Breast cancer Round 2: Almost a week post-mastectomy x2

Another day when I’m the grouchiest grouch that ever grouched. That probably means I’m healing, right?

I’m tired and sleepy. Some nights I sleep great. Some nights my restless legs kick in and make it hard to fall asleep. I was worn out yesterday from getting up early to watch the Queen Elizabeth funeral events. I was sure I’d go right to sleep, but restless legs postponed that. Overall, though, I tend to be sleeping better and better.

The bilateral mastectomy last Wednesday went well (today is Tuesday), and I came home that afternoon. A lot of my friends were surprised to learn that a bilateral mastectomy is day surgery. I was glad to be home instead of in a hospital. Here I get one-on-one care from my sister. Though she gets my grouch version too often, she perseveres and does an excellent job of keeping me fed and comfortable and the household chores completed.

Good news I forgot to share is that the cancer has NOT spread into the lymph nodes! My surgeon felt sure that was the case, and she was right. She only needed to take one lymph node. I’m very happy about all of that!

The night after surgery was rough because I could NOT get comfortable. I ended up sleeping in my recliner, dozing off and on. And my mouth would fall open, so I’d wake feeling as dry as the Mojave. I tried all kinds of things to tie around my head to keep my mouth shut. Nothing worked.

I ended up ordering something but now I mostly don’t need it because on Night 2 or 3 post-surgery I discovered I could sleep on my side in bed. Or partially on my side enough so that my mouth doesn’t fall open. I think somehow anesthesia after-effects made my mouth-open situation worse. That problem is lessening, even when I sleep on my back.

Speaking of anesthesia, I was sure my taste buds would be off for a couple of months after surgery. After all of my other surgeries (lumpectomy in breast cancer Round 1, hysterectomy, double knee replacement) I had lingering anesthesia effects. And each time I came to after surgery vomiting or dry heaving.

But this time was different.

Food tastes the same. There was no post-surgery mention of my throwing up. I told this anesthesiologist about my past troubles, and she said she had something that would help. Maybe the nerve blocks plus the Merinol she gave me kept me from the negative effects. She said Merinol is a CBD product. Whatever the combo was, it sure worked well. Or maybe it was just that Merinol works wonders. Whatever the reason, I’m very grateful.

My surgeon called yesterday to see if I needed to keep the drains, and I’m still draining enough fluid that they need to stay in longer. She’ll check with me tomorrow. Though the drains are somewhat of a nuisance, I’d rather have them as long as I need them so that I don’t get a seroma (as I did after my lumpectomy). The drains started to be a bit painful at the sutures. But a seroma is worse.

Whew, I’m running out of energy, so I’m going to close now.

I’ve had SO much support from my sister and from friends. I can’t remember all of the kind things people have done, but I’ll list a few: a cute handmade drain-holder “hardware” belt that I wear daily, a drain holder for when I shower, a giant bag of goodies, a variety of coffees, a big basket of flowers and some flower arrangements, a couple of paper origami-type paper flower arrangements, very tasty meals delivered both before and after surgery, offers for errand-running and meals, prayers, cards, good wishes, and more.

All of this support really helps my recovery, and I’m so very grateful to each person who has thought of me.

Big thanks to all of you!

And now I’m having a nice nap!

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