"Walking on cloud nine" - that is what it felt like as my mom and I walked out of Kaiser General Surgery yesterday. Last week, I found out that the cancer as diagnosed last November, is gone. Yesterday, eleven days after surgery, the bandages came off and the drainage tubes came out of my right side.
I did not expect this feeling after I saw my scar for the first time. However, there was so much more to this appointment than its meager purpose. Do not get me wrong, nothing about having the drains removed felt meager. It hurt - at least for a few seconds and in my entry yesterday, I described my anguish over the drains. Still, I think it was the combination having them taken out, seeing the scar and the recommendation of my surgeon that helped me sky rocket to "cloud nine".
The recommendation: No radiation. Because, we chose the mastectomy, and all of my tests came back clean, Dr. Deree feels like there is nothing to radiate. I am comfortable with that - so is Steve - let's see if Dr. Sweet (Oncology) agrees.
The scar: This was the scary part. At first I told her that I did not want to see it, but when my mom peeked first and said it looked good, I got a little braver. It is about nine inches long, running horizontally. It looks really clean. Dr. Deree said that I am a "super fast" healer, but the surprised look on her face said it all. I have been taking 1000 mg of vitamin C at dinner every night, as recommended by one of Kaiser's surgical nurses. Since healing occurs while you sleep, this is what must have done the trick. (This is a tip that will carry through to all types of injuries, surgeries or illnesses. I am assuming this will even help with the common cold.)
The drains: There is not much more I can say about these without my repeating myself, outside of AAAAAWWWWWW! Relief! Though, I took extra pain meds last night and I am having a pajama day today, as I now am nursing those wounds.
Since released from the hospital after my surgery, I had always planned on my mom taking me to this appointment. I told her it was a good one for her to take me to. I believed it but never though about why. Last night, it occurred to me. My mom has been to almost all of the chemo sessions with me. More importantly, she was there during my second meeting with Dr. Deree, where Dr. Deree unexpectedly recommended my mastectomy. Mom and I both cried - it was a very emotional moment. It seemed fitting that my mom was there as Dr. Deree removed the bandages on my cancer-free body. Having my mom there made me braver and together, we completed the cycle.
As I looked at the scar again last night, I felt strong. In the words of my friend, Jan, it is a badge of honor that will always remind of my journey. I do not know what lies ahead for me. I still have some recovering to do, and I will find out next steps when I meet with Dr. Sweet on May 5. Until then, like I said in my last blog entry, the rest is up to me!