Almost 9 weeks has passed, since operation day. So much has happened in-between, but now is time to share this part of my journey with you. If you have joined here head back to where my secret starts to give you a full insight of why... on the 26th of March 2018 I was about to go for my first operation.
So there I was with a dry mouth, wide awake before 7am. A mix of nerves and apprehension I'm sure. I checked my bag a dozen times, for one night only, Slippers, Joggers, Spare clothes, iPad, charger, book, 2 sets of pyjamas, not to forget most importantly my new Sexy Mastectomy Bra and a Softie (This is a Small (in my case) Triangle filled with soft fibres... my new boob just my colour, don't you think!
As usual Karl and I left that morning Just on time (to let you in on a little secret we are terrible with time), picked up my Mum and ended up stuck in traffic... the panic set in, this was happening today and I was going to be late...no surprise really! Once we got to the Hospital we got lost in the hallways, a winding maze to the Chedworth Suite where I checked in and was assigned a bed and a Nurse (Amy Martin - Student Nurse). The formalities followed, checked name, date of birth and address, I was given my wrist band and told I would have to wait as 3rd on the list for the day.
Mr Williams (My anaesthetist) popped over checked my details and confirmed he would give me the anti-sickness as requested in my pre - op appointment. He was a jolly man and made me feel at ease, especially knowing he would not be putting the cannula in my hand but higher up my wrist (something about them in your hands just really freaks me out).
Miss Court (My Surgeon) Checked in with me a short while after and confirmed I would be going down before Lunch, she had really grown on me since our first encounter and gave off a great warmth after drawing on my right chest. Great art work, I was hopping she would make a better job than this on the real thing. As seen in the image; MX - Mastectomy. SNB - Sentinel node biopsy. I'll explain this more later.
So I had a couple of hours to kill. First my sexy surgery socks (Dark green with holes in the bottom... breathable), being the oddity that I am I had one Small and one Medium (Bloody fat foot- I'll keep this story for another day). Second asked about my last period...shit it was about a month ago( I'm sure many of us girls don't know the exact date, be good to know before an op!) I sat patiently after pissing in a pot hoping that I was not pregnant and Amy would give me the good news after all it would be all I needed (I was joking with my boyfriend about this but truly it couldn't come at a worse time than now) Good news... no baby Chanelle on the way. Third my heart rate was checked 115 beats per minute, definite nerves as I tried to act cool, calm and collective but I couldn't hide it now. Fourth my Isotope Injection, another journey around the maze to the old section of the hospital, a little dingy I must say. A small group of us stood around and waited to be called, a lovely lady called Dawn Stanley came out and told us off for standing in the waiting area, yes because I would so choose to stand in this part of the hospital for fun at this time in the morning, good one love. Great way to start the morning. Luckily she was not the nurse that gave me my injection. The injection was given into the side of my nipple, it was not painful and over very quickly. I should have appreciated this last strip off really as it was the last time I would have both my own boobs to look at.
Back to the Ward and time to put on the my gorgeous garish gown and my sexy surgery socks on, if only I had known I would have worn cotton underwear as you can keep this on, anything else had to go, which left me feeling airy and free. Cheeky....Have to have some fun along the way. Check out my one short and long sock too.
Now ready and waiting to be pushed round to my operating room, feeling overwhelmed with the number of supportive messages pouring through from friends and family. Around midday my time had come, wheeled down the hallway, waving goodbyes to my Mum and Boyfriend feeling emotional while they were in sight
I was taken to a small crowded room, only slightly longer and wider than my operating bed, filled with My Student Nurse (I had agreed that she could watch the surgery, rather her than me), the two ladies who wheeled me in one other Nurse and shortly the anaesthetist. I could hear banging and clanging in the room next door, that was going to be where it all happened, where I would be pulled about and scraped at (horrible thought I know, but it was a reality and I wasn't going to feel any of it). My heart rate at 134 beats per minute now...pounding through my chest, sharp scratch and the cannula was in, Dr Williams arrived with a smile and the aesthetic to knock me out.
This was my first aesthetic, I was expecting the count down but oh no. I remember Dr Williams confirming he was going to release the liquid into my vein and the next feeling was a cold flow of liquid working up my arm and into my chest, I could taste it...metallic such a strange sensation but not uncomfortable. Its amazing how quickly you are just gone.
2 hours later I was wheeled around to the recovery ward. (Still unconscious at this stage).
Gasping for water as I came around, to my side Amy was sat. It's very surreal when you come around, as if you have only been out about 20 minuets, a nap essentially. I quite promptly had my oxygen mask removed and was given a large gulp of water, much to my appreciation...10 hours after my last drink. I promptly sat up and chatted to Amy, a slight haze lingered, I could not tell you what we spoke about that afternoon. 15/20 minuets later I was wheeled back to the main ward.
(I just want to say Thank you to Amy Martin who was with me from when I checked in that morning until I left the ward and I have continued to get supportive messages from her since, Best of luck with all your studies, you will be a fantastic Nurse!).
I was told that my Surgeon would be around to check on me. I was ready to relax, 5 minuets to myself. Before I had chance to watch any 'Disney Anastasia' (haha) on my iPad Karl, my Mum and Sue (My mother in law) and Dad all appeared. All beaming and looking at me surprised with how normal and upbeat I was this soon after a big operation. All I could care about in that moment was food...I was starving!!!
Here I am with my mum only 40 minutes after coming around, looking a little pale for me, but feeling good all the same as I was one step closer to this all being over. (Thanks Mum for staying Strong on this day as I know it was really tough for you and I'm not the most sympathetic. You have been truly amazing and continue to stay positive as this is what gives me the strength to carry on and beat this).
I was still hooked up to an IV drip from the surgery and was excited to get it removed to go for a wee. Why? You ask...
Sentinel node biopsy - The isotope was a little radioactive injection and during the surgery they used a blue dye that lights up your Lymph-nodes under your armpit, I had a total of 6 removed to be checked if the cancer had spread. So, I still needed a wee... I remember stumbling to the toilet and thinking back to when you have had too many white wines ... Don't mind me there has to be some highlights hey.
Half an hour passed and Miss Court appeared, she confirmed it had gone well and asked how I was feeling. I hadn't had the chance to think or even realise the extent of what I had just been through, but all I wanted was to get home sweet home and not spend the night in hospital. Miss Court was impressed with how well I had come around and agreed I could go home, done and dusted in 8 and half hours. I was shown how to drain my drainage pipe and sent packing.
I chucked on my dressing gown and tightened up my trainers as I was getting out of here, it didn't actually happen that fast it took me a while to find my feet and walk in a straight line which proves difficult after an anaesthetic. I had my noble steed (Karl) beside me for safety measures, holding me up in case I fell.
That evening was a bit of a blur, however I do remember... mother sitting on my drainage pipe and pulling it apart luckily it did not spill anywhere but what a strange sensation of something pulling inside you. My Step dad popped up with more flowers, cards and chocolates, I had truly been spoilt with love and support on this day, which brings a tear to my eye when I think about how amazing everyone has been. Karl's Mum had brought me some great gifts and I would highly recommend the defuser with essential oils...so relaxing, the dammit doll was a fun too, a doll to hit when feeling low and I was sure I would have a few of these day on my road to recovery. That evening we had a Chicken Tikka Curry (Charlie Bingham's- Waitrose special). I was sooooo hungry I think anything would have tasted good as it had been a long day with little food until now and I could not eat it quick enough. Arghhhh it was great to be home!!! I had multiple tablets, Paracetamol, Ibuprofen and Codeine to keep me at ease on the first night. I opted for just the Paracetamol every 4 hours to start and they seemed to work a treat.
That evening we talked about what I would do with my time off, which is why I'm writing this now. That night Karl, Sue and I came up with the name a breast friend, amongst others; simply the breast, your the breast and breastfriends but eventually we stuck with what you see and wow am I glad I decided to do this. Writing this blog has allowed me to express my emotions and re-live a difficult time, which in turn has helped my mental healing process.
Thank you to all of you that have emailed, text or called me as everyones support has really helped me with the journey so far. Unfortunately is does not end here and I have much more to tell you, about my experiences before I can get off this train and embark on a new Journey.
So guys and girls keep checking as tomorrow could be too late and we have a great service out there to help!
In my next blog I plan to give you some insight on my healing and what it is like having just one boob and Scar pictures (Not for the faint hearted).