On Fri Aug 28th I went in for my second surgery. While I knew that it would be a much more invasive surgery (radical neck disection) I wouldn`t have been able to understand how much harder this surgery would really be compared to the last. The last one wasn`t a walk in the park either but at least I bounced back quickly afterward and got to go home early for lack of compications.
This time was a totally different situation. I arrived at the hospital at 6am to get in and prepared for surgery. They began the surgery at 8am with plans to be finished by 2:30-3:00pm. This time came and went by hours for my family and with mine being the only surgery still in progress the waiting room was empty of families and staff. Finally after a couple of hours at 5:30 a Dr. came to speak to them to let them know that I was still in surgery and that it was taking longer than expected, I`d be another 1.5 hours. Around 7:00 my surgeon came to speak to them. She said the surgery although long was good and that they had to remove alot more cancer than they anticipated. It seems they had 18 lymph nodes marked for possible removal, and wound up taking 81+ lymphnodes along with cancerous soft tissue. She commented that she had gone very low into my upper breast and was still finding cancer. Obviously this means the spreading may be more widespread than we were hoping to find. Just before 7:30 my family was finally able to see me. I was in the ICU to be monitored overnight.
Overnight turned into 4 days due to complications. I wound up having an extreme drop in calcium, this is very dangerous in the levels I was showing and can cause heart attacks even death (who knew? I’ll drink milk now I swear!). This Leads my surgeon to believe she has taken most if not all of my parathyroids during the course of the surgery. They look like lymphnodes and can be mistaken for them. On the second night my breathing failed and I had to have emergency measures to fix my breathing and subsequently my blood oxygen levels. The ICU was the best spot I could have been when that happened, they got to me fast and by morning I was doing well. Though my Magneseum went low as well after the 3rd day it was not as dangerous as the calcium problems.
On day 4 I was stablized enough to move out of the ICU this was GREAT NEWS! Finally after a really rough surgery and slow start to recovery I was released! I am happy to be home. I feel sick alot mostly because of this amount of medications I am on, and I am very very tired . But nothing beats being home with my family. Now I have to recover enough to be able to get through radiation. So far that is the next step, unless she decides to do some sort of scan in between to look at the rest of my body. So I will try to look forward to having a bit of a break (mental and physical) over the next few weeks. I will hug my hubby kids and tell them over and over how I feel about them. Never again will I take one day for granted. I am thankful to have made it this far, and I will continue to visualize crossing the finish line. NOTHING is more important to me than hearing the word “remission”.
Now I wait and recover, next step is radiation… Yuck!