Saturday, December 8, 2012

Good Morning,

2 days post surgery and I'm doing good.  Still a lot of pressure across my chest and pain in the armpits, but it is being managed by my pain medicine.  Thursday was a blur to me.  We drove 2 cars up to Northwestern.  1 car was Wendy, my dad and Whitney.  The other was Don, me and my mom.  I was so surprised how on time they kept us.  My direct supporters took the best spot in the waiting room.....2 couches I think and a TV.  Don and I went back to a pre-op room.  Sheila (my friend from college and one who used to work at Northwestern in nuclear med) had her friend Jennifer do my injection test and brought me a bag of post surgery goodies.  This being a teaching hospital, I had several students come in and then the surgeon.  The last guest was the plastic surgeon who just like the show, drew all over my chest so they knew just what to do.  They then drugged me pretty good, because the last thing I remember was being wheeled to the operating room and holding hands with my surgeon.  Sounds awkward probably to some, but I thought it was a sweet gesture!  

Next thing I knew I was waking up in the recovery room.  I was full of questions and my head was freezing!  They informed me that my body did great during surgery and in recovery.  I wouldn't expect anything different, but you know you never know.  You hear or see on Gray's Anatomy how the pressure drops or other odd things happen.  I know it is a TV show! Back to my freezing head, I asked for a warm blanket for my head and the nurse wrapped me like a mummy.  It felt awesome until I had a hot flash!  Then I told the nurse to get it off of me quick because I was getting nauseous!  

We were moved to a room around 2 hours after surgery.  This is when I started to really come to because the pain and pressure was unreal.  I had a morphine pump that helped, but the pressure was so weird.  It was hard to breath and felt like what I would think a heart attack feels like.  I asked one of the students at one point when she came to check on me.  She confirmed it was not a heart attack.  This is all normal as the expanders were placed behind my chest muscles so this is added pressure and soreness from them moving things around.  I also felt pretty nauseous!  

Yesterday I woke up still nauseous but as the day went on, I started to feel better.  In fact, when I woke up, I didn't think I would want to come home yesterday.  I just still felt sick and sore and couldn't think about being home that way.  But as they switched me off of the morphine and put me on oral pain medicine, I started to handle things a lot better.  So after several naps, I decided home was going to help me more than the hospital.  The constant interruption and the noise was bothering me, plus my kids are the best medicine!

So the main question is, did they get all of the cancer?  Well, all of the breast tumor was removed of course with the mastectomy.  During surgery they tested my lymph nodes and unfortunately, they did find cancerous lymph nodes so they had to remove the first 2 levels of my right armpit lymph nodes.  I guess you have 3 levels.  Per the Doctor, they really don't know how much they remove, but they were sent to pathology to be tested and we should know more on Wednesday.  This was discouraging to hear, but I guess came as no surprise to the Doctor and quite honestly, I kind of had a feeling this could happen since the tumor was not completely gone after chemo.  The number of positive nodes will kind of determine the next step.  They mentioned radiation, which was already a part of my plan after surgery so if that is it, that will make me happy.  If it means more chemo....well, I will do it, but I was kind of liking growing hair back, no but this will be frustrating, but again, I will do whatever is necessary.  

So prayer warriors, we need you to continue to do your thing!  Obviously for results next week that the lymph node involvement is not too scary and a plan is put into place.  And of course that just because the cancer was in my lymph nodes does not mean it spread anywhere else in my body.  And also that my body continues to respond well to the pain medicine and I continue to heal.  Thank you for the prayers getting me through the surgery!  


  1. I continue to think of you and pray for you each day Amber. Every time I read your blog, I cry. Even when it's good news :) You've educated us all and made it so much easier to reach out to you and to understand this nasty thing and all that goes with it. Everyone is praying for a good post-surgery report next week. Keep up the blogs - it's a Godsend to those of us far away. Love you! Aunt Tam

  2. I'm glad to read the update...I was checking with Linda on surgery day and was so glad to learn you were in recovery. Prayers continue...Suzy Smith