One Boob Down

I survived! I’m a survivor! I can’t believe I get to say that now, what a trip. I’m a cancer survivor! Honestly, I feel a little bad saying it, because my situation was/is so much better than a lot of others. Although I guess I shouldn’t count my chickens before they’re hatched; the coming months could turn out to be the worst of my life. Presently, however, life is real good! I’ll tell you all about it after I give you the cancer update.

I had the mastectomy on the 16th. Dr. Ingrid Lizarraga was my surgeon, and I also want her to be my spirit guide now. She popped into my recovery room afterward to say hey, and told me she was very happy with how things went. Dr. Keith is my plastic surgeon, who put in the tissue expander after the mastectomy. I’ll see him tomorrow and he’ll fill up my booballoon a bit more. I just made up that word, by the way, but it’s exactly what the tissue expander is. A boob-shaped balloon. Right now, it’s a little deflated, so my boob looks like a grape on the cusp of being a raisin. Sad! Also very strange to feel. All of its nerves were excavated, so I can’t feel any of it except for around the edges, and occasionally I get a phantom feeling like water trickling or an electric shock.

So like I said in the last post, Dr. Lizarraga biopsied my sentinel nodes during the mastectomy, and guess what? They came back all free and clear of any cancer! Rejoice!

Prior to the surgery, I talked with my Uncle Kenny, who is a retired anesthesiologist, and he strongly recommended that I talk to my anesthesiologist team about post-op nausea. So I did! And they slapped a sticker of medicine behind my ear and I only felt nauseous once afterward, and didn’t even throw up. Thanks Uncle Kenny! I hate nausea! Who doesn’t, ugh.

The surgery lasted most of the day, or at least it seemed like it did. Adam dropped me off at 8:00AM and picked me up as the sun was going down. Everyone was beyond lovely. The courtesy, attention, and care I was given throughout the whole experience was just unbelievable. I can’t say that enough. And I’m sure I’ll keep saying it.

So now I have a Borg-looking drain tube sticking out of my side, that runs into a lemon-shaped container that’s Velcroed to my waistband. It’s a look. I think they’re going to be taking it out tomorrow, but I’m not sure. It’s draining the breast cavity of excess “fluid,” which at first it was dark red, then cranberry, then strawberry, and now it’s strawberry lemonade. It doesn’t smell, I checked. Anyway, aside from that, I’ve just got a ton of medicine to take. I have a schedule. I take medicine eight times a day now. It’s crazy. Oh, and actually that made me look at my schedule, and it’s time to take some right now! brb

I actually wasn’t experiencing that much pain until several days after the surgery. My Aunt Barbara (retired Veterinarian) recommended that I keep to a strict painkiller schedule for the first five days, taking the full dosage prescribed, around the clock, in order to “stay ahead of the pain.” And I did, until the fourth day, when I slept through my nighttime alarms, and woke up feeling real bad. It’s actually been kinda rough since then, not gonna lie! If I’m lying down and not moving around, I feel practically no pain whatsoever. So it’s kind of tempting to want to do that all the time. Anyway, it’ll get better, I’m sure. This pain– by the way– is noooothing compared to the recent pain I experienced upon having an IUD inserted into my uterus. That was hell. Absolute hell. 0/10 would not recommend.

The Meal Train has saved our lives. I can’t imagine what a nightmare this whole situation would be without it. I’ve never felt so cared for. In fact, this experience, I think, is fundamentally changing the way I think about community. I’m not sure how exactly, but I can feel the thought-pot stirring. I’m sure there will be a blog about it coming up. Regardless, the Meal Train rocks. Thank you, everyone who jumped on. Your generosity has been received with joy, and will live another life when we pass it on to someone else in need.

I won’t know anything else about the cancer until the 29th, when Dr. Lizarraga (who is kind of a celebrity in her field, apparently) will tell me about the tumor’s genetic makeup, and what that means for my future treatment.

So now I get to enjoy Christmas! We’ve gotten more cards this year than probably all years past, combined! I guess that’s probably because half of them are Get Well Soon cards.. but I’m still counting them. We have a string hung up from the projector screen, displaying some of them. It’s so festive and encouraging to look at. Thank you for all your cards, people. They really make me happy. You make me happy.

Pay no attention to our popcorn walls.

I feel like I should have more to say, but I guess that’ll do it for now. Things I’m going to be writing/thinking about soon: The roles of members of a community, Why I don’t play video games, Christianese and how to interpret it, Gratitude vs. Groveling, and The “mystery” of addiction. Stay tuned.

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