Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Recovery Begins and On to the Next Chapter

We have been unable to post today, due to Blackberry technical difficulties. Heather had a long day yesterday and yet again proved how resilient she is: She arrived at OHSU at 6a, went into surgery at 8:30a, surgery concluded at 1:15p, and she was not transferred to a hospital room until 8:30p. She endured 7-8 hours in the day surgery room in the most noisy chaotic environment imaginable. Heather was discharged this evening after a long day of waiting for a physician to approve it. She is experiencing significant pain, which is well controlled most of the time with medicine. We are both relieved this important milestone has passed and Heather is able to take the time needed to heal. We(Heather and I) joke she looks like an Octopus because she has multiple drain tubes and other tubes protruding just below her arms. I have been tasked as the "Bulb Man" by Heather and her physician. Which means I get to drain and track any extracted fluids every few hours. There was a "spec" of cancer discovered in one of her sentinel lymph nodes(other two were negative), so the surgeon had to perform an axillary lymph node dissection (10-15 other nodes were removed for analysis). This was some what expected by Heather and I, given the type and size of the tumor in the breast. We won't know if any other lymph nodes were affected until next week and it is uncertain how this might change the treatment plan. The mastectomy and reconstruction looks absolutely fantastic and this serves as a constant reminder of how lucky we are to have such a great team at OHSU. Heather is currently sleeping soundly and we have been told progress should be seen each day in regards to pain and mobility. Tomorrow will consist of PT exercises, rest, and watching movies. Of course, I will be fulfilling my "Bulb Man" tasks and preparing the house for families arrival in a couple of days. Heather's family will be arriving this Friday and Saturday and my mom will be here sometime next week. We wanted to thank our friends and family again for the flowers, kind words, cards, gift cards, phone calls, and text messages. Also wanted to thank everyone who supported us at OHSU; it was so incredibly helpful that words can not describe. I personally underestimated how difficult it would be emotionally and the support helped me maintain my sense of humor, keep my spirits high, and trust OHSU's care. We are both feeling very hopeful about what the future holds and will know more about what's next for treatment towards the end of next week. Will keep you posted.


  1. Continuing to keep you guys in our thoughts and prayers. So glad that the surgery is over and steps can now be taken forward to recovery and healing.

  2. Hey, it's Sue. LA is showing me how to post a comment :) Been thinking of you both non-stop. I am so glad this first huge hurdle is behind you now. I hope you know how much love and prayers I am trying to send in these few typed words.
    Love you, Sue

  3. Shane -
    Sounds like a really excellent outcome. As important, is the devotion you clearly have for each other. Remember the phone tough guy....especially at 3 am if needed.
    Heather -
    Don't have a direct line to those prayers but am checking in with the Buddha for you both. :)