After a year, I consulted with a local general surgeon about having the lump removed, but he was uncomfortable performing the procedure and recommended that I have a surgeon with more experience in surgeries involving breast tissue. During my next annual exam, I asked my nurse practitioner for a recommendation and she recommended Dr. Bruneteau. I met with him, we discussed the procedure and he worked with my insurance company to get approval for the procedure, so the cost would be covered by insurance. It took a few weeks for the approval to be processed and when his office called with news of the approval, we scheduled the procedure for December 31, 2013.
I had an appointment with a physician’s assistant to go over pre-op instructions. They talked me through what I would need to do to prepare for the surgery and what I could expect for my recovery. I was instructed to buy a special wash to use the day before and the day of surgery. I was also instructed to purchase compression hose to wear on the day of surgery and on the days following surgery. Because I knew nausea would be a problem, I was given a prescription for a patch to wear on the day of surgery as well.
Day of Surgery (Tuesday, December 31)
Surgery was scheduled for 1:00 p.m. and I was asked to arrive at the office at 11:00 a.m. Because I would be undergoing general anesthesia, no food or water was allowed on the day of surgery. A nurse helped get me situated and monitored me while we waited for my turn in the surgery queue. I met briefly with the anesthesiologist and the next thing I knew, I was waking up in the surgi-suite area. I was given instructions for the care of the incision site and the drain. Because we are not from Omaha, we needed to stay at a hotel overnight so we could have a follow-up visit the next morning. I was tired following the surgery, but not in any pain. The doctor had removed tissue about the size of a golfball and the incision was approximately 2 ½ inches long. I had an antibiotic to take and pain medication. We also had to record the amount of fluid that was captured in the drain. I was really pleased with how well I felt – I was able to sit on a pool chair and watch my kids swim in the pool the night of surgery without any trouble. I slept well (Tylenol with codeine makes me drowsy). We had our follow-up appointment the next day and all went well. We went home without any trouble.
First week following surgery
I felt good – there was only minor incisional pain. I had taken the rest of the week off of work to recover from the surgery, but I was able to participate in a conference call two days after surgery without any trouble. (I opted to delay taking my pain medication that morning so I could focus on the meeting). After two days the nausea patch wore off and the Tylenol with codeine made me nauseous – I continued to take it one more day, but on Friday, I tried switching to ibuprofen and it was enough to manage the pain. I’ll be honest – the drain was the biggest drawback to the procedure, but luckily it was winter and I could hide the drain beneath sweaters when I went back to work. It also meant no showers until it was removed – and I missed my morning showers. I also missed my daily workouts, but after five days, I felt well enough to start walking so I was able to walk 2 – 3 miles a day until my follow up appointment.
One Week Post-Op
After about a week, I had a follow-up appointment. Because my drainage was pretty minimal, they were able to remove the drain (Hooray!). I didn’t know what to expect and I remember thinking “Wow – that smarts”. I got approval to resume working out on my elliptical machine. Lifting weights would have to wait until later.
Two weeks Post-Op
Another follow-up visit. The stitches on the ends of the incision were removed and the doctor recommended that I start to massage the incision scar with lotion or mederma. I had mederma on hand, so I have been using that. I had been itching to resume my Body Pump class and I was given approval to ease back into it at the four-week post-op mark. I followed his advice and eased into it and was able to work my way back into my normal weight load at the six-week post op mark.
All in all – I am very glad I had the procedure. The recovery was really smooth and uneventful and the results were worth it. The scar is much less noticeable than that bump and I don’t have to worry about that lump anymore.