So the day of surgery finally arrived. I have never been into hospital properly for anything and the thought scared me. The night before I tried to put it out of mind knowing that I needed a decent night’s sleep.
We were up early as they call you for about 7am and we drove in quietly through the dark streets with barely any traffic. That morning, every single traffic-light let us through, and I really wished they hadn’t. I would have preferred to have driven myself as driving takes your mind off things – but there was no way my husband would have let that happen, mainly because he hates my driving!
We sat in a room full of other ladies, all in the same situation, all waiting for their pre- op checks. Luckily for me I was first up, so no chance to dwell.
My surgeon (my angel) the same lady who had delivered my diagnosis arrived and took me to have a final discussion and confirm my choices about my surgery and reconstruction. I had chosen to opt for a mastectomy with immediate reconstruction and implant on both sides.
I will never forget that morning she was so kind and reassuring. So pretty and intelligent, but yet matter of fact, and assured me that all of her procedures were ‘second nature’ to her. She also had children, around my children’s ages and she just ‘got it’ you could tell. All of this matters a great deal to me, the fact that I knew I could trust her and that she understood the importance if what she was about to do.
I kissed and hugged my husband, careful not to show my fear and I ushered him into town to try to take his mind off waiting for me to re-emerge from theatre. After signing several consent forms and donning my sexy surgery socks I was called in. The anaesthetist tried to talk to me, but soon realised that it was pointless in trying to make small talk and the nerves had kicked in. I thankfully do not remember another thing after this point, and it definitely was not as bad as I thought.
When I woke up, the first person I saw was my surgeon – and I am embarrassed to admit that I asked her to stay with me and hold my hand. She did for a few minutes until I drifted back out of consciousness. My husband found the next part of me ‘coming round’ hilarious as apparently a babbled all sorts of crap much to his amusement.
Of course when I woke up the next morning a piece of me had been taken away. In its place lots of bandages and discomfort, but this was managed by the pain relief. Every morning I flashed my new boobs to several attending consultants and I quickly got over any shred of shyness I had left after giving birth to two children.
My consultant seemed really pleased with the results and she came to check on me every day as did my breast care nurse. I in turn, embarked upon my rehabilitation with a determined mind. Every day I made myself get up and showered, changed, did my hair and ordered the healthiest foods I could keep down. When I couldn’t keep anything down in the beginning the kind kitchen staff snuck extra crackers and cheese onto my tray to try to get me to eat something.
Family & friends made visits to cheer me up, and eventually even the children came and sat on my bed sneaking in fish & chips after school, and giving me much needed cuddles. This was the longest time we had ever been apart and it was tough going.
The whole hospital stay was exhausting and all the while the bandages stayed on and the drains annoyingly stayed in place until my hospital stay was finally over. Fresh flowers and chocolates were given to the kind nurses who had looked after me for the week and I could almost feel the sense of relief in my husband as he drove me home to continue my recovery.