Surgery – Annie


Annie describes how she felt immediately after having a double mastectomy.


I would say that what I found the worse about the surgery, it is not the surgery itself, because I cannot say, it was not the surgery itself that scared me. I wasn’t afraid that I wouldn’t wake up or that it wouldn’t go well. It was more the side effects after. And it was worse than I thought. Otherwise what I found the worse is the loss of autonomy among other things. In my case, I was not even able to put on a shirt by myself, or a pyjama, or a coat for about two or three weeks. I couldn’t. I always had to ask for help. I also had a hard time to wash myself since they had removed lymph nodes on both sides. It was still a big operation that I had compared to other women. So… So I didn’t have the use of my arms. Still it is a minority of women that have both sides done at the same time. So, but this is it, I didn’t have the use of my arms during that time. So, like at home I do not have anyone to rely on to help me, but I spent a month at my parents’ house to get a little help.

Otherwise, in my case I had excellent services from the CLSC. They came every day or almost every day, except when I had visits to the hospital, during a week and a half. Even during the week-end they were coming to change the bandages. Once I had a problem with a drain and they came, a second time the same day, so really. My surgeon had made the service request so it went very well. But six months later even if there is a large improvement, you know, I have not recuperated 100% of the movement of my arms. But of course it is faster for some and slower for others. I am one of the more complex cases.

Of course there are scars following the operation. In my case it starts on the side, really in the back, almost in the back through the same place on the other side. All in the front through the other side almost in the back, and about the equivalent of two fingers where I was not cut. So I really have two large scars. But I find that one looks better than the other. But it is because I thought that they would both be the same, meaning both going in the same direction. But on the left side, the scar is really horizontal, as on the right side it is more diagonal. So, I thought that the scars would be more similar than they are.

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