In just over ten days I will undergo my second "partial mastectomy", as it was written on my consent form in 1994. I have a history with fibroid cystic disease, and to complicate things further, I have dangerously dense breast tissue. I presently have as many as 8 fibroids in various stages of growth.
Even with the new digital technology my mammograms are difficult to read. I have better results with an ultrasound but they can't see the difference between calcification's and ... well... the bad tumors. I also have fibroids of the uterus, and have a long family history of cancer. My mother fought ovarian and colon cancer and lost. My aunt just had a 15cm fibroid cyst cut out of her ovary.
I suffered dearly from my last operation, and still am suffering the effects to this day. Aside from the infected sutures, the horrible bruising over most of my torso, and the constant vomiting from the side effect from the anesthetic, I now have a bad case of vertigo, also from the anesthetic, that has been getting worse with age.
I am in constant pain because the location of the removal was very close to all the nerves that run from your arm/hand thru the armpit. I was just recently, finally, given a cortisol injection into the scar tissue. As painful as the shot was, it relieved years of accumulating pain. You don't realize just how much pain you are in until it is taken away, even if it is just briefly! I had lost the use of my arm and fine motor skills for two months after that dreaded operation years ago.
In ten days they are cutting into that very same pocket of sensitive nerves to remove a three by one and a half centimeter growth - directly underneath my scar tissue! I will also have a two and a half centimeter growth removed from under my nipple in my other breast.
The thoughts/fears of pain management and loosing the use of my arms are very real. I've finally managed to gather the mental strength to explore my old artist self and am very much looking forward to allowing it to flourish. My pottery and photography/painting my tins, are all upper body arm strength with a need to retain my fine motor skills. The what-if's are haunting! The memories of waking up after that first surgery and asking the nurse as they were wheeling me out of the operating room if it's supposed to hurt this much, asking if I ended up having a mastectomy.
I've been saying for many years since - NEVER AGAIN! If I were to be reopened, it would have to be to save my life. I have been vigilant by cutting my caffeine intake cold turkey to zero. No pop, no dried fruit or nuts, no cured meats no bacon. And now I face more anguish and pain despite my efforts. Makes me want to go grocery shopping and go face down on all the things I love and have been holding back for too many decades! Van Houte cafe moca, in a bowl of course, with a huge piece of chocolate cake and chocolate icing! An entire box of Smarties with a coke to wash it down! Roasted cashews. I digress.
This operation just feels like I'm trading in pain for more pain without a positive outcome or improvement. It hurts if I do and it hurts if I don't go thru with it. I guess if anything, at least it will clean out the big lumps so the doc can see a clean mammo or ultrasound in the future.
I'm scared- ok terrified. All my memories that relate to hospitals since a very young age are post traumatic for which I am in treatment for. I've been in the hospital too many times in the last three years. Enough with the needles already!!
I've decided to be proactive and take charge. I am having cancer genetic testing done. I am at high risk and no longer want to live in fear every time I am being admitted. What's one more blood test right?