Wednesday, September 10, 2014


Updated to add a link to my revised pain scale.

I did it!  Huzzah!

Wait a minute, that's not nearly enough exclamation marks for the hbomb.


Let me start out by deeply and publicly expressing my gratitude to my friend M, whose last message to me before surgery was to remember my revised pain scale. Thank you, M, mother-of-triplets. I love you. (I revised my pain scale after my first mastectomy. That is when I learned 1) my previous notion of intolerable pain doesn't exist for other people; that is, I have a bit of a pain tolerance. Combine this with my aversion to drugs, and the result is me estimating my pain at a 2 or a 3 on a 10-point scale. After a mastectomy.  So vowed to revise my pain scale.)  My revised pain scale allowed me to recognize my pain as a 5-6, which elicited the perfect drugs. They reduce the pain down to a 2 (a real 2) and don't send my brain out to lunch. Perfection!

Also, I'm simply not in as much pain as I was with the previous mastectomy. I am not experiencing nerve pain, and this was the Worst last time. 

Finally, I have discovered a new pain medication that is going to make my sister rich and famous. He is baby Calvin, and when he smiles the mastectomy is erased. He's leaving soon, so hopefully the only ache he leaves behind is mild and in my heart. 

The surgery went well!  Dr. Surgical oncogist said that the sentinel (first) lymph node was NEGATIVE for cancer. A thousand huzzahs!!! She was nonetheless conservative and removed the sentinel node, a second node, and an inch of fatty tissue around them.  My armpit is the most sore of my wounds. 

I have nothing to report about the mastectomy yet. It will be a week before we know the pathology. 

The port was placed successfully. Huzzah! It is another purple power port, which is the same model as my previous port. Prior to surgery, a resident doctor freaked me out to the point of tears by saying that the vascular doctors would be placing my port on the left side.  But my mastectomy was on the right today!!!  She had all sorts of reasons that made clinical, theoretical sense, so I explained my real-life, empirical reasons: the skin on the left is very tight and is scarred from full chest wall radiation, up until yesterday I had a blood clot in the left jugular that May or may not be fully resolved, and my right side was already undergoing surgery. She conceded slightly, writing on the consent form "left or right" and agreeing to let the vascular surgeon make the call during the operation. Ah!  That's a bit nerve-wracking!  In the recovery room, the very first thing I said was, where's my port?  I am thrilled to report that it is tucked into its former home on the right. When I later saw Dr. Surgical Oncologist, she apologized for the apparent confusion, because she always intended for the port to go on the right. The information simply didn't trickle down to all of the folks interacting with me (seemingly dozens).

I'm spent, with nothing left in me to read and revise. Hopefully this has been sufficiently coherent and error-free.

I am humbled by and grateful for your support.  <3 and (>'')>


  1. Wonderful news! Sending vibes, doll. <3

  2. Love, love, love!!! :)

    So glad things went well!!!!

  3. Was thinking of you yesterday! Love and hugs from all of us in Lincoln, HK!!! Your strength & determination cannot be matched!

  4. Boo for that resident, who not only scared you but didn't seem to be listening to you enough for my liking, but yay for everything else! SO happy about the lymph node news (sorry you had to lose a few anyways), and everything else, especially magic Calvin. Love and hugs (both eye- and arm-) to you! xxxxx

  5. Calvin! What a sweetie pie. So glad to read that your humor is intact, Heather. Sure gets you through, right? Sending you modified hugs and lots of love from NY!

  6. I don't comment often, but when I do, it is to say Huzzah!!! ( did that sound like the beer commercial like I meant it to?)

    Love you Heather!