What To Expect The Day Of A Bilateral Mastectomy


Posted by Tara Berman Gustman on Thursday, February 8, 2018

Feels the Day of

I’ve never been more ready than ever. The previous 30 days has been the ultimate nightmare of groundhogs day and I was ready to have the cancer removed. I was so ready to wake up knowing it was out. Anxious and nervous, but thankfully I was surrounded by my husband, a nurse that I met that made sure she by my side all morning for prep, my family and dear friends in the waiting room from start to finish.

Checking In

After I checked into the hospital I got brought back to the preoperative room where I had to change into my hospital gown, surprisingly not pink.  I kept my f*ck cancer socks on until surgery time and they made me put on the traditional hospital socks on and had my own small waiting room where I sat waiting with my husband.


I did my vitals with the nurse and then met with my reconstructive surgeon. He had me sit up and marked me where they would cut me open with asymmetric lines.  I was either waking up with implants or tissue expanders, depending on what they found during the surgery.

IV for Days…The Anesthesiologist

Sh*t just got real. Next, I met with my anesthesiologist. He talked about my medical history, any allergies and his exact plan for the process of receiving my “cocktail”, which was slipped right into my IV. At that moment the nurse asked me about my children. I said,  “They are the most beautiful thing that has ever happened to me.” and that was the last thing I remember… surgery time.


Surgery Timeline

My surgery lasted six hours long. They had a breathing tube down my throat the entire time which made it very hard to talk for the next few days. The breast surgeon worked a little over 3 hours and included a port for my chemotherapy treatments.  The reconstructive surgeon worked the final 3 hours where at that time he did put in tissue expanders. The final step of the surgery is to add drainage tubes. I woke up with 4 of them. The purpose of these long tubes are to collect the excess fluid that can accumulate where the tumors were. When I did wake up I was all bandaged up tightly with an ace bandage type of material around my chest.


Mental Mindfulness

While I have heard some crazy stories about waking up from anesthesia, I found myself to be so quiet. My mind felt like the worst just happened and now I can keep moving forward.

Expanding on My Results

The nurse’s name in the recovery room was Michael, and I kept calling him Michael with the white beard. I kept asking him if I had implants or expanders in, because of my hopes what next steps would be if I have known this answer right away.

Recovery Rooms – The Struggle is Real

I was in the recovery room for a little over and hour and than taken to the 8th floor in the hospital where I finally got to see my husband, mom and my friend Sam. I took one look into my husbands eyes and knew he was going to tell me the news we were not hoping for, so I asked my mom and Sam to leave so we can have our own private time. My strong amazing husband did not leave my side all night. I saw his eyes drift off a little bit and my heart broke for him as my heart ached as well. I am human. We held hands, we prayed, we cried and between us we had some smirks of a laugh. I couldn’t have done the night without him being my advocate.  He kept assuring me that this fight is his fight too and he is not leaving my side.


Cancer Sucks – Get the F&*K Out

The outcome of my surgery was this:

They got all of the cancer out!!!!  It did spread into my lymph node .1MM, so I will need Chemotherapy and Radiation is still a conversation that will need to be had, but not definite at this time.


Time for Short Hair Don’t Care

Chemotherapy ! I have had two short cuts since my surgery and am totally rocking them. Feels so liberating and I am loving the look. After the second haircutcut, my daughter said I look half girl/half boy. The innocence of a three year old.


Ready to Go Home

I only stayed in the hospital for 24 hours. I was determined to do whatever was needed to get home, which included eating the hospital chicken noodle soup. The nurses in the morning took off my bandage and put me in a new mastectomy recovery bra. They were all so pleased and happy with my new temporary chest. I on the other hand have a long way to go on this subject, but my most important fact was that my amazing surgeon GOT IT OUT.  Thank you again for being on my journey.

Stats and Facts

The scary fact that 1 out of 8 women will be diagnosed with Breast Cancer. The Target diagnosis, which is a moving one, Age 28-39 is 28%. I hope I can help ease one else journey by putting mine out there.

Peace out CANCER! You may have tried to make yourself comfortable in my chest, but let me telling you getting you off my chest may be my biggest life changing positive outcome that may have ever happened to me.

1 thought on “What To Expect The Day Of A Bilateral Mastectomy”

  1. You are so strong and beautiful!!! I m so happy you wore you f* cancer socks. Love you and can’t wait to give you the biggest hug when I see you soon.

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