Thursday, May 30, 2013

Quite the productive day

Yesterday was the big day: Surgery (Axillary Lymph Node Dissection).  Surgery wasn't scheduled until 4:00 which meant that I didn't need to be to Huntsman until 2:30.  What to do with the rest of the day?  My plan was to hang out at home and watch movies, but I woke up on the right side of the bed and instead went for an easy bike ride, stocked up on groceries at Costco and Whole Foods, and cleaned the kitchen all while fasting in preparation for surgery.  It was quite the productive day and I was thrilled to squeeze in one last little ride before surgery.

At 2:15, Shannon and I left for Huntsman.  We really do feel fortunate living ten short minutes away from a world class cancer facility.  We arrived, were taken back to our little room, I changed, surgeon and NP checked in, my mom visited, IV placed, and off to surgery.  The procedure itself took a little over an hour.  I was told that 6-7 lymph nodes were removed one of which was the metastatic lymph node that had been marked at my ultrasound guided core biopsy a few weeks ago.  I am so happy and relieved to have that out of my body.  According to my surgeon, the other lymph nodes did not look overly suspicious, however we are waiting on the final pathology which should come back next week.  Apparently, the anesthesiologist has my cocktail dialed.  I was out the door a little over an hour after waking up from general anesthesia and had absolutely no nausea.  Very impressive!  The entire Huntsman team was once again amazing and words can not describe how grateful I am for them taking such good care of me.

Some photos from the day:

 I packed a banana for my post-op recovery food.  It was delicious!
 Apparently during surgery the alarm was continuously going off as my heart rate hovered in the low 30s.  Here it reads 47bpm.  I guess that means that I went into surgery fit and well rested!
 Getting all the monitors removed
I get to wear this lovely bandage for 36 hours.  Yes, those are gauze pads underneath the ace bandage.  You can see the drain coming out of the right side of the ace bandage.  This will be removed once I am producing less than 25cc of fluid over two consecutive days-hopefully early next week!

In the meantime, my activity level has slowed, but it has not come to the screeching halt that I was anticipating.  If it weren't for the drain coming out of my armpit I would be gearing up to spin my bike this weekend.  I'm hoping the drain is ready to come out early next week and in the meantime, I will stick to walking Dizzy.  He's not complaining!

Next week I meet with my medical oncologist where we will come up with a treatment plan.  I am anticipating it to include chemo and changing Tamoxifen to an aromatase inhibitor.  Then on to radiation.  Needing something to look forward to, Shannon and I are in the beginning stages of planning a fall road trip.  Any suggestions?


  1. I am firefighter and I found your site after I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Why didn't your initial round of chemo get these cells? It doesn't seem like a recurrence if your sentinel node biopsy was a false negative. Do you feel radiation would have helped? This news makes me want to scream. I have to know why this happened to you. Why do we go through these surgeries and treatments to have these cells still exist? What else can we do?

    1. I don't know the answer to your questions but here are my best guesses: Chemo doesn't get all the cancer cells especially ones that are more established. Perhaps this was my case? Radiation may have been helpful. Axillary radiation was not indicated with node negative BC. As for what else we can do, my plan is to continue with my anti-cancer lifestyle supporting my body in fighting off cancer to the best of its ability and to live life with no regrets!

  2. I know you know this-you are awesome! The book "you can heal your life" by Louise Hay has helped me tremendously. If you have time to read, I know you'll love it. You are an inspiration to me. Thank you for creating this site.


  3. Look at those abs! I am kind of (very) jealous. Hate those dreaded drains. <3 sending good thoughts your way (by the way, have you checked out Sprouts Farmers Market? It is my new favorite place for the organic goodies).

    1. I totally need to check out Sprouts. Just don't get downtown too often and WF is soooo close!

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