Sunday, August 30, 2015

Thanks For the Mammaries

We had almost finished our book club a couple of Saturdays ago when my daughter and granddaughter came in bringing a "Boob Voyage" party.

We played several games, made a lot of silly boob jokes only women can make or appreciate, and said goodbye to my left breast. Don't want to get maudlin about it, but it has served me well and I've always appreciated it. At the end of the party, my daughter brought out a little poster of the appropriate character from The Lion King doing the hula: It means no worries for the rest of your days... It's a problem-free philosophy... Hakuna M' Tatas. (Don't know where my kids got their bizarre sense of humor--surely not from me.)

After the procedure, the surgeon told me she had to take one lymph node in the armpit. She also found a patch of muscle about the size of a half dollar under the tumor itself which was inflamed, so she took that, too. My family says when I came out of surgery I told them my pain level was a seven on a scale of one to ten. I don't remember that, but when I finally fully woke up in my room I called it a two, and by evening I felt no pain at all, which surprised everyone but me. I always recover quickly. Since then I've felt the tenderness and an occasional stinging sensation when I put pressure on it, like pushing against the arms of a chair to stand up, but I'm still pain-free. I have about a seven-inch horizontal incision where my breast was, and a drain implanted somewhere in my armpit. A little "grenade" at the end of the drain tube catches the fluid, and I have to empty it a couple a times a day, whenever it gets full and record the amount of fluid being siphoned off. It's a plastic bulb that fits in a little pocket on the left side.

Nurses were good. As new ones came on duty and old ones introduced me to the incoming crew, I told them I like my water room-temperature and my door closed. For the most part they remembered.

Being without leg wraps allowed blisters of cellulitis to develop but the fellow from wound care found some compression socks he could pull on to protect the temporarily bandaged wounds. My husband arranged for the fellow from the dermatologist's office to come to the house and re-wrap my legs, which he did as soon as we got home Friday morning. I'm also on antibiotics again.

And I'm on oxygen. Levels in my blood weren't high enough, so they got that all organized for me to have tanks to use when I left the house. They are big and cumbersome and make me not want to go out very much. By simply pulls oxygen out of the air the main machine purifies it for my personal consumption. Moving around with a walker and 50 yards of tubing can really get your knickers in a twist... or your cord in a tangle.

Since I'm not going to church today, I'm just sitting here singing "I left my left breast in American Fork Hospital..." and trying to make it fit the rhythm. Not working too well. It's hubby's birthday today and daughter's tomorrow so we're celebrating by having dinner together later today. Hope I have an appetite by then.

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