A: When it breaks the camels back
If you want to hear me grumble now is the time. Perhaps I should get Sophie to do the blog from now on so you can hear happy things!
I’ve had 6 months of chemo (so far) and been fine with it, and the mastectomy surgery was a piece of cake. But…. I CAN’T STAND BEING TRAPPED TO THESE STUPID DRAINAGE TUBES! Grumble grumble grumble.
For 10 days now I’ve had freaky tubes coming out of my waist (literally) which drain ‘fluid’ from my underarm and from where my left breast was. The surgeons sew them into your body to stay in place, their job being to keep body fluid flowing out of the area/s to avoid swelling, infection and from dislodging the expander. They are doing their job, so the longer they are in the better, if there is still fluid to drain. Apparently the fluid needs to get down to 30ml per drain in 24 hours for them to be removed. They were still at 120ml (per tube) yesterday. Most people take this lying down happily. I’m trying… I really am.
You might wonder why this is getting to me. I’m a tough old cookie and I can take pain pretty well but I hate being trapped.
For one thing, the nurse comes every day to drain it. Don’t get me wrong, the nurses are lovely and do a wonderful job but I have no idea when they are coming. So I can’t plan anything (at all) on any day. I have to be at home from morning to night until they come. For example, on the MOTH’s birthday we were going to go out for lunch and to the movies but we ended up waiting until 3pm for the nurse. I can’t even go for a walk! Boo hoo. It’s a pity party.
Secondly, the tubes are just plain annoying.
- They hurt both at the site from where they exit the body and at the site they are draining from. My armpit is very swollen so it hurts to put my arm down
- They tangle about me when I’m trying to sleep. I can only sleep on my back or my ‘non preferred side’. It’s like being trapped in a spider web.
- They catch on things and I yank at them by accident. My best trick is to hook them up to the shower tap and then forget to unhook them before I get out. EW!!
- They are cumbersome. I hide them in the glam bag (see photo above), but I need to wear a coat over the top or you can see the tubes. This looks kinda odd.
- Yesterday they started leaking from the wound and I had to call a nurse to come and patch it all up. 2 nurse visits in one day!
That’s enough grizzling for today. Now that I’ve depressed you all with my complaining…
I had a wonderful day with my sisters yesterday doing arty crafty things. They came to ‘The Wood Hood’ (arriving at the same time as the nurse) and plonked on the kitchen table for 4-5 hours. We ate lunch amongst our mess and chatted non-stop, as you can only imagine 4 sisters can do. The MOTH flew the coup very quickly and came home just in time for my ‘leaking wound’ experience and the arrival of the second nurse for the day.
I’m so grateful to have such wonderful baby sisters who make me laugh and inspire me so much. I always wanted a brother but seriously, would he want to sit and do craft or art while eating diet food and barely leaving a silence in the conversation for 5 hours straight? Could anyone ramble mindlessly like us and understand what is going on? No. I doubt it.
I have appointments with the plastic surgeon and breast clinic this week but on the 30th of Sep I discover my plight with the chemo and radiotherapy. I don’t have any preferences. If I don’t have any more treatment it could leave the cancer cells ‘untreated’. If I do… well of course, that’s no fun. With my type of breast cancer it’s important to make sure all cells have been killed off. So even though I’ve had a mastectomy, there are potential cells lingering either in the blood, or on site. I’ll be guided by the experts so prayer and smart doctors are the order of the week. As the breast nurse said to Col this week ‘We’re not out of the woods yet’. Given our name I don’t think it was a pun.
I’m so glad I’ve had the 6 months chemo to shrink the tumour and to stop the spread into other parts of the body. Otherwise I’d be sitting here like a time bomb waiting for the surgery to heal. Well… perhaps that’s a bit dramatic but it does feel like it sometimes.
In December I have a bone scan and a PET scan to check if there is any cancer into other body parts. The doctors don’t believe it is so, but it’s a good ‘peace of mind’. How wonderful to live in times where these tests are available. It takes the guess work out of things.
In the meantime… I’ll macrame my drainage tubes and do a happy dance when they are gone. The small things make me happy! They also make me grumble.