Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Staying at Mom's Another Night

I'm definitely staying at my mom's another night!
K said I could take Benadryl to help me sleep, so I did... but I ended up napping from about 2 to 6 pm, which was an odd time. Who knows what that means for "bedtime" tonight! I'm getting a little restless and irritable...feeling ready to be back home in my own quiet place with my cat and to see friends.

I forget what I've already posted about and what I haven't. Going to sleep last night was difficult. It took me forever to arrange my bed Just So, and then I had trouble relaxing my mind because I was paranoid that I had overdosed on Percoset. I really HADN'T, but taking drugs of any kind is so rare for me that I just get anxious about it. The bottle says to take "1 to 2" every 4 hours, so I was mentally reviewing how many I had taken and when, and I couldn't remember what time I had taken the first one (in the hospital!), but I thought that I had taken 4 total in 7 hours, instead of 8 hours like it should have been. That got me thinking about how that might be too much because I don't weigh very much, and I got a bit panicky wondering if I had accidentally taken even more Percoset than I remembered taking, so I actually turned on the light, got out of bed, and dumped out the bottle of pills to count them all and make sure there was still 37 like there was supposed to be. GEEZ!! Then I lay awake in the dark, trying to recall the long list of possible side effects. I remembered that one of the uncommon-but-dangerous side effects was unusually slow breathing. I noticed that I was breathing slowly, and freaked out and tried to breathe faster. HELLO! IT'S NORMAL TO SLOW YOUR BREATH WHEN YOU'RE IN THE PROCESS OF FALLING ASLEEP! Oh, it was so stupid.

Once I reassured myself I had not overdosed on Percoset, the Percoset relaxed me totally and I was calm, quiet, and still as I lay there... for 6 hours straight without sleeping. Yeah, it relaxes me, but does not make me TIRED. I was mentally writing emails and blog posts all night; it was very strange. Of course in the morning none of what I had "written" during the night was anything I actually wanted to type for real.

OH, and it and was at some point during the night, while I was lying there not sleeping, that it suddenly hit me - hey, the lump of cancer is out of my body! I don't know why I didn't realize that until that moment...I mean, I know that seems kind of stupid. I don't know how to explain it - I think I had been so narrowly-focused on getting through each individual step of the day that I had lost sight of the overall picture, if that makes any sense. The day had been a blur of sign this form, get a hospital bracelet snapped on, get injected with this, recite your birthdate to the nurse, put on this gown, get a mammogram, get injected with more stuff, go to this reception desk, fill out this form, wait for the nurse, recite your name and birthdate again, get your BP checked, talk with the other nurse, answer a list of questions, get the IV in, etc., etc., that it was all just overwhelming and blurred together. I didn't have a chance to stop and think about anything. And it wasn't until the whirlwind of it all was over and I was lying quietly in bed that I realized, the cancer it out, and then I smiled.

Of course, it's not OVER. It's not THAT simple. Having the tumor removed is certainly not the same as being cancer-free. There are cancer cells that are too small to be detected, and it's impossible to know if there are any still left in my body or what they will do. But still! Having the tumor gone is a huge and wonderful thing! And did I tell you, my breast still seems to have its natural shape?? That was a happy surprise! I told K from the start to not worry too much about my breast's appearance, and to instead focus on taking as much tissue as she needed, to be sure to get clear margins. Nonetheless, she made the effort to get clear margins AND keep my breast looking nice for me, "since I'm only 30." Wow. I'm so lucky to have her. The tape is still on my incisions and I'm going to let it come off on its own, so it's hard to REALLY see what it looks like under there... but at this point I really can't detect a dent or dimple or anything! Just the incision of about 1.5 inches, which is really hardly anything, compared to what I had been expecting!

In fact, I am wondering if I overprepared for this surgery in many ways. So far everything is turning out to be much better than I had expected. I don't think I was being a pessimist... I was doing the "Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst" thing. It's better to be overprepared than underprepared, and doing everything that I did to prepare was a coping strategy for me as well. It made me feel better to be proactively filling a low shelf with button-down shirts, than to be sitting around feeling anxious about what was to come, you know? And if it turns out I don't need all of that, great! What a happy surprise! It's just that I had never gone through surgery before (other than wisdom teeth extraction at age 14, which I don't really count), so I had no idea what to expect and wanted to be prepared for those worst case scenarios.

I'm still very tired, a little groggy and dizzy, etc. But I'm not in pain and I can move my arm, so I'm happy.


  1. sweeet! you are aceing this! so happy for you!! xooxo cathryn

  2. You made me smile - I often have those kind of ah-ha! moments in the middle of the night, too. Happy lumpfreeness day! Let the wild rumpus begin! Well, maybe let the percoset wear off before you start any rumpus-ing.

    Sweet Dreams,

    Arlie, Kiki, and Bennett

  3. thank you, cathryn...XOXOXO to you
    and thank you, arlie, kiki, bennett. :) lumpfreeness rumpus-ing...heehee

  4. its funny that you didn't realize your lump was gone until the middle of the night because when i talked to you on the phone i was like "brit! the lump is gone! its amazing!" and you acted like it was no big deal. like "yea, whatever." i knew then that you weren't kidding about being doped up and groggy, haha.

    i'm so happy to hear that everything is smoother than you anticipated. hopefully it will be all kittens and sunshine from here on out. :)

    i love you tons! xoxox

  5. this is all such wonderful news and I really love reading your babbles - it reminds me of how we think when we are children; right in the moment without hesitation or second thought. I am so happy that your cancer lump is gone and that you are doing so well in your recovery (fingers and toes crossed that it continues). I don't count wisdom teeth extractions either so I would say for your first surgery you are a STAR patient! and your dr. sounds like a GREAT person and I am so pleased that she was yours!!!!!

    Sending some love!
    xoxo Erin

  6. andee, you talked with me about the lump being gone? really? that's funny, i don't remember that. :) it would have been hilarious if they'd given me a laptop like 10 mins post-anesthesia. i wonder what the hell i would have blogged about!!

    and thank you, erin. xoxoxo

  7. i am so glad you are not in pain! and also glad that your cancer is out :) -steph