Day 36 - Post Op Appt News

Yesterday's Post Op -- so many things to go over! First things first -- pathology report.

The final pathology report shows that both sentinel lymph nodes were in fact, negative. The cancerous cells did not spread into my lymphatic system which means they do not need to go back in and surgically remove any additional nodes and I do not need radiation therapy. This is all really, really good news. Secondly, the margins they took around the tumor were excellent -- meaning they don't need to go in and take additional tissue either.

Third, they removed one of the two drains, changed out all of the steri-strips and removed the stitch they placed to mark where the tumor had been. Let's go back to the removal of the drain ... we thought pulling out the pain buster was icky ... that was NOTHING compared to the pulling -- and I mean PULLING out of the drain! The surgeon's PA told me to take a deep breath and on the exhale, she pulled and kept pulling and out came a foot of drainage tube -- I didn't feel pain exactly, but I did feel a lot of pressure -- and even though I didn't feel the pain in the traditional sense, my body knew it hurt. I shook, and my chest felt aches like it was bruised, and when we got home, I was wiped out. And that was just the left drain. The right one still has to come out. We're hoping it comes out on Friday, before the long holiday weekend.

I thought I would put up a few pictures of what things kind of look like at the moment.

Here is what things look like right now. What you see on my right side, that tube that's running under my skin -- that is the drainage tube. It runs from the top, down and around and out the side of me. The bulb at the end of the tube that we have to drain 3 times a day, is pinned to whatever I'm wearing. Needless to say, having one left is much easier than two. The left drain looked the same, under the skin and ran under the chemo port. The chemo port is what you see on my left side -- that quarter sized circle under my skin. If you run your finger over the top of it, you can feel a tiny top to it where the IV will go in. There really isn't any pain from the port -- just when it's touched it feels weird. There really isn't a better word than weird for how it feels. It has a catheter that runs from the port somewhere down into my artery. Directly above the port -- you can see a small incision -- or a small scab now where the incision used to be -- the stitches have dissolved already -- I believe this was used to guide the catheter from the port.

Here's a picture of the bulb that is attached to the end of the drain. It's a pain having to be mindful of it all the time. But I am not as scared as I was before yesterday about accidentally pulling it out, that's for sure! Knowing that there's about a foot of it inside sure makes me feel better that I can't accidentally yank it out.

The other stitches around my incisions have dissolved as well. There's some really dark, scabbing going on and some blistering of skin that "died" and is coming back. They gave me a prescription for cream that is like cake frosting -- it's suppose to help with the scabbing parts, so hopefully they'll heal up and come back, instead of needing to be reconstructed.

Yesterday was the first time I saw the actual cuts. Honestly, it's not as bad as I thought it would be. They aren't healed yet, so the scarring could be much different, but as for the actual cuts -- they're not so bad. They're not as big and long as I thought they would be, but again -- the scars could end up differently.

Everything is numb except for right down my sternum. That's the only place I have sensation at the moment -- thankfully ... since I'm sure the incisions are sore and the blistering probably hurts. The only continued pain I have right now is from the remaining drain. I continue to get sharp pains from where it's stretched out my skin. I do have some cramping of my chest muscles every now and then too. My range of motion for my arms is getting better and I'm starting to put some weight on them -- like lifting myself up, helping to scoot backward or forward on the couch or bed. I played a little fetch with Tomo too -- gently tossing the toys underhand. He loves to play tug, but I'm not ready for that. Luckily he drops the toy after a minute or two so I can throw it again.

We slept in our bed last night, for the first time in a week. Since we've been home, we've been sleeping in Mike's game room, on his couch -- as you can see from this picture my mom took of us. Mike is just too tall to sleep all curled up like that. With the removal of the left drain, it made it easier to sleep in our bed. Mike didn't want to leave me sleeping in the game room on my own. Even though I told him it was OK and that I would be fine, he still slept on the game couch, every night.


  1. Melissa - you and Mike have had an amazing journey so far and what a kind and compassionate husband you have. Not many husbands have the strength to do what he's done. I caught up with your blogs from just before surgery through today; I cried for you for the first time. Part due to knowing you're now on your way down this long road of recovery and in part because of what you and Mike have been through. You're both an inspiration and from my heart; blessed!

    Love you poodle!


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