One Breast or two !

While I sit in hospital having the chop again it’s ironic I am back again where It all started! Hopefully this is the last hurdle of the universe’s plan for me. I finally have time to sit and write my next piece for my blog. Hannah sure does keep me busy I literally do not get a minute with her. Come bedtime at 7 each night I am too tired to even think straight let alone look at the computer to type anything. Thanks to baby brain and chemo brain, I defo feel my mind is not as sharp as it used to be. Thanks for been so patient I know August was the last one. I promise I wont make you wait that long for the next one 🙂
So surgery 1 – 16th September 2014

What a day to have your boob removed – of course I got no sleep the night before
you would swear Hannah knew something was up, she played up the night before, only 4 weeks old so still not fully settled in yet. That night she knew deep down I was stressed but didn’t think I was on the outside. I just wanted the tumour gone I had my game face on me ready and waiting to go.  Tough cookie me but even the toughest of cookies still have to crumble sometimes. I was not going to surgery well rested. I stayed in my mams the night before it was easier just to get up and go and leave Hannah sleeping with Supernanny. 🙂 My ma shes some woman !!!

I checked into admissions with my new jammie’s, slippers and dressing gown in tow or (housecoat)as some of you may prefer. Why is it we buy new pj’s for hospital stays talk about keeping up appearances. #pureirishthing.
Think I bought 3 new sets of jammie’s this time for my hospital stay I need to get out more. Seem to live in them these days and no you will never see me at the shops in them. lol
Getting back on track I sat in admissions all day chatting on whats app to the girls keeping the spirits up. I had ran down my battery to quick dam S4 and the shitty battery life on them. There was nowhere to charge it that I could see the lack of plugs was unreal and sure we all need a break from technology. So I sat and watched the telly with flipping Jeremy Kyle and doctors please shoot me now!!! I must have been the last to be called cos I was literally about to start chewing furniture I had been fasting for over 12 hours. I was in there since before 8. I was so dang thirsty I wasn’t called for surgery till 2pm I love my food can’t be starving me like that. Think the longer I was kept waiting the more anxious I got.
The phone rang I heard my name mentioned by the nurse bout time lets do this shit ! the lovely nurse in admissions got my stockings and hospital gown and done final checks on her end before we headed towards the staff elevators.
When I arrived to Theatre area I climbed on the bed and was prepped with the usual heart monitor stickers, blood pressure cuff, mop cap, white knee socks for clotting, lovely disposable knickers, left arm strapped out and ready for cannula god I hate them I feel like a pin cushion at this stage. It is worse after you have had cancer and lymph involvement because you can never have your blood taken on that side or blood pressure read from that arm so beware and the amount of times people go directly to that arm. I am always nearly screaming no cos you do have the tendency to forget. So while chatting to the anesethist final checks and consent of course all done before i go to sleepy land.. I was having right sided masectomy along with tissue expander placement along with lymph clearance cos it had spread there too. I am so lucky to be alive and i thank god every day. I woke up in recovery still very much off my titties i would say ususally but will say tit lol. I was in and out and i was in alot of pain. Do not try be a superhero for the 1st few days its very sore. You have nerves an all cut you do not recover over night, I couldnt chop veg for weeks. I had to have physio and exercise it everyday to build strength back up this is essential. i have full range of movement back in my right arm now. I felt like a man though on one side one boob was gone and my other one still there.
The pyschological effect that has on any woman is a big deal but you get on it and of course I would have to make a joke of it. Calling myself half boy half girl was my way of dealing with it all sure you need to see the funny side of things and sure most of you that know me and i have such a weird sense of humour.
So even though I had a mastectomy on one side and sort of temporary reconstruction on same side. See with a Tissue Expander its an Implant placed under the skin which has a magnet on the front of it, these are not tacked down or secured, so they give you a blue magnet to bring with you every appointment and it goes on your breast and that shows them where to jab you with the 50ml syringe filled with saline its actually quite cool. So I had saline implant placed but it was empty I had to get filled each week to stretch my skin as they had to remove so much with the size of my tumour. yes it was that big I lost not only my breast tissue in the mastectomy my nipple and a good chunk of the skin too. had we of tried to put an implant straight away it would have looked ridiculous. skin stretched they actually would not have been able to close the skin over the implant so I was patient for want of a better re construction further down the line.
Recovery afterwards was tough I had new baby I could barely hold I couldn’t unscrew bottle caps, chop veg, tighten her bottle lids simple little things we take for granted. I was kept in hospital for a week for my own benefit, they said with new baby I will be doing to much as soon as I was out which was 100% true cos I am that type of person. It was so tough spending nearly a whole week away from my 1 month old Hannah. I remember crying in the hospital because i got so frustrated with myself for not been able to hold her properly and I was missing her so much. I felt really down and of course you do not want your baby in the hospital full of germs at 4 weeks old. There is no greater love than a mother and their child!
I never understood that til now and i would move heaven and earth ten times over for Hannah. I gave in and got Doyler to bring her into me on day 4 I checked with docs was it OK for her to be in they gave the go ahead. I got so upset as I couldn’t hold her properly it was so uncomfortable I had to just sit there and let her lie on my knees all I done was stare at her little face and kept touching her cheek as I wasn’t going to see her for another few days. God it was awful and of course I was a blubbering mess when they were leaving! Bloody hormones fecking main reason I got into this mess in the first place lol !! God dam you Estrogen 🙂
I was sent home with 1 drain left in on the right side this was my new accessory for the week everywhere I went so did the drain it was collecting fluid following the Mastectomy so that you don’t get a build up in the area after the procedure. It’s standard and all depending how your body is at eliminating waste so to speak. I had to empty my drain myself and measure the liquid with a syringe and track how many mls each day so we knew it was reducing each day. The drain was like a little clear size grenade hanging off the side of me. It poked out through my clothes, I had it pinned to my top, word of warning do not pin to knickers or trousers !!! It gone thrown over my shoulder when in the shower or resting on a soap dish sometimes I even pinned it to an earring so as not to let this thing pull at the side of me ! I later found out your not supposed to have them raised above you but sure look it was only for showering and that and no harm came from it.  Once the output from the drain was minimal I was straight onto my breast care nurse pleading to get it out of me. I was walking around Avoca handweavers with my drain in tow when I got the message to say come on in and we will remove it for you.  YES!!!

Had I of been able to drive at that stage I would have broke the speed limit !!

P’s removal of your drain is not for the faint hearted. Please make sure you take some pain relief prior to removal 😉  my skin had started growing over it that’s how good I was healing up. But it is over before you know it.

Here comes Hannah

Ain’t nobody got time for Cancer !!
Well this week anyway 🙂
So after my meeting with my Breast surgeon and Breast care nurses following my diagnosis the decision was made that Hannah would need to be delivered early! My main concern was not was I gonna be OK. It was is Hannah ?
Scary stuff !! It’s daunting enough having a baby for the first time, but to be told we need this baby out as soon as possible but also safely. See If the birth ends up in a C section this will delay the starting date for Chemotherapy as I could spend up to 8 weeks healing. Chemotherapy delays healing time in the body even further increasing your risk of infection. So in order to avoid that my Obstetrician said there was no way in hell This is my 1st child and would end up in a C Section if delivered before that. By 38 weeks shes cooked 🙂
The girls even had to move my baby shower earlier, As we were not sure what was happening with the birth at the time, there was a big panic but they pulled out all the stops and made it one hell of a bash!
From eating melted mars bar out of nappies to the girls sucking the Helium filled Balloons even my Mother got in on that action. If I don’t mention the fab egg sambos that Nat made I will be shot 🙂 It was an a fun filled afternoon and emotional one to say the least but the girls done me good.
That’s the fucker cancer again ruining peoples plans !! Wedding plans got put on hold also !!!
So with my new due date the 19th of August looming nearer I was stressing over ante natal classes, I was under the care of the Community Midwifes throughout my pregnancy. They done my own personal ante natal classes due to my circumstances. Just so I would avoid any awkward questions like me having to explain that my Labour would not be the same as theirs. Mine was going to be an Induction.
So lying awake the night before giving birth all I kept thinking was what weight is she gonna be? who will she look like? Cancer wasn’t even given one thought!
We were at Holles street for 8 bells thanks to my dad who put his taxi plate on bus lane all the way mind you my stomach was like a washing machine so I prob would have gladly sat in traffic that morning. We were checked in and I got dressed into my lovely Labour nightdress and new slippers !! such style thank god you never have to wear them again 🙂 A nurse hooked me up to a monitor with straps placed around my stomach to check the baby heart and measure contractions. The nurse asked had I already been having some contractions ? I said slight cramps now and then yes !! Good ole Rasberry leaf tea I was drinking galons of the stuff this was not gonna be a C section.
So with an Induction they give you a Progresterone gel that is applied internally, this helps to thin out your cervix enabling the doctor to break my waters. This could take a few applications I was told 😦 I am not staying in the hospital till Friday this was my mantra Baby is coming tonight !!!!! The gel was only applied literally an hour, I started to have what felt like period pains nothing major I was up walking around the labour ward and bouncing on my ball trying to get things moving along. This continued for 3 hrs gradually the pain increasing over time but all bearable. Lucky I have high pain threshold.
I remember it was around 2pm I kept saying this baby is coming tonight I am not staying here till friday I’m defo in labour I know I am I was getting proper contractions now period pains intensified by 100 🙂 I proceeded to do my yoga positions I could see my other half Doyler looking at me going what is she doing! This got the baby down sooner and helped with my pain so I didn’t care what I looked like I would have even mooed like a cow doing my cat & cow positions had it got the baby down sooner also. lol
The Doctor came around to check my cervix, the gel had worked so well 1st go that they were able to break my waters. Well Holy Mother of Divine Jaysus I have never experienced anything so gross in my life. All hell had broke loose the contractions were kicked up a notch and getting more frequent. high pain threshold!!!! I lied who was I kidding I was in agony. I was starting to get apprehensive saying I’m in Labour, I’m in labour! The nurse didn’t believe me at first, I was no hero I was asking her for pain relieve at this stage! I was given two paracetamol what was she thinking ….
She got my midwife down to check me and I was 3 cm dilated. Lets get you to a delivery ward. I hobbled down still insisting I wanted the epidural. I could see by Doyler’s face ( he was defo thinking oh shit) Looking a few shades of grey as the reality sunk in what was going to happen soon. He kept checking with midwife each time nipping out for fags secretly hoping he would miss the birth and arrive once its out! Every lads dream. 🙂
Not a chance of that happen! By the time the Anesthetist came! she took forever she walked in looked at me said no way and walked back out I was gone to far for Epidural .I went from 3 to 7 in less than half hr. My midwife was sorting things out. No one was expecting me to go so quickly. Suddenly I had the urge to push removing the gas from my mouth I called midwife I was thinking where is Doyler !! The baby was coming now. He strolls in with my mam in tow the midwife spots his grey panicked face gives him a chair by me in case he decides to hit the deck. My mam to the rescue 🙂 She was on my left side fanning me down which was a god send at the time. My mam shouts she sees the head 7.45pm she was out with no trouble and no drugs I wouldn’t include the two paracetamol. I had giving birth to my beautiful girl weighing just 6lb 13oz she has some set of lungs she cried as soon as she came out. My mam cut the umbilical cord she was delighted. Very special moment indeed. She only had chemo the day before that. She is a trooper !!
My dad and my sister were out in the hallway waiting with balloons and Prosecco, my body was still shaking from the shock of just delivering a baby they are all drinking flipping prosecco !! It was all a bit surreal. All I wanted was a cup of tea and a bit of toast.
Then were back down to reality my baby is safe ten fingers ten toes perfectly healthy, Please god she doesn’t have BRCA 2 Gene !! 18 years of waiting until I can get her tested to see has she inherited my dodgy genes!!
Now to let the team in Vincents now I have had my baby wooo hoo they left me alone for a full two weeks to let me enjoy my baby.
Grace xx