A year in my life, from the day I was diagnosed and for the full year after. Walk with me.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Day 78 Lucky Girl

A gurney ride on Versed is like Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, but it doesn't end with a steamy chuff and the drag of brakes.  In place of the costumed ride operator there was a masked nurse anesthetist the brilliant blue of the surgical lamps and then nothing.

Asleep again while my reconstructive surgeon worked to understand why both of my incisions were unraveling.  Why the unrelenting edema soaked dressing after dressing, making my husband and I professional maxipad engineers.  Why pain that won't surrender to pain killers or muscle relaxers.  Hopefully ending 4 escalating weeks of suffering.

I expect to wake up without expanders, with drains and possibly a PICC line.  I expect the worst so I won't be disappointed or shocked.  My husband has to the be person to tell me what the outcome of the surgery is when I wake up, I don't know why.  I guess I want the results to exist within our private bubble so that we can adjust to it before taking on other people's expectations and possibly disappointment.  Probably mostly to hear his voice tell me, whatever happens, we'll be OK.

When I woke it was to a calm, attentive and thankfully mature nurse who quickly returned me to my room and kindly advised me that there were no orders for a morphine pump.  I believe I was equally calm and mature when I told her to advise my surgeon that those orders were bull crap and morphine was the least he could do after cutting my chest open.  Again.  Thanks to her quick actions I had my precious button in my hand in a very short period of time and spent the rest of the night pushing it in my sleep.  Before I slipped off my husband told me that the Alloderm, which serves as a sling that holds the weight of my expanders and future implants had failed to adhere to my chest wall on both sides.  It was unthinkable, and my surgeon had not seen this failure on both sides before.  There was no infection visible to the naked eye, but cultures were taken and results would emerge in the next few days.  He replaced the expanders and added an extra 100 ccs of saline to take up the space my edema had created.  Waste not want not.  I had four new drains and no PICC.

My husband and In-Laws left me for the night in the charge of a private nurse and drove the one and a half hour drive back home.  My husband has to work tomorrow, but my In-Laws will return and take me home if I am allowed, which I am.  Doped with extra strength pain medication I am packed into the seat of the car with my trusty arm pillows and driven home to my own bed. 

Monday morning my infectious disease doctor called to tell me that I have a gram negative bacteria that was not vulnerable to any of the 5 antibiotic I had so far taken, and prescribed a 6th.  It seems to be working because I am much more comfortable if that can be said while enduring fuller expanders.

Since surgery I have been sleeping because that is all I am capable of.  A human should not have two major surgeries within a month if it is at all avoidable.  The fatigue and inevitable depression is crushing and I have been in a bleak state, but I am trying to pull myself together again.

Yesterday I made my bed.  It was a statement that marked the end of bedridden confinement, helpless as a turtle on it's back.  Today I made the bed again and helped my son get packed for camp.  Tomorrow I will make my bed and take a long trip, surrender some drains and take another long trip home.  Every day, stronger and more capable.  I will exchange my grim endurance for hopefulness.  I have reason to be optimistic, while I was sleeping away the week my Oncotype score came in the mail; on a scale of 0 to 100 (best to worst) my tumor scored a 4.

I'm a lucky girl.

1 comment:

Laurie said...

WOW and WOW! What an unbelievable oncotype score. You should shout from the roof tops - FOUR. Fabulous news. I hope this is it for a while. Here's trusting that the replacement of the expanders with the final implants is a breeze. I had PICC line at 14 days after 1st surgery and implant removal at 19 days after 1st surgery. They don't love disclosing all of the potential things that can go wrong. I would just focus on the wonderful number 4. Congratulations.