Whew! Surgery is finished, healing has begun

Hi there. This will be a short post—low energy and aches and pains and discomfort—finally that word has real meaning for me. Everything, from my breasts, to my lungs, to my armpit to my back pulls and aches, my side is wet, the skin all around and under my right arm is numb, in short—discomfort.

The day before my surgery I got a wonderful letter from a friend with some personal tips from her experience with breast surgery, and one of her points was the I would use every pillow in the house. I took this as a sign to go buy more pillows, so Tessa and I went to Target and found two beautiful white-on-white heavily beaded bolster pillows, $29.99 each, marked down to $10! Score! Then, at the checkout, we struck up a convo with the woman behind us in line (she complimented Tessa on her dress and her whole “look”) and it ended up with the woman praying on me and blessing me and tomorrow’s surgery! It was more than I bargained for, and I was grateful for it.

That night there was parent and new Grade 9 student 1.5-hour presentation at Luka’s new school, and since it was the eve of my surgery, I intended to blow it off, but after watching Luka at his gymnastics class I had pangs of responsibility to get him the best start at his new school, so we went there after gymnastics. I got to bed by 2, and had a quick, nervous sleep.

Thursday morning we were at the hospital at 6 a.m. with my man, Tessa and Luka, on the table at 7:50 a.m., first surgical patient of the day. Apparently the procedures took two hours more than planned, but I didn’t care because I was unconscious. My oncology surgeon and plastic surgeon both visited me in my room that night, and again in the morning. I was home by noon on Friday.

My sister Heidi came up Friday afternoon (with homemade Thai dinner, THANK YOU) to help get ready for our Yard Sale for the Cure benefitting the Canadian Breast Cancer Association on Saturday the 24 (it’s the same day across Canada, just lousy timing for my surgery and the sale). She brought great posters and a banner, and she and Tessa priced stuff all Friday night. I helped get everyone up bright and early Saturday morning, went out to the garage for a bit, but then went to bed. Tessa and Heidi worked their butts off, Luka and even Graydon pitched in. We didn’t make a lot of money, but our local Goodwill scored with everything that didn’t sell.

The first four or five days after surgery were pretty much a blur of sleeping and dozing and taking pills for pain. My chest and arm and armpit hurt like crazy. Sleeping was easier than being awake. My man stayed for a few days, Tessa was in charge of food and everything, basically. We’ve eaten up my frozen homemade meals, a delicious almost-vegetarian lasagne made by Chris, a friend at work (THANK YOU CHRIS!!), and Tessa made a big soup tonight. A friend from my magazine days, and the woman who was at Women’s College with me when I delivered Luka—Meredith—sent me a wonderful funny retro card and said if she were here she would make me dinner. Unfortunately, she’s living in Vancouver now, but she came to the dinner rescue by sending a gift card to the Milestones-Kelsey’s-Swiss Chalet group, and said all I have to do is dial the phone. THANK YOU MEREDITH!!

So that’s it. If you were wondering what you could do to help when you heard about my diagnosis, and I said, “Wait until I have that surgery, then I’ll need the help,” well, now’s the time. My energy and range of motion and abilities to do the meals is non-existent, so if you can, a meal of any kind would be hugely appreciated. 

One last medical bit—I have a drain from my right armpit (axilla, to be medically accurate) which was working great until yesterday when I started leaking from where it goes into my body. I called the hospital instead of my CCAC nurse and the NP said come in. I did, my surgeon looked at it, and it’s all OK, no swelling, no infection, just leaking, and since the nurse will remove the drain probably tomorrow, it’s no problem.

Good night for now. 



9 Responses

  1. Hi Jackie,

    I’m happy to know that you’re home & healing up and that you have help. I’m sure you have no choice but to rest at the moment and that will help you to heal. Hugs & kisses ❤ Jen

  2. Happy Birthday Jackie ❤

  3. Hi there: It’s been a while since I’ve written but have been thinking of you. Just wondering now that surgery is over, do you have more chemo to endure?
    Hope you are feeling better each day.

    • Hi there back: I actually offered to my oncologist to do another course of chemo after surgery if that would help, but she said no. Instead, once the surgeon gives me the OK, I move to radiation. I’ve met with my radiation oncologist at Princess Margaret already for a hello, and will be back to see him on Thursday (two days from now) to plan out exactly what they’ll be doing and for how long.
      I am feeling better every day physically—doing exercises to increase range of motion, etc. Driving still kills—every bump is a jolt—and I continue to embarrass the kids by hugging my chest as much as I can. My pathology appointment is tomorrow, so I’m just hanging on til then.

  4. Wonderful the surgery is over Jackie .Whew!

    I will see you soon to drop off a diner after the 8th 🙂
    ….and HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!



    • I’m glad too, and thank you for the happy birthday! Still getting used to the much-reduced chest—it’s very weird.

  5. Hi Jackie, it’s 10am my time, 1:00 your time & I’m at work with bated breath, waiting anxiously with you for your pathology report. I’m hoping, praying for a no cancer report… I’ll be thinking of you and sending love & prayers until I hear from you. ❤️ Jen

    • Thank you, and I was needing every scrap of support when the surgeon said, “I haven’t seen your pathology. It hasn’t come up yet.” AAARRRRAAAAGGHHHH!!!!!!

      • No kidding! Maybe they don’t get how frustrating it is to wait for pathology news! At least it’s great news!

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