Ashe Elton Parker

A Writer of LGBT+ Characters in Speculative Fiction

Results of Surgery

This entry is part 04 of 44 in the series Breast Cancer Posts

What, you may ask, did this surgery get me?  Well!  Here is where I tell you.

First and foremost, it means that all the cancer is now hopefully removed from my body.  I now have bandages over my right breast and under my arm due to this.  The ones under my arm are more annoying.  It feels like they’ve bunched up in one spot and are digging in now.  I’ll be glad to get these things taken off tomorrow.  My breast has had little discomfort from its surgical wound.

In addition to all these bandages, I now have a nifty little drainage system.  This includes a tube sutured into place in the wound under my arm, which extends to about hip-length, with a bulb attached to it.  As demonstrated by the nurse in recovery, emptying the bulb involves squeezing it viciously until all liquid is expelled.  She left the bulb squeezed almost flat, but I don’t do that. It seems to need to be somewhat squeezed, or it doesn’t draw the fluid, but if it’s squeezed too much, it needs to be emptied more frequently.  I think I’ve got a nice compromise with it right now.  The fluid it collects is a combination of secretions to the missing lymph nodes and blood, though there seems to be much less of the latter now.  I won’t tell you what it looks like to me (it might make you too sick to eat).  I’m to keep track of how much fluid comes out of this bulb, so I squeeze the contents into a little urine-sample cup to get the measurement and write it down before dumping the fluid in the toilet to flush away.  Simple, if a little gross.

I spent most of yesterday in bed, thanks in part to the trauma of the surgery itself.  For me, part of the surgery included them putting a tube down my throat so I could breathe because I have acid reflux.  This has left me with a phlegmy cough which produces very little.  Thankfully, they put the tube down while I was asleep, or I would have had much to try to say.

The rest of the reason why I spent yesterday in bed is because of the painkillers my surgeon prescribed. A  combination of hydrocodone and acetaminophen. I took one of these at 8PM and another at about midnight on Monday night, and they knocked me out for the rest of the following day. Not again.  I do not like spending the day in bed.  I finally made myself get up a little before I wrote/posted yesterday’s post here, and I did not get any fiction writing at all done.  In comparison, today I got up around nine thirty, washed dishes, got a plot card on Brotherhood, took a nap from noon to two, and got up to cook a late lunch; this is more like a typical day for me, though my naps usually aren’t quite so long.

I haven’t showered since Sunday night.  Kind of not supposed to until the bandages come off, and Mom couldn’t make it out today to help me remove them—I definitely want help on the underarm ones due to the tubing.  And showering will be a challenge.  I’m not to get the area under my arm wet.  Either way, tomorrow night (if Mom’s able to make it), the rest of my body will be clean, and I’m really looking forward to that.

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2 Comments

  1. So are you going to stick to straight acetaminophen (Tylenol) for the pain, then?

    I’m impressed with the speed of your recovery!

  2. I’m not taking any painkillers at all right now. I have very minor pain/discomfort (I should probably say I have a high pain tolerance, though). Re: my recovery – It’s all a very minor wound under my arm. I have the cut from where they took out the lymph nodes and the tube insertion point, which is causing most of my very minor discomfort, below that. On the breast, it’s a minor cut under steri-strips and isn’t painful at all unless I press on it deliberately.

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