When I knew I had cancer, one of the first thoughts that came to my mind was to remove my breast and get over with it.
When I met my surgeon in city hospital Dr.Annet Al Hamadi she told me that my type of cancer requires chemo before the surgery. I tried to convince her that it is better to do the surgery before the chemo... as if I’m the doctor who studied for years... she laughed and told me: “this is the protocol and you have to start with the chemo and guess what you are lucky after the chemo you don’t have to remove the whole breast, you only will remove what is left of the lump after the chemo, you will only have a small scare with a small difference in size between the two breast”. Any normal person would hear that news would be happy, I wasn’t because I was convinced that the best thing to do is to remove both of my breasts just in case.
How did I take this big decision in like one second?! Removing both breasts just in case?!
I have a theory, which makes losing things easier; basically, if you know that you will lose your job, money or even parts of your body ahead of time mentally you will be ready for the loss and accept it easier.
And that is what I did; during my treatment period, I decided to neglect my breast and act as if it is already gone, aside to hating it to accept my loss later, and guess what my plan worked, but sadly I lost more than what expected to lose.
The big day came, the day I waited for months for; surgery day, I was so excited overwhelmed and scared to hell.
I was submitted to the hospital before one day of the surgery, I still remember every second of that night.
So after everyone left my room at night from family and friends I decided to meditate and pray in my own way to relax, but of course, all the meditation didn’t work. I tried to sleep but I was waking up every 5 minutes, the only thought that was popping in my head that I will have a complication and die, which later on that thought was not that wild and yes there were complications in my surgery.
But before that, what are the double mastectomy Risks?
1-Numbness and tenderness can happen because the nerves were cut during surgery, which happened to me.
2-Fluid collection under the scar may be the result of hematoma — an accumulation of blood in the wound, which also happened to me. 3-Delayed wound healing: If there isn't enough blood flow to the flaps of your incision, small areas of skin may wither and scab or need to be trimmed by your surgeon. This is uncommon and is usually not a serious complication, guess what also happened to me…
4- Nipple Necrosis: Dead skin or tissue around the breast. Necrosis can be caused by infection, use of steroids in the surgical breast pocket, smoking, chemotherapy/radiation, and excessive heat or cold therapy, sadly this happened to me and I lost my nipple from my healthy breast.
So let’s get physical and tell you the story of how I lost my nipple from my healthy breast.
Waked up with crazy pain in the recovery room, I couldn’t speak or move. I felt a heavy block on my chest I couldn’t believe that a human being can feel that much pain. The nurse started talking to me, she was talking but I can only remember her saying my name.
I lost track of time, but I remember the nurse saying that she will take me to my room, we reached there, I remember seeing my mom and sister and some family relatives they were talking and defiantly I don’t know what they are saying.
The nurse started telling me to try to sit up to move to the bed, I couldn’t… I felt a block on my chest, I started screaming from pain and the heaviness. Eventually, they put me on the bed. I was not comfortable I felt weird, there was something wrong… and I knew it… sadly no one believed me.
They told me the first night is the hardest after that things will get better. I don’t remember anything about the first night I can only remember the pain the heaviness and the discomfort.
The next day I waked up at 6:00 AM the nurse came and suggested to go for a small walk, I had a little bit of energy, I walked around the bed but suddenly I felt dizzy, I sat on the bed and told the nurse that I’m not fine, she told me: “it is ok you didn’t eat anything since yesterday sit.” and she asked the other nurse to bring the food. Suddenly I fainted it was the weirdest feeling ever because the pain stopped!
The nurse tried to wake me up and when I walk up I found my mom and sister, they called the doctor and he requested directly to do a blood count. After one hour they told me that my blood count is low so they will keep me for few more days.
They kept me for few more days, and the nightmare started. The nonstop pain, feeling of my body collapsing, feeling that my breast was going to explode… and everyone was telling me it is normal.
It wasn’t I had hematoma “eternal bleeding” in the left breast “the healthy breast” the one without cancer. I found out that after 2 months of the surgery…
Anyway, I started pushing myself to get better, but how can you get better with enteral bleeding??? I did, somehow. The doctor removed the drains after two weeks in the hope of everything is fine. After removing the drain in one day by breast turned blue. And it started filling fluids that made me feel it is going to explode. Again they told me it is normal. I started asking other doctors and they told me it is normal just wait and give it some time and your breast will go back to normal. It didn’t…. eventually, I went to a private hospital to do an ultrasound and try to find out if there is enteral bleeding the test showed it is only normal fluids. It wasn’t it was blood around the implants but somehow no one saw it.
The left breast stayed darker, but the doctor told you it is ok you can travel now go back to Dubai and by the time it will get better. It didn’t…
I went back to Dubai feeling weird, wrong, and sick. But I was trying to get my life back and find another job because as you know I don’t want to take money from anyone and my career used to be my everything.
Sadly the breast didn’t get better and it started smelling weird. And this was simply because my nipple was dead. I sent a surgeon in Dubai Dr. Buthina al Shunnar she sent me: “Hana your breast will explode anytime, you lost your nipple, this is nipple necrosis, I know you don’t have insurance I’m willing to do the surgery for free just pay the hospital.” I felt life is collapsing after I heard that. I called my surgeon directly into Jordan and he told me yes Hana you lost your nipple it is dead please come to remove the implant and the nipple. I went mad! How he couldn’t know this from before?! Why he didn’t tell me before I travel that this could happen! I went online and started reading and guess what it was clear according to google that I had hematoma and nipple necrosis! I went mad! I told my family I’m leaving tomorrow and I don’t want to see anyone of you… they didn’t comment I think they were in shock. I hated everyone and blamed everyone because I told everyone that the surgery is wrong but they told me you are only tired and emotional!
My friend Maha al Shafie called me… I told her I’m packing because I lost my nipple and I was right the surgery went wrong.
She came directly to my house and started helping me pack. I was angry mad and going to explode. She decided to stay over till I go to the airport. I decided to start drinking… we talked a lot and all that I remember from the talk that I told her: “I did everything right, I fought cancer like a warrior, I did everything by self, but now I failed because I lost my job and insurance, listened to people and believed that the surgery is fine… I couldn’t find the right person to believe me… everyone around me made me fail.” I remember that night that I cried like crazy.
I went to the airport drunk and hopeless, the flight was packed and I was feeling weird and tired as if I’m suffocating.
Finally, I reached my brother house, I was supposed to go directly to the hospital but I told my sister in law that I want to change because I feel weird. She told me: "show me what is happening in your breast." I took off my bra and out of nowhere a river of blood came out of my breast, the whole room was covered with blood. My sister in law called the ambulance directly and weirdly I was smiling and I told her don’t worry I’m fine for the first time since the surgery I can smile and breath normally.
The ambulance took me to the hospital, and the new trip started.
Your journey will not always go as planned, but make sure to listen to yourself, and trust only yourself because you know your body more than your doctor.