“Jackson-Pratt drains are pure evil”

The above title is the exact search query I entered in Google this morning, because I had to know that I’m not the only person who is ready to rip these things out of my sides with sheer force and throw them into the garbage disposal for revenge. I am so tired of these awful extra appendages I’ve been given. It’s like walking around with heavy, leaking tentacles hanging off my chest. I feel like a six-armed monster ready to terrorize local children at the park, if I had the strength to walk/shuffle the three blocks to said park.

In my Googling, I stumbled upon plenty of other breast cancer and BRCA 1 & 2 blogs written by women who’ve had the unique displeasure of undergoing a double mastectomy. A lot of these women wrote about pinning their drains to the inside of their blouses to go back to work or wearing a cute belt around their favorite sundress to keep the drains supported so they wouldn’t tug or pull at their skin. WHAT. THE. F–K. You guys, I’m not kidding when I say that I haven’t changed out of the same pair of leopard print pajamas in six days. I’ve taken one shower, and that’s a generous term for what happened, because actually I sat in an iron piece of patio furniture that my dad had brought upstairs while my mom blasted me with the removable showerhead. Basically, I only get up out of my chaise lounge to pee, and I swear that if I could get away with just wetting myself right here I’d do it. How in the world are these women doing anything that resembles normal life? I put on jeans today for my doctor’s appointment and the only thing I could think the entire time I was wearing them was how not worth the effort it was.

Reading these other blogs, I started to think that perhaps I was exaggerating the hospital scene I’d set up in the living room to manage my discomfort. After all, I’ve dropped down to half doses of Percocet (yay for weaning off of dangerously habit-forming opiates!), and my appetite is beginning to return to normal. The only thing that I have to keep in check, sadly, is my sense of humor. Laughter is not the best medicine if you have just undergone massive chest surgery. It’s the single most painful thing on Earth.

There’s another reason I’ve got to turn down the dial on the self-pity, and that’s because two of my awful JP drains came out today! Their output had decreased significantly over the last couple of days, and I knew that today was the day they’d probably be removed. I was nervous and nauseated all morning, because it’s really hard to be excited about the idea of someone pulling a bunch of medical tubing out of the wasteland that used to be your cleavage, even if you know it’ll make you more comfortable in the long run. Luckily, the whole ordeal lasted literally less than a minute. The plastic surgeon cut the stitch on my skin, which was a relief in and of itself, not unlike removing a heavy earring or an itchy piece of clothing. Then she braced herself against my ribs and just ripped those suckers right out.

I’ve been thinking about it all day, and I still can’t come up with a way to describe the feeling. It’s certainly not pleasant, but it’s not painful, either. I guess the only way to communicate it is to say that it feels like someone pulling a foot and a half of plastic tubing through your chest and out of a hole in your side. Because that’s exactly what it is.

The relief was instant! I immediately felt like I could breathe easier, and some of the weird lumps and bumps in my chest disappeared. Some of the tightness is gone, and the pain has decreased immensely. I even felt healthy enough today to relax outside by the pool with a trashy magazine, which had me forgetting for an hour or two that I’m a cancer patient. And when you’re really ill, that’s pretty much the most you can ask for.

The other two are coming out on Wednesday. I’m just counting the days.

Also, I have a little piece of business to take care of. These incredible, beautiful, one-of-a-kind, AMAZING sequined Glamoury Mammary shoes came in the mail today!

Glamoury Mammary Shoes

They’re exactly the right size and I’m already SO obsessed with them. The only problem is that they didn’t come with a note or a return address, so I have no idea who they are from! If you sent them, please text me so that I can thank you. Whoever you are, you are a wonderful person. I can guarantee that these special sneakers will be on my feet at every single scan, test, appointment and chemo session in my future. I know they’ll bring me luck.

One thought on ““Jackson-Pratt drains are pure evil”

  1. Beth says:

    Googling JP drains as they have become the bane of my existence. Had a double mastectomy on Valentines Day (the irony was appreciated) and these drains are driving me nuts! When one gets jostled or the dreaded stripping of the lines occurs it feels like someone is stabbing me through the nipple, only I don’t have those anymore. So did not think my surgeon adequately explained the drains so yesterday I made him an informative brochure he can hand out to future patients. Your post made me laugh – and hopeful – I go on Thursday for my 1st post-surgical appointment so I am looking forward to getting rid of at least a couple of the drains. Hope you recover well from your cancer – it sucks – at 25 or 45 (me).

    Beth in TX

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