I didn’t think I would feel this way. I thought by now most of the pain would be gone. It is a little over a week since my surgery, a mastectomy, for those who either missed my previous posts or for any new readers. My whole right breast was removed. I haven’t had a conversation yet with my surgeons following the procedure so I don’t know the full details other than I definitely don’t have a breast and the nurses told me the surgery went well. I don’t know if the pain I’m feeling is normal, although one conversation with a nurse prior to my surgery who had set my mind at ease led me to believe it wouldn’t be this painful, however I do know pain is different for everyone. I am also aware that this kind of surgery can be different from case to case since the intention is to go in and get as much of the cancer as possible and hopefully all of it so it does depend upon what they find once they get in there.
Yesterday I called to schedule my follow-up appointments since a friend told me she could take me on either Wednesdays or Fridays since her work scheduled for those days was flexible. But when I called the one surgeon’s office the best we could do ended up way too far out into September. So, I scheduled it for Thursday Sept 4th in hopes of being able to find someone who will be able to take me.
I didn’t expect to be so angry at my friends. I know they have their lives and their responsibilities. I’ve been told by them to call if I need anything. I’ve also been told by people to not be afraid to ask for help. So I have, I’ve asked, I told them what I need and time and again I am told they have other commitments. So now I’m down to hoping a service offered for cancer patients can get me to my follow-up appointments and even they told me they didn’t know if they could take me to my plastic surgeon’s appointment since it isn’t on their list of places. They were supposed to call me back and let me know and I have yet to hear anything.
Maybe I’m not being fair to my friends, after all, this will take at least a half day out of their lives to get me to these two appointments and then back home. I am hoping this service will come through, if not I’m not sure what I’ll do.
The other thing which I didn’t expect was how I would feel looking at the incision. It is ugly. I know it isn’t healed yet but even so I am glad I chose reconstruction because as I had thought, looking at how my chest looks minus one breast is heart breaking. I was never one who was completely vain about my body but when I was young and slender I knew I had a nice looking body even if I felt my breasts were a bit small. When I put on weight I was not comfortable with my body but my breasts did get larger which I liked. I have a feeling this whole situation now will completely change my perspective about my body. I’ve had dreams of running and enjoying running. I’ve often wished I felt well enough to just go for a walk. I look at the additional weight I carry and I want it off and no longer want to be lazy about getting it off. But sitting here typing this, my right breast hurts, I don’t know if this is phantom pain or real pain but sometimes it feels like my nipple actually hurts which makes me think it is phantom pain. There is other pain which I know isn’t phantom pain.
So, yesterday while trying to get my appointments scheduled, I also asked about getting a refill on my pain medicine, but both surgeons were out of the office this week and it was suggested I contact my family doctor. I was sure my family doctor would require me to come into his office to approve the refill however when I called I explained I’m not supposed to drive and so she told me to have the pharmacy fax them a copy of the prescription and she would see if he would approve a refill. I was surprised when she called back later to tell me the doctor approved it and they faxed it back to the pharmacy and that the doctor asked her to call and check on how I was doing following the surgery. I told her I was doing good just still in a lot of pain and that tylenol and advil weren’t enough, plus that as a single mother it is hard to just lay around and relax. She asked if I have any help and I said not really, though my neighbor does check on me I’m at the point where I need groceries and need my prescriptions picked up and my daughter is too young to drive. She said she had just learned of a possible service where someone will do deliveries and she called back later with the number. They will go pick up whatever I need, like my prescriptions and even do grocery shopping for me if I provide a list of what I need and then I pay for it all when they deliver it.
They should really provide this type of information to patients when they find out they have limited help. I have not been closed mouthed about this at every doctor’s appointment or when scheduling this procedure I’ve told them many times I’m a single parent with very limited assistance from friends and no family living close by.
Needless to say the past couple days have had me feeling things I had not expected to feel. I had expected to feel grateful for the friends I have, and for the time they take away from their obligations to help but instead I feel angry and resentful for their lack of not wanting to step up and help a friend in need. I am disappointed and realizing that the next couple of surgeries I will need will have to be done on my own. I am grateful for the one friend who flew in to help me get through my surgery without her I might still be sitting here trying to find someone to take me in to have my surgery. Depending on what I’m told regarding the results of the pathology of what they removed may have me making some serious decisions on where to move to. I may have to move closer to a place where I can get all my medical care and that may just be one of the reasons things have gotten in the way of me buying a house here. If I lived closer to my chiropractor, Naturopath and now my two surgeons I could take a taxi to my appointments and I could have already been able to see my chiropractor and my Naturopath for the care I need from them. This is something I need to seriously consider.