The appointment with the surgeon on Tuesday went well, just not exactly as I expected. More on that in a minute.
Before I left for the doctor’s office, I got myself cleaned up for the first time in 8 days. I almost felt human. A pair of jeans instead of pajamas will do wonders for a person. I decided to take some photos of my bandages and drains before they were removed. I have a very intense need to document every step of this process. I am not yet sure why that part seems important to me, but I know I will look back frequently at these weeks of my life and want to be able to revisit each step.
I proudly presented my notes and recorded information for the surgeon, ready for his approval for drain removal. He was content with my recovery progress yet felt that it would be best to keep the drains in a few more days to make sure they were really on the way down. I had no idea how right he would be. We scheduled another visit for Friday (yesterday) and I waited for the nurse to come in to remove the dressings.
In the meantime, he handed me my pathology report to review stating “good news, no bad stuff in there.” He was absolutely right. No cancer cells. Very good news. He walked out and left me to peruse the report. Specimen A, otherwise known as my right breast, specimen B, the left. Details, weight, measurements related to the “specimens”. The emotion I had been waiting on was suddenly upon me. It was there in black in white. What I had lost. What was part of me now reduced to details in a report. I broke right there. It needed to happen. I took my time and actually was surprised that it took less time to recover than I would have thought. I know we can think about our bodies in terms of what they are physically – a mass of cells, tissue, fluid…but we also know they are much more meaningful than that in a million different ways. So that is what helped me wipe the tears. The nurse came in, removed the dressings, took out the stitches, left the incisions undressed and sent us on our way.
I have felt much more careful with myself since the bandages have come off. It is like when you hurt yourself, it you see blood, you freak out much more than if it is just a scratch. The same was for me once the dressings came off. When I could see the reality of the incisions, how long they were and the dried blood of the steri strips, I actually felt worse than when I couldn’t see them. Now after being used to it for the last few days, I am feeling much stronger and more like myself.
And, the surgeon was right. Ugh. Being up and around so much on Tuesday, the drainage increased again and has stayed up higher than is eligible for having the tubes pulled. So, the Friday tube-pulling appointment was cancelled, and we are looking at next week for removal. I will be resting and reclining until then.
Lastly, for comic relief. I few of my closest people and I had a side bet going on what the combined weight loss would be, not in body weight, but in actual weight on the pathology report. There were 5 of us in on it…..and my guess was the lowest at 4 lbs combined. Others were much more generous in their estimations (is that a compliment or not?). Anyway, each side came in around 2 lbs, so I am the lucky winner. Hmmmm. Not sure “lucky winner” sounds exactly accurate from where I am sitting, but there you go. Now I get to decide what my prize will be!
Love to you all.