Angela’s Corner: Surprise!Angela Banker
I had my first post-op scheduled six days after my bi-lateral mastectomy and¬†reconstructive surgery.¬† My sister, being my caregiver for the week, helped me into the car, put my seat belt on me gingerly, closed the door, and off we went back to Seattle.¬† Anticipation grew in me the closer we got to the hospital
After these first six-days, I finally started feeling a little more normal.¬† I was still sleeping in the¬†recliner, had the drain tubes in, and could not move my arms like I use to, but I was feeling more like myself mentally.¬† My sense of humor was finally coming back to life.¬† I would hope that this appointment would be the turning point to start gaining my physical life back.
As we walked into the exam room, I was not ready to have the blood pressure cuff put around my arm, opting for my ankle instead.¬† It wasn’t much of a shock when my blood pressure was sky high ‚Äď having it taken at the ankle is not very accurate at all.¬† My sister helped me out of my top and into a gown.¬† When the surgeon came in, looking over my fluid output record for the week, he was glad to announce the drain tubes could come out.¬† What a relief!¬† Those are not the most pleasant piece of equipment to endure for a week.¬† Besides, my skin was retaliating with huge fluid-filled kidney-shaped blisters under the bandages supporting the drain tubes.¬† Once removed, the blisters reduced quickly.
After opening my gown, the doctor immediately saddened.¬† I knew what was next; I knew it was coming.¬† My nipples did not survive the surgery and needed to be removed.¬† I was disappointed to say the least, but glad to finally hear what we thought for days.¬† After asking how soon surgery was needed to be scheduled, he said, “tomorrow.” ¬†This would just be another bump in the road, nothing I couldn’t handle.
Sitting down talking, we discussed how there was a second surgery; my recovery schedule now would be restarting at day one.¬† This was simply a skin removal surgery, but it would set me back a week.¬† My arm exercises would not be starting like planned because of the possibility of opening up the new sutures.¬† In addition to the change of my recovery due to the added surgery, my pathology report was back.¬† As the doctor was reading the results to us, he briefly touched on my DCIS, but no residual DCIS was located in the breast.¬† However, there was Stage 1 Invasive Lobular Carcinoma.¬† What!?!¬† My sister and I looked at each other, and then looked at the doctor.¬† ‚ÄúWait?¬† Did you just say I had cancer?‚ÄĚ¬† This was definitely a shock to my system.
Not only was I told I needed a second surgery, but my whole life was about to change again.¬† My treatment plans could easily change with this new diagnosis.¬† I was not looking forward to having this conversation with the oncologist back home.¬† Then the realization hit a few minutes later.¬† I had cancer!¬† Thank you, God, for leading me in my chosen path of treatment.¬† This mastectomy just may have saved my life.
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