Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Is this what it's supposed to feel like?

Have had quite a productive day today: - 
  • Managed to offload an IKEA TV cabinet that has been sitting in my hallway since we moved homes in April ( thank you Gumtree)
  • Requested a review of the parking ticket  received on the day I went to see Dr Dave for the first time. The unexpected blood test meant I didn't make it back to the car in time
  • Paid some bills and sent off a claim to  Medicare.
  • Watched a movie 
  • Finished my book

Now before you all get preachy about doing too much - there was very little physical exertion in any of it. But I felt like I needed to get into action.

And if I am being honest - and I did promise you that I would be - I am still quite sore.

On Sunday night I went onto Breast Cancer Australia's online forum to see what other women's experiences with pain were. It was good to read that the 'sandpaper" sensation I have across my chest is not unusual and that things can be quite painful for a while after and that sometimes you can get fluid pooling in the wound site that can cause discomfort and may need to be drained. 
Ah the power of a peer support on-line forum where people have a lived experience and share that with others. (of much more use to me than the bra they sent me)

At least I felt a bit more at ease even if still sore.

But since then I have had two phone calls to Dr Dave.

Yesterday still sore and now concerned about a little lump that had formed on the right wound site ( have a bit of a fear around lumps on my chest),  so called him.
 Conversation went something along the lines of "does it feel like you have grown an A cup on the wound site"
Are you serious? If this was a post surgical possibility  to spontaneously grow an A cup I may not have been so stressed about deciding to have the breast off. 

I  reported  that, no, the lump was much smaller than that..  He assured me that as long as I didn't have a fever or feel unwell and there was no pus on the wound site it all sounded normal and he would see me next week and of course call again if I was worried. So I  hung up, took 2 panadol and carried on - with a painful chest.

Woke up this morning, lump still there but now there is also another small one on the side and I have to admit it, my whole chest was feeling bloody sore.

Now I have to put in another disclaimer. I have a fairly high pain threshold and am pretty good at ignoring parts of my body when they are sore, but this whole post double mastectomy thing is a little out of my usual pain experience.
I have no idea how it is supposed to feel, what is normal and what may be outside of that. And that is the unsettling thing. And there is that element of fear that if I don't check something out and it in fact needed checking then I have been less than vigilant. 
Cancer can kind of have that effect, I think. 

So another call to Dr Dave.  I quickly explain that I am not really neurotic and anxious about things ( now no comments from those who know me well) but that there was another lump and it looked a little bruised and it still felt like sandpaper.

He then said to me, and I quote " Take away the fact that you have had an operation. Imagine that you have been hit multiple times by a baseball bat that flattens the breast like a piece of schnitzel. It is going to be bruised and sore and even after the beating has stopped it will still feel like you have been battered. Well that is how your chest is going to feel like for 2-4 weeks after surgery"
Got to love a guy who can come up with that sort of analogy.

He then asked if the pain was a "2 panadeine every 4 hours" kind of pain. 

So now I have some  sort of benchmark; and no it isn't that bad.

 If I was taking that amount of painkillers I would not only not be in any pain, I would be completely off my nut  (and extremely constipated) 
Again he  reassured me that he felt I was OK and that we would see each other on Monday.

I hung up feeling a little less worried about my post surgical discomfort  and resigned to the fact that I would feel bruised and battered for a while. And took another 2 panadol.

So it seems that the answer to the question is yes.  I just don't have to like it.

As always

P xx


  1. Look I have to come clean here - since you have been so honest . Several years ago I had breast reduction surgery - after several miserable years of hauling ginormous boobs around and constant backache! What could go wrong after surgery did go wrong. No details here in case you are eating.

    I was sore for a while afterwards but so good that you have a high pain threshold. Even better that it sounds like you have a fantastic and empathetic surgeon.

  2. Thanks for the honesty. Boobs - they are just so much trouble. Too big, too small, diseased, reduced, reconstructed.
    For now I am honestly OK with removed and a little pain.
    In fact woke this morning feeling a little less sore.