
I do not have a date yet for the surgery. I should know something within the next week. Since they have to coordinate two surgeons’ schedules it can get a bit difficult. They normally are able to schedule surgery within two to six weeks.
It was suggested I see my family doctor to find out what services are available for in-home assistance. The first week or two might be the hardest and my daughter can help with a lot but she can’t drive. For the first week at least I was told not to expect to be able to drive, after that it will depend on how well I am recovering. This means I will need to see if someone can drive me to at least the first appointments following my surgery. I have a friend who plans to be here the day of surgery and possibly a couple days following it to help out. We don’t know yet how long she will stay. She has a job and commitments too. Once I can drive, my daughter will be able to help with most everything else. She can even cook a few meals. This however is far different from what the first surgeon had told me.