A week has passed since I had surgery. Each day I’m feeling better, but still not feeling like myself. I have to say that I didn’t know just how loved and cared for Dan and I would be. I’ve never had so much love showed that I can ever remember before. We have received beautiful flowers, cards, emails and delicious meals! It has been awesome to experience this kind of love and kindness (but I would never have picked cancer to get this :) ). Thank you seems like so little to say, but that’s really all I can say. I’m hoping to be on the giving end of this kind of love one day.
The actual surgery lasted about 6 hours. Both doctors were pleased with the results that they got. I only had to spend one night in the hospital. That night was pretty rough. Every hour someone was coming in to check on something. The anesthesia had made me not able to empty my bladder, so about 3am they put a catheter in. Never in my life would I have thought that would be good, but at that point I was really glad they did. Once that happened, I think we did get about 2 hours of uninterrupted sleep. Around 10 or 11am my doctor came in. He got the catheter removed and things started to work again. Around 1 pm we got to go home. I slept most of Saturday. Sunday was the worst day for pain. I went a little too long without any pain medicine and it took until Monday morning for it to catch up.
I had no idea that surgery would hurt as bad as it has. Not that I have been in constant debilitating pain, but I have been constantly aware the surgery and of my limits. The best way to describe the feeling is like a really tight bandage wrapped around my chest, but there is nothing around me. My chest is really tight from the expanders that have been placed under my chest muscles. They are forcing my muscles to stretch and my skin.
Apparently every move that you make is somehow tied to your chest; like pumping the soap from the dispenser, getting up from a chair, opening a door and everything in between. I have to have Dan help me with everything. It is really hard to be so dependent on someone else for everything; I’m very glad that he is willing to help, but it’s difficult for me emotionally. I’m not used to being so needy for everyday tasks.
Thursday was the worst day for me emotionally. I think it was just all getting to me; the constant pain and tightness in my chest, not being able to raise my arms up, having to have someone for everything, and on and on. I started to cry about it all that morning, but even crying hurts. I know it’s not always going to be this way or feel this way, but it can feel like it at times. Later Thursday I went out for the first time for my doctor appointments. I had 2 of the 4 drains removed; that was nice, but I was hoping for all of them to be gone. (The drains have to be messed with every 4 hours and measured every 12 hours.) The pathology report did confirm that my lymph nodes are negative, so that was a huge praise. We also found out that they are 100% recommending chemotherapy for my treatment. This was not at all what I wanted to hear. We meet with the oncologist this coming Thursday for more details about the chemo. I guess that will be when they tell us how much and how long I will have to do that. Honestly, I’m more scared about that part than everything else.
Saturday night we went to the mall to walk. It’s funny that we were mall walking, but it’s too hot for me to walk outside (it takes a lot of effort to take a shower these days). I think we would have been lapped by the usual walkers, but thank goodness it was at night and the serious mall walkers are there in the morning! LOL! It was nice to get out and be sort of normal. I’m not begging to get out of the house; I still have 2 drains in and that makes me self-conscious. Last night was my first night back in our bed. Dan made me a “ramp” to sleep on so I could be elevated. Things are slowing getting back to normal. I guess “normal” for us is going to be different than what we were used to. Maybe we will get back to how it was before cancer once my chemo is over; I’m really hoping so anyway.
As crappy as cancer is, it has been over whelming to see that people really do care and want to help in any way they can. It has given me ideas of how to show love to others when the time comes that people that I know are going thru a rough spot in life. I’m still praying that God will receive glory from my life; whatever that looks like. My battle is just beginning, but it’s comforting to know how many people are praying for us daily.
— Holly Thompson