Well, they are gone.  I am extremely fortunate to have had such a skilled expert in breast surgery (and he is a plastic surgeon to boot) do my surgery.  I think I was in surgery about 3 ½ hours.  I did spend one night in the overnight short stay unit, although I did not get much sleep (nor do I remember much of what happened), it all went smoothly and I came home Tuesday morning as planned.  My chest is very smooth and flat even with the bandages.  I am amazed how much I look like….well, me.  I am also amazed that I actually like the way I look.  The dressings that are covering the incisions will not come off until this Tuesday when the stitches come out.  The incisions run from the middle of my chest, all the way around past my arm pits towards my back on both sides.  They are no joke. They are long.  They are painful.  I still have 2 drains in place and I hope to have those removed on Tuesday.  These are all of the broad positive things about this experience, but if I am being honest, this past week has been much more difficult than I expected (and I thought it was going to be rough).

I have spent every minute (awake and asleep) in a reclining chair, resting, taking pain meds around the clock, drinking lots of fluids, taking antibiotics and moving slowly.  It has been a painfully long week.  I am exhausted.  At times I feel panicky and almost claustrophobic because the incisions feel tight – like a squeeze across my chest that I want to loosen.  A few deep breaths get me back on track.  My family and friends have been solid as rocks and I would not have gotten through these days alone.

I do feel like I should be making more progress.  I am day 6 and still requiring pain meds all day.  I have reached a point where I don’t need to take them in the middle of the night and that seems like a victory.  Each day is a repeat of the one before.  Logically I know that I need to keep up the resting/healing for another few weeks.  As of now it looks like my body will require that amount of time, but my mind is ready for a few more challenges.  Time to start a thick book, I guess.

Why don’t I feel sad?  Grief?  Loss?  No idea.  I expected it to happen.  To be shocked after waking up from surgery to find a flat chest.  I cannot explain why, but it hasn’t happened yet.  I am prepared if it does and will be fine if it doesn’t.  I don’t know what to say other than I am happy that I have other ways in which to define myself.

So, this week I have the post-op visit on Tuesday.  I expect to get sutures out, drains out and full pathology report from surgery.  I will report back on what I learn.  In the meantime, I will be rockin’ the bed head, sleep-deprived, narcotic-glazed look from a reclined position.  Thanks again for keeping up with my journey.

*please disregard any typos, incoherent statements or grammatical errors.  You may refer to the above statement about current, less than desirable conditions.

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5 Responses to After

  1. John A. Erdmann says:

    Susie, I am glad you are recovering with a very positive attitude. It is over and now you can be you again without the pressure, fear, wondering, etc.!


  2. tkilgallen says:

    Hang in there Susie. You look great – and you are strong. I m sure its tedious “hanging out” in the recliner, but soon soon you will be back up and around.

  3. says:

    So glad you are enjoying this journey just as the brave
    soldier you are! Hallelujah for a good report & looking
    forward to others. Miss you!

  4. Cheryl Hudson says:

    Suz: hang in there. Thinking about you.

  5. Susan says:

    “Well, they are gone”. Such a great opening line, that pretty much sums it up, doesn’t it. You did a great job of conveying your mixed emotions. Thanks for being honest. I REALLY hope all the pain goes away SOON.

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