Thursday, September 29, 2011

Scars are the stories of our survival

Ten days ago.
The surgery went well. Before taking me in, they sent me off to radiology, where they did the "bracketing" portion of the procedure. That was amazing!
An older female radiologist, who was still plainly in love with her specialty, and had the energy of your favorite aunt, was teaching a younger female radiologist how the procedure was done.
It is very delicate stuff. While I stood, stock still in front of an Xray machine, Dr. Auntie lined up my previous breast Xrays so that they were in perfect alignment...Then she had to insert two wires marking, exactly, the parameters of the DCIS, so that the skin above them could be removed during the mastectomy.
But! The skill and artistry came into play in that she had to mark them with me standing, while figuring out the drop of my breast as I would be lying down on the table!!

I don't, of course, remember a thing. I was in recovery by early afternoon, Tuesday.
Tuesday through Thursday were a blur of horrific nausea. (Think sailor on bender of cheap rum on the high seas during a storm. Yeah. Exactly!)
I do remember one of the female surgeons mentioning that she sees this a lot: women who have had mastectomies having violent reactions to the anesthesia...
Even through my haze, I immediately understood that if this is a pattern, then this is an energetic issue~~the retching reaction to losing such a culturally, personally & in-the-tribe-of-the-feminine part of our bodies...

I came home Friday the 23rd, & slept through Monday due to the pain meds.
I took myself off of them & the pain has not been that bad.
I am still very tired on many levels: healing from the surgery, detoxing the anesthesia, just resting psyically & emotionally, but I am doing really well.

Yesterday was my post-surgical check-up with the breast surgeon.
He told me that my insistance on mastectomy was a very good call, as when the sent my breast to pathology it showed that I had, not 2 1/2-3 cm. of DCIS, as the biopsy had indicated, but 5 (let me spell that out: FIVE!) cm. Since I had decided on mastectomy, it was no trouble to get clear margins.
A lumpectomy would have (he said) turned into an unprepared mastectomy.
So. Good for me.
Pathology also showed that the DCIS was in 16 out of 41 tissue samples throughout, & was a nuclear grade 3/3.
This means that the Universe was definitely intervening to keep me on the planet, because it was about to shift into its virulent mode.
But. It was caught just in time & is all gone now.

During the surgery, the plastic surgeon put in the tissue expander & did a partial fill, so I have not had to see myself recapitulate puberty from the ground up, so to speak, on the left.
Everything that post-mastectomy women say is true: the pain is not that bad, but the drain (necessary to drain off blood & lymph from the inside for the first week) is a big pain-in-the...yes!
The plastic surgeon removed that today (jubilation!!) & will take out the stitches in another week.

My friends have been so amazingly supportive & helpful on all levels. I am speechless at the amount of  love & care that I am being surrounded & sustained by.

And my dogs (all 5 of them) are cuddled around me in a we-got-your-back pack mode, at all times.

My cup runneth over.
Well. Not yet.
But let's give it a few weeks!
Ah, the miracles of medicine. Life, abundantly preserved, and cleavage.
*happy sigh*


mrs mediocrity said...

Had to stop in before I leave.... wow, I guess it was a good thing, in that strange way that bad things can be good, that it did all happen so fast then.

Your sense of humor is amazing and shows your strength. SO glad to hear that your friends, human and canine, are taking such good care of you.

Anonymous said...

Yes, thank this world of opposites, right and left, yin and yang, left brain hemisphere and right brain hemisphere, western medicine and wholistic medicine. They do all have there place.
Blessed be.
Loving you all-ways Skye.

Frank said...

It was caught just in time & is all gone now.

I say, "Hallelujah!"