Recovering From My Double Mastectomy

Recovering From My Double Mastectomy

My surgery was on a Monday—I was home by late Wednesday afternoon.  You can read about my surgery here and Post-op here.

I am trying to be honest in my posts.  I understand that those who are reading are scared and very unsure of what to expect.  Not all surgeries are the same.  People react differently to anesthesia and heal in all different ways.  But, my desire in sharing my story is a passion for others who are facing breast cancer to know that there are options.  That there is someone else who has traveled this path and has come out better for it.

Two Days Post-op – I had a fat lip where the anesthesia tube rested in my mouth!  I had a facial mole removed in surgery, so that is bandaged.  I am wearing a compression bra with just gauze padding inside.  It is hard to catch a deep breath because of this compression.  I have two JP drains, one one each side where the mastectomy took place.  This is to drain the areas.  The drainage flows from tubes into two bulbs.  I am wearing the Poucharoo.  The bulbs fit down into the Poucharoo, which is buttoned around my waist.  We clean the bulbs about twice a day.  We record how much fluid comes out.  It started out as bright red.  It is getting lighter and less drainage as time goes on.  I managed a bath today.  I was able to put the pouch with the drains around my neck and sit in the tub.  Our daughter, Kristen, washed my hair as I lay on the end of the bed.  I felt so much better!

Three Days Post-op – A very hard day!  I feel more pressure and pain.  I can feel the drains when the fluid moves.  It makes me want to check for wetness, but there never is anything to feel.  I was very dizzy.  I slept a lot.

Four Days Post-op – I am receiving lots of visitors.  It is wonderful to see everybody, but it wears me out.  I am sleeping a lot, but I try to spend some time sitting in my chair–the space I set up for healing.  The right drain always has more fluid in it.  My incisions are beginning to itch–a sign of healing.  My medication is regulating the pain.

Five Days Post-op – My husband, Juan, sets his alarm every four hours to give me my medication.  I get up then to go to the bathroom.  I am very stiff in the morning.  Today, the under part of my left arm throbbed.  This is the cancer side.  I can still feel the fluids draining into the bulbs.  I am itching along the compression bra line and where the steri strips are.  I still feel dizzy.  I finally had a bowel movement!  The anesthesia and pain meds cause constipation.  It is awful.  I am on a stool softener, prunes and laxative tea.  I had to use Vaseline to ease my going!  It came out like rocks–very painful and bloody.  I used witch hazel wipes to soothe it.  I didn’t go again until Day 7 post-op.  It was easier.  Day 9 post-op was bloody again!

Seven Days Post-op – The days and hours are running together.  I am tired of the light-headedness and dizziness.   I am shaky and unsteady on my feet.  We are stretching out the time between pain pills.  We went from 4 hours to 7 hours.

I have been emptying my drains.  I have to run my fingers down the tubes to unclog them.  Wipe the tip with an alcohol wipe and pour the contents of the bulb into a measuring cup.  Squeeze the air out of the bulb and recap.  Once the contents have reached 30 ml or less, the drains will be removed.

I had a very painful night.  The pain meds were wearing off.  I didn’t expect to feel the poking pain I was feeling in the center of my chest.  It was a sharp, poking pain through the skin.  I ended up taking more pain meds.  (It turns out that the poking pain was a drain tube poking me.)

I will talk about my post-op visit to the plastic surgeon in my next post.

Thank you for reading.  Please email or comment if you have any questions or concerns you would like to share.


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