It’s been a while since I’ve updated. I hope this post finds you all hanging in there as at this point most of us have been isolating for what- 7 or 8 weeks?
Things are generally good over here. A week and a half ago I had my single mastectomy- which went as good as it could have! I was first up for surgery that morning and was in my hospital room before noon. I spent several hours napping on and off there until I felt well enough to ask to be discharged. I was able to head home around 8pm that night and was so happy to be able to sleep in my own bed!
Justin took this picture in the parking lot of the hospital as he waited for me to come out. It was a beautiful night.
Recovery has been pretty easy. The day after surgery I had very little pain and didn’t need any medications. The second day after though, around noon, is when the pain hit. I was very sore in my left arm and underarm. The actual breast area didn’t hurt at all, thankfully (as it was totally numb). I took pain meds that day and night but then the following day was back to having very little pain and stopped all pain meds.
Physically, I really am recovering very well. Emotionally, has been another story. For some reason last Tuesday, the day I was getting my bandages off, I awoke completely depressed. I did NOT want to have my bandages taken off and I did NOT want to see what my body looked like. I cried on and off most of the morning. All of this was very unusual for me and was unexpected.
In fact, at my 2:30 appointment with my surgeon, I surprised myself again by starting to cry when I was telling him I had had a rough morning! He was equally as surprised as he has told me many times what an amazing attitude I have had through all of this. He was so sweet and said if it wasn’t for all this social distancing he would have given me a big bear hug.
Thankfully, I did ok when they took off the bandages- I didn’t look though. They told me I absolutely did not have to look until I was ready. The surgeon said It really could not look better and was really happy with my healing. Then they bandaged me back up with plans to return in a couple days to get a drain or two removed.
So when you have a surgery like mine (mastectomy plus a lymph node dissection), you go home with drains coming out from your chest. As the body heals, some blood and fluids need to be drained so they don’t accumulate- so you have the drains until the body slows the draining down to a certain point. So Friday one of my drains hit that point and I went in and had it removed. As I write this Monday Afternoon, my other drain is *this close* to being ready so I hope to go in tomorrow to have it removed. It will be great to be drain free!
Anyway- I mentioned that emotionally it had been a tough week. Though Tuesday was the day with the most tears, I still struggled as the days passed. I felt sad, helpless, and scared…all feelings that for the most part, I’ve avoided mostly through this cancer process. I also felt a lot of anger- a lot of the WHY ME thoughts went through my head. It was a lot to deal with and I HATED feeling this way. HATED IT. I wanted all the fear and uncertainty to go AWAY.
Though I am still having some of these hard feelings, the good news is that they are improving each day. I am doing my best to allow myself to FEEL them…and then let them go. I try to remember that feelings are just that- feelings- and that they are not the key to my reality. Just because I feel scared of something, doesn’t mean it will happen.
I do think all this Covid stuff has impacted the situation a great deal for me. I started feeling a bit sad off and on once we hit the month mark of shelter-in-place. It turns out- so was the rest of the world. It was right around the month mark that we started to see the demonstrations- people wanted life to go back to normal. People were getting sad and restless.
So was I. Except I have cancer and am high risk so my life doesn’t get to go back to any type of normal any time soon- nor the lives of my kids and husband- and that is a very tough pill to swallow.
It’s one thing to have cancer. It’s another thing to have cancer during a pandemic.
So….I had to make the decision to pick myself back up and get back on track. Take control of what I CAN control, and move forward. No, my life isn’t going to look the way I want it to for a long time BUT…I am alive and there IS a future to look forward to. Right now my aim is Hawaii next summer- by that time I have high hopes that there will be a treatment or vaccine for Covid- or that it will have died out completely- so that I can start to live my life more normally.
Another way to take back some control…I’m starting to work with a nutritionist to help use food (and supplements when needed) to build up my immune system and help me through the next phases of treatment (more on that in a future post). It feels so good to be able to take control of SOMETHING in a time where things feel so out of control and unpredictable.
Some other good news to report…my hair and eye brows are growing back in! Right now my eye brows just look like I’ve got dirt on my face…but it’s something! HAHA! And my hair is growing in fast on the back of my head…it looks like I will need to trim it to avoid a mullet!
The kids…I’ve been asked how they are doing. Overall they are doing well. Since we homeschooled before all of this Covid stuff started, our education stuff hasn’t been as changed as it has been for other kids. We really really miss our weekly co-op and being able to go on field trips but we are enjoying our new yard and swimming pool, which have been HUGE plusses for us during all of this isolating. We also have been having nightly dance parties out in the front yard as we watch the sun set (have you seen our view? It’s amazing!) So they are OK, though they do miss their friends!
That is it for now. I’ll update you all soon on the next steps for me and my treatment- as it had shifted a bit in response to my pathology report from surgery…Until then I hope you all stay safe!
Love you, Katie! You are no different than the rest of us when it comes to emotions and feelings and yes, it’s okay for the tears to come. They’ve probably been welling up inside you for a long time. Keep facing forward and taking those small steps on your journey to health. I really appreciate your honesty in all you write and I know it is a path to healing. Can’t wait to hear about the trip to Hawaii that you will take with your family in 2021!
I’m so glad you posted Katie! I think your honesty about your feelings is amazing. It allows all of those who love you the ability to know how to help you, which is a gift. You show amazing strength and courage! I’m so happy that your treatment is going as planned.
Thinking of you, Katie! What a challenging process! I had so many emotions about having surgery to remove a cancer from my leg that left a nasty scar, so I can only imagine what it must be like to have such a drastic surgery like a mastectomy. It’s okay to not be positive and optimistic all the time, and to not have your attitude inspire people, though it still does and I’m sure it also has a significant effect on your healing and recovery. ♥️♥️ Hawaii sounds amazing!! I’ll be intending that that trip works out for you and your family. What a perfect thing to look forward to!!
Katie, you are still the most amazing person.. you give us all strength. Have your ups and downs and just let it flow. I know you had a good Mother’s Day because you have the best children. Keep up the good work. I think about you daily and send love and prayers and positive thoughts.. Love Kissie