It occurs to me that you might like to know how mastectomy and oophrectomy (ovary removal) procedures go. I thought I'd go ahead and share my experience with you, in case you ever need to walk this path.
The day of surgery, they gave me a little Versed to help calm the anxiety (which I rarely feel in any surgery) but that really releases the endorphines. I start talking every time. Hubby tells me I started firing off a list of things to do after my surgery during the first mastectomy. I honestly don't remember this time at all. They started the drugs, and wheeled me away, and I woke up five hours later -- but it seemed like only a few.
I was on Delaudet, and nice opiate that they give to manage the pain, but it made me sleepy. I was awake long enough for them to tell me everything went well and that everyone thought I looked great. They were all very positive.
|You squeeze this into your fist, then |
close the valve, creating negative pressure.
The other end is placed near the
surgery site well under your skin.
So, you ask, what about the incisions?
I awoke with large surgical pads over the incisions for my breast. I couldn't see anything under it all, but I really didn't care this time. I knew I had a large incision, all stitched up, starting from about my breastbone to under my armpit, pretty much along the axis of my former breast. I could feel the JP drain under my armpit. The drain collects lymph fluid and blood from the incision site, and prevents seromas, with are big, painful swellings that can't drain because of the injury done to the lymph system. If a drain isn't installed, the fluid has to be removed with a needle. The drain doesn't hurt if you can avoid moving it suddenly.
To keep it from tangling, we pinned it to my lovely hospital gown. Meanwhile, my GYN surgeon explained that I had three holes in my belly that were superglued together, no fuss no muss. I had also had quite a few samples removed, so I was bleeding mildly. I was a mass of tubes (including the IV pole) and wires.
The gynecological surgeon would have sent me home, but the mastectomy surgeon likes his patients to stay overnight. That harkens back to the protests over drive-through mastectomies. As American healthcare started to move in the direction of outpatient surgery unless absolutely necessary, women complained that they were being sent home from mastectomies far too quickly and callously...they called them "drive-throughs." Insurance companies were pressured, and laws passed in the late 90s: no more drivc-throughs. So, I spent the night.
I slept quite a bit, but I had to wake frequently. Now, I could have asked the nurse to help me to the restroom, but I couldn't wait. So, two or three times, I awoke, unplugged the IV pole from the wall and untangled the phone cord, wrapped my JP drain to avoid tangling and pulling, and headed to the nice bathroom. It was quite an effort.
This hospital stay, I couldn't eat anything but a liquid diet, though, so I didn't get to enjoy the hospital's great food until the next morning.
I headed home the next day, and I was glad to go. I started eating -- soft foods the first day -- and I have a few restrictions, like not lifting more than 10 pounds. I soon realized: that means no shopping cart, and right before Christmas. In fact, I overdid one day doing just that. I have to take it easy, rest more frequently.
I am recovering slowly, but my sleep was impaired for a while, I'm pretty emotional and I have that jangly feeling all over the incision. I'll get better, and I will be ready for work when I go back next week...I just can't lift anything. I'm really anxious to have the jangly nerves settle down. My abdomen already feels better.
I've come to realize that I go through a few weeks of emotionality, a sort of PTSD, after each surgery, so I'll have to reconnect with my therapist.
Surgery: easy peasy. Well, ok, not really, but it's fine. Really.
How was your experience? Feel free to comment here, on Inspire or Facebook.