Put your hands, up put your hands up


I went into hospital a week ago today for my single simple left breast mastectomy with full lymph node removal. I checked into hospital for 7:30am with a nice private side room. The anaesthetist came to see me at 8am and then the surgeon’s team came and drew all over my chest. I was down to theatre at 8:45. No messing about or time to think about what was going on thank God. I came round from surgery at around 12:30 and came back up from recovery to the day ward at 3pm. The good people down on recovery filled me to the brim with fentanyl so I was feeling pretty good and enjoyed my standard meal of tea and toast. Weeing in a bed pan was a new experience mind and doing that off your nut with one arm is not the easiest. I pee’d out a whopping 1ltr which happens when they fill you full of fluid during surgery. My Mam picked me up 4:30 and we headed home. I got into bed at around 8pm and slept for 12 hours. I felt like a new woman. This is the most I’ve slept since April when I found that dreaded lump. The most beautiful full night sleep resumed the day the bastard came off.

My surgeon weighed in my boob at a massive 1250g! I couldn’t believe it. That lump must have been dense. Non one guessed that my teeny B cup tit would have been anywhere near it. My surgeon and her team also donated to the breast cancer now fund from my party which was a lovely gesture. The surgery itself went well. Boob and lymph nodes are gone and no complications during surgery. I have resolvable stitches so no going back to get those removed and my surgeon doesn’t do drains, so I haven’t had to deal with the either. I have a huge waterproof dressing from the middle of my chest round to my back on my left side. I have no idea how big the actual scar is. I can take my dressing off in 10 days and have a follow up appointment with my surgeon next Wednesday to check everything has healed as it should. Because I done have drains, I can hear all the water and fluid in my chest sloshing about. I sounds like someone is shaking a hot water bottle, but I can’t actually feel anything. It’s the weirdest sensation. The consultant advised as long as it’s like that it’s good thing. If it stops sloshing and gets hard and tight to ring her and they’ll drain it. So far so good. I’m still sloshing!

The physiotherapist rang me while I was having my tea and toast to tell me to start exercises the following day and things had been sent in the post. It was the same material the hospital and surgeon gave me and the same leaflet that is in my breast cancer care folder, so I’m well stocked on those. A was nervous to start them but it wasn’t painful. my skin and muscles just felt tight. I’m very strict at doing them 4 times a day. I don’t want limited movement in my arm or shoulder moving forward.

When I was waiting to be picked up form hospital I all of a sudden felt totally overwhelmed. I was dying to get home to have a really good cry. Like every step of the way so far, I changed my mind in a few mins and didn’t cry and decided this wasn’t as big of a deal as I thought it was going to be. When I got home and saw the dressing and my flat chest, I didn’t feel sad, or pleased, or anything really. It was just another step to getting well. No emotions to it. It must have been the drugs. It wasn’t anything to look at. Except my huge tummy now looks even worse with no boob to give it some company. Someone on this forum described herself to me as having the physique of a professional darts player. I’m with you there sister.

My arm, chest, armpit and back have been completely numb for the last week so the pain has been no pain. Winning. I’ve been taking paracetamol, ibuprofen and Oramorph to stay on top of it. Nothing worse than chasing pain. Yesterday the feeling started to come back in the top of my arm. All my nerves feel on edge so when my clothes move on my skin it feels awful. Still not in agony though so hoping I’ve healed enough this week now I’m just down to paracetamol from today. Yesterday was also the first day I was on my own. I’ve had my Mam and then a friend staying for the first week (not at all needed but ‘No’ was not an option with my mother). It has taken me a week to learn to do things with my right hand. Being left-handed for 35 years and then having this function taken away is not as easy as it sounds to get through daily tasks. My right hand has zero communication with my brain.

Tomorrow I start next set of exercises given by the physio. This week’s goal is to get my left arm straight above my head. Seems simple enough but I’m nervous about starting. Need this action for my drunken dance moves though so I best get on it.

Anonymous