Sunday, November 2, 2014

november roses & not knowing for sure

Usually I don't post photos of myself in my blog, but then nothing is much like usually these days. Plus, I really like the photo, and the way it tells in retrospect how the most critical day of this week went - this is me, 2 days after the operation in which the knot in  my breast was removed.

So glad that all went well: the operation itself, and the day and night afterwards, which is the most risky time for complications. The nurses checked temperature and pulse and bandages and drainage every couple of hours. All remained stable. No leaking blood, no swelling, no infection, no fever. It made me think of all the things that can go wrong as side effect of trying to mend things.

In the first night, I slept in patches, but in the second night I found rest and slept for 8 hours - a healing sleep. I got my last pain medication on Friday morning, before they removed the drainage. Turned out, it was the drainage itself that caused the most discomfort and the pinching feeling. I thought I would be in more pain, but it feels like a thick bruise, and when moving with a bit of care, it's fine.

The good surprise came on Saturday morning: I was well and fit enough to go home. Home for the weekend! Such a joy. Especially as the weather is like a gift: it's November, but the skies bring warm air from the South, so it feels like September. So I packed my things, and back home, I was greeted - by new flowering roses in the garden. November roses. Such a treat:


The roses, they have their own story: they are storm roses, i got them at a flower shop where they were stood outside during a storm and looked devasted. “Take them”, the shop owner said. “I can’t sell them any more, but they are good roses.” And now they turned into the most beautiful ones here in the garden. They have large, full petals, and looking at them, I sometimes feel that the storm made them stronger. That they transformed the obstacle into beauty.

And it's good that my partner and I now had the weekend together, after this week of worries. We went for a sunny walk on Saturday, and then just enjoyed the warm sun, and being able to sit ouside. It feels like a gift, all of it: the good healing, the being home again, the sun.

So for now, I am just enjoying being home. I still feel the effects of the general anaesthesia, mainly that i am getting tired after activity, like after a walk. And of course, it will take time for the wound to heal fully.

There will be a time gap now of about a week until all results all in, and the docs discussed my case in their board, and figured out the treatments to follow. "Don't worry," my doc said. "This isn't time wasted. First of all, you need to heal now."

Here's a line that spoke to me, I came across while reading the Tiny Buddha's inspiration page:

For those of you who are interested in more details, I looked for some info on the way of operation, the medical term for it is "Tyclectomy" or "Lumpectomy". Here's the short version of it: "As recently as the ‘80s, the standard treatment for women diagnosed with breast cancer was a mastectomy (removal of the entire breast). Since then, thanks to technological advances in detection combined with new treatment approaches, most women now have the option to save their breasts by choosing a treatment called breast conservation therapy (BCT). BCT involves the removal of the tumor (lumpectomy), followed by radiation therapy.” (link)

And here's a page that also includes a sketch that gives an idea of how the operation works, and where the cut is: Health Library / Tylectomy.

I am thankful for the docs who developed this method, and for my own docs who took such care in operating. If I wear a tank top, you don't see any difference compared to before the operation.

So now, healing. And then the follow-up-appointment in hospital with my doc. Then we see from there. There probably will be radiation, as they tried to save as much of the breast tissue as possible. There also might be chemotherapy. The other scary c-word.

But then, C is also for courage, as a friend wrote. (Thanks, Daniela :)


Beth said...

Dorothee, we've never met in person but I feel like I know you and that you're a real friend, so I've read this post with genuine concern and love for you. And I also feel confident that the Buddhist poster has it correct: you will be OK. I'm so sorry you're having to deal with this but grateful the medicine has advanced. Let me know how I can help in the coming weeks - I'm glad to send email notes occasionally, or whatever I can do. For now, gentle virtual hugs and a lot of optimism! (Your picture really is lovely!)

susan said...

What a scare this must have been and to have it behind you, even if radiation therapy is the proscribed follow-up, is just the best news ever. So happy to see you "in person" looking beautiful and healthy, my friend.

Jean said...

Dear Dorothee, I wanted to say much what Beth has already said. It's such a pleasure to see your photo and I'm so glad the sun and the roses have come out for you when you most need them. xxx

Jean said...

Dear Dorothee, I wanted to say much what Beth has already said. It's such a pleasure to see your photo and I'm so glad the sun and the roses have come out for you when you most need them. xxx

Jean said...

Well, I only meant to say that once, but please take my love and hugs as many times as you can swallow before deleting :-)

Dorothee said...

Beth, Jean, Susan & all others: Thanks for your thoughts and wishes. The photo, it's strange sometimes how the photo we expect the least to turns out really nice. your gentle virtual hugs + the optimism is like a cure, really. and browsing your creative blogs.

Jean, i keep the double wish :)