Women’s Voices is an opportunity to hear from women in our community about their health experiences. This is the fifth installment of Kathy’s Story. You can find the earlier posts here.
Twenty-one days after my diagnosis, I had over three hours of surgery to remove both breasts and begin the reconstruction process. It may not be a popular choice to have two procedures done at once, but what can I say? I’m a multi-tasker.
The day after the surgery I was in a lot more pain and needed to take pain pills every two hours. We met with both surgeons and had an eye-opening talk with the general surgeon. He told me that he was confident about the situation in my left breast, since we knew it was DCIS and he anticipated that the nodules and lymph nodes would be clear of cancer, but admitted that we wouldn’t know for sure until we got the biopsy results. He also said that since I am relatively young, I would need to take the most aggressive approach possible—either chemotherapy or some sort of hormone therapy.
I was beyond anxiety once again while waiting for the pathology reports. Because the findings in the right breast were a surprise and I had already decided to remove both breasts anyway, the docs didn’t biopsy the right breast before removing it. Why biopsy something that was already going to be removed from my body? The doctor felt that the growths on the right side were most likely nothing significant but told me firmly that if this turned out not to be the case, I would need aggressive treatment.
In terms of the reconstruction, I’ve already had my first saline injection. It didn’t hurt, although the requisite “massage” after was less than pleasant. The drains remained in place four days after surgery, and I couldn’t wait to have them removed. They were uncomfortable and annoying. Though, to be sure, much more tolerable than waiting for the pathology reports …