One year ago today, I was on the operating table, undergoing the most intense, invasive procedure of my life–my bilateral mastectomy and lymph node removal.
I knew going into this surgery that it would be tough. I knew the recovery would be long and arduous. But man, I just really had no idea how rough it would actually be.
I remember waking up in the recovery room in horrific pain. I was on all kinds of pain meds, but they only seemed to dull the ache. This was definitely worse than my c-section.
I ended up spending two nights in the hospital because I passed out the first night attempting to walk to the bathroom (I did have help, and I’m pretty sure I scared that poor CNA half to death when I collapsed in her arms).
Once I got home, I spent the next several weeks camped out on our couch, which mercifully has an electric recliner option. As the days wore on, my pain decreased and I got stronger and brave enough to empty my drains myself (blech) and actually look under all the bandages to see the wreckage. Turned out, it wasn’t all that bad.
The best thing of all, though, was getting that call from my surgeon that my pathology report came back clear. No cancer. It’s probably the best phone call I’ve ever received.
Looking back now, it’s kind of hard to believe a year has passed since I finished active treatment (I consider surgery the last step in my treatment). I feel good, I look pretty normal and I’m enjoying life.
Is everything perfect? Of course not. I still have my struggles. But I’ve come a long way, and I’m proud of surviving all this and coming out on the other side. And I’m grateful that I was lucky enough to have such a good outcome.
I never know who exactly is reading these posts, but if you’re someone facing a mastectomy, know that it gets better. Yes, it’s scary and painful and not something you ever thought you’d have to endure. But you can do it. You can get through it, and there is life on the other side.