Scheduling Surgery and Preparation – June & July

The week of June 15th,  I called Dr Schwartzberg office to say that both my consults went well and I was happy with Dr Capraro and Dr Sedlacek. I was ready to move forward with the new team.  Dr Schwartzberg’s office said they would check schedules and let me know the date of my mastectomy surgery; it usually could be scheduled in 2 weeks.

At the end of the week my surgery was scheduled for July 7, 2015.

I had read a lot blogs before surgery and all had stressed the fact that since you will have your pectoral muscles cut you will have very limited arm movement.  I would only be able to wear certain clothes, I would need help in the shower, I may even need help in the bathroom. I could not hold the hand rail on stairs, open doors. I would have a 10 lb limit for the first few weeks, and the therapist said that my first exercises should be to make a first, and only if I felt good I could try about 4 reps with 3lb weights.  Level 1 and 2 exercises.

I spent two weeks before surgery walking around the house like a T-Rex trying to imaging who it would be.  Could I make myself a coffee?  How could I safely walk down our wood staircase from the bedroom to the living room? There are 17 wooden steps, I could break my neck f I fell.

The rest of June, and the beginning of July was very busy;

  • For the rest of the month we made frozen dinners like crazy.Food in freezer Food Preparation
  • For the rest of the month I exercised and built up my core muscles and tried to do things without  using my arms as much as possible.
  • We bought a recliner. Food Preparation
  • We bought a load of stuff in preparation for the mastectomy apocalypse. I got a lot of my preparation information from blogs and Cancer websites. Here are a few sites that helped me;
  2. I wanted one of these so bad, but there were none available.
  3.  This was an essential.
  4. If you can’t afford the Brobe, at least get this!
  5. Flushable Wipes  For days you don’t have energy to shower
  6. Tilting bed table
  7. Reacher/Graber with magnetic tip
  8. Long Reach Comfort Wipe BTW I did not need this, but the hubs and me felt a lot better knowing we had it :-)
  9. Bed Rest  I actually used this on the sofa during recovery
  10. I also bought a lot of books on Cancer recovery, anti cancer diets and supplements
  • On June 18th I set up a secret group on Facebook for friends and family.   I called it “Saying Goodbye to the Girls” and all I could think of was the Squeeze song Goodbye Girl.   I had difficulty using the correct terms so I joked quite a lot and talked about saying goodbye to the girls and welcoming Pinky and Perky, the reconstructed boobs.  The group turned out to be a nice place to update friends without blasting to the Facebook world. The hubs was able to update friends and post photos that were a little to personal for some of my Facebook friends.
  • There were a lot of people I didn’t tell. I didn’t want sympathy, I just wanted support. I thought some people might go overboard or panic. I didn’t want to tell some people until after surgery when I knew more. If all went well I could say I had cancer, but I’d had a mastectomy and all the cancer was removed, I’m fine, I’m going to be okay, don’t worry.
  • On June 25th I had an appointment at Dr Schwartzberg’s office to sign consent forms.  I met with their health insurance person to sign forms and commit to paying for the work even if my insurance wouldn’t.  I was warned that insurance may not pay for an assistant for Dr Schartzberg, but that it would be no more than  $400 (note added later, it was $575. We knew about this and the hospital $250 deductible, but were also billed for a few other things such as pathology $175 and a couple of things Dr Capraro required before surgery; EKG and chest X-Ray)
  • I was supplement and alcohol free 2 weeks before surgery. This was a lot more difficult than I thought it might be.  Some of my supplements were to help with inflammation and general aches and pains. My knee grumbled a bit and I was sure I was going to have another arthritis flare-up.  I contacted Dr Schwarzberg to find out if it would be okay if I needed a steroid shot for my knee.  She said yes, but I used ice, walked when it looked like it was going to swell and willed my knee to behave and not balloon into a stiff painful mess.
  • On Jun 29th I had an appointment with Capraro to sign consent forms and get blood work chest X-ray and EKG done. I also got a 2 page list prescription list – Holy moly! I hadn’t had a prescription for 19 years, so I felt really weird going to a Pharmacy and walking out with a bag o’ drugs.

    All my prescriptions on my new bed table.
    All my prescriptions on my new bed table.
  • The beginning of July I made a cast of the girls!  There was enough to make two which was just as well because the first one didn’t come out so well. cast
  • On July 4th we had friends round to celebrate and watch fireworks. My first teetotal July 4th!
  • On July 6th I had an appointment with Dr Capraro to be marked up for surgery. Very colorful! Marked up for surgery
  • Random thoughts about my surgery. No regrets or second thoughts about my decision. I really did expect to worry, but I didn’t, I remained very calm, I slept well before the day of the surgery, I was so ready.

    I slept well.
    I slept well.

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