Boy. That’ll teach me for being bored. A lot has happened in the last 2 days (days 9 and 10) so I’ll cover everything in bullet form so this doesn’t become biblical. Before I do here’s a quick synopsis to bring you up to speed.
In a nutshell:
Some of you will remember my right-side drain leaked on Day 6, we tried to save it, but it looked like it was on the way out so we removed it on Day 7.
I woke up on Day 8 to find my right boob had swollen up and felt like a water balloon. I freaked out because I’ve repeatedly been told fluid in the breast cavity is bad, fluid can lead to infection, infection = bad! Ultimate consequence, removal of the expander that is sitting behind my pectoral muscle, we have to wait until it heals, we can then run this show all over again.
Both the plastics and breast surgeons didn’t feel I had anything to worry about. The fluid wasn’t much, it would in all likelihood dissipate through my body in time, otherwise they’d drain it with a needle…
Got it? Now we can begin:
8am – 10am
- I woke up and updated my Twitter and Facebook status claiming that today was a think positive day.
- Nice breast surgeon from Manchester came to see me. He checked my right boob, said it was OK and unless I was in pain, to leave it. Looked at my left side drain and said if plastics were happy, I could go home today or tomorrow. IMMENSE!
- My lead breast surgeon comes. He agrees with what everyone has said. Offers to overrule everyone and take out my left-side drain and discharge me there and then. I may be a bit bolshy at times, but I don’t like breaking rules so I say no. If it wasn’t for the fluid build-up in the right side I would have jumped at the chance and agreed.
- Plastics team come to see me. They are less enthusiastic about the discharge chat, but agree that the right boob still looks fine and IF, IF, my drains are low enough tomorrow, I can go home.
- I hit rock bottom, cancel my visitors for the afternoon, but head out to meet Mr F for lunch. There are no trips to the beach today, just up to my usual coffee shop around the corner.
- Lunch – I cannot stop crying. Mr F has a rubbish lunch.
- I come back and try to read but am too woozy so I got to bed for a couple of hours. Wake up shivering Put some more clothes on and get back into bed. My chest is really tight so I loosen up my binder and try to go back to sleep.
- Can’t sleep, still shivering, I feel sick and my chest tightness is becoming unbearable. I can’t breathe and I’m having sharp pains down my back.
- I call the nurse and ask her to take my temperature. She does and it’s fine. However I can’t sit still long enough for her to take my blood pressure and run to the toilet thinking I’m going to be sick. No vomit.
- My breathing and pain in my back becoming worse. My most matronly like, and Welsh, nurse tries to run an ECG but my back pain is too bad to sit still. She calls a Dr.
- Before I know it I have 3 Drs in the room asking me questions. They have felt my right boob again and still don’t think that’s the culprit. I have blood taken from 3 different places. A 4th Dr comes, lots of questions, finally an ECG, and they take my temperature again. My heart rate is 100 beats per minute and my temperature is 39.3.
- They want to take a chest X Ray and ask if there’s any chance I might be pregnant. It’s very unlikely, but this whole surgery thing has played havoc with my cycle so is there any chance? A minute one, possibly? I think I could maybe sue them if I am and my unborn baby is damaged by the X Ray radiation? So, I take a test… Not pregnant! Don’t worry; X Ray commence.
- Cut a long story short, it is determined that I have some sort of infection, they pump a lot of antibiotics in me and my temperature comes down. By this point I’ve called Mr F to hospital from the pub. He is lovely, concerned and smells a little of beer.
- I am shattered and terrified.
- Wake up feeling better than I did, txt my friend who I had cancelled on to tell her about my infection, she calls straight away, I can’t stop crying.
- She calls my ward and requests to break visiting hours protocol to come and sit with me.
- She brings me breakfast and sits with me to do crossword puzzles.
- My nice Manchunian breast surgeon comes, he looks at my right breast. He’s not happy. The fluid has increased and my breast is red. He recommends we do an ultra-sound to determine how much fluid in there. We’ll stick a needle in to drain the fluid (remember, plastics don’t like this as it’s a foreign body, which also may risk infection).
- My Child Plastic Surgeon (CPS, who I now really like but I need consistency in my names so you know who I’m talking about) comes. He also thinks we need an ultra sound, but at the same time he is concerned. Wants another urine sample. I am forced to drink a lot, quickly, in short succession. I pee on demand and, sorry this is gross, but it’s boiling hot!
- CPS returns to say he has spoken to a plastic surgeon (not my main guy, but another guy who I don’t rate for reasons too long to discuss) who recommends that I go back into surgery, they open me up, remove the expander, clean out my cavity, sew me back up again and add another drain. I ask CPS what the chances are of this not working and me losing my expander – he says’ there’s a 15 – 30% chance I will lose it. CPS is clearly a glass half full kinda man, and I think he’s made up these stats.
- The surgery can’t be until 5pm as my lovely friend just brought me breakfast.
- Mr F arrives with a Cadbury’s Whisper Easter Egg, which of course I can’t eat as I’m nil by mouth. My temperature fluctuates throughout the day and my chest is still tight, making it difficult to breathe.
- I have a moment where I question everything and wonder what the hell I’ve done. I’ve mutilated my body on the off-chance I might get cancer, and now I’m about to go back into surgery which may or may not increase the chances of this whole thing failing?
- I’ll be honest with you, I’m still not in a great place as we head into surgery. Just as we are about to go through the double doors into theatre, CPS tells me that he has spoken to my main silver-fox plastic surgeon and he doesn’t want to remove the expander and just wants CPS to open my right chest cavity, drain it and give it a good clean. Everyone seems really pleased about this and is implying I should be too. In retrospect I understand it’s a much less risky procedure.
- I return. CPS says it went well and the infection had’t spread to my muscle and my chest expander. My temperature is down and I can breathe a little easier.
So, as I was saying, a lot can happen in 48 hours. What happens next is anyone’s guess. All I know is I’m going to sit very still, not move very far from my bed and hope for the best.