Friday, February 5, 2010


Fierce... My new fav word. (Entoned like Christian from Project Runway)
I feel fierce. I AM fierce. Being a hot mess was so... 2009. Thank God that's over. The past few months have taken me to Hades and back, and yet here I am, still.
To get everyone up to speed, I had a double mastectomy in November. At the same time, tissue expanders were placed, in anticipation of the breast reconstruction I had planned. Nothing had prepared me for the pain I experienced, however - a few hours after surgery, my IV was discontinued, and I was started on oral pain meds. ARE YOU FRICKEN KIDDING me? I was 10/10 on the pain scale and on the 3rd day when I finally broke down into a bawling, sniveling mess and rang my nurse, I was told I could have a Motrin to supplement. WTF?
Anyway, those first 2 weeks are a blur of horrific and unpleasant moments best left alone. I lived. Surprise! The pain didn't kill me. What almost did, was far more insidious and menacing: staph infection.
Week 3: surgery again. More debridement for the infection. One night in the hospital, sent home with more JPs (drain tubes) and bandages. Tried to go to work the next day, felt too fatigued. Got up on Friday, determined, and drove in to work. Walking down the hall to my office, I saw my coworkers at the nurses station glance my way, heard a collective gasp, and the next thing I know, I'm in a wheelchair being whisked away to the ER. I'm having trouble taking a deep breath. The room is swimming a little. Dr B hovers.
I come back from x-ray with a terrible chill. I hear "can't rule out the PE" and I am shaking. My husband looks down on me, his face a stoic mask. Why won't anyone tell me what the hell is going on?.
My father-in-law, who is also my boss, and J, my fellow EMT, show up with the ambulance cot. I don't want to go by ambulance, but nobody will listen to me. I am shaking uncontrollably now.
Somehow I survived the 2 hour ambulance ride - the memory is sketchy. When I arrived at SMMC, my fever had skyrocketed to 104.9. I was admitted to the floor but within 3 hours was moved to ICU, where I would remain for the next 3 days, spiking fevers and hovering somewhere between delirium and moments of painful lucidity.
Week 4: more surgery. Implants must come out. Two large abcesses discovered and cleaned out. But this time I woke up and thought, hey, I can breathe...
My recovery was slow and painful. I still don't like to talk about it much. I couldn't lie down without at least 6 pillows to prop everything up, and just showering and redressing my wounds exausted me so much I had no energy to do anything else. The day after my release from the hosptial this time, it was my daughter's final night of her Cinderella play. My husband had to work (he went and cheered her on her first two nights), so I took my two-year-old and we sat in the front row. She was so adorable, and I was so proud. I almost missed that.
It took me a while, but I realized something, after going through it all. I am much more resilient than I thought. Mentally, I mean. Because physically I was a puddle there for awhile - even after the infection was under control I was hospitalized two more times for complications like nausea and vomitting so severe I lost 37 lbs.
But emotionally? I'm in a better place then I've been in years. Is it really true, what does not kill us makes us stronger? I don't know. Maybe I always was this fierce.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

1 comment:

  1. Glad you're back to being fierce (yeah, I really do think you always were!), and glad my fav blogger is back at it! LOVE YA!