Monday, January 2, 2012

Tomorrow is the big day!

I can't believe the time is finally here.
I have to check in at Abbott Northwestern at 10:30 a.m. for 12:30 surgery.
I am to have nothing to eat or drink after 3:30 a.m. I haven't yet decided if I should get up in the wee hours to eat something, or just stay asleep and be a raging hungry beast all morning.

The surgery should take somewhere around 3-4 hours for the mastectomies, removal of lymph nodes and the placement of the tissue expanders.
I will be in recovery for a couple hours and then off to my room. I will *hopefully* be discharged on Thursday.
Thursday afternoon the results of my pathology should be in. We will know at that point how successful the surgery was. Fingers crossed!

My brother and dad are coming to Minnesota today so they can be with me at the hospital. My mom's good friend, Jodi, will be staying with the kids all day tomorrow. Thank God for my supportive family and friends!

I'm not scared of the surgery itself. I'm not looking forward to the pain of recovery though. Giuliana Rancic has really put the pressure on after returning to work on E! only two weeks after her double mastectomy.
I'm going to have to step it up.

Here are some pictures of what is going to happen tomorrow.

I know some people like pictures that are a little graphic. I'm one of those people.
If you are also, go to this link to see the mastectomy process...and a massive chest tattoo.
http://www.cancervacation.com/mastectomy.html

Following the mastectomies, I will have drains and tissue expanders put in.
Here are what the drains will look like. They are a surgical drainage device used to pull excess fluid from the body by constant suction.
The devices consist of a flexible rubber bulb—shaped something like a hand grenade -- that connects to an internal drainage tube.
They will have to be emptied regularly. I will have them for 1-2 weeks.

Here is an illustration of a tissue expander. They will continued to be filled in small increments over the next 6 months. It's a long process.

At the end of 6 months approximately, I will have my exchange surgery. The expanders will be removed and the implant will be put in.

I do have one other little worry that I haven't mentioned before.
Because I'm having to have lymph nodes under my left arm removed, I do have a pretty good chance (or not) of getting lymphedema at some point.
The surgeon said it's usually a 50/50 thing. It could develop immediately or even 10 years from now.
I obviously don't want it at all.

This is the definition of lymphedema.
Lymphedema is caused by a blockage in your lymphatic system, an important part of your immune and circulatory systems. The blockage prevents lymph fluid from draining well, and as the fluid builds up, the swelling continues. Lymphedema is most commonly caused by the removal of or damage to your lymph nodes as a part of cancer treatment.

I again could use your prayers...especially since I know some of you have a direct link to the man upstairs. :)

Please pray that my surgery goes well. Prayers that my surgeons have steady hands and clear minds as they operate on me. Prayers appreciated for my co-survivors. They have been through hell. Let this be done. They need a break.
Most imporantly, prayers that the anesthesiologist gives me really, really, REALLY good drugs. :) Just kidding.

Love you all!

20 comments:

  1. Wishing you all the best tomorrow!

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  2. Lots of prayers coming your way!

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  3. I have every faith that you will fly through this with the same grace and good attitude that you've faced everything you've been facing this year. I look forward to the good news. xo.

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  4. My many prayers for you will continue as long as you need them.

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  5. I just know things will be great! I will definitely be thinking of you tomorrow!! Try and rest up and keep us posted!!! ♥ you!

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  6. I have been thinking of you and will keep you in my prayers... You will rock this!
    Love you!

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  7. Sending painless healing your way. Good luck tomorrow!!!

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  8. You're going to do great. The drains are really easy to take care of, and they don't hurt. Your lymph nodes are going to be perfect in every way <3

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  9. Praying HARD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Love, Randi

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  10. Lots of love and prayers for you and your family tomorrow, Angela! I will pray that everything goes smoothly and recovery will be much better than anticipated. And if you need ANYTHING, know that I'm always up for a little drive down to Abbott! :) xoxo

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  11. Praying so much to my direct connections ;)

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  12. Love and prayers coming your way!!!

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  13. Good luck...many T&P's being sent your way. XOXO!! Those photos are amazing, what a brave woman for sharing! I have to say thank goodness for the awesome Doctors and Nurses that can do life saving work like this!

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  14. My heart and prayers are with you tomorrow (and always). You are such an amazing, beautiful, strong woman! I know you are going to do awesome. Love you!

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  15. Lots of prayers headed your way!

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  16. Thinking of you. Lots and lots of luck for you.

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  17. Thinking of you today and praying for a smooth day! You are rockin this..!!!!!

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  18. Thinking of you and praying for you. You totally don't need my angeldust cuz you so got this but I'm sprinkling some anyways for good measure. I love you and your true warrior attitude. You are my hero! Everything is going to go just smooth as silk, the lymph nodes, the drains the steady hands and clear minds...You have the strength, attitude, support, faith, and love to be successful. God has a bright future for you! Love you so much!!!!! XOXOXO ~Kyra

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  19. Thinking of you today! Thoughts and prayers for a successful surgery and a speedy recovery.
    -Violet

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