If you’ve read any of my other posts, you’ll know that I found a lump in my right breast while I was in Sydney. Over the past few months, I’ve documented my journey, from ultrasound to biopsy.
I have another appointment to see a surgeon tomorrow and I’m trying not to think about it if I’m honest. I’m going to ask for them to remove the biggest lump on the right side – that’s the one that has caused the most bother.
It hasn’t been easy to come to that decision. I’m allergic to a lot of medications and I don’t really have the time to heal. I’m not very patient, so don’t like the thought of having to rest to heal.
I’ve just seen the surgeon and he was so lovely. He agreed to the surgery, saying he would only remove the largest lump but that’s better than nothing!
I honestly thought I would have to fight for the surgery and a wave of relief washed over me. I wanted to cry.
Before every planned surgery, you are asked to attend a pre-surgery assessment.
They take blood, check your height and weight, and give you loads of leaflets that should answer any questions you have. In my case, the only question I had was whether they had an updated list of my allergies!
When I told the nurse my allergies, she looked shocked. She hadn’t seen a list like that in a while, but we had a nice chat about her young son who she thought was allergic to pork.
I saw 3 nurses in total and none of them were very good at making me feel at ease, but I could tell that they were in the middle of a very long day.
I had the biggest lump removed on 1st February as a day patient which means that I went to the hospital at 7:30 am and was taken through to a ward.
After seeing two surgeons and three anaesthetists, I was ready for surgery. Why so many doctors? I have a lot of allergies (mainly codeine-based painkillers and some antibiotics) so I had to see a lot of them so they could determine the best medication to give me throughout the surgery and for pain relief afterwards.
I went to theatre at about 9 am and recited my allergies for every doctor that asked, then settled back as the anaesthesia started to kick in.
When I woke up, I was freezing and in a lot of pain. This happened before too, but the recovery nurses gave me another heated blanket and gave me the ketamine that the surgeon ordered.
That stuff is magic! Within a few minutes, the pain was a dull ache and I was allowed back to the ward where Mum was waiting for me.
I’d been gone almost three hours because they had to monitor me before they brought me out of sedation in case of allergic reactions. Everything had been fine and they sent the lump off to the lab to get it tested.
Within an hour, I was eating and being discharged.
If you know me personally, you know that I’m ridiculously stubborn. Instead of Mum bringing the car to me, I chose to walk. Then I wanted to walk around Sports Direct and get a new sports bra to help support my fun bags while they healed. I went for this one, and I really recommend it!
Now, when you have surgery, they tell you about the normal healing process: bruising, swelling, pain… But they never tell you that the area will feel like it’s on fire. It’ll be hot to touch, you’ll actually want to remove layers of clothing to help cool it down. I put a few ice cubes into a litle bag and tucked them inside my t-shirt, which was a great idea if I may say so myself.
Then came the itching.
The itching was almost non-stop for at least 4 days. You know when you have a really itchy foot and you kinda squirm away from it? It’s that kind of itch, and you can’t really itch your boob in public. Apparently, it’s frowned upon. You also can’t itch fresh stitches because you’ll pull them out or warp the healing process. I’ve been doing a shoulder shuffle to try and itch it against my crop top but it’s not quite the same.
The swelling is just as bad. One side was a luscious FF size, the other was more like a H size. It had swollen so much that it wouldn’t sit in my brand new bras, and it was hard to sleep! I like to sleep on my side so had to place a pillow under my chest so gravity wouldn’t do its thing (gravity is not a friend to big breasts!). So uncomfortable.
I have to wait for two appointments for the hospital; one to check on the healing and another for the lab results. They’re pretty sure that it’s just a fibroadenoma but they want to be certain, so I’ll have to shuffle back to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital for those.
Everyone that I saw during the process was SO lovely. I can’t thank them enough, especially the nurses in the Day Ward at the hospital. They were really attentive, even running after me when I left my slippers behind! The NHS gets a bad name sometimes, but we would be lost without it.