Saturday, September 20, 2008

Happy One Week Post Op to Me!

I got a text message from my friend Cathy late last night with the message Happy One Week Post-Op Surgery! I should have been out celebrating but instead I was actually already in my pajamas, in my nest on the couch,trying to keep my eyes open as I was reading a book (Wait! that actually sounds like a typical Friday for me. haha)

For those of you who know me, I do like my cocktails and wine. So have a cocktail (or maybe two for this event) in honor of me. I will be joining you shortly when I am able!


Friday, September 19, 2008

Sentinel Lymph Node Mapping

One of the first questions any breast cancer patient will ask after surgery is "was there any lymph node involvement?" Fortunately, for me there was not. That means in my case that cancer cells were only involved in the breast tissue and did not escape to any other parts of my body through the lymph system.

The day before surgery I went to the Nuclear Medicine department for a sentinel node mapping test. The first thing a surgeon does when he starts surgery is look for the sentinel node (the first node of the chain), takes it out and sends it to pathology to see if the lymph node has cancer cells in it. I had one sentinel node on one side and 2 on the other. In order for the surgeon to find that node a test is done in the Nuclear Medicine department that localizes that node. A radioisotope called technetium 99m sulfur colloid is injected in three different spots in each breast. The description the doctor used was "you may feel a burning sensation." Ok, I can handle that. That did not sound that bad. WRONG! Imagine a red hot poker being stabbed into your breast......yep, that is exactly how it felt, not gonna lie, it hurt like hell. I thought I was going to go through the roof. Once the first injection went in and you knew how it felt, there was the anticipation of how 5 others were going to feel. Fortunately, the pain lasted less than 2 minutes,and the rest of the test was just lying under their machine waiting for the sentinel node to pick up the radioisotope which could be seen on their films. They then X'd the spot with marker so the surgeon knew exactly where it was.

Lymph node involvement and the pathology of your tumor will determine what types of treatment options are available for you. I meet with the oncologist on Monday to go over the details of what is to come next.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Oprah show

I have been doing some TV watching lately and happened to tune in to Oprah this week when she had her show on internet predators and child exploitation. Her show was pretty shocking, and I guess I really did not know how prevalent the issue has become. I was pretty bothered by what was shown and she urged everyone to get involved in the cause. And I did! And you should too!

Please go to her website and support the Protect our Children Act by calling or emailing your state senators. There is a form letter you can copy and paste to your senators in your state. It took me about 10 minutes to fill out the form and submit to 2 senators.


Hundreds of thousands of children are victims of sexual abuse each year. Due to the sheer lack of resources, law enforcement is unable to follow up on the majority of leads they have.

The PROTECT Our Children Act will:

* Authorize over $320 million over the next five years in desperately needed funding for law enforcement to investigate child exploitation.
* Mandate that child rescue be a top priority for law enforcement receiving federal funding.
* Allocate funds for high-tech computer software that can track down Internet predators.

I am a new woman!

Holy smokes! What a difference a few days make. I am finally feeling like my head is attached to my body. I quit the pain meds and now only take Tylenol a few times a day. The nausea and dizziness are pretty much gone, and I am able to eat. We have been so thankful for all the food coming our way. Cooking really is the last thing I want to have to worry about so the meals are great. Thank you everyone!

I went for my first followup visit with the plastic surgeon. He removed one drain on each side which was no big deal. I felt a little burning at the incision site but nothing else really, just a sense of the drain uncoiling as it came out from inside. Those drains were the biggest pain in the butt as they were pretty close to my arm pit and very annoying, so I went home a happy girl. I see him on Monday again, and he thinks the other drains will come out as well.

My favorite past time has been watching The Young and the Restless which I really haven't seen in about 5 or 6 years since I went back to work full time. LOL

Hope you are all able to enjoy this beautiful weather today!!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Thoughts about surgery and the hospital stay

First let me say that I have not been in a hospital since my son was born almost 14 years ago,and I have never had any major surgery in my life, so I really have nothing to compare surgery or the hospital stay to. The surgery people get an A+ in my book. They were exceptional with their care and making me feel at ease. I opted to have a epidural block during and after surgery to help with pain management. A small thin catheter was placed in my thoracic spine to administer continuous pain medication. Everyone I encountered before surgery was excellent. My after surgery care, or lack thereof, unfortunately gets a D, except for 2 nurses I had during my stay, Barbie and Lauren. Although I was not in ICU or a gunshot victim, I still had major surgery and found it unusual that there were many things I did on my own without an offer to help or with help. Changing my bed was done once, no one ever asked me if I wanted a new gown, or if I would like help with washing my face or brushing my teeth, no one checking on me in 4 hours. Not that I needed help or wanted help, but I would think help should have been offered. According to my niece, Melly, who is a nurse on the birthing unit, these things are pretty basic 101 nursing skills. I had virtually had no sleep in the hospital and was exhausted by time I got home.

The first actual thing I remembered in the recovery room was my plastic surgeon telling me the lymph nodes were negative! News to my ears! The whole waking up from surgery thing is not a picnic, let me tell you. I was seeing double and triple of everything for quite awhile. I do remember my family coming in to see me when I got to my room, but couldn't quite tell you what I said to them!! (maybe I don't want to know!) My brother-in-law, Rick,and his wife,Debbie,and my mother-in-law,Ruth, surprised John by showing up and staying with him during surgery. Rick and Debbie even had pink shirts on! My niece Melissa also came by for a quick visit after working her shift that day at the hospital.

My biggest hurdle is over, surgery. I meet with oncology next week to discuss further treatment options and more decisions to make.

I honestly was not nervous going into surgery, one of the nurses even made a comment to me about that. I had no expectations as to what to expect. That is probably why I seemed so calm. Was it a breeze? Nope, I can't say it was, but it's over and now I am moving forward.

Good bye Hotel Froedert!

Recovery update

Well today I am feeling like my head is finally attached to my body. I stopped taking the pain meds as of 3 am and really am experiencing no pain except under my arms where the drains are(they are more an an annoyance than anything). I finally called the hospital for some anti-nasuea medication and that seems to help. I was able to eat some breakfast and some lunch (probably the most I have eaten since being home). I am going to venture out and sit in the sun in a few minutes. tomorrow is my first followup visit with the plastic surgeon.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Home Sweet Home

Last night I slept better than I have in a long time. I have my little spot on my recliner couch that I am camped out in. I feel better sleeping somewhat upright so this is my new home for awhile. Right now I am fighting nausea and dizziness, we think from the meds I am on, so John is getting a prescription right now for some anti-nausea drugs. I have not really been eating either so that does not help. This is my biggest complaint right now. My pain is very minimal. I am hoping tomorrow I will feel better to write more. Night all.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Home from the Hotel Froedert

I'm back! I was discharged home at 6:30 PM tonight. I am soooooo glad to be home. I am looking forward to some sleep tonight. More details tommorrow. I have lots to say. Just wanted to check in and let everyone know I am home and doing well.
Thanks for your support and prayers. Love you all!!!