An explanation...

Why Foob? I had a double mastectomy, and at the time, the plastic surgeon put "expanders" under the muscles in my chest. Every 2-3 weeks, they were filled with more saline, in preparation for my reconstructive surgery. They were very full and hard. Uncomfortable. One time, one of my sons gave me a hug and then said "Your foobs are hard!" Hee, hee, hee! My kids have this endearing habit of combining words. So, "Foobs" are fake boobs. Which I will still have, even after the reconstruction.

Foob Babe - that would be me!
"The only courage that matters is the kind that gets you from one moment to the next." ~Mignon McLaughlin


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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

1 year Anniversay of Bilateral Mastectomy

Well, I've kind of been waiting to write this post for awhile. Today is the one year anniversary of my bilateral mastectomy. I can't really believe it's been a whole year. That seems hard to fathom. I've never written about my mastectomy - it's just not something I could write about. But, now I think I should. I've forgotten some of it - maybe because I haven't written about it for a year, or maybe because my mind just doesn't want to deal with remembering the worst day of my life. I asked Rick to help me remember what happened, but he says he doesn't remember much - which is weird, because he never forgets anything. Hmmmm. Maybe it was his worst day, too. Here's what I do remember...

Rick and I went to the hospital around 9:00 am. After I checked in, Rick and I sat in the waiting room. Rick was holding on tight to my arm. I asked him why. He said that he was afraid that if he didn't hold on to me, I'd run out the exit. Which was probably true. He asked if I had my red lipstick. (I had just finished reading "Why I Wore Lipstick To My Mastectomy" and she had worn red lipstick for hers). I was sad because I only had pink lipstick. I remember that they were behind for some reason that morning, and things were delayed for awhile. Nothing like dragging it out, huh? The nurse took me back and told me to undress and put a hospital gown on. I do remember how I felt as I took off my bra for the last time. I swallowed a big lump in my throat, and thought, "This is the last time I'm going to wear a bra." After I was settled in the pre-op waiting area, my parents came in to visit me. I took one look at them and started crying. I remember my dad hugging me and telling me that he was so sorry. We talked for awhile. Then, they went out to the waiting room, and Rick and I were alone. I wrote in my journal for awhile. It was my first entry in that journal. I think I'll share here what I wrote:

"I have cancer. I was diagnosed two months ago - August 20, 2008. I haven't wanted to write it down. I've been in kind of a denial, but as of today, there will be no more denials. In 1/2 hour, I'm having a bilateral mastectomy. Yep, they are cutting off both breasts. It's been a tough decision - one I had to make myself. No doctor wanted to be the one to say, "Yes, we have to do it." Right now I just want to write down how I feel about this. I'm so scared. I'm scared to go to sleep. I'm scared to wake up. I'm scared of what I'll look like. I'm scared they'll make me go home too soon. I'm scared to take care of the drains. I'm scared of starting chemo. I'm scared of the chemo cocktail and what it will do to me. I'm scared of losing my hair. I'm scared of the IV they are trying to put in right now - they can't find a vein. This is going to hurt. I just took my bra off for the last time. Because I'll have expanders inside and no nipples, I won't need to wear one. I'm so scared."

So, that's what I wrote about 1/2 before I went in for surgery. And no, they couldn't find a vein. They tried quite a few times, and I was so upset, that they finally said they would put me to sleep in the operating room before they put an IV in. Surgery time came and Rick gave me a hug. They wheeled me back, and the closer I got to the surgery room, the more I started to panic. It felt like I couldn't breathe. We entered the room, and people were all around me. They said they would put a mask over my face and I'd go to sleep. I saw them playing around with the mask, and I just started to cry, uncontrollably. I couldn't breath, and I was trying to get off of the table. I felt like running away as fast as I could. Who the hell cares about the cancer. I CANNOT do this. The nurse grabbed me and helped me lie back down. I must have look very frightened, because she asked me what was wrong. ??!!!! Um, I'm getting my chest cut off! What do you mean, what's wrong?! I told her I was scared. She asked me if I was scared of going to sleep, and I said, "No, I'm scared of waking up." She put her arms around me and gave me a hug, the mask went on my face, and that's the last thing I remember. My parents told me that it took about 4-5 hours. I do know that two doctors operated on me that day - first the surgeon removed all of the breast tissue. And then, the plastic surgeon put expanders in and closed the wounds. I don't remember much about when I woke up. I guess my parents came in to see me, but I don't remember that. I was pretty drugged up and the pain was awful. I had drains in and a pain pump with morphine. My kids came to see me and I'm sure others did too, but everything is a blur. All I can remember for the first couple of days, is pain. I ended up staying in the hospital for 5 days. The pain was bad, and I was draining tons of fluid. I remember how awful it felt to look down and realize that I had no boobs anymore. I don't even know how to describe that. There are no words for that.

Well, that's about all I can write for now. I'll describe the recovery later. And, of course, that terrible moment when the bandages came off, but not now. This is enough for now.

1 comment:

  1. You are incredible.I think that was the worst day for all of us. I love you.