Sharing recipes, crafts and frugal living, the challenges and triumphs of parenting a neurotypical child and a child on the Autism Spectrum. Yoga Instructor said goodbye to her nightly glass of Chardonnay to give up habits that were not serving her purpose in life! The CocktailMom name remains, however with a new focus on healthy and authentic living.


Breast Surgery Update- I'm on the mend!

Pre-Surgery: very nervous, lots of tears!
Being wheeled into surgery. 

If you haven't heard about my recent brush with breast cancer please start here, my first post on the subject of my boobs and then come back and read the update.

On May 30th I had my surgery at Sibly Hospital to remove the Phyllodes breast tumor and to have a breast reduction at the same time. Dr. Magnant, the breast surgeon, performed the wide excision lumpectomy, originally she was going to remove 2 cm of surrounding breast tissue to make sure that all the cancer cells were gone, also known as "clear margins". A pathologist was in the surgery room to test the sample of surrounding breast tissue and in the end Dr. Magnant had to remove 4 cm of breast tissue around the tumor. 

Phyllodes tumors are very rare, they are not genetic so a breast cancer genetic test would not have predicted this type of tumor. What makes these tumors unique is that they grow rapidly and do NOT respond to chemotherapy. The only way to treat this type of tumor is to remove it with clear margins. If one cancer cell remains it could grow rapidly into another tumor.    

Once the tumor was removed Dr. Huang, the plastic surgeon, began my breast reduction. The entire process took three and a half hours. I was brought to the recovery room and my wife and mom, who came with me to the hospital, were able to join me. During the recovery stage I reached the point where it was time for me to leave, the nurses were getting my things together. But I didn't feel "right". I am very tuned in to my body and it's needs and at that moment I had this overwhelming feeling that I was going to black out. I told my mom that I'm not ready, closed my eyes and slept for a bit more. 
Always listen to what your body needs- you know better than anyone!

In Recovery, refusing to go home.
For 24 hours I was wrapped in bandages very tightly with 2 drains that had to be emptied and the amount of their contents recorded. Thank goodness my wife was able to do this for me! I am so thankful for her! The day after surgery, in the early evening, I had the drains and the bandages removed. I was instructed by Dr. Huang to wear a soft bra (no underwire) for a month, 24 hours a day.
Bandages and drains.
 I am currently three weeks post surgery and every day feeling better and stronger. I've learned many lessons during this experience. (blog posts coming soon) As cancer is prone to makes you reevaluate your life. You find yourself asking "is this really important?". I'm taking that with me...aligning my life with people who radiate happiness and compassion. Giving my energy to projects that matter.
This was a wake-up call...and I answered.


Anonymous said...

Gretchen I am glad you are feeling better and you are writing again. A very good sign.

Gretchen said...



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