The big day finally came. I wasn’t sure it was going to happen at first. The cough I had was still very apparent and I was really scared they would postpone. Thankfully, after some questions and the anesthesiologist looking at my throat, I was given the green light!!! I was glad that I would finally get it over with.
I was put into pre-op where they took vitals and started an IV. They explained that I would have to be taken to the women’s center for the first procedure. They wheeled me over there and went over all the necessary information and asked if I had any questions. I asked the nurse if the procedure was done in the same type of chair I was in for the biopsy, already knowing that the answer was probably yes. Much to my dismay, she confirmed. A few minutes later, I was loaded up and they explained that I would be given local anesthetic and then they would take a mammogram photo so they could confirm the location of the clip and the doctor would insert a wire. They got started and once the wire was in, they took another photo to ensure the wire was over the clip. Then, they took another photo from the side this time to see how much further in it needed to be pushed. Thankfully, they got everything on the first shot and the procedure was pretty quick. They taped the wire to me and put some gauze over the site. I took a look afterward and the wire looked no different than something I’d buy at Michael’s to make jewelry. It made me chuckle to think that it will probably be billed at hundreds of dollars when I could have gotten a whole roll for them for five bucks. They wheeled me back to pre-op to await my partial mastectomy.
The anesthesiologist told me that they’d give me a sedative and that most people are out before they see the hallway, but that on occasion they see the operating room and might remember being in there but that was about it. Not long after, they administered the sedative and I started feeling the effects. I remember the whole ride over and the operating room. They put warm blankets over me and started to strap my legs down. “I’m still awake,” I said. They joked they needed to strap me down so I didn’t run away. They then moved my arms outward and put blankets on those and began to strap them down. “I’m still awake,” I said again. They put the mask over my face and told me to breathe and they knew I was awake but would not be soon. I think I said it a couple more times just to make sure they knew, and then I was out.
I woke up in recovery with a pounding headache and just wanted to go home. Darin told me to sleep a bit more. I did and they brought in some juice and crackers, which I was very grateful for! They took out the IV and I got dressed to head home. I remember being wheeled out and getting in the car, but I can’t say I remember the ride home. I do remember texting some people that all went well. We got home and I got dressed in comfy clothes and took a nap. I felt pretty good considering. I took the pain meds to make sure that I kept the major pain at bay, if there was any. Sleep that night was very uncomfortable. Ladies can attest to the fact that gravity works in weird ways with that kind of tissue and it really didn’t do good things for it after surgery. The more time went on, the more uncomfortable I became. I ended up propping into a seated like position to be as comfortable as I could.
Day two seems to be when the pain always kicks in. Work out too hard, and you feel it day 2. Have a fender bender and your neck hurts day 2. This was no different. I went to take a shower in the morning and gravity was once again against me. I made it quick and took my pain meds. I’ve been ordered to wear a sports bra 24/7 for at least one week, I can see why. I told myself to accept and embrace the healing process, and I did. The days that followed were full of ups and downs. I had a great day where I went for a short walk and really felt like myself again, but then had a bad day right after. I would say that Thursday, almost a week after surgery, was the first day I really felt on the mend. I was able to ride in the car without wincing and didn’t really sleep during the day. I was off pain meds and on my way in recovery.
I went back to work the following week and tried to walk in the mornings to get myself back on my old schedule. I was really looking forward to getting the clearance to start training again. About two and a half weeks after surgery, I got the all clear! It came with a warning that I was still very much healing and that it would take a good while before I was really 100%.
I was excited to get back to training but knew running would be the challenge. What happens is, the body fills the void with fluid which then hardens to become scar tissue. There’s all kinds of little pains and niggles during the healing process as nerves reconnect, etc. My first run went ok, but I had to cut it short and walk some. I began to ache about 15-20 minutes in, and knew it was not a good idea to continue. With the help of my coach, I made some modifications to my training to focus more on the bike and strength and ease into the running over the next few weeks.
I’m excited for this fresh start and was really proud of myself for the effort I put in that firs real full week of training. Now, if only I could get myself to go to the pool….