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.
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!