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Very long tale of one week out of TramFlap

martyzl's picture
martyzl
Posts: 196
Joined: Jun 2002

EGAD!!! Ok, ok, ok.... typing hurt yesterday, weeeee bit better today.... Ye' see, dear ones... where I had this HONKING big IV in me... (well, it seemed huge! *scuffs ground gently*) on my left radius/inner side of wrist (they'd hit a valve in an easier to wear IV site)- t'was giving me fits all week but being the chicken about having any more "invasion"/pain at that point, I suffered thru' rather than being poked again. This site was *sore*... *%#&$% sore. Then Friday the bloody (well, not really that bloody ) thing was taken out. I had a reasonably useful left arm, being careful as a port was put in to administer the chemo thru' on that side as well (sub-clavicular).Got cocky Saturday.. no surprise, eh? (rolls eyes) Grabbed at Dean whilst the poor dear was playing nursemaid to me (ie: I was fresh with my nurse/sex-ratary) and he casually swatted my hand away, hitting my wrist. Yes, agony. I don't think I've ever cried so much in my whole life as I had this past week!!!That hurt. Then Dean's very dear mum dropped the girls off with us and upon departure, the poor dear- being oh-so-very careful of my right side, drains, etc., grabbed my left wrist while kissing me goodbye and squeezed very hard. Ye' know how one might do that to show just how much they love you/care? Mhmmm... tight. Ok, this happened half an hour after my swat from Dear Dean... I cannot tell you how blinding that was. The poor thing! I felt so bad for her, she was horrified and I was miserable... cannot wait to see her again and let her know I am ok now. The wrist swelled, turned red and looked rather angry, top and bottom. That was, apparently, the vein's last straw. *smiles* At that point, I couldn't use the hand or forearm. Loads of ice, arnica and elevation later, I can type but still have no strength without pain there and the fingers are slow to move. That was the kicker for me, I felt I'd lost it all because my one good side was shot... when in reality, t'was my mental state that was really shot. Yep, me and my aggravated old vein, we just couldna' take anymore! *smiles*

I made MANY, MANY friends at the hospital... in spite of my daily emotional melt-downs.... even had nurses come back from other floors to say goodbye, surgeons ask me not to leave, earned the title of "Favourite in-patient"... *giggles* The bottle of bubbles I'd bought for m'self pre-surgery were fun... I noticed Tues. they were called "Miracle Bubbles"!!! Ha!! Perfect. Starting Tues. I was sent out into the halls with a walker which I ended up carrying more than using. Later that afternoon I was upgraded to a wheeled laundry cart. I was thrilled! Nobody took my requests for racing striped seriously though.
Sweetly asked to race the little old lady across the hall... she was NOT amused. *impish grin* Wednesday night Dean and I drew pictures with this big sheet of paper he'd brought and the girls' old crayon box... The adventure was fun, when it wasn't scary or depressing! Sooo.. here I sit, rather gingerly. I nap for about 3 hrs during the day and sleep almost through the night... those pee breaks are killers, I tell ye'! Dean has to lift me up off of the bed and guide me to the toilet. He was not thrilled with the chamber pot idea. *grin*

I am hunched over a bit, straightening up every day. My skin on my back has to be just so lest the armpit incision or drain site be pulled. Have to be careful and gentle with the stretching out/straightening up as the incision and the blood supply running from down at my belly incision up to it's new home in the breast needs to slowly adapt.It's funny, like the stomach muscles are just meeting new neighbors: "Hey, my name's Joe-Bob, you must be the new guy!" "Yeah, just got moved in..." "So, where'd George go?" "I hear he got transferred up north the the right breast region." And so on... I don't listen in on most of their chatter but when ye' feel like there are several large rats having taken up residence in your tum, it can be rather disconcerting! The new boob (I cannot really call it a breast now as it's not functional) was named "Boobette" by the daughters.. I asked that they at least keep it more formal at "Babette" perhaps! Babette is lovely, quite a piece of work, really. It's amazing what they can do with all these things. (I thanked my plastic surgeon for saving my topless dancing career! *very big grin*) All but a thin margin of the original skin from the breast survived. Thurs. night we removed the now superfluous abdominal skin from inside the new breast. Easy. All I shall have when it's said and done is a scar from one hip point to the other (low slung, as the plastic surgeon wanted me to be able to wear french cut bikinis! Hahahahahahhahaaaa! Ouch! *giggles* 2 little scars just under my left clavicle where the port was installed. Scar all 'round my belly button... had to release it from tummy skin and reattach after tunnelling skin/fat/muscle up to breast region. I had asked in pre-op if I could keep my belly button and the plastic surgeon said yes. I kissed his forehead as he drew on me with markers to ready me for surgery. Silly, perhaps but that little scar called a belly button is my last physical connection to Mum who lost it to bladder cancer four and a half years back.... The other scar is kind of like the little dipper constellation square on where my nipple was with the handle arching up and into my armpit (where lymph nodes were removed). Of course, aesthetically, I am offended at having a fully perpendicular square on my boob, ye'd think, with my art background the general surgeon would've considered something a bit different! *grin*

Added benefit? Breast fur! *giggles* There are a few stray tummy hairs on the new, to-be-nipple/areola region! Freaky, eh? *impish grin* Dean says I'll have to Epilady my new boob...

Oh... the plastic man asked pre-surgery what kind of music I'd like during surgery... Originally answered "Sex Pistols" to shake him up.. didn't work... turned out though the general surgeon had it in his car!!!... Plastic man vetoed it and we rocked to B.B. King instead! Not bad.. *enormous grins*

Most sensation is intact, missing the back of my upper right arm (though it's burning which may mean a return of feeling) and most of my tummy where the tunnelling took place, the outer margin of the new boob, etc. We'll see what comes back for me....

My port itches. *trying hard not to scratch*

We do not yet have word on the pathologist's report. I am very curious and I am absolutely terrified. Dean wants to find out first and tell me himself. Shall I tell you all about the mystery of the third boob??? *laughing gingerly* Tues. night we noticed the area over my sternum, just below and between the breasts was *really* swollen. Like an "A/B" cup size swelling! (Not a nice symmetrical one at that!) We were having fun with the whole thing, having total confidence in the surgeon to fix it if need be... the nurse on that night asked to look at it as we were joking about adding a 3rd nipple, making special bras, being a side-show freak, Dean being very excited about our fabulous "2 for 1" deal! *grin* Nurse freaked out, called the on-call resident who put me on bed rest and ANOTHER &$*%# catheter overnight 'til the surgeon came in the a.m.!!! I had ***JUST*** gotten the catheter out that morn!!! *shakes head* Not a happy marty at that point. Well, that was one of many "not a happy marty" points thru' the week! Turned out to be a spastic muscle, nerves cut, will shrink over several months and become scar tissue. Lovely.

The drains are a sort of suction device, rather shaped like hollow, rubbery hand-grenades attached to long rubbery tubes which disappear with a couple of stitches into my abdomen and under my right arm... very sensitive and very painful.. as I told my family yesterday, 'tis like having something stapled to your genitals... that sensitive when tugged or caught on the dog's tail!!!. *wink* (I love being descriptive!) My biggest gripe with the whole thing?? I had NO BLOODY IDEA what the $%&#*% "major surgery" meant!!! The only things 'til that point I'd had done yet were the lump removal, D&C and other really MINOR things. I though, acchhh... no big deal... I heal fast.I was the world's biggest, clue-less IDIOT. Looking back, there was no way to really tell me what it would be like.

Would I do it again? At this point, not likely. Though today it's getting better and the pain, depression and agonies while in the hospital are starting to fade. (Now I have a whole new set for home! *teasing grin*) Perhaps in several months, or years, as in childbirth, it'll all be a faint memory and I'll be one of the legions saying "Oh yes, I'd do it all over again." Not today, thanks. I'd rather have had the mastectomy and been home Tuesday morn', thank ye' very much!

Yesterday I had Dean take a pic of me in full naked glory, slumped over, tubes, dried blood, tape, exhaustion and all. I do not ever want to forget what I went through. I want to be able to help others get through it as realistically as possible....

Now, may I tell you all just how .. perfect... how... amazing.. how... beyond adequate description, (even for me!), my wonderful husband is?? *shakes head in awe* Dean has never waivered. He has carried me through this thing emotionally, sometimes only by a thread (thru' no fault of his own, of course!). He has held my hand whilst I was being poked, prodded, questioned, put under.He was my advocate at the hospital, listening very carefully and reminding me or explaining again what I'd not understood under drugs or duress. This beautiful being has lifted me up, spiritually and in the real physical sense. Without him I could not get into nor out of bed. He has to lift my entire upper body (not good for his back and not too easy, either!!) Dean does the less-than-savoury task of cleaing these *$&#&% drains out, measuring so carefully and keeping track of everything.During the hospital stay, he slept in a very uncomfortable chair next to me, holding my hand or touching my arm 'til I was asleep.My mate sponge bathed me when I was hot and sweaty in the hospital bed. He ran to the store for decent/healthy food for me when he was sure that I would be napping long enough while he was gone. He fed me then and continues to see that I am eating well as I cannot yet do anything around the house, including in the kitchen. The ultimate father, not by birth but by love, takes such good care of the girls. Making sure their needs are met as well, playing with them, reading to them, listening, hugging. He is their father. Dean was careful to scruffle my head whilst I was in hospital to get my scent to take home to Otis, my baby dog-70lb mutt boy. Otis didn't eat for several days while I was gone and became depressed further when his pappa would come home without me twice. This gentle man holds me in the shower and oh-so-carefully bathes me. (Only twice thus far as it's far too draining to do more often yet). My beloved strokes my face and lets me cry when I need to, he listens to my fears and aches. He tells me that we are paying in advance for many very good, very healthy years ahead. May I be so very, very lucky indeed. Be well dear ones. It's so very good to be home.

Love, A tired marty on her way to rest....

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