Monday, June 29, 2009

Ah...drain-free...and chemo scheduling

Drain #3 (well, technically it was #2, but it was the last one of three to come out) was finally removed today. Yay! The nurse kept acting weird and I finally asked her what the problem was and she said she was concerned we might be taking it out prematurely. I asked her why she thought that since she has been telling me for a week that once it's been putting out less than 30 cc per 24 hours it would be ready to come out and it's been under that threshold for 3 days now and she explained that once it's out there's no going back and that the only other way to get the fluid out if it accumulates is needle aspiration. I wanted to say "so what?" since I've been poked and prodded constantly for weeks now (not to mention spending 5+ months getting weekly needle injections during my bed rest/pregnancy) but she explained that since I have the tissue expanders in my chest there's a risk of puncturing them when needle aspiration is performed and if THAT happens I'd have to have another surgery to get them out. At that point I fantasized about looking her in the eye and telling her I hoped that would happen because I'm not too thrilled with these expanders - they hurt and yet they haven't even been inflated yet - they feel awful and I know it'll feel even worse when they start pumping them up to stretch my skin...at this point I'd love an excuse to say take them out and let me have small B cups - I'd be happy with that. I just kept quiet though - I don't know why, maybe it's because I was too wrapped up in the anticipation of the icky feeling of having the drain tube removed - it's like they're pulling your guts out. As soon as it came out, I started leaking! That didn't happen when the other two drains came out and the nurse was worried and started sopping it up with gauze. I reminded her that the threshold meant there's still fluid - that the other ones were removed when the same amount of daily output was occurring. She didn't seem to care. She gave me a bag of fresh gauze and tape to take home with instructions to keep it dry and clean and sent us on our way. I'm so glad I'm free of the ace bandages that were wrapped around my breasts and my waist 24/7. The breast area was wrapped to keep the drain tube close to the incision and my body and my waist was wrapped with an ace to use as a hidden pocket to tote the drain bulb around without having to wear a jacket or sweatshirt with a pocket and risk Cooper seeing the tube and pulling on it. It was uncomfortable, to say the least. As soon as those came off - even before the drain was removed - I felt better, free. In the morning I go to the hospital for an out-patient surgical installation of a port-a-cath in preparation to start chemo soon. It will take up more than half of my day. I will be so glad when that is over with and hope it won't irritate me all the time. ;/ I have my pre-chemo meeting at the local UCLA cancer center on the 7th - to go over how the chemo will be administered, how it could affect me, what preemptive medications I'll be given to combat common side effects, etc. Then, the following week I'll receive my first treatment. Before I start the chemo I am going to schedule a family photo shoot to mark Cooper's one-year birthday so the pics can be taken before I lose my hair. ;/ Gah! ;/ I don't care much about my messed up boobs or losing my hair, but I don't want to ruin happy Cooper milestone memories with cancer-related issues/reminders if I can avoid it. Hey cancer, you're really crimping my style - I hope you're scared as hell because I'm gonna blast you into oblivion!

7 comments:

  1. You are one tough cookie Julie! I can't wait to see the beautiful family pictures, and I'm so glad you don't have to wear that uncomfortable bandage anymore! Thinking of you.

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  2. I have to say - you crack me up! Your comments to cancer at the end of your posts that is.

    And although my drain wasn't in my boobs - I had one when I had my gall bladder removed (2 weeks post partum!!) and the Demerol that they gave me 15 minutes prior wasn't enough to numb that feeling :( So I'm right there with ya - it's no picnic!

    Keep on Truck'n! Can't wait to see cancer as a road kill pancake...(wonder if they will serve it at the Road Kill Grill???)

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  3. I think the family picture is a really nice idea. Thinking of you today.

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  4. Gad, what a horror story!!! You did the right thing. You could teach people a thing or two. :-)

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  5. I wish I was as tough as you!

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