CaringBridge-Posts From Home

My recovery spot.

CaringBridge Journal entry by Gina Grosso —


Sunday 3/25/2018. 5 Days post-operation.

I woke up this morning like a beetle stuck upside down on her shell. But my shell was the awesome recliner I’ve been convalescing in for the last two days. One blog told me to expect “T-Rex” arms and as my legs and abs fail to pull me upright, and I must yell for my mom to come and help me out of the chair, I understand why.

The first night out of the hospital was rough. After all the moving and wearing off of any remaining anesthesia, my body decided to give me a migraine which combined with the nausea from all the narcotics I’ve been taking made it hard to eat which made my nausea worse. My chest aches as I heaved and cried until I was sure I had torn some stitches or worse. I took yesterday to relax and sleep, refueling myself for the challenges that are ahead in this process.

I may move a bit like a beetle, look a bit like a t-Rex, and feel like Frankenstein’s bride, but I just keep telling myself “I had cancer,” which feels pretty good to me.

Hospital, Oh Hospital

CaringBridge Journal entry by Gina Grosso —

I cannot believe it has been almost one week since my surgery. The last few days have been a blur from going to sleep the night before cuddled up next to my mom, to hugging my Dad goodbye in the waiting room, to having my mom take pictures of my marked up chest complete with my doctor’s initials (you know, so a random person doesn’t start cutting up someone thats not labeled theirs), to taking that last solo walk with the nurse to the surgery room, to looking around the surgery room disappointed it didn’t more closely resemble Grey’s Anatomy, to remembering my anesthesiologist saying something about giving me something and then nothing, to waking up from the anesthesia thinking “well, that guy doesn’t look familiar…”, to seeing my mom’s face at the end of my bed, to seeing my dad’s face too, to hearing from Dr. K that the my lymph nodes were clear and it doesn’t look like the cancer had spread, to being lifted like air from one bed to another, to being surprised that they had Food Network on in my hospital room as if they knew me, to seeing my drains for the first time, to seeing my bandaged up breasts for the first time, to feeling my armpit where they took the lymphnode throb with pain, to the first time I got up to use the bathroom and needed help with all of it, to the first time the Percocet made my skin itch so severly I tried to scratch through to bone, to the second time that happened, and the third before we could determine it was the pain meds, to the beautiful flowers people sent me, to visiting with friends and showing them the graphic pictures, to showing them my graphic chest, to three nights of someone sleeping near me on a couch while nurses worked throughout the night to make sure I was safe, to ordering Thai food when the hospital food just couldn’t be consumed again, to being discharged and wheeled out into the beautiful sunny day, to my mom’s breakdown before pulling away from the hospital and reassuring her that we were going to be ok, to dry heaving and vomiting in the middle of that first night, to thinking I’d ripped open my incision from the pain, to finally figuring out my medications so I can at least be comfortable, to the unbelievable pain little tasks (like typing) make me ache, to the numbness and different sensations my breasts feel throughout the day, and to knowing tomorrow will be better than today. And that’s only week one.

So High, So Low

CaringBridge Journal entry by Gina Grosso —

This hasn’t been easy. I am making progress every day, getting stronger, feeling less pain. But the amount this has taken on me emotionally and mentally isn’t something I could have prepared for. I remember feeling like it all went so fast from diagnosis to surgery. I didn’t feel ready. But how can you ever be ready to remove parts of your body you’ve had for most of your life? There is no amount of time that can prepare you for making that choice. Nothing that can prepare you for following through.

My chest hurts. All of it. Or at least the parts that aren’t numb. The numb parts, they feel weird. Really strange and foreign. I can feel my side boobs more than any other part which makes me feel like they stick out really far on the sides of my body (they don’t). I’m tired from sleeping in a recliner but I can’t sleep on my back yet without it hurting my expanders. I’m allergic to percocet. I hate Vicodin. A one-hour outing being driven around makes me nauseas for the rest of the day. I’m severley constipated from all the pain meds. I’m severely nauseas from all the constipation remedies. I can’t shower. I can’t shave my armpits. I love visitors when they’re here but it brings me so much anxiety seeing people. I’m having a hard time wanting visitors because I feel so off and don’t have it in me to be on.

I saw my surgeon yesterday. He took out 3 drains (AMAZING). Everything went great, he told us, but also that there was a small suprise. The right breast, the one that showed nothing on the MRI, the one I “chose” to remove prophylactly, the one that was also biopsied after surgery, had cancer as well. Very small (3 mm), but cancer. The good news is that I went with the double mastectomy. The bad news is that he had no indicators to validate removing a right lymph-node so now we are stuck because they can’t find the sentinel lymph node (the first one leaving the breast tissue) without any breast tissue to inject with dye (mastecomy=zero tissue left). The options are to remove all the lymph nodes which is a significant surgery or to monitor them. It also means radiation and chemo are back on the table until my surgeon and oncologists decide the best course of action at next weeks Tumor Board.

I look ok. My hair and makeup are almost normal. I am young. But I don’t feel so ok, my body feels foreign to me, and I feel really old.

Tomorrow is a new day. It is just going to take some time for me to get used to the new me.

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