2 Weeks Post Op {Bye Bye Drains}

It’s been two weeks since my double mastectomy and honestly, I feel great throughout the day! Waking up is still a little rough until my medications kick in and by evening I’m exhausted, but as each day passes I feel stronger and better. The hardest part so far has been recovering from my mom leaving on Sunday (5 days later than planned). That same day Thomas returned home from Grandmom’s house too so we’re operating in survival mode right now with one parent down. So needless to say, the laundry has since piled up, every dish in the kitchen is dirty, we’ve been out of milk for a week, our dog hates us and both kids seem to always need something at the exact same time. Oh, and Matt returned to work. But we are hanging in there, kind of.

Truthfully, it’s been a really tough time for us but we are so blessed to have such amazing friends. It seems like right when we’re about to hit a breaking point a casserole appears on our doorstep, a best friend crawls into my bed to keep me company, a gorgeous bouquet of flowers or edible arrangement shows up, an offer to pick up our kiddos from daycare and keep them for dinner comes through, a thoughtfully curated basket full of recovery items is dropped by, a girlfriend pops in with Starbucks and a blow dryer, or I receive an encouraging text message reminding me that someone is praying for us. Even though we are so bad at asking for (and accepting) help, so many people near and afar have shown up unasked and been there for us in the most surprising ways. And for that we are eternally grateful.

We also received some really great news. My doctor sent some tissue collected during surgery for testing and the pathology report came back completely free and clear of cancer. While we didn’t anticipate them finding anything you just never know, so we were elated for a healthy report card.

In other recovery news…

My drains have been removed! I practically ripped off my surgical tank top and cartwheeled out of my doctor’s office yesterday. I cannot describe my happiness to finally have these suckers OUT of my body. I started with four drains, got two removed one week post op and had the last set removed right at two weeks post op. Each night we had to empty the drains, clean them and measure the fluid in a spreadsheet. My doctor told me he wouldn’t even consider removing my last set of drains (the most important ones) until I was consistently logging less than 20 cc’s per side each day for several days in a row. He informed me that activity would increase my output and rest would decrease it. So I promptly returned home and confined myself to my bed for a week to slow the draining and it worked! I got my last set of drains out a week early!!!

I was nervous for the drain removal process but to my surprise I didn’t even feel the doctor remove either of the drains on my right side. For some reason the skin on my left side has been so sensitive so it stung quite a bit when both of those drains were removed, but that side has been giving me pain problems throughout my entire recovery. I thought it would be  much more complicated, but the drain removal process consisted of taking a deep breath while the doctor literally pulls them right out and applies a bandage over the hole. That simple. Crazy.

Pain medication. Currently, every two hours around the clock I take a combination of pills which include pain killers, muscle relaxers, antibiotics, etc. Each morning Dr. Matt carefully sorts all of my pills out and sets reminders on my phone for which pills to take and when. Now that my drains are gone I am going to slowly scale back on the pain medications to hopefully feel less drowsy, loopy and itchy. Once I’m completely done with the pain meds I’ll be able to drink alcohol again and be cleared to drive (not together, obviously!). 

Phantom itching. Probably one of the worst medication side effects ever, I uncontrollably itch all day and all night and feel like I have the worst case of chicken pox. The worst itches are
actually the ones on my chest because there is absolutely no way to satisfy it since I’ve lost all feeling in the skin over my breasts and (temporarily, I think) under my arms.

Mobility. I am constantly reminded by everyone who knows me well “not to over do it!” I promise I’m resting as much as possible but there have been a few days that I’ve pushed my limit and paid big time for it. One particular day last week after a doctors appointment I took mom to lunch and we ran a few errands before returning home. I felt fine! But in the middle of the night I woke up to the most horrific muscle spasms that had me bawling and screaming in pain for two hours. Soooo, I’ve learned my lesson.

BUT! I’ve made huge improvements in mobility this week which has made me a teeny bit more self sufficient and even a little helpful. I still have a lot of restrictions, including no lifting over 10 pounds, but can open and close some light doors (like the fridge, but not the car), feed Thomas if he’s placed in my lap, change diapers on the floor, shower without washing my hair, etc. However, I’m quickly (and often) reminded throughout the day that I cannot push or pull things (no vacuuming!), apply pressure to turn things (like unscrewing  prescription bottles lids), overextend my reach (like when the remote is two inches too far away) or reach for anything above my head (including blow drying my hair). One morning earlier this week Matt brewed a pot of coffee for me before he left for work. I was able to open the fridge, grab the creamer and rip the tops of the sugar packets open…only to realize I couldn’t reach the coffee mugs. Fail.

When he’s home, Matt literally follows me around the house to police my every move. If it even looks like I’m considering picking Caroline up he yells at me. I’ve gotten really clever with how I do things though. One morning I snuck in to get Caroline out of bed by squatting with my back against the crib while she grabbed around my neck like a piggy back ride. I stood up and quickly squatted back down to put her feet on the floor. No pain at all, but I got in big trouble for that one.  

Incisions & Nipples. My incisions under my breasts are healing really well and my nipples are here to stay! They made it past the scary window for nipple necrosis so I get to keep ’em! Yay! 

Expanders. The expanders are so dang uncomfortable. It constantly feels like I’m wearing a huge rock in my bra. The only comfortable way to sleep is straight up which is awful because I am such a tummy sleeper. Also, I get my first “fill” of saline in my expanders next week!

And that’s a wrap on week 2! Stay tuned for another update after next week’s “fill!”

 Other Mastectomy Posts:
 1 Week Post Op
 Ta-Ta to the TATAS party
 The Double Mastectomy Surgery Details
 The Double Mastectomy Decision

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42 Comments

  1. Stasia
    November 12, 2015 / 11:29 am

    Girl! I am praying for your sweet family and you during this time! Your joy and over all attitude have been so encouraging!

  2. Amanda @ A Brownie World
    November 12, 2015 / 12:17 pm

    I'm thrilled you are healing so nicely. Just imagine, in a month, you'll be pretty much where you are hoping to be!!! xoxoxo

  3. Owen Davis @ Davis Duo
    November 12, 2015 / 12:41 pm

    Constantly thinking about and praying for you!! You are such an inspiration momma!

  4. Lizzie Simantz
    November 12, 2015 / 12:45 pm

    I love your positive attitude, really it is so heartwarming. I am so glad to see things are going well with your recovery!

  5. Simply LKJ
    November 12, 2015 / 1:03 pm

    Been thinking about you, and continue to keep you in prayer. So glad to hear the report came back all clear. I am also one to not accept help, but trust me, do it so that you can recover safely and faster…if nothing else for the sake of your little ones.

  6. Jessica (The Newly)
    November 12, 2015 / 1:10 pm

    I am SO glad you got those pesky drains out – I can just imagine how inconvenient and uncomfortable they would be! Continuing to pray for you and cheer you on from Georgia! Thank you for being so open and honest about this experience. You will probably never know how many people you help – those going through it now with you, and those who will go through this process in the future. Bravo, Mama!

  7. Caitlyn {Home Sweet Ruby}
    November 12, 2015 / 1:32 pm

    Wow I'm so glad to hear you have so many people there to help and support you! So glad you're feeling better too, sounds like you'll be back to normal in no time! Hang in there mama!

  8. Cari
    November 12, 2015 / 1:35 pm

    I recently found your blog and I don't usually comment much on blogs but just had to say that your story is so inspiring to me as a woman. I admire your strength and I'm so happy to hear that you received a cancer-free report! Thank you for sharing your story with us. Blessings from NH ~

  9. Kate
    November 12, 2015 / 2:01 pm

    So glad you are healing and got those darn drains out!! Continuing to pray for you from PA! Hugs, Mama! xx

  10. Traci
    November 12, 2015 / 2:25 pm

    You are amazing. Praying for you all! xoxo

  11. Meghan
    November 12, 2015 / 2:43 pm

    Wow, what a process! You truly are amazing! And I love your positive attitude through this whole thing!!!

  12. Katie
    November 12, 2015 / 3:13 pm

    Cancer free report is amazing news along with getting those drains out! So happy for you and hope that every day it gets easier and easier and you heal! 🙂

  13. Toni :O)
    November 12, 2015 / 3:25 pm

    Lots of positive news-so happy for you and wishing you a continued successful recovery. You are an inspiration to many.

  14. Bekah Walsh
    November 12, 2015 / 3:41 pm

    It's great to hear you're progressing well and have such an amazing support network!

  15. Sarah Alway
    November 12, 2015 / 4:04 pm

    I continue to be awed and inspired by your journey. Thank you for being brave enough to share it. I'm sure the worst part is not being able to pick up your kiddos. But your recovery seems to be going so well, I'm sure you'll be back to 100% sooner than you think. Go girl!

  16. Paige
    November 12, 2015 / 4:10 pm

    It's so great that you are being so open about this. I'm sure this will help soooooo many women. It really makes it real for all of us to understand what it's really like. I'm glad things are going pretty well. I can imagine how daunting every day feels with life going back to "normal" with work & daycare etc. how lucky you are to have supportive family & friends to help you through. I still pray for you & Thomas during every prayer.

  17. Nina @ Flowers in my Hair
    November 12, 2015 / 4:35 pm

    I have been praying and thinking of your family!

  18. Jo
    November 12, 2015 / 4:48 pm

    Whew- it can't be said enough- you are one HECK of a trooper girlfriend! Way to stay positive- this all sounds miserable but you're getting through it and I'm so glad things are quickly improving! Keeping you in my thoughts and prayers! xo

  19. Kristie's Blue Jeans
    November 12, 2015 / 5:06 pm

    That is amazing news, I am so happy for you! It looks like you are finding the silver lining and that is great. Happy to hear you have such a great support system around you, even though you feel like breaking.

  20. Confessions of a Glamour Junkie
    November 12, 2015 / 5:26 pm

    Amazing news! Glad you're doing well! Praying for you and your family

  21. Amy
    November 12, 2015 / 6:24 pm

    So happy to hear that your recovery is going well! Thinking of you often!

  22. Kate at Green Fashionista
    November 12, 2015 / 6:33 pm

    I'm in awe of everything you've been through and how much your positivity is shining through. Keeping you in my prayers for continued recovery <3Green Fashionista

  23. Lauren Honeycutt
    November 12, 2015 / 7:37 pm

    You are so amazing! I'm so glad that you're getting enough rest and that you're slowly but surely feeling better!

  24. Eric Schlenker
    November 12, 2015 / 7:55 pm

    [from Lisa Schlenker ] Thank you for sharing your story and going into detail about the process. A good friend from college has battled breast cancer and has gone through chemo, radiation and double mastectomy. She never went into detail about what she went through. But you have allowed me to see her in a new light. I know she was been brave and strong but I never knew the details. You both are amazing. As for the drains, I had to empty and clean my husbands this past summer. I can't imagine having 4 to empty and clean. Your hubs is amazing and a great care taker. Thanks again for sharing. – lisa Schlenker

  25. Liane
    November 12, 2015 / 8:13 pm

    It sounds like you're doing so well! I think it's amazing that you're sharing your story with everyone. I hope the next week is just as good for you! x

  26. Evelina
    November 13, 2015 / 4:06 am

    Congrats on a healthy report card! Cancer free is ALWAYS good news to hear. Hang in there with the itching. I hope it eases up for you very soon!

  27. Bvanevera7
    November 13, 2015 / 1:25 pm

    Hooray on the good report — and a huge HOORAY for starting to feel better — I'm sure being able to do some 'stuff" around the house has been good for your soul 🙂 Thank you for sharing your story — your positive nature comes shining though — you are one tough cookie!!

  28. Lindsay
    November 13, 2015 / 2:06 pm

    I just realized my comment never posted yesterday 🙁 Just wanted to say what great news this is to hear an update like this from you! Been keeping you in my thoughts daily and am so excited and relieved for you that your recovery is going so well. Keep up your good spirits darling! You are such a brave little trooper and continue to be such an inspiration.

  29. Colleen
    November 13, 2015 / 2:42 pm

    Wow. Thank you so much for sharing your story. I admire your positive attitude, strength and spunk during all of this. I'm not sure that I could even show half of the grace that you are showing. Congrats on the cancer free report. That is wonderful news.

  30. Priscilla - The Wheelchair Mommy
    November 13, 2015 / 5:33 pm

    I had to wean off of serious pain meds. It's not easy but you can do it!

  31. Shayna @ The Fancy Yancey
    November 13, 2015 / 11:16 pm

    Bless you! Bless Matt & bless those babies! Sitting here with tears in my eyes not knowing how the heck y'all are doing it! So glad that y'all have such an amazing support system!! YAAY for a good week & getting your drains out early!! Hoping you continue to have great weeks ahead!!

  32. Alysa Friesen
    November 14, 2015 / 3:55 am

    I am in total awe of your strength. You're amazing <3xoxo,alysalovely.com

  33. Jenna @ The Rose Garden
    November 15, 2015 / 1:37 am

    I am so happy you are healing well. God has this amazing way of sending people our way when we are at our worst. It is like he looks down and says "I've got this and you." Getting your drains out early is an amazing thing too! That is so hard to do. My aunt had stage 0 (caught it very early) breast cancer and she had a double mastectomy with reconstruction surgery all at once. I definitely understand how the healing process goes and how hard it is! I am so happy you are doing well and that you have a great support system.

  34. Leeann @ Join the Gossip
    November 16, 2015 / 2:10 am

    I've seen people link up for Five on Friday for so long and finally decided to follow a link so i can join this upcoming week, then I came across this post and read several of the previous posts about your journey. You are badass, lady! So inspiring and throughout everything you had a big ol' smile on your face. You just made my day. Thank you for sharing your story!

  35. Elizabeth Birenbaum
    November 16, 2015 / 5:34 am

    Can I just say THANK YOU so much for posting this! I am a little behind on reading but am SO happy you're recovering so well! I think I wrote in a comment before (although you have tons, so I don't know that you remember) but my mom had breast cancer and so did her mom. They both ultimately passed away because of it so I am highly considering this surgery at some point even though I tested negative for BRACA 1 and 2. You just never know. I'd much rather have surgery than risk not being there for my husband and son. So THANK YOU. It is amazing insight into what I could be experiencing, although I know every recovery is different, but still a good heads up.

  36. Lisa Odom
    November 16, 2015 / 4:09 pm

    So glad you are doing well and getting back on your feet. Go slow!!! Love how you are using that Garden and Gun!

  37. P!nky
    November 16, 2015 / 7:12 pm

    Cheers for no more drains!!!!!!! <3 and prayers!

  38. Emily Clark
    November 18, 2015 / 7:55 pm

    You're so brave! Wish there was a way for those of us far away to help!

  39. Sara Elizabeth
    November 20, 2015 / 3:31 am

    So every time I read this… my stomach turns a little bit… YOU ARE THE BRAVEST PERSON I KNOW.

  40. Lauren {at} Life.Love.Lauren
    November 20, 2015 / 3:46 pm

    You are truly doing this with a jaw dropping amount of courage and positive attitude! Keep it up! Ugh and I hear you about phantom itching. When I tore three ligaments in my knee, taking the pain medication yielded that side effect to me too and it was terrible! xo!

  41. Leah Garry
    November 27, 2015 / 3:08 pm

    My Aunt is having done on Monday. Can you please give me ideas of what would be a nice gift to receive following the surgery? Something helpful and useful? I know she'll be off work until after January 1. Didn't know if she can lift arms to adequately read books or not? Any advice would be extremely helpful. Thank you. – Leah Garry lgarry@hickorytech.net

  42. Carolina Charm
    November 28, 2015 / 1:12 pm

    Hi Leah! Yes, I received all sorts of useful things! First, pillows of ALL shapes and sizes. I received two heart shaped pillows and they really helped prop my arms up. Also, teeny pillows were nice to wedge into areas where I just needed a little support! Headbands, snacks (to take with medications), offer to blow dry her hair (alternatively, get her a gift card to a blow dry bar), MEALS (she won't be able to cook), clean her house (or go in with someone to have her house cleaned a few times!), button up pajamas, a tumbler with a STRAW, magazines, rent some movies for her (or a show series). Also, I'll be thinking of your aunt on Monday. Your support will truly mean so much to her! email me with any questions! christina.marcellino@gmail.com

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