you were right the operation was hefty and i cant deny it, the pain levels were impressive.
i was in the intensive care unit for the first 24h and even with button press morphine, it took about 6-8 hours to adjust all the meds to make me comfortable enough to doze of for maybe 20mins at the time. all a bit surreal. the care, especially on the ICU was outstanding though - i am very happy with the London Bridge Hospital. it took about 3 days to get me off the on-demand morphine and replace it with tablets, which were fine while i was awake, but when i was asleep and didn't take anything regularly, i woke up in absolute agony - till the next tablets could kick in again. once i realised that, i made sure - especially at home - that i would set an alarm for 3am to have continuous meds. slowly lengthening the times. i only came off all opiates around xmas time!
as for an operation on the internal mammary nodes - well, i also didnt realised that my lungs were actually an organ effected during the op - as they collapsed on side for better access, which they only made clear just before the op. think it sounds more horrific than it actually was, but it took a couple of weeks and exercise to expand it properly again. i am writing about it here and i hope anybody having the same ish procedure doesnt panic. i am not sure if i would have worried about it, if i had known days before or if i could have gotten my head around the size of the op better?
although both surgeon mentioned that a bunch of lymphnodes will be taken out, especially more internal mammary ones, they didnt. i am not even sure why not. it bothers me, as the thoracic surgeon definitely said they should go as they are probably compromised. rather they are talking about radiotherapy to that side now. the IM node actually had grown into the rib and they had to remove a small section, so i have now a mesh, which will grow over.
They took an additional node beside the interpectoral one and it was completely clear. Its all a bit odd.
The affected inter-pectoral node - that actually threw some spanners into the works - as that one had decided to grow towards major vessels and nerves. apparently it took ages to strip any visible cancer cells from that area and i was told that it would have been inoperable a couple of months later?!
I did lose a nerve to my arm - which is giving me grief - so i am on longterm gabapentin. worse though - they didnt get the margins they ideally want, because it would have meant removing tissue/vessel that i cannot do without. so - i am counting on chemo - full heartedly. and on my gut instinct in future - i knew something was not right for months, but was fobbed off by platitudes like: you cant feel cancer grow, the residual discomfort is from the radio therapy treatment. Well - i can feel it and it wasnt from the radiotherapy. unfortunately - 'i told you so' is not as satisfying if it still plays with my life!
Anyway, the op is over and i ll do anything i can to get as much gemcarbo drugs inside me as i can. my kidney function test was really good and they apparently gave me an extra big bag full of poisons. its been 4 days and i feel pretty good, tad tired. hopefully the SEs stay kind and i can do stuff i like to do in the next 4 months, as i decided not to go back to work this time during chemo. Been there, done that. Work can wait for a bit.