Monday, March 27, 2017

3 Weeks Post-op & Team Jules Photos

Today is 3 weeks post-op...hard to believe.

I do not have another MD appointment until April 7th, but today I could start a few little stretching exercises for my arms!  Man, oh man!  Did they feel good!  It wasn't much, but it was great!  It's the little things you come to appreciate when you are laid-up.  :)

Anyway, not much to report except that I am soooo much better!  It's weird how much even just a few days difference makes now.  I am not napping every day and I am sleeping better throughout the night.  I am finding it easier and easier to get up off the couch/bed/etc. and I just feel less helpless.  Still have to limit myself because it is VERY easy to pull something and I definitely understand why they tell you to be careful. Pain has never been an issue and continues not to be a problem.  Very grateful for that!

This past couple of weeks, folks started receiving the t-shirts they ordered from my #Team Jules/#Team Hudson fundraising campaign.  If any of y'all are interested in doing something similar, Bonfire was a great experience! You design your own shirt (using your art or theirs) and they only print if a minimum order is reached.  You set your pricing and everything is done via PayPal.  The t-shirts arrived when they said they would and are super soft and true-to-size!  It's a little addicting too...I have a bunch of t-shirt ideas now!  :)

It has been fun to see photos from my friends wearing their t-shirts.  Lots of folks have been telling me they are wearing them, but I haven't seen all the pics yet....and I totally forgot to get one of my parents in theirs.  Here are a few:

Two of my friends from high school came by to bring lunch and catch-up last week (they were both wearing their #TeamJules shirts!).  It was nice to visit and we are planning a pedicure-spa trip maybe later this week. I can't really reach my feet!

Boredom has really set-in and a bit of cabin-fever!  Some of you know that I do a lot of DIY stuff (I blog about those projects here) and being home but unable to do anything crafty feels weird to me.  I am actually hoping to get in my craft room this week and do a few sewing/embroidery projects.  And, a trip to Hobby Lobby never hurts (well, maybe the pocketbook!).

Enjoy your week!  Please email me, comment below, or PM me on my Facebook page if you ever have questions that I might address or ideas for posts...happy to help!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Post-op Day 17 Update


Today is POD #17....
I haven't posted this week because I have been battling a little cold or allergy thing.  Let me tell you, the last thing you want is to be sneezing and coughing with surgical incisions!  It burns across each breast and my abdomen when I cough.  Thankfully, I seem to be on the upside of it today and I didn't have it nearly as bad as my poor son.

Anyway....I went to see my amazing and wonderful Surgical Oncologist, Dr. K on Monday for my 2 week post-op visit.  It was the quickest appointment ever!  He basically just told me that the final pathology came back just as it was in the OR on surgery day....perfectly clear margins and clean lymph node biopsy.  He reiterated that because I chose the bilateral mastectomy, I had no further necessary treatments, so I am good to go as a CANCER FREE patient!  As a BREAST CANCER SURVIVOR I still need to see him in 6 months, just for follow-up.

Bonus, no more mammograms....ever!  He did say that he wants me to still do breast self-exams.  Dr. K said that there can always be changes in reconstructed breasts (i.e. scar tissue, fat necrosis, etc.) and that becoming familiar with my new breasts is a good thing.  I can start doing this as soon as I am released to begin incisional massage...probably next week. (My Plastics nurse said I had to wait until all the scabs are gone to begin massage with Cocoa Butter.)

On that note, I thought I'd share some updated photos from can see the swelling has gone down significantly.  Although, I do feel more swollen by bedtime.  Dr. K commented on the "great symmetry" for after the first procedure!  They do seem pretty even.  :)

POD #17...Abdomen after
Bilateral Skin-sparing Mastectomy with DIEP Flap Reconstruction

POD #17...Breasts after
Bilateral Skin-sparing Mastectomy with DIEP Flap Reconstruction

Wearing a good bra is key!  I definitely notice if I don't have support.  I swear these gals weigh a ton!  I think its just the numbness that makes them feel that way.  It's kind of an odd feeling.  My abdomen is numb in most places too.  And, everything tingles when I ride in the car....that's really weird!
This is what I wore to my MD appointment
on Monday....felt good to wear a real bra!
The last couple of days, I've been wearing sports
bras...def. the more support, the better.

Incisions all seem to look good.  The abdomen seems to be moving along faster than the breasts.  
Abdominal incision close-up...POD #17

I'm off all meds as of Monday.  I have taken Ibuprofen a couple of nights this week; not due to true pain, but from stiffness in my back and arms from sleeping and sitting propped up all the time.  This sleeping upright on my back is getting really old!  I dream...literally...about cuddling on my side with a pillow!  
No other real excitement here.  I'm getting bored at home and it is hard to be so limited in what I am allowed and able to do.  Next week, I am looking forward to starting some arm exercises and possibly starting to drive.

Oh!  I got a call yesterday inviting me to join a team for the Komen Race for a Cure on Saturday, April 8th.  I'm not sure I'll be up to walking the whole 5K, but Survivors only have to complete part so I am definitely going to try.  My son is planning to walk with me too!  #FightLikeaGirl #TeamJules

Hope y'all are having a terrific first week of SPRING!

12/22/16  Routine Screening Mammogram
01/18/17  Repeat Imaging and US of left breast; LUMP found.
01/20/17  Core Needle Biopsy
01/24/17  Biopsy results positive...Stage 0 DCIS, left breast
01/25/17  Meeting with Breast Center Navigator and Genetic Testing
01/30/17  Consultation with Surgical Oncologist, Dr. K
02/08/17  Consultation with Plastic Surgeon
02/21/17  Pre-op Visit with Dr. O's nurse
02/27/17 Pre-op Labs and Testing
03/05/17 Lymph Node Injection
03/06/17 SURGERY DAY!
03/10/17 Home!
03/16/17 10 day Post-op Visit with Plastic Surgery nurse
03/20/17  2 week Post-op Appointment with Surgical Oncologist, Dr. K

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Dressing Room Disaster

Today, I woke up tired, but excited.  Tomorrow is my 2 weeks post-op mark and I can officially stop all my medications and most importantly....stop wearing the surgical bra and big binder!  Today, my mother was coming to take me bra and panty girdle shopping.  Another bonus of being drain free.

Y'all remember this beauty of an outfit?  I wear it 24/7 except for showers.

The nurse from my Plastic Surgeon's office provided me with a list of suggestions and brands of what to buy. They also make it VERY clear that you should NOT spend a lot of money on bras right now.  My size is still changing and will definitely be altered after my second stage procedure this Summer.  Most of the recommended bras and girdles were available at Walmart. They also suggested Target and JCPenney.

I will admit to you...I'm cheap...when it comes to undergarments.  I just don't really care about fancy bras and I hate spending money on things like that for myself.  I'm bad about just buying whatever is on sale, fits, and works...usually from Walmart or Target.  I've heard it said that most women are wearing the wrong size and type of bra and that every woman should have a professional bra fitting.  Never saw the point in that until today!

As soon as my second stage is done and I'm wherever I'm going to land size-wise, I am going for a bra fitting!  And, I will never buy a "cheap" bra again.

Like I said, I was excited to go shopping. Today was a gorgeous day and the stores were not crowded.  I totally thought we would run to Walmart, find what I needed, grab a few groceries, and be home.  NOPE. 

My mother and I found the recommended panty girdle right away and started gathering various bras that looked the part.  I needed something with full support, wide side bands, foam cup, and no underwire. There were lots of bras to choose from but so many of the sports bras had no cups or had underwire.  Then, there was an entire array of really stretchy ones that had absolutely no support.

I took around 8 bras and two girdles into the dressing room.  I was in there forever!!  First of all, I tried on the panty girdle. Imagine how you wiggle into Spanz on a regular picture it without the ability to bend over and limit ability to pull with your arms.  It was a trick.  It worked though and I moved on to the bras.

We were unsuccessful at finding anything that fit the requirements in a front clasp.  Most of what I took in were sports bras without a clasp of any kind.  Remember, I cannot lift my arms above my head so nothing over the head is allowed.  I was having to step into these sports bras and pull them up.  Not sure how to explain the problems here.....even after finally getting them up my body, they were so tight, I could not get my arms thru the straps.  One bra and I was winded.  By the third bra, I was exhausted.  I called my mother and said: "There is no way!  This is impossible. None of these work."  I finally found two I could get on, but neither offered any support...too comfy.  Finally, when I was almost to the point of needing to sit down for a break, we decided to just buy the panty girdle and waist girdle I liked and move on for bras.  My excitement was no more...I was tired and disappointed.

We went to a nearby shopping center with both a Target and a JCPenney.  Thankfully, we chose to try JCPenney first.  The department was a mess and it was a little off-putting.  We found a couple of bras and then I saw an employee in the dressing room.  She was fantastic!  She took one look at me with my surgical bra peeking out from under my tank top and said: "Yes, you need help, Honey."  Turns out she had worked in a "breast cancer doctor's office" for awhile and she was so very helpful.  She understood what I needed and just sent me into the dressing room while she brought more bras into me.  
May not be pretty or fancy, but it feels great on!

They also happened to be having a "Buy One Get One 50% off" sale today....SCORE!  I found two I really liked and bought them.  I spent more than I usually would on bras today, but honestly, I was ready to pay anything by the time I tried on the last ones.  It was a long morning.  

My incisions were all tingly and numb from taking clothes on and off and all the rubbing on them.  My breasts were completely how your lips feels after dental was weird.

It wasn't nearly as much fun as I had thought it would be, but in the end I am very happy with my purchases and super excited to get to wear them tomorrow.  I still have to wear them 24/7 for quite awhile, so I need them to be comfortable.

My recommendation is to plan a longer trip than expected and more time in the dressing rooms.  Everything takes longer right now...and that's okay.  You can go to Walmart and maybe have a better experience, but be prepared to try on things.  Nothing was the size I thought it'd be.  If you can, take someone with some bra knowledge or find a great salesperson like I did....makes all the difference!!

Who knew I'd ever reach a day when wearing a panty girdle would make me happy???

PS> Shared this pic on my Facebook page this made me feel good to see an hourglass shape returning instead of the rectangular shape I've been with all the swelling:

12/22/16  Routine Screening Mammogram
01/18/17  Repeat Imaging and US of left breast; LUMP found.
01/20/17  Core Needle Biopsy
01/24/17  Biopsy results positive...Stage 0 DCIS, left breast
01/25/17  Meeting with Breast Center Navigator and Genetic Testing
01/30/17  Consultation with Surgical Oncologist, Dr. K
02/08/17  Consultation with Plastic Surgeon
02/21/17  Pre-op Visit with Dr. O's nurse
02/27/17 Pre-op Labs and Testing
03/05/17 Lymph Node Injection
03/06/17 SURGERY DAY!
03/10/17 Home!
03/16/17 10 day Post-op Visit with Plastic Surgery nurse
03/20/17  2 week Post-op Appointment with Surgical Oncologist, Dr. K

Thursday, March 16, 2017

My drains are gone....I've been set FREE!

POD #10 was a lovely day.  Went to my first post-op office visit with my Plastic Surgeon's nurse at 0900 this morning.  It felt a little weird to be up and putting on "real" clothes over my bra and binder.  I fixed my hair and wore makeup even.  It was kind of nice to get out.

I used my new seat belt cushions that were given to me by a family friend. They worked quite well to provide a little cushion from the seatbelt rubbing or pressing on my chest or my abdominal incision.
These cushions velcro around the seat belts.
After calling me back into a room, I noticed that she had set-up the supplies for drain removal....I was so hoping for that!  Don't forget your drain records...she needs those to determine if the output is low enough to remove them.  For me, she was looking for less than 30ccs/day of output for 48 hrs.  I easily met that requirement on all 3 drains, but she told me that she is very conservative on removing the abdominal drain early because she has seen patients need it replaced again...ugh.  But, she would assess my abdomen for swelling and  if it looked good, it could go too.

My allergic reaction rash is still VERY present but nothing like what it was.  We discussed that a bit but agreed that the steroids appeared to be working. After a brief assessment, the nurse said that all looked well...breasts were soft, incisions healing well, and no abnormal swelling. And, ALL THREE drains could come out.  Yippee!

She told me to take a deep breath or to keep talking to her as she snipped the suture in my right breast holding the first drain in place and slowly pulled it out.  I felt the tug as she snipped the stitch, but I really did not feel anything as the drain slipped out. This was the same on the left breast.  The abdominal one I felt, but it was not painful.  It's a longer drain so I felt a little more of a tugging sensation as she pulled it out.  Once each drain was out, she placed antibiotic ointment on a gauze pad and taped it over the wound.
Covered drain site on my left abdomen
These stay on for 24 hours and then I am to use gauze until they scab over.  It was really no big deal and took a matter of minutes to remove all three drains.

Once we finished that, she brought in some instructions for me regarding the next couple of weeks.  We reviewed my current medications and which ones I will stop (like the baby aspirin regimen is only for two weeks). She also told me that Monday (my two week mark), I can change from wearing this post-op bra and binder to a store-bought bra and "panty girdle" (think Spanx).  They provided me with a list of brands and photos, most available at Walmart and Target.  I am actually really excited about that prospect...this current binder and bra are supportive but bulky.
At week 3, I can start some little range-of-motion exercises for my arms.  These are important to getting full ROM back and stretching the post-op tightness out.  And, I should also be scab-free around that time and can start massaging my incisions with cocoa butter cream.

In the meantime, things look good and I feel good.  I actually felt great without the drains. Just not having them hanging around my neck on that lanyard was so freeing!

Throwing away that drain lanyard
from around my neck!
After the visit, I stopped by my NICU unit to say hello to some of the folks was nice to see everyone and get out for a bit.  Its a large unit, and I was tired after the walk.

Later this afternoon an old friend stopped by and we caught up and chatted for a long time.  She brought me a book and a stack of magazines to help me pass the next several weeks at home.  So sweet.

I also got to chat online with a friend of a friend who has also just started her breast cancer journey.  We chatted back and forth about my procedure and I tried to answer as many of her questions as I could. Sometimes it is really nice to connect with someone who has actually just been through it.

Ended the night with a movie in the living room with my boy and my mother.  All in all, a terrific...drain!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Post-op Day 8: Joys of an Allergic Reaction

So, it's POD #8.
Yesterday, I was feeling good. I even filmed a short video for the website of my plastic surgery group. Last night, I was eating dinner and watching a movie on the couch with my son.  It was a nice evening.

Then, the itching happened!!  Suddenly, the back of my neck and shoulders felt on fire. I had my mother come look and sure enough...itchy, red, raised rash.  It was on my chest and upper back only at this point.  I took a shower and by the time I got out, it had spread to my upper arms.

We reviewed, meds, soaps, detergent, etc.  Nothing was new and nothing was different.  With Benadryl on board, I went to bed hoping for the best.

Woke up at 0600 for scheduled meds and it was worse! I couldn't get photos of my back, but trust's bad.
Really red and now my face was covered in it.  I went back to bed while my mother re-washed everything I had been wearing...just in case it was the bleach she had used on my bra and t-shirt. I spent most of the morning in bed because I had my abdominal binder and post-op bra in the laundry....not supposed to be up much without them on. It actually felt kind of good to be "free", but I also felt awkward and unprotected without them on. 

As soon as the office opened, I spoke with my nurse. She reviewed and questioned everything I already had. She agreed it sounded like a reaction to a medication and to take Benadryl around the clock. By the third dose this afternoon, the rash was much worse! My face looks terrible! The rash is red and angry. It is in and on my ears even. Crazy.  The itching isn't bad, thankfully, but it's not comfortable either.
You guys are sure getting to see me at my worst!
I called back to the office and this time sent in photos. Shortly after, the nurse called me back and said that one of the MDs looked and said it was very likely a delayed reaction to one of my meds....possibly the Celebrex. It is also likely that I've developed a sensitivity and the Benadryl actually made it worse. Eeeeessssh.

A script for a "stronger" hydroxyzine and a methylprednisolone script was called in. I just took it after dinner, so I'm praying it works.  Although, I read it could take a couple of days.
Just gets more red and itchy.  Hoping these steriods work!

It's everywhere!
It seems that this has happened to quite a few folks out there when you do an internet search for post-op rashes. Just another interesting step on this breast cancer journey. Our bodies are amazing but unpredictable sometimes!

Anyway.....just something to keep in mind for your recovery. You probably want a box of Benadryl handy just in case and keep an eye out for delayed reactions.  It's also a good idea not to use a bunch of different products or to try new things post-op. Keep it simple while your body adjusts to the stress of surgery and healing.

Here hoping I wake up looking less like a giant strawberry than I do today.....or that I have some cool X-men style mutation like my son is teasing me about!

BTW, I see lots of folks reading these posts from all over the country and world, but no one is commenting. Please feel free to comment or to ask questions or to share your story. I'd love to get to know some of you!

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Being on the other side of the bed...

WARNING:  THERE ARE GRAPHIC POST-OP PHOTOS IN THIS POST.  And, this is a really long post.

It is Post-op Day surgery was a week ago tomorrow.  Seems unbelievable really.  It went fast.  

The morning of surgery, we arrived at the hospital at 0530.  My parents and my son were with me wearing their "Fight Like a Girl" buttons and my son had a t-shirt that read:  "I wear pink for my Mom".  
Shortly after arriving, I was taken back to a pre-op room where I changed into a gown and compression stockings....super cool look.  My IV was started and then my family was able to join me in the room while we waited for the physicians to come in.  Our Pastor came by and prayed with us as well.

My Surgical Oncologist, Dr. K came and reviewed the plan with me again and answered any last minute questions.  I signed consent for his part again.  Then, my Plastic Surgeon, Dr. O came in and did the same.  I signed consent and then he marked me up for surgery.  As soon as he left, the anesthesiologist stepped in and I signed yet another consent.  Lots of signing!

After that, it was just a matter of minutes before I said my "see ya laters" to my family and the medications started kicking in. I really don't remember much of anything after they left the room.

I woke up hours later in Recovery...very groggy and my eyes felt heavy. I tried to ask about my lymph node biopsy but my throat was dry and sore and the nurse said she didn't know. I closed my eyes and the next thing I remember was Dr. O standing over me smiling.  He was replacing a T-Sat probe on my left breast and said: "Miss Hudson, Julie, it's Dr. O.  Everything went great.  You are doing great.  The biopsy was clear...we got it all."  That was the phrase I was waiting for....I was CANCER FREE!   

They started talking about taking me to my room, but I really didn't care at that point....I had heard what I needed.  Once the nurses got me settled, my family came in to see was early evening.  My face was so swollen and my eyes so puffy (from all the fluids they gave me in the OR) that it was hard to keep my eyes open.  My family didn't stay long and I fell asleep immediately after saying "goodnight".  

You can see how swollen my face and eyes are!
It was much better by breakfast time.
I remember them telling me that both surgeons said I was a "textbook case" and that my surgery was only 6 hours instead of the 10+ we had planned.  I really wasn't very lucid until about 0300 that next morning.

The nurse had to check my new skin flaps every hour that night with a doppler.  She would come in and
Checking with the doppler for
blood flow to the "skin islands"
put the doppler probe on the edge of the flap and listen for the blood flow.  I also had T-sat probes attached to the new skin that constantly monitored the oxygenation status of the flaps.  I couldn't really see anything from my angle, so I used my phone to take selfies so that I could see.  
Finally got that catheter out and was allowed to go to the
bathroom myself...and wear shorts!
Still had those hose and SCDs though!

I was wearing a bra, an abdominal binder, and a gown. I still had on the knee-high TED hose, a pair of socks, as well as the SCDs on my calves (they inflate and deflate every couple of minutes). There was a pillow under each of my arms and one under my head. My bed was up at an angle because I could not lay flat.  I also had a heavy blanket laying across my chest.  I was SOOOOOO HOT!  As a South Texan, I am a big fan of ceiling fans and air conditioning. I also typically sleep in tank tops and shorts with light covers.  This was miserable for me.  I could see the thermostat in the room next to my bed was set at 76!  They had to keep my new vessel connections and flaps warm, so there was no negotiating on any of this.  Honestly, this was hard for me to get used to....every day I looked forward to my walks in the hall where it was cold to everyone else.  

My fancy post-op bra
By breakfast I was feeling more like myself. I was able to eat a little and finally got to see my abdomen when the dayshift RN came in to do her assessment... she was kind enough to help me take a picture.

Every 2 hours throughout my stay-day and night, the RN would come and do the doppler check. As a nurse in the hospital, I was a pretty decent patient to have....compliant and motivated.  The staff kept telling me I was ahead of the curve and I didn't argue about getting up or doing my walks.  The only thing I really really really wanted out was that annoying foley catheter!  I had nursing students following me that week as well....I actually enjoyed that because they were eager to see and learn everything.  My RNs were teaching them so they would take their time to explain things and I got to learn along the way.  Each day, I tried to take photos of my progress.
My three JP drains....these are a bit annoying.
They have to be stripped and emptied several times a day.

On POD #1, I walked up the hall.  It was more exhausting than I thought it would be, but felt good to be up. POD #2, I felt great!  Got up, ate breakfast, walked.....and then I got nauseated!  That was not my best day. I still wound-up walking 4 times that day, but I never really felt well.   

POD #3 was way better!  I finally got my first shower!  It was one of the hardest things I've done
POD #3 fresh from the shower!
but felt so good!  The sweet CNA was kind and showed me exactly how I would do it at home.  It was hard for me to be the patient. I've never been on the other side of the bed before and totally reliant on someone else to do things for move me up in bed or help me out of my chair. It's a weird feeling, but I had the very best staff taking care of me.
Abdomen and re-located bellybutton

"Lollipop incisions"...the center circles are the skin flaps from my abdomen.
The rest of the breast is my native skin that was spared.  Obviously swollen everywhere.
By POD #4, I could do two laps around the unit.  Dr. O came in and said I could go home.  A few hours later, I was heading out.  The trip home was not as hard as I had imagined.  You definitely want a pillow to go between you and the seatbelt to help cushion for bumps in the road.  It felt good to be free from monitors, IVFs, and those SCDs!  As good as home felt, it did make me feel vulnerable to be on my one checking me every 2 hours.  
Lymph Node Biopsy incision
under my left arm
I stayed up most of the afternoon and took a shower before going to bed.  I slept hard that first night, only getting up twice for bathroom breaks.  POD #5 was even better.  I walked to the mailbox and back with my son and my family came over to visit.
Abdominal drain insertion point

Insertion point of one of my chest drains...
you can see here that my abdomen is swollen.
I really thought 24/7 care seemed silly since I was not really hurting and I was getting around well.  But, it IS necessary.  My mother has been staying overnight and my grandmother and Dad take turns with her during the day.  It is the little things you need help with: I can't bend over and I can't reach above my head.  My pillow is actually a little too heavy to carry.  I can strip my own drains, but I have a hard time getting the abdominal one thru the t-shirt that I wear under my binder.  Last night I got nauseated after taking a pain med and was so thankful I could call me mother from the other room to bring me Sprite and crackers in the middle of the night.

Every day is better than the last and I have hardly taken pain medication.  The sitting and laying around is the hardest part for me, not the pain.  I'm not going to lie to you and say this is easy, but it is not as bad as I had read or heard.  It is frustrating to not be able to do things I want to do and to get winded just walking down the hall, but I am so grateful and blessed to be here CANCER FREE!  

I am going to try to record more of this journey in video form when I can.  To get started, I had my mother help me film a really quick YouTube video of how I strip my drains for anyone who is interested:


12/22/16  Routine Screening Mammogram
01/18/17  Repeat Imaging and US of left breast; LUMP found.
01/20/17  Core Needle Biopsy
01/24/17  Biopsy results positive...Stage 0 DCIS, left breast
01/25/17  Meeting with Breast Center Navigator and Genetic Testing
01/30/17  Consultation with Surgical Oncologist, Dr. K
02/08/17  Consultation with Plastic Surgeon
02/21/17  Pre-op Visit with Dr. O's nurse
02/27/17 Pre-op Labs and Testing
03/05/17 Lymph Node Injection
03/06/17 SURGERY DAY!
03/10/17 Home!

Sunday, March 5, 2017

T-minus 11 hours.....

The big day is tomorrow...11 hours from now I'll be checking in at 0530.
I think I'm ready...I've made my list and checked it twice..or three or four times. ;)

Still need to finish packing for the hospital but other than that I think I'm basically ready.  Every nook and cranny of the house has been cleaned...I even cleaned inside my oven this weekend.  It just felt like there was a lot to do and not enough time, but now I'm sitting here looking for things to do.

Friday was my last day at work and my amazing  coworkers threw me an awesome party!  Since my birthday is also tomorrow, it was a combination birthday/send off.  We had tons of food and they gave me such sweet, thoughtful gifts.
My coworker made this cute cake!

In our main hallway
Each card inside has a personal note written
on it from my friends!

Yesterday, we had a little family celebration.  And today, my son and I went to church and then out to lunch.  Then, I took my son by the library to pick up a few books for him to read....he will have a lot of downtime too.  After that, it was time to head out to the hospital for my lymph node injection.

I was taken to Nuclear Medicine and had to undress from the waist up.  I wore a gown open to the front and laid down on the imaging table.  The tech marked the left shoulder with a felt marker and the word "yes"!  

The radiologist then came in, did the timeout, prepped the breast and injected the dye just under the skin near the areola.  

This was NOT as bad as I had imagined or read.  It truly was a tiny needle stick.  It DOES sting quite a bit as they push the fluid in, but it is over in about a minute.  The stinging initially felt like a bad bee sting, but then more like an ant bite.  She told me it was very similar to a TB test and she was spot on!

The Nuclear Med Tech moved my table into the machine, took one image , and then I was done.
Image taken right after the injection...the dye will be taken up into my lymphatic system
overnight so that Dr. K will be able to identify the sentinel node in the morning.

Tonight, I have to drink 24 oz of a pre-op drink then nothing after midnight.  Tomorrow morning, I have to drink another 12 oz of the same drink and take a Celebrex pill before I arrive at the hospital.  It'll be a very early morning and a long day.

Mentally, I feel ready...let's just get his done.  Although, the reality of the whole lymph node biopsy is a bit scary.  That is really my biggest concern right now....coming out of this surgery and still having cancer.

I have so many wonderful friends, family, and even strangers who are praying for me right now and it is definitely felt.

"Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer."
Romans 12:12

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation,
by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God."
Philippians 4:6

I researched a lot on what to pack and what I needed to have at home.  I plan to do a post on that subject soon so that I can tell you what worked and what didn't, if I forgot anything, etc.

In the meantime, I'm going to chow down on some dinner before that NPO status kicks in!

12/22/16  Routine Screening Mammogram
01/18/17  Repeat Imaging and US of left breast; LUMP found.
01/20/17  Core Needle Biopsy
01/24/17  Biopsy results positive...Stage 0 DCIS, left breast
01/25/17  Meeting with Breast Center Navigator and Genetic Testing
01/30/17  Consultation with Surgical Oncologist, Dr. K
02/08/17  Consultation with Plastic Surgeon
02/21/17  Pre-op Visit with Dr. O's nurse
02/27/17 Pre-op Labs and Testing
03/05/17 Lymph Node Injection
03/06/17 SURGERY DAY!