The surgery is over. It went well. There was no cancer in my sentinel lymph nodes (which I decided to have removed after all) and the second area that was originally supposed to be biopsied was dismissed as “noise” and not cause for concern. All good news. Hooray! Plus I just took my first shower in three days. How glorious!
I also just got my first look at the surgical area. It wasn’t what I expected. The incision goes from the 9 o’clock position (at the inside of the breast) in a jagged line directly across to just under the nipple, and looks to be about 2–3 inches long. Other than some bruising and the dark line of the knife, my breast looks pretty much like it did before. The surgeon told me this could be the case, but only because of swelling. It will take some time for the inflammation to calm down and for the tissue to settle into its permanent position. How it will settle is unpredictable. She expects I will have a dent. There’s also about a one-inch incision under my armpit where the sentinel nodes were removed. I feel a little discomfort but not a lot.
I should get the pathology report tomorrow, which will assign my cancer a stage and hopefully state that the margins are clean. If not, I’ll need additional surgery, but I believe/hope/pray that the need for a mastectomy is remote at this point.
It’s a new day. I am cleansed by my long-awaited shower and so very, very relieved.
Meanwhile, for those who have not seen it, this is a photo of me in my post-surgery vest about three hours after surgery. The big “Z” stamped on my chest is for Zarfos, my surgeon’s name, and a few of the others who worked on me left their initials, too. A new tradition in the surgical world? I guess so. I don’t mind. It personalizes the process a little. The ink is just about faded now.