My surgery date is scheduled: August 30th. Four weeks from today.
I am looking forward to the surgery; I scheduled it for the first day Dr. Awesome was willing to operate. I desire no delay for cancer to get comfortable. And three weeks between my last chemo (8/8) and surgery is enough time for my body to be strong enough for the operation.
I feel fine about the surgery itself: I’ve had surgery before: an emergency appendectomy at 19-years-old, removal of an osteochondroma at 25-years-old, and a tonsillectomy at 26-years-old. Surprisingly, the pain from the tonsillectomy was the worst. I’ve been taking notes and watching my mom as she recovers from her surgery. I’ve talked to many in the Chemo Room who have been there, done that. I can handle it.
Physically, here’s the impact: I’m having a bilateral mastectomy. I’ll have surgical drains placed: tubes that come out of my chest to drain fluid. (I know, cancer is so sexy.) The tubes/drains will stay in place for several weeks. I understand these drains are the worst part of the whole process for most. Also, she (Dr. Awesome) will be removing the lining of my pectoral muscle. I’ll have multiple incisions, each several inches long. She’ll be removing lymph nodes from under my arm. My port will stay in place: I need it to receive Herceptin over the course of the next year (or more).
Basically, my whole chest/ribcage area is in for a pretty massive assault. It’s okay. I can handle it. Each day will be better than the previous day. And, hopefully, I’ll be frolicking (at least in my head) because at that point I could be cancer free. (Depends on the results of my upcoming PET scan–another post coming about that.) A PET scan is an oncology test that detects cancer in the entire body.
The tough part about the surgery is that I have to step out of my life. The trauma-t0-the-chest-region means that I can’t handle my girls, especially Greta. Thankfully, Brad’s mom, SuperGramma, is coming, literally, to the rescue. She arrives the day before surgery and is graciously moving in with us for as long as we need. I am so grateful. Once the initial surgical pain has resolved, I will still have lifting restrictions. It could be months before I can lift twenty pounds. This is pretty significant because Greta weighs 20+ pounds. For weeks (months?) I won’t be able to lift Greta in or out of her high chair, her car seat, or her crib. Oy. I shake my head just thinking about it. But, it is but a blip in our long and happy life together, right?
Yes, SuperGramma to the rescue, indeed.
I have no control in this factor, the having-t0-step-out-of-my-life factor. Brad and SuperGramma will meet the needs of my girls, and I know they will do it well. Greta will miss me initially, but we’re going to go with the out-of-sight, out-of-mind approach for the first week plus with her. It’s just what we need to do. Maren will miss me, but our relationship is fantastic and she and I will do lots of special bedside activities together. Our extended support structure is stunningly solid; she’ll feel safe and loved.
Please be praying ahead with us for this season: for safety for me in the OR, for the protection of my family, for Dr. Awesome and her zest and skill to get every last bit of cancer and to spare the healthy stuff. Cancer free.