[I’m actually feeling rather svelte. Besides, there’s no better time to have scars and a drain full of blood in the #20gr8.] October 24, 2015

I love this photo. I think I look rather terrific. I was 5 days post-op and I had survived being de-bandaged (seems like it should be a word), seeing my scars for the first time (and absence of a breast), taking a shower with my husband (to get clean without pulling a stitch!), and being re-bandaged (think this, but less elaborate).

These were no small things!

But lurking just below the frame of this photo was The Devil Drain – by far the most annoying part of having a mastectomy.

This is how my surgeon explained it to me: You know when you scrape your knee? You know that weepy yellowish fluid that bubbles to the surface? Well, imagine having your breast tissue scraped off of your skin and muscle. That same weepy yellowish fluid is produced by your body. This fluid needs to be drained so that the skin can adhere to the muscle. (Don’t worry. He was very gentle when he said the word SCRAPED. Eeks.)

Well then.

Just to give you an idea – during the lumpectomy, Dr. S made a vertical incision from the nipple down about an inch and a half. During the mastectomy, Dr. S made a horizontal incision (maybe 3 inches) to remove the nipple and the rest of the tissue. So now I have a nice T where my boob used to be and the drain was coming out at the base of that T. The bad part in all of this is that the drain hose was STITCHED TO ME. There was a single stitch and then the thread was wrapped around and knotted to the hose to keep it in place. That fucking stitch would tug every now and again, as you can imagine. Made me want to punch somebody.

The fun part of the drain – Ha! – is that my girls loved it. They thought it was super cool and they would fight over who got to squirt it into the toilet each night. We had to keep tabs. It was hilarious. You see, you have to record how much fluid is draining each day and monitor the color changing from red to yellow.

So I walked around town wrapped tightly in an Ace bandage with a small hose hanging down and a drain full of blood and weepy yellowish fluid in my pocket. I wouldn’t breathe deeply (even though I was instructed to) and I felt like I was hunched over with my arms clamped down at my sides trying to keep the bandage from slipping down constantly. Damn hourglass figure 😉

Fun times.

After 9 L O N G days, I had the drain removed by Dr. S’s nurse. Boy was that an experience! I went into the office, she cut the knot, then she told me to exhale BIG on the count of 3. Then 1…2…3…WHOOSH…and she must have pulled a foot of hose out in 2 seconds flat. It was too quick and shocking for me to think. She stood there pressing a ball of gauze to the opening and staring me straight in the eyes. After a few seconds she asked if I was ok. I said Yes, even though I wasn’t sure.

Don’t you worry, there’s more. It’s the DETAILS, people. I had to be drained twice after the removal of the hose. This involved going back to the office in a couple of weeks and having a very large needle inserted into the growing water bed (as I affectionately called it). The good news is that you’re totally numb after a mastectomy because the nerves have been severed so you don’t feel a thing. Ha!

All joking aside, Halloween is a BIG DEAL in Boise, especially in the North End where we live. Our neighbors go all out with their costumes and decorations. Trick-or-treating is EPIC. I had my drain removed 3 days before Halloween so I just went as a cyclops.

Get it?! (Ok, one last joke.)


#readyforhalloween #northendboise #mygirlsarentscared #boo

One thought on “The Devil in the Details

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