Sunday, March 20, 2011

Surgery This Week

by Michael

Just a quick note to let everyone know that this coming Wednesday (March 23) is the day Kate will have her mastectomy. Some people have asked me questions, so I will confirm here that it will be a mastectomy, not a lumpectomy. And it is a single mastectomy, not a double. In plain English, they are taking off Kate's left breast entirely and leaving the right one. The surgeon will also be going into Kate's arm pit and removing a number (upwards of a dozen it is reasonable to expect) of her lymph nodes.

Today we had a visit from a neighbour who had similar surgery two years ago and she described it as worse than her emergency c-section. Not as bad as chemotherapy, but horrible nonetheless. "Like having a broken arm," she said. And it will be Kate's left arm, and she's left-handed. A broken arm, in that there is a level of temporary paralysis, but much more than a broken limb. A new gruesome void.

So ... what does this mean? One night in hospital, we're led to believe, followed by about five days in bed. I won't go into all of the gory details, but she will have two drainage tubes to remove fluid build-up for seven to ten days. A home nurse will visit every day for up to two weeks. The nerves in her arm are expected to be damaged and the physiotherapy is supposed to begin as soon as possible to get as much movement back in her arm as is able. The difficult period, we heard this afternoon, is likely to last six weeks.

Our neighbour's visit today was, yes, sobering. But welcome. Better to know what to expect.

We have spent the last few weeks relaxing and recoving from chemotherapy hell, and it is hard for all of us to think about this impending next stage. I will be home for at least the next two weeks to be hand waiter for all of Kate's needs. The kids will be kept away ... for at least five days post-surgery, is the plan.

I know you will be thinking of Kate and all of us. Simply, thank you.


Anonymous said...

We are all thinking about you Kate. When it's scary, yucky, painful, boring - please take a moment to think about the multiple streams of intense positive thoughts and love coming at you from far and near. Sending loads of love,hugs and kisses across the ocean to you all. xxxxx Val, Joyce, Sarah, Angus and Iain xxxxx

Anonymous said...

All our best and warmest thoughts and prayers will be with you and your family tomorrow and in the days to come. Much love and many hugs from Aunt Jean. God bless.