After my double mastectomy, I developed a hematoma on my right breast. The pain felt worse than labor and recovery from a C-section. Each time I moved, I felt pain, and even when I stayed still I could feel pain. After a restless first night at the hospital, I was happy to be examined by a doctor in the morning so I could be pain-free.
My husband, Jeff, never left my bedside. I knew he felt terrible that I had so much pain, and he couldn’t do much about it. Before the doctor came in, Jeff helped me order breakfast. I hadn’t eaten real food in almost 36 hours. He set up his laptop on my bed so we could watch a movie. Between the heavy medication and pain, I fell in and out of sleep. He held my left hand as I went through everything.
The doctor on call came into my room finally. I told him about my pain, and I thought something wasn’t right. He took a look and calmly told us that I needed an operation immediately because I had developed a hematoma. He said that a hematoma can cause intense pain and after the operation I’d feel a lot better. He quickly contacted my surgeon who did the mastectomy. Within 10 minutes he arrived in my room, as did the breakfast that I now could not eat because I was heading to surgery.
My surgeon also was extremely apologetic as he examined me to confirm the hematoma. Before too long, everyone who needed to be there for surgery arrived. Fox Chase hospital usually doesn’t perform surgeries on weekends unless it’s an emergency. The nurses came with a gurney to transfer me.
Between the doctors examining me and moving me on my side, the pain became unbearable. My eyes met my husband ‘s as they rolled me on the gurney. I started to cry in pain. They told Jeff that he could come with me until I was in the operating room. He said I was very white and didn’t look like myself. I can imagine how scared he must have been. After they prepped me for surgery, they told Jeff he could kiss me before they took me inside. He kissed my forehead and told me he would see me soon.
It took me no time to fall asleep after they gave me anesthesia. I don’t know how long I was asleep but I woke up to a much nicer environment than the day before. I felt no pain whatsoever, I was warm with blankets and a nurse sitting right next to me. He told me that he was giving me more Valium to keep me relaxed. I looked out the window and noticed the snow gently falling. I thought to myself, how odd for it to snow at the beginning of April. Then, my eyes grew heavy as I fell asleep again.
Before long, I was reunited again with Jeff, and my mom came back after Jeff told her what happened. This time I didn’t cry, but gave them a big smile. Jeff felt a huge relief and told me I looked so much better. I felt more like myself, except weak, groggy and with a little expected soreness. I was allowed to order dinner and, lucky for me, it was pot roast. I could even laugh again and not feel pain. It was great to be alive!
After eating, my mom left, Jeff and I both fell into a comfortable sleep for a few hours. We didn’t know, but my sister came to visit and waited as we slept. She needed to wake me eventually because she had to leave soon, but wanted to talk to me. I felt so bad for sleeping and told her she should have woke me sooner. We talked and laughed, both of us happy it was over finally. She told me all about Jason (my son, whom she was watching for me) and how well he was doing.
That night I slept very well and peaceful. I liked all my nurses; they were funny, patient and understanding of my needs. I would need to stay in the hospital one day, and continue on the road to recovery.
Note: Breast Cancer News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Breast Cancer News, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to breast cancer.
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