Monday, 1 April 2013

Mastectomy part I - The Flap!

On friday 22nd March I had my first mastectomy/reconstruction.

After my treatment for cancer and the 2 years that followed I decided upon this course of action as a preventative measure due to the nature of my initial diagnosis and my family history (we do a mean line in Breast Cancer).  This hasn't always been an easy decision and I have wrestled with it over the months. 
It was decided that I would have both breasts removed and reconstructed using the muscle, tissue and blood supply from my inner thighs! I nominated my stomach for the job but unfortunately my surgeon said it wasn't big enough for two boobs!!!! Oh how I laughed....and laughed...and laughed!!
I will have two surgeries (mastectomy/reconstructions) as the operations are too long - up to ten hours for one breast!
So it was last friday that I slipped into the land of nod and let the surgeon perform his magic.

Except that, true to form, this old cheesie body didn't like it very much.
I woke in recovery to severe chest pains and breathing difficulties.  They did a chest x-ray and several ECGs, followed by blood tests.  My blood pressure dipped to 71 over 43.......isn't that kinda dead?  There was muffled talk of Intensive Care and blood transfusions.    I spent nearly SEVEN hours in recovery in and out of sleepy land and covered in wires and monitors.  My poor husband was beside himself as he didn't know what was going on.  They then told me I had had to have a rib removed too?!?!?!?!?!?

The following six days were spent on the surgical ward being wired, unwired, drained, washed and fed (yum hospital food!).  One has to get used to the term 'FLAP'.  Apparently my breast is no longer but it is now a flap.  'Hello, may I look at your flap, yes that's a beautiful flap, your flap is healing very nicely' etc etc.  My flap is very purple, sore and small. Unfortunately I was next to a lady who had clearly been engulfed by an open sewer.  I know not what her surgical issues were but the poor woman obviously had many problems.  A flimsy hospital curtain does NOT an odour barrier make.  Why did they have to deliver my meals at the same time her bags were being cleared........every single time!!!  I grew sick of the smell of lemon disinfectant and the regularity of such procedures brought on an asthma attack.

My flap and I were discharged on Thursday (not before my daughter fainted on the ward on hearing my friend and I discussing, flaps, blood and drains - I'm sorry Fluffy, I hope the medicinal creme egg helped).  I have spent the last four days in much pain, tears and in bed.  The enormity of the surgery as engulfed me and if I sit for too long thinking about it, it makes me sad.  

There will be a FLAP part II to this story but I just need to get over this one first.

NEWSFLASH - What I thought was a clotted bruise turns out to be a very well designed areola and nipple combo! He's done a cracking job there on the old flap! Every cloud.......