Shortly after the festivities were over, the tree was put away and life (for most people) went back to normal, my wound opened up again. Aaaaaarrrrggghhhhhh!!! I was inconsolable with a lot of ‘why me?’ and ‘this is so unfair!’ being sobbed (not as brave as you though huh?). I went back to see the surgeon and knew by the look on his face what he was about to say. “We need to operate again. Soon”. I had started to feel like my body was separate to me, to be handed over and fixed like an old car that really should be scrapped. I listened as he explained this would be the last time they’d be able to try to save my reconstruction and if this didn’t work, it would have to be removed completely. That in itself isn’t such a big deal, its more that it leaves me with fewer (and far more invasive) options if I wanted to try for another reconstruction further down the road.
Before I knew it, I was back on the ward. I was on first name terms with most of the nurses, surgeons & anaesthetists by this point so they made it as pleasant as possible. I was in a pretty bad state emotionally and my chemo buddies, particularly Lindsay were the only ones I could really speak to about how I felt. My well meaning friends and family kept reminding me to ‘stay positive’, ‘keep fighting’, ‘stay strong’ and ‘beat this thing’. I didn’t feel like doing any of those things. I felt like switching myself off, not to be awoken until this nightmare was over.
Lindsay and the girls would message me loads and let me vent and rage and say ridiculous things that I didn’t really mean without any judgment or upset. I thank God for those women. They saved me. A lot.
I woke up from surgery in agony and knew something was different but I couldn’t move enough to see. I had to wait for the surgeon to come and see me to find out what he’d done. He told me that the damage to the strattice (the mesh part that held my implant in place that attached to my chest muscle) was severely damaged and needed to be completely replaced and my implant had been substituted with an expander (a temporary implant with a metal port which could be filled with saline over a period of time.) This would eventually be replaced by a permanent implant if I healed well enough.
I felt disappointed that I would need further surgery and under tremendous pressure to heal well as he wouldn’t be able to keep trying if my body kept rejecting everything he tried.
I was able to go home that evening but the pain in my chest was insane. The next week was spent doing nothing but popping pain killers, eating high protein food to try and help the healing and having nightmares about what would happen next!
I was seriously behind schedule with chemo and really wanted to get started again so I could get it over with!
Stay with me here… Things are about to get better!
My next trip to see the surgeon was great. He was really pleased with how well I’d healed and gave me the OK to get on with my next chemo. Hooray! Well, hooray is a weird thing to say about having chemo but you know what I mean… My surgery limbo was over and it was time for my first Tax (docitaxel) chemo.