A week since my mastectomy

by Wednesday, March 19th, 2014Breast Cancer18 comments

I can’t believe it’s already a week since my double mastectomy. I feel so good to have it behind me and that I am on my way to recovery. Never having been in the hospital before I think I hit the jackpot in terms of outstanding care and fabulous accommodations at Froedtert. The nursing staff was phenomenal. They took such good care of me that it was hard for me to leave. I really didn’t mind being there. Everyone kept telling me how lucky I was that my room was pretty much brand new. Some of the staff kept referring to it as the penthouse. It was absolutely beautiful.
Breast cancer patient Amy Czerniec with Jackson-Pratt drains after a double mastectomy
Mark has been the best and is a very patient and caring nurse. He is tending to my Jackson-Pratt drains very carefully and never seems to be bothered by my constant requests. I LOVE him so much and don’t know what I would do without him.

I feel fortunate to be sleeping very soundly each night. Before I went into the hospital, we didn’t know where I was going to sleep comfortably. They told us that during recovery at home, I would need to sleep on an incline. Our recliners are a little old and not the most comfortable — at least not to sleep in. So we searched the web for something we could put in the bed.

We found the Contour Backmax Plus. This I feel has been the best solution. I climb up onto it in bed each night with a little difficulty, but once I am positioned I seem to fall into a deep sleep where I don’t even think I move. I know getting a good night’s sleep is really a big part of recovery. I have lower back issues and I have to say that since my stay in the hospital, and then returning home and using this wedge, I haven’t noticed one bit of a backache. Not only does it keep my upper body propped up, I might just continue to use the portion under my legs after my recovery, to help reduce my lower back problems. Mark now calls me the “your highness,” because I am elevated up so much higher than him.

As for the pain, it feels like a burning under my armpit where they removed the lymph nodes. The areas where the drains come out are a little irritated-feeling and get a little itchy. The breast area where the expanders are feels like muscle spasms, kind of like a charley horse. It’s a very odd feeling. I have been playing around with my pain meds. When I was released from the hospital, they had me taking one pill every 4 hours. Then I went down to one every 6, and as of today, I was able to go every 9 hours.

On Monday we had my follow-up appointment with the plastic surgeon. They said everything looks good and the numbers on two of the drains are down, so they were able to remove both of them. I feel so much better. Now I am only left with three drains. I know I will feel best once all of them are removed.

Next week I’ll start physical therapy.  It feels like there is light at the end of the tunnel. It’s like all of us getting through this terrible winter and excited for spring. I feel like a little baby chick on Easter with my fuzzy new little hair coming in.

UPDATE: A story about the Livestrong program that I participate in at the Racine Family YMCA was in our local newspaper, the Journal Times, when I woke this morning.

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