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.

18 Comments
  1. Janet

    Sweet Amy- so glad that you are on the other side of the summit. Sometimes home is a scary prospect after good care in a lovely spot- but your partner and your spirit make home the best restorative nest. You must have had moments when medicine’s demands overwhelmed- now you can return to Amyness. That is a wonderful place to be! And I knew Mark’s giant heart and research acumen would give you the best pathway. I’m so glad you are on this new road. Be sure to use pain meds for P/T so you will be able to move your arms without pain. Take good care of each other and soon the crocuses and daffodils will be dancing to celebrate along with you. Xo love to you both!

    Reply
    • Amy Czerniec

      I love you too Janet thanks for being there cheering me on. :)

      Reply
  2. jeff & jodi hanson

    Amy,

    That’s great news. I’m so glad you are on a great new path…Happy Mark is such a GREAT TROOPER. He needs some extra attention as well… What an awesome husband Mark is!!! Hoping for a speedy recovery. Keep that smile going on your lovely face. Hugs & Kisses from both of us..

    Jodi & Jeff

    Reply
    • Amy Czerniec

      Yeah I feel like my Marky is not getting as much attention as he needs, for some reason it’s all about me. :) lol…. I will have to make it up to him.

      Thank you Jodi for your love and support through all of this. Give Coco a big hug for me, I look at her pic on my phone and it always brings a smile to my face.

      Love you guys.

      Reply
  3. Melissa Laughlin

    I’m so proud of you Amy! I’m also proud of Nurse Marky Mark!
    You have handled this whole ordeal with such grace and courage. You are truly amazing.

    I love you!

    Reply
    • Amy Czerniec

      I love you too Melissa.

      I always knew Mark would be there for me, I think he makes me stronger. :)

      Reply
  4. cindy

    Hey was good to see your video. You look pretty good. Will call you when i get home and if your up to it i would like to visit you.

    Reply
    • Amy Czerniec

      I would love to hook up with you sometime soon. Maybe we can get out for a walk so I can have a change of scenery. :)

      Reply
  5. Julia M

    Fantastic news! I know that yours and Marks love and compassion for each other will speed your recovery along. Thank you for sharing all you have gone through. It has been and inspiration for several women I know that are still in the pre-surgery stages. Happy Spring!

    Reply
    • Amy Czerniec

      Thanks Julia for following along on my journey. I just wish there was a day where other women didn’t have to go through with a breast cancer diagnosis. I only hope and pray that day comes soon. Yes Happy Spring!!!!

      Reply
  6. lynn erickson

    Just awesome Amy! Your road on the road to recovery! You are doing so well too. I love that you are getting outside and spending some time with your family. And Mark has been so great through all of this. I am so glad you shared all of this with me. Love you!

    Reply
    • Amy Czerniec

      Lynn – everyday I feel better and better. I am so blessed that things have really moved along quite smoothly for me. It’s great to be on the road to recovery during spring and won’t be cooped up in the spring and summer months. :)

      Reply
  7. cindy sklansky

    Amy I read the article. Cool. I am proud to call you a friend. You look good.

    Reply
    • Amy Czerniec

      I am glad to have you for my friend and mentor.

      I showed the article to my surgeon and she asked to keep it and said they would post it in their office. lol…

      Reply
  8. Arlene

    Just watched your video and so glad your surgery went so well. My prayers are still with you and Mark.

    Reply
    • Amy Czerniec

      Thanks Arlene. I think of you often when I wear one of your cozy caps that you made for me. :)

      Reply
  9. Marianne Germinaro

    We had such a nice visit last week and your great niece’s ask when are we going back by aunt Amy and uncle Mark’s house. They really liked the smoothies that you made them Amy. You looked great by the way after such an ordeal that you have gone through! Love ya ,
    your sister Marianne

    Reply
    • Amy Czerniec

      It was a great visit but so quick. We loved seeing our beautiful little girls and you and Bill. I have already received a text from Nadine asking if she could come over. :)

      Thank you sister for the wonderful meals that you dropped off. It was great not having to worry about what we were going to have for dinner after a long day at the hospital. You guys are so very thoughtful and beautiful. I love you and your family.

      Reply

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