When I started this journey, I really wanted to stay on top of this and hopefully help others as you all have helped me, but life just gets in the way sometimes...
So, the next step was my mammogram. Due to my age and the fact that i don't have a family history of breast cancer, i was not due for my first mammogram yet, however, the doctor ordered one for a baseline. I got the mammogram the beginning-mid of august. The doctor that read the results ordered an ultrasound too. Originally, i was freaked out about this, but apparently, the state of NY makes the centers do an ultrasound if the patient has dense tissue (which i guess i do!). All came out fine.
Next came paying of the bills, which made this experience REAL. I had to pay the doctor, the surgery center and the anesthesia doctor separate, however they all took credit cards (6600 more miles!).
Between my boyfriend's hobby of dirt car racing and work being REALLY busy, time really flew by. I didn't start to panic until maybe a week or two before. Then it was anxiety - why am i doing this to myself? is the biggest question I asked myself daily. The answers - it couldn't get much worse - I hate how I look, i can't walk around without a bra, I was so uncomfortable when i slept, etc. etc.
Week before surgery - tried to prepare me and the house as much as possible. Had my pre-op, got my prescriptions filled, had to pee in a cup, grocery shopped, cleaned the house, etc.
Day before - I had to work, which was good, took my mind off of everything. Double dose of antibiotics and off to sleep (and i really did sleep too).
Day of - woke before my alarm, was having anxiety about oversleeping and missing the surgery time! We got to the surgery center super early and they were so nice and took me to my room early too. Went over medical history, more peeing in a cup (pregnancy test this time), and i got to get changed - very stylish gown, surgical undies (boyshorts - kinda cute too) and booties. A nurse came in to do my IV (which was actually the part that i was dreading the most) and strapped things around my legs (which would be hooked to a machine to inflate and deflate so i didn't get blood clots). The nurses came in to check on me, the anesthesia tech and anesthesiologist came in to talk to me and the doctor came in to do his markings and measurements. They took me almost on time (9:00) and away I went. The doctor was introducing me to all of the nurses in the operating room as i was getting settled. I tried to ask what kind of music they listen to during the surgery and i was out (and i'm really bummed not to have learned the answer!).
Here's one of the reasons why i picked the doctor - i was staying overnight and apparently the only overnight patient they had, so i got a lot of one-on-one care. I was prepared for pain, but not that much. It hurt to breathe. The nurses were surprised that the pain never went away and took quite awhile to get tolerable. That night, they didn't ask if i want pain meds, they just gave them on schedule. The nurse came in to check me every hour or so and was so nice and pleasant. They fed me crackers and an english muffin during the day. For dinner, i was able to order off a menu. I ordered a turkey dinner, which I think was a frozen meal, but not too bad, and cookies for later on that night to take with meds.
The next day, my boyfriend got there around 7 am, I was able to order breakfast (got a breakfast sandwich and coffee). The doctor came in, re-did the dressing and removed the drains. He sent me home in the bra I came in. I got my discharge instructions and one last pain pill. I don't really remember too much else about Wednesday (surgery day), Thursday or Friday as I slept off and on. I remember my doctor's office called me Thursday and the surgical center called me Friday. Family called me during that time too, but i have no recollection of who called on what day. I think the pain dropped from an 8 on Wednesday to a 6-7 on Thursday to a 5 on Friday and stayed pretty consistent from a 5 until Monday and now it goes from a 3-5 since then. Usually gets worse as the day goes on. I've seriously cut down on the pain meds as well.
Showering - The doctor said i was able to shower that night when i went home, i honestly can't remember if i showered that night or the next day. The first time, my wonderful boyfriend did all the work. After that, he just either stayed in the bathroom while I showered or was there when i was getting out of the shower. He is great with getting my bra back on.
Another reason why I was glad that i stayed overnight - i was draining so much, i think i went through 3 hospital gowns, think of all i would have destroyed if i went home! Old, button downs or hoodies are a must.
Bras - i only bought Fruit of the Loom open front sports bras in 38's and a 40. I've actually been living in my old bras (BF took out the underwire). My doctor didn't care what I wore, as long as i wore a bra. Ran to walmart last friday, The 40 didn't fit, at that time, bought a 48, 46 and a 44, by friday night, they were too big. A 42 would have been perfect. Should have bought that size and more 40's. Back to walmart they will go. Finally got in to a 38 today, 1 week later.
Sleeping - I've been sleeping on a recliner. Too scared to sleep on my side and definitely don't want to sleep on my stomach yet. I've been trying to lean toward my side the last few nights, but i can feel the internal pulling.
Follow up - Had my 1 week follow up yesterday. Good news and bad. Good news, all looks good. The spot where the drain was on my left side is not closing, so he recommended antibiotic ointment there and vaseline on the surgical tape to start softening that up. Bra still 24/7, except when showering. Any bra will do. He wants to see me next Tuesday to check on the opening. Bad news, one small portion of the tissue that he took out did have some cancer in it, but only that spot. When i get better, he is recommending an MRI to check out the rest of my breasts. He is also recommending me to follow up with a surgeon and an oncologist. Thankfully, since i don't have a history of breast cancer in the family, he does not feel that aggressive measures need to be made at this time, however, he feels that this puts me in a high risk category in the future and wants me to be followed to be sure.
So, was this worth it? Since they found cancer that the mammogram and the ultrasound did not, a big hearty HELL YEAH. Guess this journey took a sideways turn...to be continued.