Posted by: healingseeker | August 16, 2010

Pathology report supports that removing 2nd breast was a wise move

16 August 2010

I went to my breast surgeon today as a follow-up to the August 11th double mastectomy. Since my husband had to be in Knoxville for work, his uncle drove me. Thanks so much, Uncle Buddy!

The bandages were removed other than just enough to cover the incision area. Two of the three Jackson Pratt Mastectomy drains were removed. The third drain connected to my left underarm area and breast remains in until Thursday. It is still collecting lots of liquid (i.e., blood and pus); however, it only looks like strawberry Kool-Aid. I’m not allowed to shower until after that follow-up appointment.

The pathology report came back with the following reports:

1. Ten lymph nodes were removed. They were all negative. In other words, if they ever had been cancerous, the chemo took care of that.

2. The entire tumor was removed along with the left breast.

3. It is a very good thing that I decided to have the right breast removed as it contained the following diagnosis: DCIS – Ductal Carcinoma in situ. The Mayo Clinic defines DCIS as the following: “Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) is considered the earliest form of breast cancer. In DCIS, abnormal cells multiply and form a growth within a milk duct of your breast. DCIS is noninvasive, meaning it hasn’t spread out of the milk duct to invade other parts of the breast. … While DCIS isn’t life-threatening, it does require treatment to prevent the condition from becoming invasive. Most women with DCIS are effectively treated with breast-conserving surgery and radiation.”

4. The radiation treatments will take care of any of those cancer cells that may or may not remain. Radiation treatment will start sometime in September. I meet with my oncologist on August 25th. Perhaps he will determine the start date at that time.

I am feeling pretty good. I can walk at my normal fast clip. There is no pain associated with the hysterectomy. I guess that is because it was a vaginal hysterectomy instead of an incision. The pain I feel with the double mastectomy is minimal and sporadic. The main pain has been alleviated as the tape from the bandages was pulling on me some when I moved in a certain way; plus, every now and then, I would accidentally pull at the drain cords and that would hurt. With only one drain remaining and having hardly any bandaging, I feel so much lighter and freer.

One of my cousins wanted to know how I was doing emotionally. She thought I might have some undiscovered anger issues that required attention. I honestly don’t think I’m playing the denial game when I state that the only emotions I mostly feel are joy and gratitude. I’m sure I had some anger early on. The last time I remember feeling angry is back when I still couldn’t taste food due to chemo. Now that I can taste everything I put in my mouth, everything else got that much easier. Plus, I am so relieved and happy that I have hardly any pain after the surgery. My husband was a little afraid I would come home as an invalid. You wouldn’t know to look at me that I have had surgery. Yes, I have to be careful about reaching my arms too high or wide. Yes, I have to be careful not to lift anything over five pounds.  Yes, I have to take a few more naps. But wow! I am feeling pretty good. I am so grateful about that! Plus, I have so many wonderful people praying for me. I am so grateful for all the love and support. Plus, I have work-related projects that are keeping me happily occupied and busy. Plus, plus, plus, …, God is so good!

The doctor said it was too soon to start scheduling the therapy. I have to heal some more first. He said it will be at least two weeks before I am cleared to drive. But like I said, all in all, I am doing surprisingly well.

If you wish to see how the drains work, here is the video I made called “Video Tutorial: How to Empty Mastectomy Drain Bottles After Breast Cancer Surgery.”

Video Tutorial: How to Empty Mastectomy Drain Bottles After Breast Cancer Surgery
After having a double mastectomy & 10 lymph nodes removed, 3 drain bottles (Jackson/Pratt) got hooked up to my 3 incision areas to drain off blood and pus. Once sent home from the hospital, I had to empty these drains every few hours. Here’s how it works.

I wish you all the best! Much love,
Healing Seeker aka Debbie

Resources: Mayo Clinic definition for DCIS

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