It has been one week since my bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction. I meant to update sooner but been pretty tired. There were some complications but i came through it all okay. During my mastectomy, i woke up not in too much pain but with a huge “bruise” on my right clavicle/breast area. well…ended up being a hematoma and 24 hours later i was back in surgery while they drained 600cc of blood from this thing. My surgeon rang the nurses for not calling her that night when they saw it because it was hard and obviously not just bruising. After that surgery, i was in the recovery room for like 6 hours before they let my mom back and kept talking about moving me to the ICU because apparently my heart rate was about 150 and they didn’t know why. I was moved to the cardiac floor where i had a heart monitor on all the time to watch my heart rate and a CT scan to rule out a pulmonary embolism. So pretty much Thursday I couldn’t eat because of my surgery, Friday i couldn’t eat because of my second surgery and Saturday i couldn’t eat til after 2 pm once my CT scan was done. Found out it was due to blood loss and trauma really that my HR was high and BP was low (i think it got down to like 99/33 or something like that at some point?). I ended up getting a blood transfusion because my hemoglobin was low which seemed to help the problem and my HR went down and BP back to normal-ish numbers and was discharged Monday afternoon finally. I haven’t had a ton of “pain” per Se, more discomfort. The plastic surgeon was able to fill me with 300 cc each side, so i have tiny little boobs for now, but enough to see cleavage lol.
Now for the cancer related part of surgery…as stated in initial posts, biopsy, pet scan and 2 MRIs for my lymph nodes were clear. In surgery, the sentinel node dye test thing was also clear, as that was the first thing i asked my doctor when i saw her and she was it was clear. I cried tears of joy as clear lymph nodes meant no radiation. However…..they did more testing on the sentinel node and 2 others they took out (total of 3 as they were in a bunch) and sentinel node did have microscopic amounts of cancer cells in it. The other two were clear though. SO….this means I will be having radiation. According to my surgeon, she does deem me “CANCER FREE” as they got clear margins on my tumor (only .7cm left from 2.9cm) and the one lymph node was removed and no lymphovascular invasion noted, so radiation is as a precaution. Its a bummer. wish i could skip it, but if it prevents any possible cells left over from growing or traveling, I’m okay with it.
I saw my plastic surgeon yesterday. He said everything looks good. My bruising has gone down. I will likely start fills next Wednesday when i see him next. Hopefully drains will come out that day too (lets hope, because they suck and when they hang looks like I have man balls). Because I will be doing radiation, he said he will want to fill me faster than most so i can start radiation sooner, as I have to be filled all the way and healed before radiation starts. Luckily at already 300 cc, i dont think I will need a ton of fills. Having radiation will also push back my exchange surgery for the final implants by a few months into next year. I was hoping to have this all done by end of the year but it wont happen.
I met with my oncologist today also. He agreed with pursuing radiation, even though its a microscopic amount and was taken out and may not make much of a change in “survival rate” he said if i was his daughter he would say to do it, which I already mentally told myself I would if there was any found in the lymph system.
On another note, we were blind sided a little when he mentioned taking Tamoxifen for a few years. My mom and I looked at each other and were like “what, but I am triple negative?” He explained yes I am considered triple negative because my cancer cells were negative for her/er/pro,but were ACTUALLY 4% positive to estrogen. I guess you need 5% for it to be considered estrogen positive. Tamoxifen is a pill I would take every day that blocks estrogen, so again would be a preventative for the cancer returning. I was really upset by this because we never discussed this and this is the ONE positive i saw in all this was not having any further treatments or pills once I was done with this. He said because I’m only 4% i don’t have to take it because it may not make a difference but that he’d recommend it. He said I would likely need to be on it at least 2 years. The main negatives of this are potential side effects, like hot flashes again, but he did saw it would not effect fertility which was my main concern…however, while on tamoxifen i cannot have children, so that being said we’d have to wait at least 2 years from me starting it (in a few months) to get off it, then wait 2-3 months before trying. I was upset by this, mostly because its just one more choice, freedom, taken from me..
I came home and cried to Dylan about it. Even though were not even engaged or married yet and realistically it may have been at least 2 years before we have a baby anyway, i just hate that the choice is no longer mine. But, after 2 years, I can go off it to conceive and afterward go back on it if I chose to.
Cancer..the gift that keeps on giving.
Luckily, I am feeling pretty good post surgery though. I sleep in a recliner and Dylan sleeps in the recliner next to me. Hes a great nurse, waking up in the middle of the night to get me my pills. I am out taking walks, Kind of able to get dressed by myself, though my outfits aren’t the most fashionable because i have to wear loose button up stuff haha. I hope I continue on the mend quickly, with no more surprises or complications!!!
PSS. Go by the book “The cancer warrior handbook” for anyone you know with cancer or for caretakers for those with cancer. Lots of great advice and cancer survivors stories in there, mine being one of them !