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I Had a Bilateral Mastectomy

Shelly Straub Bilateral Mastectomy

December 12, 2013

Journal Dump #009

Today is Thursday, December 12, 2013.  Three days ago I had a bilateral (double) mastectomy with reconstructive expanders put in place immediately following.

I arrived at the hospital at 6:00 am to register and have a sentinel node biopsy done, prior to surgery.  The sentinel nodes are the first few lymph nodes into which a tumor drains. Sentinel node biopsy involves injecting a tracer material that helps the surgeon locate the sentinel nodes during surgery. The sentinel nodes are removed and analyzed in a laboratory. If the sentinel nodes are free of cancer, then cancer isn't likely to have spread and removing additional lymph nodes is unnecessary.

After this procedure, I was stuck 3 times in both hands before finding a good vein for the IV.  (After surgery, I noticed that they had changed the IV to the other hand)... which means I was stuck a total of 4 times for one IV.  But who's counting...

My nerves are a wreck at this point and it finally happened - I just burst out into tears.  I haven't shed many tears through this whole process, but an hour before they cut me open on the table, it was time to let the tears flow.  I kept telling my girlfriend that I am not ready for this... but there's nothing that can be done at this point.  Just keep putting one foot forward.  I CAN do this!  NO I CAN'T.  Yes, I CAN. No, I can't!

The surgery began at 11:00 am.  At 1:27pm, a nurse called the waiting room to let my family and friends know that they found cancer in my lymph node as well, so they have removed the abnormal node and will test the rest.  I will not know if it spread beyond this point until tomorrow.

I was sent home from the hospital on Wednesday at 2pm. (3 day/2 night hospital stay)

This flat out SUCKED! But instead of going into how painful the surgery and recovery has been, I would rather show you the absolutely amazing outpour of PINK that was with me on surgery day!  People I knew, people in the waiting room, people I didn't know, people's kids, people's dogs, hundreds of people on facebook. Never experienced anything as inspiring as this.  There are no words. 



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