I had my follow-up appointment with my surgeon today. The news wasn’t great but it wasn’t awful either. The first thing he did was remove the drain, place a dressing over the site and then told me I could remove it in 24 hours at which time I could then start taking showers again. This of course made me happy for I know how much better I felt when I started being able to shower and how the warm water helped to alleviate some of the tightness and pain.
I still have some pain and it is difficult to raise my right arm very much above shoulder level. I can get my hand to my head to wash my hair when I lean over the sink but only for short periods of time. At least this time the pain isn’t awful. The distraction of this surgery and being on stronger pain medicine for a week or so seems to have aided in relieving the pain from the mastectomy site and for now there is very little discomfort from the expander.
The not bad news was he had removed 18 lymph nodes and only 3 of them showed signs of cancer. The not so great news is because the lymph nodes which were removed during the mastectomy showed signs of the cancer busting out of the lymph nodes they are recommending chemo and possibly radiation treatments. The surgeon’s office is working on the referral and I should be receiving a call in a couple weeks with a date for an appointment with the Cancer Agency.
I don’t know if it was the fact that I took half a tablet of diazepam before my appointment today or if I’ve become numb to this type of news. My friend L who went with me to my appointment today asked me if I was okay and I told her that I was fine that I seem to do okay while talking with the doctor even when he first told me the prognosis of cancer I seemed to do fine until I left his office and then started to cry. He agreed I did well and was a bit surprised and asked me, ‘you cried?’ I said yes, as soon as I left his office and started thinking about my daughter and how she would handle this and how I would take care of her I started loosing it and just talking about it now was getting me close to tears. And L also mentioned it was upsetting her as well.
I think what has helped a lot is L and I discussing joining households for a while. She is open to this since I live in her basement suite and she and her boys live upstairs. Due to them living out of the country for the past couple of years and having sold most of their furniture before leaving, she is in the process of re-furnishing her house, so we decided to make one of the living rooms a room for her 3 boys and my daughter to play in, and the other living room as a place for the adults to watch television or gather without the noise of children playing their games. It will be interesting to see how this works out. For the past few weeks we have had an open door policy between us where we pretty much come and go between each of our spaces and so far with some common courtesy it is working out well. If it continues it will benefit us both in the coming year. It will relieve stress off her in feeling pressured to make choices in what to purchase first in refurnishing, plus she will have my help with her three boys. And for me it will relieve stress if my treatments leave me feeling ill and I have problems cooking or taking care of my daughter and my daughter will have people who care about her in the same household.
My daughter took the news a bit hard. She ran off to her room and cried. I left her alone for a few minutes then went into her room and laid down with her. Before long her new dog came in and curled up with her and I left them alone for a bit. A bit later she came out and seemed okay. I asked her if she had any questions and she shook her head no.
I could be off work for the next three to six months depending on how long the treatments take. Right now I’m not getting stir crazy yet and depending on how I feel during the treatments I could see myself becoming antsy to get back to work. Or to at least get out and feel normal again. I’m not sure how my reconstruction will fit in with all of this but for now I’m not worrying about it and will wait until I have my appointment to discuss my options. So for now, I’m healing and continuing to be hopeful. I of course will be discussing this with my Naturopath to get their recommendations but especially to see about taking a chemo-sensitivity test to find out what chemo will be most effective for my cancer.